Projects per year
Data sources: Electronic databases MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, Biosis, Joanna Briggs, Global Health and WHO COVID-19 database (preprints) were searched; and review of search results, data extraction, meta-analysis, and risk of bias assessment were performed.
Eligibility criteria for selecting studies: Observational and interventional studies assessing the effectiveness of NPIs in reducing COVID-19 incidence and mortality, and SARS-CoV-2 transmission were included.
Main outcome measures: The main outcome measure was incidence of COVID-19. Secondary outcomes included transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and mortality.
Data synthesis: DerSimonian Laird random-effects meta-analyses were performed to investigate the effect of face masks, hand hygiene and physical distance measures on COVID-19 incidence. Pooled effect estimates with their 95% confidence interval (CI) were computed and heterogeneity among studies was detected using Cochran’s Q test and the I2 metrics with all p values being two-tailed.
Results: Overall, 72 studies met the inclusion criteria, out of which 35 evaluated individual NPIs, and 37 assessed multiple NPIs as a “package of interventions” and were included as supplementary material. Eight out of 35 studies were included in the meta-analyses, which indicated an association with reduction in the incidence of COVID-19; handwashing (relative risks (RR)= 0.47, 95%CI: 0.19 to 1.12, I2=12%), face masks (RR= 0.47, 95%CI: 0.29 to 0.75, I2=84%) and physical distance (RR= 0.75, 95%CI: 0.59 to 0.95, I2=87%). Due to heterogeneity of studies, meta-analyses were not possible for outcomes measuring quarantine/isolation, universal lockdowns and border, school and workplace closures. The effects of these interventions were synthesised descriptively.
Conclusions: This systematic review and meta-analysis suggests that several NPIs, including use of handwashing, face masks, and physical distancing, were associated with reductions in COVID-19 incidence. Public health efforts to implement NPIs should consider community health and socio-cultural needs and future research is needed to better understand NPI effectiveness in the context of COVID-19 vaccination.
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1/05/17 → 30/04/23