To understand how the pandemic has evolved, including the impact of changing social restrictions, treatments and the vaccination programme.
COVID-19 continues to cause high levels of admissions to hospital and death; globally, nationally and regionally. Social distancing, mask wearing and local/national restrictions will have helped to protect those at highest risk of catching COVID-19 before the roll-out of the vaccine programme. During the pandemic, there have been clinical trials of different treatments and management processes for COVID-19. Now, clinicians have a better understanding of who will survive invasive treatments like being placed on a ventilator, know tight breathing masks can be effective and that steroids can help improve survival.
Many national data studies can describe trends in infection rates and patient outcomes, but few have the level of data that is available from Birmingham, one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the UK with a high burden of COVID-19 in all the UK COVID-19 waves.
In this study, the researchers will describe how the pandemic unfolded in Birmingham, highlighting how social policy altered the population at risk of exposure, how new treatment practices were adopted as scientific evidence evolved, and how these factors, and the new variant, impacted on patient outcomes.
- Help staff understand what they have been through, highlighting areas where evidence-based care has been delivered and areas where this could be improved. It will also help patients to see how clinical experience has grown.
- Improve understanding of the care needs of patients, and predict care requirements for service provision – certainly regionally, but also nationally and globally.
- Help identify how the most common new variants of the virus impacted on hospitalisation and outcome.
- Begin to assess the impact of the vaccination programme and describe reinfection rates in patients who had disease earlier.
The need to better understand COVID-19 has been discussed with COVID-19 survivors and relatives of some patients who did not survive. Many patients have described having COVID-19 as the most terrifying experience of their lives, and their recovery is often long and complex. They have expressed significant support for this project, and will help create lay summaries of the results, in different local languages, to help people understand how severe this disease can be, and what they have experienced.
This project was supported unanimously by the PIONEER Data Trust Committee.