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Comparative prevalence of COVID–19 in european countries: a time window at second wave


Biometrics & Biostatistics International Journal
José M. Tallon,1,2 Paulo Gomes,3 Leonor Bacelar–Nicolau3,4

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Abstract

Introduction: The pandemic generated by COVID–19 completely changed people’s daily lives, their relationship with family and friends, unexpectedly disrupted their working conditions and enhanced the need for an enduring resilience to face yet a second wave of the disease. It is crucial to keep continuously updating our knowledge about COVID–19 prevalence and incidence evolutions over large connected territories, where the disease is striking in alarming proportions. Objective: The main objective of this research is to identify and describe COVID–19 prevalence, incidence and mortality profiles in EU and EEE/EFTA countries, seven months after the start of the pandemic in Europe, and more recent tendencies, probably associated to the beginning of a second wave. Methods: This COVID–19 study covers thirty–one European countries. Six epidemiological variables where analyzed per 100 000 inhabitants on October 25 2020, two of them evaluated over the seven previous days. A multivariate statistical exploratory analysis based on rank principal components and cluster analysis was applied. Results: A COVID–19 prevalence typology of six country clusters was identified regarding 31 countries (EU, UK and three EEE/EFTA countries). The five epidemiological variables and number of tests revealed a wider dispersion with outlier observations. The rank transformation of data and their multivariate statistical analysis allowed us to construct a rational to better discriminate and describe these clusters, identifying specific behaviours related to the global prevalence from March until the end of October or highlight recent evolutions of COVID–19 incidence in the context of a second wave of pandemic. In fact we pinpointed country clusters where COVID–19 reached alarming levels which persist, or have even worsen, at the beginning of the second wave. Additionally, two other clusters were identified: one with countries that seems to be evolving into a situation under control, and another cluster of countries very weakly struck on the first wave, but are now facing a very complex surge, that will test their health systems capacity and timely response regarding covid and non–covid patients. Finally, the worst and more dramatic situation occurred in countries where the number of deaths per 100 000 inhabitants attained an impressive cumulative score.

Keywords

COVID–19, epidemiological, variables, rank principal components, cluster analysis

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