Publikationen

COVID-19 infections in day care centres in Germany: Social and organizational determinants of infections in children and staff in the second and third wave of the pandemic

Neuberger, Franz/Grgic, Mariana/Diefenbacher, Svenja/Spensberger, Florian/Lehfeld, Ann-Sophie/Buchholz, Udo/Haas, Walter/Kalicki, Bernhard/Kuger, Susanne (2021):
COVID-19 infections in day care centres in Germany: Social and organizational determinants of infections in children and staff in the second and third wave of the pandemic.
In: medRxiv

Background During the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, German early childhood education and care (ECEC) centres organized childrens attendance variably (i.e., reduced opening hours, emergency support for few children only or full close-down). Further, protection and hygiene measures like fixed children/staff groups, ventilation and surface disinfection were introduced among ECEC centres. To inform or modify public health measures in ECEC, we investigate the occurrence of SARS-CoV-2 infections among children and staff of ECEC centres in light of social determinants (socioeconomic status of the children) and recommended structural and hygiene measures. We focus on the question if the relevant factors differ between the 2nd (when no variant of concern (VOC) circulated) and the 3rd wave (when VOC B.1.1.7 predominated). Methods Based on panel data from a weekly online survey of ECEC centre managers (start August 2020, ongoing) including approx. 8500 centres, we estimate the number of SARS-CoV-2 infections in children and staff using random-effect-within-between (REWB) panel models for count data in both waves. Results In centres with a high proportion of children with low socioeconomic status (SES), the risk of infections in staff and children is more than doubled in both waves. Fixed child/staff cohorts seem more important in the 3rd wave. Contribution ECEC centres with a large proportion of children from a low SES background and lack of using fixed child/staff cohorts experience higher COVID-19 rates. Centres should be supported in maintaining recommended measures over the long run. Preventive measures such as vaccination of staff should be prioritised in centres with large proportions of low SES children.