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COVID-19 lockdowns increased the risk of mental health problems, especially for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). However, despite its importance, little is known about the protective factors for ASD children during the lockdowns.
Based on the Shanghai Autism Early Developmental Cohort, 188 ASD children with two visits before and after the strict Omicron lockdown were included; 85 children were lockdown-free, while 52 and 51 children were under the longer and the shorter durations of strict lockdown, respectively. We tested the association of the lockdown group with the clinical improvement and also the modulation effects of parent/family-related factors on this association by linear regression/mixed-effect models. Within the social brain structures, we examined the voxel-wise interaction between the grey matter volume and the identified modulation effects.
Compared with the lockdown-free group, the ASD children experienced the longer duration of strict lockdown had less clinical improvement (β = 0.49, 95% confidence interval (CI) [0.19–0.79], p = 0.001) and this difference was greatest for social cognition (2.62 [0.94–4.30], p = 0.002). We found that this association was modulated by parental agreeableness in a protective way (−0.11 [−0.17 to −0.05], p = 0.002). This protective effect was enhanced in the ASD children with larger grey matter volumes in the brain's mentalizing network, including the temporal pole, the medial superior frontal gyrus, and the superior temporal gyrus.
This longitudinal neuroimaging cohort study identified that the parental agreeableness interacting with the ASD children's social brain development reduced the negative impact on clinical symptoms during the strict lockdown.
COVID-19 is erupting globally, and Wuhan successfully controlled it within a month. Infections arose from infectious persons outside hospitals. After data revision, data-based and model-based analyses were implemented, and the conclusions are as follows. The incubation period of most infected people may be 6-7 days. The number of infectious persons outside hospitals in Wuhan on January 20, 2020 was about 10000 and reached more than 20000 on the day of Lockdown; it exceeded 72000 on February 4. Both data-based and model-based analyses gave out the evolution of the reproduction number, which was over 2.5 in early January, went down to 1.62 in late January and 1.20 in early February, with a sudden drop to less than 0.5 due to the strict Stay-at-home management after February 11. Strategies of Stay-at-home, Safe-protective measures, and Ark hospitals were the main contributions to control COVID-19 in Wuhan. In Wuhan, 2 inflection points of COVID-19, exactly correspond to February 5 and February 15, the 2 days when Ark hospitals were introduced, and the complete implementation of Stay-at-home. Based on the expression of the reproduction number, group immunity is also discussed. It shows that only when the group immunization rate is over 75% can COVID-19 be under control; group immunity would be full infection and the total deaths will be 220000 for a city as big as Wuhan. Sensitivity analysis suggests that 30% of people staying at home in combination with better behavior changes, such as social-distancing and frequent handwashing, can effectively contain COVID-19. However, only when this proportion is over 60% can the controlled effect and efficiency like Wuhan be obtained.
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