The 14th European Public Health (EPH) conference took place virtually on 10-12 November 2021. This year, the conference theme was “Public health futures in a changing world”. At the conference, two faculty members of the Department of Primary Care and Population Health were invited, through a competitive peer-reviewed abstract submission and selection process, to present the findings of the research undertaken under the umbrella of the C-MOR project.
The C-MOR project (https://www.unic.ac.cy/coronavirus/mortality/) is coordinated by the University of Nicosia Medical School and is an international consortium of 58 institutions which aims to create a reference dataset focused on mortality resulting from COVID-19. The project investigates all-cause, cause-specific, as well as COVID-19 specific mortality, during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr Christiana Demetriou, Assistant Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health and Principal Investigator of the C-MOR project (https://www.med.unic.ac.cy/staff-members/christiana-demetriou/), presented the results of the first C-MOR publication, published in the International Journal of Epidemiology in July 2021 (https://doi.org/10.1093/ije/dyab123). This study aimed to compare observed and expected all-cause mortality during the first six months of the COVID-19 pandemic, and to investigate any excess mortality in the context of country specific COVID-19 control measures. A total of 22 countries provided national data from primary sources. Expected mortality was estimated based on all-cause mortality data from the years 2015-2019. The results of this study highlighted that several countries experienced excess all-cause mortality during the first six months of the COVID-19 pandemic, namely Brazil, Cyprus, France, Ireland, Italy, Spain, Sweden, the UK (England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Scotland) and the USA. However, some countries experienced the same (Austria, Estonia, Israel, Norway, Slovenia and Ukraine), or even reduced (Australia, Denmark, Georgia, Cape Verde and Colombia) observed mortality compared to that anticipated. The presence and magnitude of excess mortality in the participating countries was shown to be influenced by the promptness of governments to apply control measures of high stringency, and by the seasonality patterns of countries.
In addition, Dr Souzana Achilleos, Assistant Professor of Environmental Health, presented the results of the second C-MOR publication, currently under consideration for publication by the BMC Public Health (preprint available at https://doi.org/10.21203/rs.3.rs-743603/v1 ). This investigation aimed to provide updated information on the mortality burden of the COVID-19 pandemic in several countries around the world using potential years of life lost (PYLL) as a disease burden measure. PYLL is an accurate measure of premature mortality. It takes into account the death numbers and the age at which the death occurs, giving more weight to deaths at younger ages and less to deaths at older ages. In this sense, PYLL can provide a valid assessment of the COVID-19 mortality impact. Seventeen countries collected and provided age-group and sex specific COVID-19 death numbers, from national primary sources, and were included in this study. South American countries were evidenced as the most impacted countries in terms of COVID-19 premature mortality. At the same time, countries in Asia and Middle East as well as Africa, were least affected. In addition, the study demonstrated a male predominance in the PYLL due to COVID-19 among all but one counties, and in most countries, the majority of PYLLs were contributed by the older but not oldest age groups, despite an excess of COVID-19 deaths in the oldest age groups. The timing of the pandemic, seasonal trends, the control measures enforced, and underlying social conditions, together with country demographic characteristics, are probable explanations for the differences observed among countries.
Both conference abstracts are published in the European Journal of Public Health:
- CA Demetriou, S Achilleos, A Quattrocchi, J Gabel, A Heraclides, O Kolokotroni, C Constantinou, M Pagola Ugarte, N Nicolaou, JM Rodriguez-Llanes, Excess all-cause mortality from January to August 2020: a temporal analysis in 20 countries. ORAL PRESENTATION. European Journal of Public Health, Volume 31, Issue Supplement_3, October 2021, ckab164.553, https://doi.org/10.1093/eurpub/ckab164.553
- S Achilleos, M Pagola Ugarte, A Quattrocchi, J Gabel, O Kolokotroni, C Constantinou, N Nicolaou, JM Rodriguez-Llanes, CA Demetriou, Potential life years lost to COVID-19 in 17 countries during the pandemic period, up to August 2020. ORAL PRESENTATION. European Journal of Public Health, Volume 31, Issue Supplement_3, October 2021, ckab164.550, https://doi.org/10.1093/eurpub/ckab164.550