Aleta A., Blas-Laina J. L., Tirado Angles G., Moreno Y.

Sep 7, 2021
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Background One of the main challenges of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is to be able to make sense of available, but often heterogeneous and noisy data, to characterize the evolution of the SARS-CoV-2 infection dynamics, with the additional goal of having better preparedness and planning of healthcare services. This contribution presents a data-driven methodology that allows exploring the hospitalization dynamics of COVID-19, exemplified with a study of 17 autonomous regions in Spain. Method We use data on new daily cases and hospitalizations reported by the Ministry of Health of Spain to implement a Bayesian inference method that allows making short and mid-term predictions of bed occupancy of COVID-19 patients in each of the autonomous regions of the country. Finding We show how to use given and generated temporal series for the number of daily admissions and discharges from hospital to reproduce the hospitalization dynamics of COVID-19 patients. For the case-study of the region of Aragon, we estimate that the probability of being admitted to hospital care upon infection is 0{middle dot}090 [0{middle dot}086-0{middle dot}094], (95% C.I. ), with the distribution governing hospital admission yielding a median interval of 3{middle dot}5 days and an IQR of 7 days. Likewise, the distribution on the length of stay produces estimates of 12 days for the median and 10 days for the IQR. A comparison between model parameters for the regions analyzed allows to detect differences and changes in policies of the health authorities. Interpretation The amount of data that is currently available is limited, and sometimes unreliable, hindering our understanding of many aspects of this pandemic. We have observed important regional differences, signaling that to properly compare very different populations, it is paramount to acknowledge all the diversity in terms of culture, socio-economic status and resource availability. To better understand the impact of this pandemic, much more data, disaggregated and properly annotated, should be made available.
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