J Korean Med Sci.  2022 Jan;37(2):e15. 10.3346/jkms.2022.37.e15.

Rhinovirus Incidence Rates Indicate We Are Tired of Non-pharmacological Interventions Against Coronavirus Disease 2019

Affiliations
  • 1Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Internal Medicine, Chung-Ang University Hospital, ChungAng University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
  • 2Department of Internal Medicine, Chung-Ang Medical Health Care System Hyundae Hospital, Namyangju, Korea

Abstract

Background
During the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the incidence of rhinovirus (RV) is inversely related to the intensity of non-pharmacological interventions (NPIs), such as universal mask wearing and physical distancing.
Methods
Using RV surveillance data, changes in the effect of NPIs were investigated in South Korea during the pandemic. The time to the first visible effect of NPIs after the onset of NPIs (T1), time to the maximum effect (T2), and duration of the maximum effect (T3) were measured for each surge. For each week, the RVdiff [(RV incidence during the pandemic) − (RV incidence within 5 years before the pandemic)] was calculated, and number of weeks for RVdiff to be below zero after NPIs (time to RVdiff ≤ 0) and number of weeks RVdiff remains below zero after NPIs (duration of RVdiff ≤ 0) were measured for each surge.
Results
During the study period, four surges of COVID-19 were reported. As the pandemic progressed, T1 and T2 increased, but T3 decreased. Additionally, the “time to RVdiff of ≤ 0” increased and “duration of RVdiff of ≤ 0” decreased. These changes became more pronounced during the third surge (mid-November 2020), before the introduction of the COVID-19 vaccine, and from the emergence of the delta variant.
Conclusion
The effect of NPIs appears slower, the duration of the effect becomes shorter, and the intensity also decreases less than a year after the onset of the pandemic owing to people’s exhaustion in implementing NPIs. These findings suggest that the COVID-19 response strategy must be completely overhauled

Keyword

Rhinovirus; COVID-19; Non-pharmacological Intervention; Time of Effects
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