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Decrease in hospital admissions for respiratory diseases during the COVID-19 pandemic: a nationwide claims study
  1. Kyungmin Huh1,
  2. Young-Eun Kim2,
  3. Wonjun Ji3,
  4. Dong Wook Kim2,
  5. Eun-Joo Lee2,
  6. Jong-Hun Kim4,
  7. Ji-Man Kang5,
  8. Jaehun Jung6,7
  1. 1 Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea
  2. 2 Department of Big Data Strategy, National Health Insurance Service, Wonju, Republic of Korea
  3. 3 Department of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea
  4. 4 Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Suwon, Republic of Korea
  5. 5 Department of Pediatrics, Severance Children's Hospital, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea
  6. 6 Artificial Intelligence and Big Data Convergence Center, Gachon University Gil Medical Center, Incheon, Republic of Korea
  7. 7 Department of Preventive Medicine, Gachon University College of Medicine, Incheon, Republic of Korea
  1. Correspondence to Dr Jaehun Jung, Artificial Intelligence and Big Data Convergence Center, Gachon University Gil Medical Center, Incheon, Republic of Korea; eastside1st{at}


Non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) have been widely implemented to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. We assessed the effect of NPIs on hospitalisations for pneumonia, influenza, COPD and asthma. This retrospective, ecological study compared the weekly incidence of hospitalisation for four respiratory conditions before (January 2016–January 2020) and during (February–July 2020) the implementation of NPI against COVID-19. Hospitalisations for all four respiratory conditions decreased substantially during the intervention period. The cumulative incidence of admissions for COPD and asthma was 58% and 48% of the mean incidence during the 4 preceding years, respectively.

  • COVID-19
  • respiratory infection

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  • KH, Y-EK and WJ contributed equally.

  • Contributors KH, WJ and JJ had full access to the study data and take responsibility for the integrity and accuracy of the analysis. Concept and design: KH, JJ. Acquisition, analysis or interpretation of data: KH, WJ, Y-EK, E-JL, DWK. Drafting of the manuscript: KH, JJ, WJ. Critical review of the manuscript: J-HK, J-MK. Statistical analysis: KH, JJ, Y-EK.

  • Funding This study was supported by grants from the Gachon University Gil Medical Center (grant numbers 2018-17 and 2019-11). The sponsor of the study was not involved in study design, analysis and interpretation of data; writing of the report; or the decision to submit the study results for publication.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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