The cases of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) will increase worldwide in a terrible second wave from the end of 2020. Governments around the world continue to struggle to contain the virus while protecting their economies. One controversial but effective method that is widely used to contain viruses is through strict lockdowns or home orders.
While this strategy has been successful in some Asian and European countries, lockdowns in the US have led policy makers to question the long-term feasibility of this strategy. The effects of lockdowns go beyond economic and political effects, and studies show that staying home arrangements affects the physical and mental health of healthy people. So far, however, there are no comprehensive and quantitative scientific studies on long-term bans.
A precision fitness case study examining the effects of lockdown on people’s daily activities
Researchers from the University of Texas, San Antonio, and UT-Health Sciences, Texas recently attempted to fill this knowledge gap by looking at how the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated orders for residence are change individuals’ daily habits at home. They studied the effects of bans on 61 people in San Antonio, Texas by recording their daily activity and sleep data for 12 months from April to August 2020 with wearable activity trackers. Your study was published on the preprint paper medRxiv *.
The researchers rated changes in six fitness parameters such as walking steps, sedentary minutes, resting heart rate, time you wake up after you start to sleep, total sleep time, and duration of rapid eye movement (REM). They used cluster analysis and time history analysis to identify activity trends before, during, and after home orders. Quantitative measurements of various activities were compared with the participants’ survey responses.
To assess whether home orders or other pandemic-related events were affecting city dwellers’ daily behavior, the team focused on three key parameters. These were: the date the major turning point in daily behavior was noted, the demographic and health profile of people whose behavior has improved or worsened during their time at home, and whether the self-assessment is an effective health measure during that time.
Events Affecting Daily Activity During the COVID19 Pandemic (A) Timeline of key COVID 19 events relevant to subjects in Texas from January 2020 to April 2020. (B) The number of subjects (out of a total of 61 subjects) with statistically significant changes for six days of activity metrics (steps, sedentary time, resting heart rate, total sleep time, REM duration, and awakening duration) on this data. (C) Violin charts showing the probability density of the six activity metrics for subjects before (magenta) and after (gray) the date for which most people had a significant change in the variable.
Turning points corresponded to the start of the pandemic and the reporting of the first case
The results identified four behavioral patterns among individuals while they were at home. They found that during the pandemic-related lockdown periods, compared to their daily activities in 2019 and early 2020, most people experienced a decline in their healthy daily habits. The turning points identified corresponded to crucial data that were relevant for the beginning of the SARS-CoV. 2 pandemic, including reporting the first case in the US on February 29 and citywide home stay orders on March 23.
Pre-existing illnesses such as diabetes and asthma were associated with an above-average decline in sleep quality when ordering at home. Surprisingly, they also identified a group of predominantly male participants who improved their daily fitness while at home.
“An exciting, unexpected conclusion from this work is that there is a subset of people whose health is quantitatively improving – better sleep, more exercise, lower resting heart rate – amid a devastating pandemic and the associated limitations of hospitalization be imposed. House orders. “
Activity patterns identified by cluster analysis Four clusters before / during (left) and during / after (right) home orders were identified. Shifts in cluster membership during these two periods are shown in the middle. The width of the outlines and arrows indicate the relative number of subjects in this group. The clusters are ordered according to the health of the activity trend observed. Representative activity patterns are shown in the inset images for cluster 2, which included subjects with the worst health trends on home orders (left inset), and in cluster 2B, which included subjects with the healthiest post-home activity, orders were canceled (right inset ). Select demographics and health data for all clusters. Refer to Appendices B, D, E and F.
Fitness decreased in most people and improved in some people while at home
According to the results of the study, the objective measurements of daily activity showed that most people’s fitness suffered at the beginning of the stay-at-home orders, but slowly returned to baseline over time. Fitness levels quantitatively improved for a subset of people in terms of more exercise, better sleep, and lower resting heart rate while staying at home.
Quantitative vs. Qualitative Measurements of Daily Activity The recorded activity levels of the subjects (y-axis) compared to the responses of the same subjects (x-axis) to three survey questions (title).
The authors believe that these results have the potential to guide policy making by highlighting how pandemic-related home stays quantitatively affect a population’s daily health. The authors believe that further work in the future will help understand in detail the harm control methods that are most effective in fighting a pandemic while maintaining optimal health.
“The benefits of this study include a data-rich, 16-month quantitative analysis of daily activity before and during the pandemic.”
* Important NOTE
medRxiv publishes preliminary scientific reports that are not peer-reviewed and, therefore, should not be considered conclusive, guide clinical practice / health-related behavior, or be treated as established information.