The reduction in the use of neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) during the COVID-19 outbreak has been reported, but whether this phenomenon is widespread across countries is unclear. Using a large-scale inpatient database in Japan, we analysed the intensive neonatal care volume and the number of preterm births for weeks 10–17 vs weeks 2–9 (during and before the outbreak) of 2020 with adjustment for the trends during the same period of 2019. We found statistically significant reductions in the numbers of NICU admissions (adjusted incidence rate ratio (aIRR), 0.76; 95% CI, 0.65 to 0.89) and neonatal resuscitations (aIRR, 0.37; 95% CI, 0.25 to 0.55) during the COVID-19 outbreak. Along with the decrease in the intensive neonatal care volume, preterm births before 34 gestational weeks (aIRR, 0.71) and between 34 0/7 and 36 6/7 gestational weeks (aIRR, 0.85) also showed a significant reduction. Further studies about the mechanism of this phenomenon are warranted.
- health services research
Data availability statement
Data are available on reasonable request. Due to the contractual restrictions between the authors and the Medical Data Vision, the data are available on request.
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Contributors AM had full access to the data in the study and takes responsibility for the accuracy and integrity of the data and its analyses. Study concept and design: all authors. Acquisition, analysis or interpretation of data: All authors. Drafting of the manuscript: All authors. Critical revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content: All authors. Statistical analyses: all authors. Administrative, technical or material support: all authors. Study supervision: AM.
Funding Medical Data Vision (Tokyo, Japan) provided the dataset used in this study in the form of labour service.
Competing interests MN is one of the board of directors in Medical Data Vision and received a personal salary from it outside of this study. HN supported Medical Data Vision in algorithm construction and received personal fee outside this study.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.