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Understanding and responding to COVID-19 in Wales: protocol for a privacy-protecting data platform for enhanced epidemiology and evaluation of interventions

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  • J. Lyons
  • A. Akbari
  • F. Torabi
  • G.I. Davies
  • L. North
  • R. Griffiths
  • R. Bailey
  • J. Hollinghurst
  • R. Fry
  • S.L. Turner
  • D. Thompson
  • J. Rafferty
  • A. Mizen
  • C. Orton
  • S. Thompson
  • L. Au-Yeung
  • L. Cross
  • M.B. Gravenor
  • S. Brophy
  • B. Lucini
  • A. John
  • T. Szakmany
  • J. Davies
  • C. Davies
  • D.R. Thomas
  • C. Williams
  • C. Emmerson
  • S. Cottrell
  • T.R. Connor
  • C. Taylor
  • R.J. Pugh
  • G. John
  • S. Scourfield
  • J. Hunt
  • A.M. Cunningham
  • K. Helliwell
  • R. Lyons
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Article numbere043010
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>21/10/2020
<mark>Journal</mark>BMJ Open
Issue number10
Volume10
Number of pages7
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

INTRODUCTION: The emergence of the novel respiratory SARS-CoV-2 and subsequent COVID-19 pandemic have required rapid assimilation of population-level data to understand and control the spread of infection in the general and vulnerable populations. Rapid analyses are needed to inform policy development and target interventions to at-risk groups to prevent serious health outcomes. We aim to provide an accessible research platform to determine demographic, socioeconomic and clinical risk factors for infection, morbidity and mortality of COVID-19, to measure the impact of COVID-19 on healthcare utilisation and long-term health, and to enable the evaluation of natural experiments of policy interventions. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: Two privacy-protecting population-level cohorts have been created and derived from multisourced demographic and healthcare data. The C20 cohort consists of 3.2 million people in Wales on the 1 January 2020 with follow-up until 31 May 2020. The complete cohort dataset will be updated monthly with some individual datasets available daily. The C16 cohort consists of 3 million people in Wales on the 1 January 2016 with follow-up to 31 December 2019. C16 is designed as a counterfactual cohort to provide contextual comparative population data on disease, health service utilisation and mortality. Study outcomes will: (a) characterise the epidemiology of COVID-19, (b) assess socioeconomic and demographic influences on infection and outcomes, (c) measure the impact of COVID-19 on short -term and longer-term population outcomes and (d) undertake studies on the transmission and spatial spread of infection. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: The Secure Anonymised Information Linkage-independent Information Governance Review Panel has approved this study. The study findings will be presented to policy groups, public meetings, national and international conferences, and published in peer-reviewed journals.