Structural risk factors for the epidemic dynamics of COVID-19

There have been great differences in the epidemic dynamics of COVID-19 between the countries across the world but also within the countries of the European Union. The detailed causes of these differences are up to now only poorly understood and their clarification remains a challenging task for future research. Besides differences in the timeline of non-pharmaceutical interventions and their specific realisations it is likely that country specific structural risk factors are as well a major reason for the heterogeneity in the outcomes of the first two years of the COVID-19 epidemic. In this talk we discuss three major structural risk factors in detail : age profile, household structure and workplace structure. We provide strong evidence that about 40-45 % of the differences among European countries in COVID-19 prevalence is explained by differences in household structure. Finally we discuss the impact of structural risk factors for pandemic preparedness and give recommendations on how to adopt them into plans for epidemic control of future infectious diseases.