Surveillance of the second wave of covid-19 in europe: Longitudinal trend analyses

Lori Post*, Kasen Culler, Charles B. Moss, Robert L. Murphy, Chad J. Achenbach, Michael G. Ison, Danielle Resnick, Lauren Nadya Singh, Janine White, Michael J. Boctor, Sarah B. Welch, James Francis Oehmke

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted Europe, resulting in a high caseload and deaths that varied by country. The second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic has breached the borders of Europe. Public health surveillance is necessary to inform policy and guide leaders. Objective: This study aimed to provide advanced surveillance metrics for COVID-19 transmission that account for weekly shifts in the pandemic, speed, acceleration, jerk, and persistence, to better understand countries at risk for explosive growth and those that are managing the pandemic effectively. Methods: We performed a longitudinal trend analysis and extracted 62 days of COVID-19 data from public health registries. We used an empirical difference equation to measure the daily number of cases in Europe as a function of the prior number of cases, the level of testing, and weekly shift variables based on a dynamic panel model that was estimated using the generalized method of moments approach by implementing the Arellano-Bond estimator in R. Results: New COVID-19 cases slightly decreased from 158,741 (week 1, January 4-10, 2021) to 152,064 (week 2, January 11-17, 2021), and cumulative cases increased from 22,507,271 (week 1) to 23,890,761 (week 2), with a weekly increase of 1,383,490 between January 10 and January 17. France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom had the largest 7-day moving averages for new cases during week 1. During week 2, the 7-day moving average for France and Spain increased. From week 1 to week 2, the speed decreased (37.72 to 33.02 per 100,000), acceleration decreased (0.39 to -0.16 per 100,000), and jerk increased (-1.30 to 1.37 per 100,000). Conclusions: The United Kingdom, Spain, and Portugal, in particular, are at risk for a rapid expansion in COVID-19 transmission. An examination of the European region suggests that there was a decrease in the COVID-19 caseload between January 4 and January 17, 2021. Unfortunately, the rates of jerk, which were negative for Europe at the beginning of the month, reversed course and became positive, despite decreases in speed and acceleration. Finally, the 7-day persistence rate was higher during week 2 than during week 1. These measures indicate that the second wave of the pandemic may be subsiding, but some countries remain at risk for new outbreaks and increased transmission in the absence of rapid policy responses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere25695
JournalJMIR Public Health and Surveillance
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2021


  • Albania
  • Andorra
  • Arellano-Bond estimator
  • Austria
  • Belarus
  • Belgium
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Bulgaria
  • COVID 7-day lag
  • COVID transmission deceleration
  • COVID transmission jerk
  • Croatia
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Dynamic panel data
  • Estonia
  • Europe COVID
  • Europe COVID surveillance system
  • Europe Public Health Surveillance
  • Europe SARS-CoV-2
  • Europe econometrics
  • Europe surveillance metrics
  • European COVID transmission acceleration
  • European COVID transmission speed
  • Finland
  • France
  • GMM
  • Generalized method of the moments
  • Germany
  • Global COVID surveillance
  • Greece
  • Greenland
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Isle of Man
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Moldova
  • Monaco
  • Montenegro
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • SARS-CoV-2 surveillance
  • San Marino
  • Second wave
  • Serbia
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Ukraine
  • United Kingdom
  • Vatican City
  • Wave two

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health Informatics


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