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, , Avi Benov, Chanan Shaul, Uri Neuman, Dana Karol, Reut Schvartz,
Published: 15 September 2021
American Journal of Otolaryngology; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amjoto.2021.103230

Abstract:
Tracheostomy is an aerosol-generating procedure, thus performing it during the COVID-19 pandemic arises considerations such as the most appropriate timing and the patients to whom it is suitable. Medical teams lack sufficient data to assist determining whether or not to conduct tracheostomy, its short- and long-term implications are not fully understood. This study aims to shed light on the critically ill COVID-19 patients that require tracheostomy, and to investigate its value.
Published: 15 September 2021
by MDPI
Abstract:
Data on the effectiveness and safety of approved SARS-CoV-2 vaccines in cancer patients are limited. This observational, prospective cohort study investigated the humoral immune response to SARS-CoV-2 vaccination in 232 cancer patients from 12 HeCOG-affiliated oncology departments compared to 100 healthcare volunteers without known active cancer. The seropositivity rate was measured 2–4 weeks after two vaccine doses, by evaluating neutralising antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein using a commercially available immunoassay. Seropositivity was defined as ≥33.8 Binding-Antibody-Units (BAU)/mL. A total of 189 patients and 99 controls were eligible for this analysis. Among patients, 171 (90.5%) were seropositive after two vaccine doses, compared to 98% of controls (p = 0.015). Most seronegative patients were males (66.7%), >70-years-old (55.5%), with comorbidities (61.1%), and on active treatment (88.9%). The median antibody titers among patients were significantly lower than those of the controls (523 vs. 2050 BAU/mL; p< 0.001). The rate of protective titers was 54.5% in patients vs. 97% in controls (p< 0.001). Seropositivity rates and IgG titers in controls did not differ for any studied factor. In cancer patients, higher antibody titers were observed in never-smokers (p = 0.006), women (p = 0.022), <50-year-olds (p = 0.004), PS 0 (p = 0.029), and in breast or ovarian vs. other cancers. Adverse events were comparable to registration trials. In this cohort study, although the seropositivity rate after two vaccine doses in cancer patients seemed satisfactory, their antibody titers were significantly lower than in controls. Monitoring of responses and further elucidation of the clinical factors that affect immunity could guide adaptations of vaccine strategies for vulnerable subgroups.
, Simon Haunhorst, Wilhelm Bloch
Published: 15 September 2021
Sports Orthopaedics and Traumatology; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.orthtr.2021.08.006

Abstract:
Das schwere akute respiratorische Syndrom Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) ist der Erreger der pandemischen Erkrankung COVID-19, für die nach mehr als einem Jahr erkennbar ist, dass nach einer überstandenen akuten Erkrankung andauernde Symptome existieren können. Als post-akutes COVID-19 werden das Anhalten klinischer Symptome und/oder das Auftreten langfristiger Komplikationen über 4 Wochen nach der akut symptomatischen Krankheitsphase hinaus definiert. Aussagen über die Prävalenz sind vorläufig und abhängig vom Betrachtungszeitraum und untersuchter Bevölkerungsgruppe. In der Allgemeinbevölkerung wird das Auftreten derzeit mit einem Anteil von 15-30% der Infizierten angegeben. Die angegebenen Symptome lassen sich einer Vielzahl von Organsystemen zuordnen und weisen, was Anzahl, Dauer und Schweregrad anbelangt, teilweise große, interindividuelle Unterschiede auf. Die Ursachen für die subakute und chronische Manifestation der Symptome sind noch ungeklärt und verschiedene Mechanismen, wie funktionelle Einschränkungen multipler Organsysteme durch Gewebeschädigung sowie eine postivirale Autoimmunität werden diskutiert. Cluster aus möglichen individuellen Risikofaktoren, wie Alter und Geschlecht, kombiniert mit den Symptomen in der Akutphase zeigen sich am vielversprechendsten, um die Entwicklung von post-akutem COVID-19 zu prognostizieren. Ziel des Scoping Reviews ist es, andauernde Symptome und mögliche Ursachen für post-akutes COVID-19 (”long-COVID“) zusammenzufassen und wesentliche Aspekte für ein post-akutes COVID-19-Management zur Wiedererlangung der körperlichen Leistungsfähigkeit evidenzbasiert einzuordnen.
Published: 15 September 2021
by MDPI
Atmosphere, Volume 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos12091190

Abstract:
The coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) has impacted the usual global movement patterns, atmospheric pollutants, and climatic parameters. The current study sought to assess the impact of the COVID-19 lockdown on urban mobility, atmospheric pollutants, and Pakistan’s climate. For the air pollution assessment, total column ozone (O3), sulphur dioxide (SO2), and tropospheric column nitrogen dioxide (NO2) data from the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI), aerosol optical depth (AOD) data from the Multi-angle Imaging Spectroradiometer (MISR), and dust column mass density (PM2.5) data from the MERRA-2 satellite were used. Furthermore, these datasets are linked to climatic parameters (temperature, precipitation, wind speed). The Kruskal–Wallis H test (KWt) is used to compare medians among k groups (k > 2), and the Wilcoxon signed-rank sum test (WRST) is for analyzing the differences between the medians of two datasets. To make the analysis more effective, and to justify that the variations in air quality parameters are due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a Generalized Linear Model (GLM) was used. The findings revealed that the limitations on human mobility have lowered emissions, which has improved the air quality in Pakistan. The results of the study showed that the climatic parameters (precipitation, Tmax, Tmin, and Tmean) have a positive correlation and wind speed has a negative correlation with NO2 and AOD. This study found a significant decrease in air pollutants (NO2, SO2, O3, AOD) of 30–40% in Pakistan during the strict lockdown period. In this duration, the highest drop of about 28% in NO2 concentrations has been found in Karachi. Total column O3 did not show any reduction during the strict lockdown, but a minor decline was depicted as 0.38% in Lahore and 0.55% in Islamabad during the loosening lockdown. During strict lockdown, AOD was reduced up to 23% in Islamabad and 14.46% in Lahore. The results of KWt and WRST evident that all the mobility indices are significant (p< 0.05) in nature. The GLM justified that restraining human activities during the lockdown has decreased anthropogenic emissions and, as a result, improved air quality, particularly in metropolitan areas.
Published: 15 September 2021
by MDPI
Viruses, Volume 13; https://doi.org/10.3390/v13091839

Abstract:
Type I Interferons (IFN-I) are a family of potent antiviral cytokines that act through the direct restriction of viral replication and by enhancing antiviral immunity. However, these powerful cytokines are a caged lion, as excessive and sustained IFN-I production can drive immunopathology during infection, and aberrant IFN-I production is a feature of several types of autoimmunity. As specialized producers of IFN-I plasmacytoid (p), dendritic cells (DCs) can secrete superb quantities and a wide breadth of IFN-I isoforms immediately after infection or stimulation, and are the focus of this review. Notably, a few days after viral infection pDCs tune down their capacity for IFN-I production, producing less cytokines in response to both the ongoing infection and unrelated secondary stimulations. This process, hereby referred to as “pDC exhaustion”, favors viral persistence and associates with reduced innate responses and increased susceptibility to secondary opportunistic infections. On the other hand, pDC exhaustion may be a compromise to avoid IFN-I driven immunopathology. In this review we reflect on the mechanisms that initially induce IFN-I and subsequently silence their production by pDCs during a viral infection. While these processes have been long studied across numerous viral infection models, the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has brought their discussion back to the fore, and so we also discuss emerging results related to pDC-IFN-I production in the context of COVID-19.
, Iztiba M. Deeba, Mahmudul Hasan, Katharina E. Kariippanon, Kar Hau Chong, Penny L. Cross, Shameema Ferdous, Anthony D. Okely
Published: 15 September 2021
Pilot and Feasibility Studies, Volume 7, pp 1-9; https://doi.org/10.1186/s40814-021-00912-1

Abstract:
Background The World Health Organization (WHO) released guidelines for physical activity, sedentary behavior, and sleep for children under 5 years of age in 2019. In response to these guidelines, this pilot study aimed to (i) determine the proportion of preschool children (ages 3-4 years) who met the WHO guidelines; (ii) examine the feasibility of the proposed protocol for the SUNRISE study; and (iii) assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on movement behaviors of preschool children in Bangladesh. Methods Time spent in physical activity, sedentary behavior and sleep were objectively measured using two types of accelerometers (ActiGraph wGT3x-BT and ActivPAL4). Screen time and sleep quality were assessed via parent questionnaire. Fine and gross motor skills were measured using the Ages and Stages Questionnaire (3rd edition). Three executive functions were assessed using the Early Years Toolbox. Focus groups were conducted with parents and childcare staff to determine the feasibility of the protocol. Follow-up data during COVID-19 pandemic was collected from parents over phone. Results Data from 63 preschool-aged children and their parents was analyzed in this pilot study. Only three children (4.7%) met all components of the WHO guidelines. Separately, children meeting physical activity, sedentary screen time and sleep guidelines were 71.9%, 17.5%, and 59.7% respectively. The proportion of all children who were developmentally on-track for the gross and fine motor skills was 58.7% and 50.8%, respectively. Parents and educators reported that the protocol was feasible except for the activPAL-4 accelerometer. Approximately, 39% of children (14 out of 37) who wore this device developed itchy skin and rashes resulting in the suspension of using this device mid-way through data collection. During COVID-19, there was a significant decrease in children’s total physical activity (− 193 min/day), and time spent outside on weekdays (− 75 min/day) and weekend days (− 131 min/day) and a significant increase in sedentary screen time (+85 min/day). Conclusion Only a low proportion of children met the WHO guidelines. Methods and devices (except ActivPAL4) used in this pilot study proved to be feasible and this has paved the way to conduct the main SUNRISE study in Bangladesh. Future measures should be taken to address the issue of movement behaviors of children during the time of pandemics like COVID-19.
Mohamed Farouk Sayed Othman Abdelkader, , Mahmoud Mamdouh Nassar, Mostafa A. Abu Elela,
Journal of Ophthalmic Inflammation and Infection, Volume 11, pp 1-6; https://doi.org/10.1186/s12348-021-00258-y

Abstract:
Purpose To document the presentation of unilateral combined endophthalmitis and orbital cellulitis in patients with COVID-19 infection and study their prognosis. Patients and methods This interventional case series study included 9 patients referred to the Ophthalmology Department, Minia University Hospital with unilateral combined endophthalmitis and orbital cellulitis between April 2020 and March 2021. In addition to the COVID-19 work-up, all patients were subjected to full ophthalmological evaluation and managed according to their ophthalmic and systemic disease. Results The patients were 5 females and 4 males. They had clinical, laboratory and imaging findings that confirmed COVID-19 infection. All patients had unilateral endophthalmitis with orbital cellulitis and profound visual loss in the affected eye. Three patients died due to respiratory failure, while 6 patients recovered systemically. The survived patients developed atrophia bulbi in 4 patients and in 2 patients, the globe retained normal size but with complete visual loss. Conclusion Combined endophthalmitis and orbital cellulitis can be one of the early presentations of patients with COVID-19 infection with poor visual prognosis. Trial registration Clinical registration: clinicaltrials.gov identifier: NCT04456556.
Mohammed Mekawy, Mostafa A. Gabr
Published: 15 September 2021
Open House International; https://doi.org/10.1108/ohi-02-2021-0029

Abstract:
Purpose This research presents a multi-objective optimization approach to integrate spatial planning measures in open-plan office environments in order to lower the risk of a workplace contagion. These measures were gathered, formalized, parameterized, and coded and integrated into a digital tool. Design/methodology/approach To demonstrate the research's approach, a simple design problem was designed, explored, and the results were evaluated. The researchers assumed an empty open office space, with the windows and doors (as exits and/or as access to amenities) already in place (Figure 1). The aim is to optimize the space planning, with the following objectives in mind: maximize the number of employees in a floor while maintaining physical distancing recommendations for avoiding infections; no face-to-face or back-to-back seating positions are allowed; maximize physical access to windows for natural ventilation; minimizing areas with potential “congestions” in the space, i.e. areas susceptible to overlapping foot traffic from numerous employees, which increases the potential for close encounters and minimizing the travel distance from the employee's desk to all neighbouring desks, hence reducing the foot traffic in the space. In the experiment, the following was assumed: the workspace layout is rectangular, the workstation desks are rectangular, the seating area, windows, and access to exits and amenities are well-defined. Findings It was found that configurations with desks parallel to the longer side of the space provided more employee capacity; however, they usually performed poorer in terms of the buzz score. On the other hand, configurations with desks perpendicular to the longer side of the space had, on average, better buzz scores, usually at the cost of the reduction of the number of potential employees. There was however one alternative in the latter set of configurations, which achieved above-average buzz and adjacency scores, and the potential to accommodate 56 employees, one of the highest capacities for employees in the solution space (the highest being 60). Designers could explore the design space further to make sure it complies with these basic spatial rules for mitigating the spread of infections, while experimenting with the workspace layout. Research limitations/implications It is important to note that in order for a designer to handle any given design problem even with the aid of a computer system, it is important to provide a set of initial conditions and assumptions and a set of variables. In the universe of all possible variables, the designer can pick a number of variations of the initial conditions and run parallel experiments to compare their outcomes. In the experiment demonstrated here the following was assumed. The workspace layout is rectangular with predefined entrances/exits. Free flow of employees is allowed. No pre-set one-way paths. The workstation desks are rectangular. The seating area windows and access to amenities are well-defined. Originality/value This research presented a digital optimization approach to enhance the spatial planning process in open-plan office spaces, with the aim of mitigating the risks of infectious diseases' transmission. Spatial design considerations were gathered from literature and formalized as design objectives and constraints, then further parameterized and represented as numerical values and scores for objective evaluation. The design parameters, constraints and calculations to derive the scores for the designated design objectives were coded into a digital tool that can receive a building information model (BIM) model of an office space and provide preliminary furniture plans using a multi-objective optimization (MOO) approach. It is obvious that the furniture layouts that can be considered “acceptable”, based on this approach, are not considered “ready-to-implement” solutions, because designers need to integrate a multitude of other design factors in their design. This approach can still, however, be useful to help the designer integrate spatial considerations for slowing down a contagion.
Published: 15 September 2021
by MDPI
Sustainability, Volume 13; https://doi.org/10.3390/su131810296

Abstract:
The main idea of this investigation is to identify a series of challenges and opportunities presented by telecommuting within the school system as a result of the SARS-Cov-2 pandemic. The objective of the paper is to identify key elements which are able to provide concrete assistance in building a sustainable online education system, with particular reference to Romania, as a system that can be used beyond the timeframe of the current pandemic. The methodology used for our scientific investigation is quantitative, based on an eight-item data collection instrument/questionnaire with 459 respondents (bachelor, masters, doctoral, and postdoctoral students—which makes this research a study from the perspective of the students’ perceptions) with ages ranging from 18 to 53. In terms of results, the eight items were evaluated on a Likert Scale from 1 to 5, leading to the formulation of seven hypotheses (H1 to H6), of which six were accepted and one was rejected (H7) (the questionnaire has a margin error/confidence interval of ±4.5% and a confidence level of P = 95%). We concluded from the six validated hypotheses, coupled with the one which was invalidated, that telecommuting to online education was not only successful but also garnered a system characterized by sustainability. Despite the swiftness of telecommuting to online education and the perceptions of the student population, online learning can be efficient and sustainable, in which case further government policies can only improve a system that has already been proven to work.
Published: 15 September 2021
by MDPI
Abstract:
Coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) is caused by an enveloped, positive-sense, single-stranded RNA virus, referred to as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), which belongs to the realm Riboviria, order Nidovirales, family Coronaviridae, genus Betacoronavirus and the species Severe acute respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus. This viral disease is characterized by a myriad of varying symptoms, such as pyrexia, cough, hemoptysis, dyspnoea, diarrhea, muscle soreness, dysosmia, lymphopenia and dysgeusia amongst others. The virus mainly infects humans, various other mammals, avian species and some other companion livestock. SARS-CoV-2 cellular entry is primarily accomplished by molecular interaction between the virus’s spike (S) protein and the host cell surface receptor, angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), although other host cell-associated receptors/factors, such as neuropilin 1 (NRP-1) and neuropilin 2 (NRP-2), C-type lectin receptors (CLRs), as well as proteases such as TMPRSS2 (transmembrane serine protease 2) and furin, might also play a crucial role in infection, tropism and pathogenesis and clinical outcome. Furthermore, several structural and non-structural proteins of the virus themselves are very critical in determining the clinical outcome following infection. Considering such critical role(s) of the abovementioned host cell receptors, associated proteases/factors and virus structural/non-structural proteins (NSPs), it may be quite prudent to therapeutically target them through a multipronged clinical regimen to combat the disease.
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, Volume 18; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18189712

Abstract:
The experimental monitoring of carbon dioxide concentration was carried out in kindergartens in Slovenia, together with indoor air temperature and relative humidity, before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. The aim of the research was to estimate the practical impact of the pandemic on indoor air quality and thermal comfort. The case study sample included buildings with different architectural typology, which are predominantly present in the building stock of Slovenia. The monitoring process lasted for 125 days before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. The results have shown a better indoor air quality in kindergartens during the pandemic, mostly due to ventilation protocols and almost imperceptibly changed indoor air temperature. The COVID-19 pandemic affected air quality in kindergarten classrooms in Slovenia by reducing the average carbon dioxide concentration when children were present in classrooms by 30%.
Kalyanaraman Venugopal, Dvijesh Shastri, Suryanarayanan Radhakrishnan, Ramanan Krishnamoorti
Day 3 Thu, September 23, 2021; https://doi.org/10.2118/205921-ms

Abstract:
The upstream oil and gas industry's digital transformation over the last few years has accelerated because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Data analytics and machine learning are key components of this digital transformation and have become essential skills for experienced petrotechnical professionals (PTPs) and aspiring entrants into the field. The objective of our work was to design and deliver a practical, engaging, and online microcredential certification program in upstream energy data analytics for PTPs. The program was conceived as a collaboration between academia (University of Houston's UH Energy) and industry (NExT, a Schlumberger company). It was designed as three belt levels (Bronze, Silver, and Gold), each containing three stackable badges of 12 to 15 hours duration per badge. Key design points included Identifying an online platform for administration Delivering convenient, interactive, live online sessions Delivering hybrid classes blending lectures and hands-on laboratories Designing laboratories using upstream datasets across various stages of oilfield expertise Administering test and quizzes, Kaggle competitions, and team projects. The program contents were designed incorporating appropriate instructional design practices for effective online class delivery. The design and delivery of the laboratories using a code-free approach by leveraging visual programming offers PTPs and new entrants a unique opportunity to learn data analytics concepts without the traditional concern of learning to code. Additionally, the collaboration between academia and industry enables delivering a program that combines academic rigor with application of the skills and knowledge to solve problems facing the industry using the real-world datasets. As a pilot program, all three badges of the Bronze belt were scheduled and successfully delivered during July and August 2020, as six 2-hour sessions per badge. From a total of 26 students registered in badge 1, 24 completed it, resulting in a completion rate of 92%. Out of these students, 19 registered and completed badge 2 and badge 3, resulting in the completion rates of 100%. Based on the success of the pilot program, a second delivery of the Bronze belt with 18 participants was offered from October 2020 through January 2021. All 18 participants completed all three badges. Feedback from participants attests to the success of the pilot program as seen in the following excerpts: "A very good course and instructors. I have already recommended the course to a friend and I will continue to be an advocate for the course." "Teachers are very receptive to questions and it is a joy to hear their lectures." "I found the University of Houston course to be both highly engaging and incredibly informative. The course teaches basic principles of data science without being bogged down by the specific coding language."
, M. Ali
Bulletin of Science and Practice, Volume 7, pp 136-143; https://doi.org/10.33619/2414-2948/70/15

Abstract:
The review highlights animal coronaviruses, their pathogenicity, and the possible role of domestic and agricultural animals in the further spread of the COVID-19. Joint researches have been established amongst international team of scientists regarding a close phylogenetic relationship of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 with the coronaviruses of bats and carnivores, especially with the representatives of Felidae family (domestic cats). However, the case of Middle Eastern SARS transmitted by camels is required a special attention to biological safety measures in farms.
, Viviana Cristillo, Stefano Cotti Piccinelli, Nicola Zoppi, Giulio Bonzi, Davide Sattin, Silvia Schiavolin, Alberto Raggi, Antonio Canale, Stefano Gipponi, et al.
Published: 15 September 2021
Neurological Sciences pp 1-5; https://doi.org/10.1007/s10072-021-05586-4

Abstract:
Background Clinical investigations have argued for long-term neurological manifestations in both hospitalised and non-hospitalised COVID-19 patients. It is unclear whether long-term neurological symptoms and features depend on COVID-19 severity. Methods From a sample of 208 consecutive non-neurological patients hospitalised for COVID-19 disease, 165 survivors were re-assessed at 6 months according to a structured standardised clinical protocol. Prevalence and predictors of long-term neurological manifestations were evaluated using multivariate logistic regression analyses. Results At 6-month follow-up after hospitalisation due to COVID-19 disease, patients displayed a wide array of symptoms; fatigue (34%), memory/attention (31%) and sleep disorders (30%) were the most frequent. At neurological examination, 40% of patients exhibited neurological abnormalities, such as hyposmia (18.0%), cognitive deficits (17.5%), postural tremor (13.8%) and subtle motor/sensory deficits (7.6%). Older age, premorbid comorbidities and severity of COVID-19 were independent predictors of neurological manifestations in logistic regression analyses. Conclusions Premorbid vulnerability and severity of SARS-CoV-2 infection impact on prevalence and severity of long-term neurological manifestations.
Sushma Verma, Mohammad Abbas, Shrikant Verma, Almas Khan, Aliya Abbas Rizvi, Farzana Mahdi
Journal of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, Volume 11, pp 147-151; https://doi.org/10.5799/jmid.993892

Published: 15 September 2021
by MDPI
Abstract:
Introduction: Vaccine inequality inflames the COVID-19 pandemic. Ensuring equitable immunization, vaccine empathy is needed to boost vaccine donations among capable countries. However, damaging narratives built around vaccine donations such as “vaccine diplomacy” could undermine nations’ willingness to donate their vaccines, which, in turn, further exacerbate global vaccine inequality. However, while discussions on vaccine diplomacy are on the rise, there is limited research related to vaccine diplomacy, especially in terms of its characteristics and effects on vaccine distribution vis-à-vis vaccine empathy. Thus, to bridge the research gap, this study aims to examine the defining attributes of vaccine diplomacy and its potential effects on COVID-19 immunization, particularly in light of vaccine empathy. Methods: A narrative review was conducted to shed light on vaccine diplomacy’s defining attributes and effects in the context of COVID-19 vaccine distribution and dissemination. Databases such as PubMed and Medline were utilized for literature search. Additionally, to ensure up-to-date insights are included in the review, validated reports and reverse tracing of eligible articles’ reference lists in Google Scholar have also been conducted to locate relevant records. Results: Vaccine empathy is an individual or a nation’s capability to sympathize with other individuals or nations’ vaccine wants and needs, whereas vaccine diplomacy is a nation’s vaccine efforts that aim to build mutually beneficial relationships with other nations ultimately. Our findings show that while both vaccine empathy and vaccine diplomacy have their strengths and weaknesses, they all have great potential to improve vaccine equality, particularly amid fast-developing and ever-evolving global health crises such as COVID-19. Furthermore, analyses show that, compared to vaccine empathy, vaccine diplomacy might be a more sustainable solution to improve vaccine donations mainly because of its deeper and stronger roots in multilateral collaboration and cooperation. Conclusion: Similar to penicillin, automated external defibrillators, or safety belts amid a roaring global health disaster, COVID-19 vaccines are, essentially, life-saving consumer health products that should be available to those who need them. Though man-made and complicated, vaccine inequality is nonetheless a solvable issue—gaps in vaccine distribution and dissemination can be effectively addressed by timely vaccine donations. Overall, our study underscores the instrumental and indispensable role of vaccine diplomacy in addressing the vaccine inequality issue amid the COVID-19 pandemic and its potentials for making even greater contributions in forging global solidarity amid international health emergencies. Future research could investigate approaches that could further inspire and improve vaccine donations among capable nations at a global scale to advance vaccine equity further.
Vikramjeet Singh, Jyotsna Agarwal, Jaya Garg, Mohammad Saquib, Anupam DAS, Manodeep Sen
Journal of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, Volume 11, pp 132-139; https://doi.org/10.5799/jmid.993878

Tim Gore, Mira Alestig, Sabita Banerji, Giorgia Ceccarelli
The Workers Behind Sweden's Italian Wine: An illustrative Human Rights Impact Assessment of Systembolaget's Italian wine supply chains; https://doi.org/10.21201/2021.7703

Abstract:
This paper reports on an illustrative human rights impact assessment (HRIA) of the Italian wine supply chains of Systembolaget, the Swedish monopoly alcohol retailer. The HRIA aimed to evaluate the actual and potential human rights impacts at the production stage of the value chain in Italy, to identify their root causes, and to provide recommendations to relevant stakeholders concerning their prevention, mitigation and/or remediation. The assessment took just over a year and consisted of five phases of analysis using a methodology aligned with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs). However, the onset of Italy’s severe first wave of coronavirus in 2020 meant that the assessment team was unable to conduct the field study phase with the full rigour required of an HRIA. The field phase started in September 2019, with an initial assessment phase based on a literature review and a round of stakeholder interviews from September 2019 to March 2020. Further, limited, worker interviews were conducted from October 2020 to January 2021. The result is an illustration of the human rights risks that are present in the areas of Italy from which Systembolaget sources its wine.
, Yam B. Limbu, Xing Fang
Journal of Research in Interactive Marketing; https://doi.org/10.1108/jrim-03-2021-0065

Abstract:
Purpose The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic unprecedentedly shocks the market. Little is known about the impact of COVID-19 on brand engagement across country-of-origin (COO) and country-of-market (COM). To address the gap, this study examines how the spread of the COVID-19 affects consumer brand engagement on social media for global brands through the mechanisms of the COO and consumer animosity. Design/methodology/approach The authors collect consumer engagement activity data from Facebook for eight global smartphone brands and match it with the COVID-19 statistics. Ordinary least square (OLS) models are used to estimate the impact on global brands brought by the spread of the COVID-19. Findings The results show that consumer brand engagement decreases for all brands in a COM as the number of confirmed COVID-19 new cases increases in the COM. Consumer brand engagement decreases for a brand across all COM as the number of confirmed COVID-19 new cases increases in the brand’s COO. If a brand’s COO is imputed for the pandemic, its consumer brand engagement will receive additional negative impacts across all COM. Originality/value This study enriches the COO literature by showing how the spread of a pandemic affects consumer brand engagement via COO and discovers the moderating role of consumer animosity.
Published: 15 September 2021
Progress in Pediatric Cardiology; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ppedcard.2021.101436

Abstract:
We present the case of a 3-month-old male infant patient who initially presented with severe dehydration with acute kidney injury secondary to COVID-19. Regarding the individual's previous history, the patient had congenital heart disease and was taking furosemide and captopril. The patient improved after initial hydration therapy. However, on the fourth day of hospitalization, the patient suddenly deteriorated and was found to have MIS-C. The patient's clinical course progressively worsened despite maximum support, and he died from severe MIS-C. We conclude that during the COVID-19 period, MIS-C is a serious health problem that should be considered in the differential diagnosis of patients with acute kidney injury.
Oleksandr D. Dovhan, Oleksandr M. Yurchenko, Juliana O. Naidon, Oleg S. Peliukh, Nataliia I. Tkachuk, Kamal Gulati
Published: 15 September 2021
World Journal of Engineering; https://doi.org/10.1108/wje-06-2021-0358

Abstract:
Purpose The purpose of this study is to develop the Counterintelligence Strategy as a conceptual document in the field of state security of Ukraine, identifying current security threats to Ukraine, which global landscape has been significantly transformed since the adoption of the Law of Ukraine “On Counterintelligence”, is substantiated. It is proved that the provisions of such Strategy should determine the current and projected counterintelligence environment via a set of the following elements. The nature of real and potential threats in the process of implementing state foreign and domestic policy course determined by Ukraine. Sources of such threats (individual states and their intelligence agencies, terrorist organizations, transnational organized crime, etc.). Features of the identified encroachment objects of foreign intelligence agencies, terrorist and other criminal organizations, including transnational ones. Long time strategy treats like COVID-19 pandemic. Design/methodology/approach During the past decades of the XXI century, intelligence has become a crucial tool in the system of determining and implementing the foreign policy in international relations. Modern realities confirm that this political and legal phenomenon directly affects the formation of the foreign policy course of any state, the development of its geopolitical strategy and defense doctrine. Possessing a powerful apparatus for obtaining primary information, fulfillment of government orders for monitoring, evaluation, analysis, forecasting and modeling of possible scenarios of global- or regional-scale events and processes, special services take an active part in perspective and current foreign and domestic policy implementation. Findings Thus, based on the state security paradigm, which cannot be defined in the absence of threats and ensured by their complete elimination, since negative factors for state security objects will always exist, the ensuring of its development requires first of all creation of the conditions under which threats will not be able to limit its development. That is why it is necessary not only to minimize the impact of such factors on vulnerable objects, but also to create a certain “immunity” to their impact, i.e. the ability of the state security system to function effectively in spite of the negative impact. Thus, maintaining the ability to function in terms of the existing threats is the most important area of practical activity for the state security protection, as well as ensuring the legitimate interests of the state. Originality/value During the paper decades of the XXI century, intelligence has become a crucial tool in the system of determining and implementing the foreign policy in international relations. Modern realities confirm that this political and legal phenomenon directly affects the formation of the foreign policy course of any state, the development of its geopolitical strategy and defense doctrine. Possessing a powerful apparatus for obtaining primary information, fulfillment of government orders for monitoring, evaluation, analysis, forecasting and modeling of possible scenarios of global- or regional-scale events and processes, special services take an active part in perspective and current foreign and domestic policy implementation.
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, Volume 18; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18189736

Abstract:
Lockdown measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) resulted in the plummeting of China’s overall electric-power demand and production. To date, power generation remains one of the largest carbon dioxide (CO2) emitting sectors of China on account of its high carbon intensity. Within this context, our study seeks to measure the impacts of COVID-19 lockdown on the electricity-power related carbon footprints on both generation and consumption sides. Built on statistical data of electricity generation and consumption released by the National Bureau of Statistics of China (NBSC), we calculate he nationwide electricity related CO2 emission changes in regional, economic-sectoral and technological dimensions during January–April 2020, when the strictest lock-down measures were taken in China and compare the results with the same months of the year prior. Our results show that both east and central China power grids witnessed drastic reduction (15.0% and 13.8%) in electricity-generation caused CO2 emissions; and the biggest falls of provincial-scale electricity-generation CO2 emission took place in Hubei (27.3%). Among China’s electricity production mix, coal remains the biggest CO2 emitter and contributed 95.7% of the overall nationwide reduction. The most significant decline of the nationwide consumptive-electricity carbon footprint was by 10.1% in February, with the secondary economic sector the biggest contributor.
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, Volume 18; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18189737

Abstract:
The COVID-19 pandemic has produced a major disruption for professional football leagues that has affected the physical preparation of both football players and referees. In Spain, health authorities decreed home confinement for eight weeks, supressing the normal training routines of professional referees. After home confinement, referees had four weeks to retrain as the national football league was set to resume matches to complete the 11 games remaining. The aim of the present investigation was to assess changes in eccentric hamstring muscle strength during football competition suspension/resumption due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 21 professional football referees (mean ± SD, age: 33.4 ± 5.1 years; height: 182.4 ± 5.0 cm; body mass: 75.1 ± 4.4 kg). Eccentric hamstring muscle strength was measured with the Nordic hamstring exercise at four time points. During home confinement, referees presented the lowest value of bilateral eccentric muscle strength (300 ± 14 N). Eccentric muscle strength increased by 13.2 ± 3.7% one week after the end of home confinement (339 ± 16 N; p = 0.001, effect size (ES) = 2.8) and remained stable before the first match (343 ± 17 N; p = 0.001, ES = 3.1) and after the end of the national league (328 ± 13 N; p = 0.001, ES = 2.0). In summary, home confinement produced detraining effects in professional football referees associated with hamstring muscle weakness. In this regard, strength-based activities with body loads may be insufficient to avoid muscle weakness and other means (e.g., weights) may be necessary to maintain muscle strength. However, the 4-weeks retraining period was sufficient to resolve hamstring muscle weakness induced by the restrictions of home confinement. This information may be helpful in the case of future sport competition suspension or home quarantine due to new waves of COVID-19 pandemic.
Published: 15 September 2021
by MDPI
Brain Sciences, Volume 11; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11091219

Abstract:
(1) Background: The COVID-19 pandemic impacts healthcare utilization across all care settings and health conditions. The objective of this study was to determine changes in hospital admissions for neurodegenerative diseases (NDD) during the first COVID-19 wave in Germany; (2) Methods: This cross-sectional study used nationwide administrative claims data covering 1468 hospitals. The primary outcome was the year-to-year relative change in case numbers during a four-month study period (16 January–15 May 2020 vs. 2019) during the first pandemic wave. Secondary outcomes included year-to-year relative changes during a four-week peak phase (16 March–15 April) and changes between differential phases of the wave. The analyzed NDD comprised progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), multiple system atrophy (MSA), Parkinson’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and Huntington’s disease; (3) Results: Hospital admissions for any reason decreased by 16.7% in 2020 during the study period and by 36.6% during the peak phase, whereas admissions for NDD decreased by 27.6% and 65.0%, respectively. PSP cases decreased during the study period (−34.7%) and the peak phase (−68.1%) and stayed reduced in a late phase with falling COVID-19 numbers. MSA and ALS cases increased strongest after the peak, with ALS cases being comparatively weakly reduced during the study period (−17.3%) and peak phase (−51.7%); (4) Conclusions: Inpatient care utilization for NDD changed differentially during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in Germany and showed a greater reduction than overall and general neurological admissions. Mitigating long-term health deterioration of this vulnerable subgroup is important to reduce morbidity and mortality in the future.
Published: 15 September 2021
by MDPI
Journal of Personalized Medicine, Volume 11; https://doi.org/10.3390/jpm11090918

Abstract:
There have been numerous concerns regarding the physical and mental health of nurses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Stress, sleep deprivation, anxiety, and depression potentiated nurses’ vulnerability to poor eating habits. Aims and Objectives: The purpose of this study was to explore the differences between nurses’ characteristics with COVID-19 facility designation, and sleep quality, depression, anxiety, stress, eating habits, social bonds, and quality of life. Design: A cross-sectional, comparative study. Methods: An online survey was sent using the corporation’s email to nurses working in three hospitals in Qatar from September to December 2020. One of them is a designated COVID-19 facility. The sleep quality, depression, eating habits, social bonds, and quality of life were measured using The Insomnia Severity Index (ISI), Depression Anxiety and Stress Scale 21 (DASS-21), Emotional Eater Questionnaire (EEQ), Oslo Social Support Scale (OSSS-3), and the World Health Organization Quality of Life (WHOQOL-BREF), respectively. Results: A total of 200 nurses participated in the study (RR: 13.3%). No statistically significant association was found between designated facility (COVID-19 vs. not COVID-19) or nurses’ characteristics and ISI categories (OR 1.15; 95% CI 0.54, 2.44). Nurses working in COVID-19 facilities had increased odds of having higher EEQ categories by 2.62 times (95% CI 1.18, 5.83). Similarly, no statistically significant associations were found between any of the nurses’ characteristics and OSSS-3 categories. On the other hand, no statistically significant associations were found between any of the nurses’ characteristics and QOL domains except for the gender and social relationships’ domain. Conclusion: Overall, the quality of life of nurses in Qatar is on a positive level whether they are assigned to a COVID-19 facility or not. Although no significant difference was found with regard to the sleep quality, stress, anxiety, depression, and eating habits between nurses in a COVID-19 facility and in a non-COVID-19 facility, special interventions to diminish stressors need to be implemented and maintained.
Salman Khan, Leah Boyd, Ferdinand Velez
Day 3 Thu, September 23, 2021; https://doi.org/10.2118/205973-ms

Abstract:
While companies employ a variety of tactics to reduce workplace incidents, behavioral-based programs have proven highly effective—particularly because such programs ensure that safety becomes a collective responsibility shared by all employees. However, training managers and their employees on the fundamentals of behavior-based programs such as the Siemens Energy Human Performance (HuP) program has proven challenging during the global COVID-19 pandemic. Training that traditionally was done in person, where people could interact and discuss root causes of accidents in the same room, had to be replaced with virtual training sessions. This paper reviews the key facets of the HuP program, which includes safety training, raising awareness of employees’ susceptibility to human error, and how to design management systems as well as to promote behaviors to prevent safety incidents. It also reviews common practices in the program—including Stop Work authority, Safety Walk & Talks, daily toolboxes, and rapid risk assessment—and how they are being consolidated into one virtual training curriculum. People bring their own personal mix of skills, knowledge, experience, attitudes, motivation, habits, and personality to their jobs—and to each task that they routinely perform. The novelty of the HuP approach is that it empowers workers to recognize where errors occur, use the proper tools to change their habits, and then contribute equally to their own safety and operational excellence, rather than relying on written policies and discipline. The efforts focus on safety within and outside the company.
Harshad Patil, Ian Knight, Svein Hovland, Earl Dietrich, Said Boutalbi, Jerib Leal, Rick Gonzalez, Greg Matherne
Day 3 Thu, September 23, 2021; https://doi.org/10.2118/205855-ms

Abstract:
Until recently many of the wells on US land that were drilled using Managed Pressure Drilling (MPD) technology utilized one size fits all equipment designed for the offshore market. Since the cost and personnel requirements needed to run the offshore manifolds became a challenge due to market conditions and Covid-19 restrictions, the drillers sought a cost effective and simpler system to conduct their day-to- day operations. The challenge was to drill long laterals in Permian and Haynesville without losing the necessary MPD functionality that proved beneficial to reduce the risks associated with safety and to enhance drilling efficiency. For the MPD control system experts, the task was to correctly identify and automate MPD system’s functionality that would be of greatest use to the drillers to sustain their drilling performance. The concept of developing an easier to operate control system was undertaken wherein system accuracy and precision was maintained at the forefront of the development process. Electric motors/actuators and necessary drivers that could work directly on rig power were selected and tested. Control system logic that operates the chokes was modified to quickly adapt to the changes in drilling conditions, maintaining the necessary accuracy. This was done by studying and understanding drillers activities and behaviors like automated pump ramp down speed during connections, pipe movement during tripping etc. Specific MPD engineering charts, simple to decipher graphs, and necessary calculation tables were developed for the drillers to use for managing bottomhole pressures. Calculations which included specific schedules for spotting weighted pills were provided to maintain simplicity of the operations and something the drillers could easily execute. Today, many drillers are using this MPD solution to drill long laterals (Hovland et.al 2020). This trend is slowly leading to reduction of rig MPD personnel, especially during Covid-19, while the drillers are getting familiar with and operating MPD systems. A few of the crucial items that have allowed the drillers to run MPD on their own include MPD controls connected to drilling automation systems and the subsequent continuous revision of these controls based on understanding drillers tasks and needs. The use of electric motors enabled quick adoption to the changing drilling conditions while making connections, tripping etc. The furnished MPD calculations and graphs that drillers could follow for applying required MPD choke pressures kept MPD adaption simpler. The modifications made to the MPD choke controls geared towards facilitating necessary automation enabled the drillers to get trained in few days and operate the MPD systems while maintaining the same level of speed and performance.
Published: 15 September 2021
Advances in Digital Forensics XV pp 115-126; https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-86614-3_9

Abstract:
The economic crisis caused by the closure of businesses forced many companies to review their business model and rethink their product catalogue. To achieve this, they need help to identify new forms of transfer of their technologies and knowledge towards new products. In this conference paper, the authors propose a methodology conceived as a tool to support start-ups, long before Covid-19 came along, and which is currently undergoing an important acceleration process to quickly respond to the demand of small and medium-sized companies. The objective of the proposed methodology is to analyze a given technology and to understand possible alternative fields of application to the starting one. For each new potential area there is a complex evaluation that tries to position the product according to technical and economic parameters. At the basis of the methodology there are the most modern tools of Information Retrieval: SAO (Subject Action Object) triads and algorithmic approaches based on patterns recognition. The combination of these two approaches, no antithetical to each other, forms the basis of the methodological proposal of this paper. They are used to automatically analyze large patent pools and extract features of technological nature such as functions, product requirements and fields of application. Once the list of potential fields has been extracted, it is possible to assess the potential impact and investment risk by introducing other key tools developed by the TRIZ community, such as market potential. In order to make the methodological process more fluid, specific indicators have been created, such as the Transfer Potential, which indicates the replacement potential of a new technology compared to an old one. The proposed approach is tested through an explanatory industrial case study.
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, Volume 18; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18189699

Abstract:
Background: Many studies have highlighted the negative mental health consequences of lockdowns. However, to date, we do not know how these consequences change over time. The first objective of the present study was to track changes in adjustment strategies and clinical issues among French university students at different times of the pandemic. The second objective was to investigate the psychological and situational factors contributing to students’ anxiety and depressive symptoms. Method: This cohort study was conducted between 23 April and 11 December 2020. Measurements were performed four times: during France’s first national lockdown, during the period after lockdown, when universities were open, and finally during the second national lockdown. A total of 1294 university students were initially included, and 91 students completed the four measurement points over a 7-month period. Coping strategies (with the Brief-COPE), health concerns (with two questions), anxiety and depressive symptoms (with the HADS) were measured. Results: Results showed an evolution over time of anxiety (χ2 = 21.59 ***) and depressive (χ2 = 29.73 ***) symptoms. Depressive symptoms are significantly higher during lockdown periods compared to unlockdown periods. Anxiety symptoms are likewise particularly high during the two lockdowns, but also when the universities reopen. At different times, anxiety and depressive symptoms were positively associated with maladaptive strategies, such as the self-blame (rho between 0.33 and 0.51) and negatively with adaptive strategies, such as the positive reframing (rho between −0.23 and −0.44). Conclusions: The trajectory of anxiety, which is elevated even in the absence of lockdown, raises concerns about the long-term effects of the pandemic on these symptoms.
Published: 15 September 2021
by MDPI
Abstract:
SARS-CoV-2 infection may precede and cause various autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, including multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C). Therefore, we aimed to observe the clinical presentation and laboratory, instrumental and other constellations in children with MIS-C, including liver involvement. We present the outcomes from a single-center prospective observational study in which 89 children was included (60 with proven COVID-19, 10 symptomatic with confirmed COVID-19 contact and 19 diagnosed with MIS-C). Laboratory, instrumental, immunological, and clinical investigations were performed. Only 12% (n = 4) from the COVID-19 group (except the ICU cases), we found elevated AST and/or ALT (up to 100). All of the children with elevated transaminase were overweight or obese, presenting along with moderate COVID-19 pneumonia. The majority of children with MIS-C showed typical laboratory constellations with higher levels of IL-6 (120.36 ± 35.56 ng/mL). About half of the children in the MIS-C group (52%, n = 11) showed elevated transaminases. Eleven children (57.9%) presented with abdominal pain, eight (42.1%) with ascites, two (10.5%) with hepatosplenomegaly, and four (21.1%) with symptoms such as diarrhea. Mesenteric lymphadenitis was observed more often in patients with elevated LDH (327.83 ± 159.39, p = 0.077). Ascites was associated with lymphopenia (0.86 ± 0.80, p = 0.029) and elevated LDH. Hepato-splenomegaly was also more frequent in children with lymphopenia (0.5 ± 0.14, p = 0.039), higher troponin (402.00 ± 101.23, p = 0.004) and low ESR. Diarrhea was more frequent in patients with lower CRP (9.00 ± 3.44 vs. 22.25 ± 2.58, p = 0.04), and higher AST and ALT (469.00 ± 349.59 vs. and 286.67 ± 174.91, respectively, p = 0.010), and D-dimer (4516.66 ± 715.83, p = 0.001). Our data suggest that the liver can also be involved in MIS-C, presenting with typical laboratory and instrumental outcomes.
Published: 15 September 2021
by MDPI
Abstract:
Previously, we reported that immunomodulatory lactobacilli, nasally administered, beneficially regulated the lung antiviral innate immune response induced by Toll-like receptor 3 (TLR3) activation and improved protection against the respiratory pathogens, influenza virus and respiratory syncytial virus in mice. Here, we assessed the immunomodulatory effects of viable and non-viable Lactiplantibacillus plantarum strains in human respiratory epithelial cells (Calu-3 cells) and the capacity of these immunobiotic lactobacilli to reduce their susceptibility to the acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection. Immunobiotic L. plantarum MPL16 and CRL1506 differentially modulated IFN-β, IL-6, CXCL8, CCL5 and CXCL10 production and IFNAR2, DDX58, Mx1 and OAS1 expression in Calu-3 cells stimulated with the TLR3 agonist poly(I:C). Furthermore, the MPL16 and CRL1506 strains increased the resistance of Calu-3 cells to the challenge with SARS-CoV-2. L. plantarum MPL16 induced these beneficial effects more efficiently than the CRL1506 strain. Of note, neither non-viable MPL16 and CRL1506 strains nor the non-immunomodulatory strains L. plantarum CRL1905 and MPL18 could modify the resistance of Calu-3 cells to SARS-CoV-2 infection or the immune response to poly(I:C) challenge. To date, the potential beneficial effects of immunomodulatory probiotics on SARS-CoV-2 infection and COVID-19 outcome have been extrapolated from studies carried out in the context of other viral pathogens. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first demonstration of the ability of immunomodulatory lactobacilli to positively influence the replication of the new coronavirus. Further mechanistic studies and in vivo experiments in animal models of SARS-CoV-2 infection are necessary to identify specific strains of beneficial immunobiotic lactobacilli like L. plantarum MPL16 or CRL1506 for the prevention or treatment of the COVID-19.
Published: 15 September 2021
by MDPI
Education Sciences, Volume 11; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci11090543

Abstract:
The COVID-19 confinement has represented both opportunities and losses for education. Rarely before has any other period moved the human spirit into such discipline or submission—depending on one’s personal and emotional points of view. Both extremes have been widely influenced by external factors on each individual’s life path. Education in the sciences and engineering has encountered more issues than other disciplines due to specialized mathematical handwriting, experimental demonstrations, abstract complexity, and lab practices. This work analyses three aspects of science education courses taught by university professors in a collaborative teacher cluster, sharing technology applications and education methodologies in science over three semesters when the COVID-19 lockdown was in effect. The first aspect was a didactic design coming from several educational frameworks through adoption or sharing. The second one was an analysis by discipline of multiple factors affecting student engagement during the health contingency. The third analysis examined the gains and losses in our students caused by the university closure and the pandemic’s intrusions. The report explores the correlations of the exiting student perceptions with their academic performance in the courses and survey results about the impact of decisions or happenings during the crisis. This work’s value lies in the lessons for the future of education concerning the teacher dominions of didactic design, support, and collaboration in a broader sense than only for teaching.
Published: 15 September 2021
by MDPI
Journal of Clinical Medicine, Volume 10; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm10184170

Abstract:
The spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), and the consequential first italian lockdown to minimize viral transmission, have resulted in many significant changes in the every-day lives of families, with an increased risk of parental burnout. This study explores the impact of the first COVID-19 lockdown in Italy on parental distress and parental perceptions of children’s executive functions (EFs). Participants were 308 Italian parents with children between 4 and 17 years of age; they were recruited through online advertisements on websites and social media, and they were given an online survey. The measures were: the balance between risks and resources (BR2) and the executive functioning self-report (EF). Findings of the study suggest that the most distressed parents perceived their children as less competent in EF, highlighting a cognitive fragility on attention, memory, and self-regulation (Pearson correlation coefficient, p< 0.05); significant differences were found between parents of children exhibiting typical and atypical patterns of development (ANOVA, p< 0.05). The study reinforces the need to provide families with psychological aid to support parental competence in restrictive lockdown conditions.
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, Volume 18; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18189715

Abstract:
Black men who have sex with men (BMSM) living in the United States (U.S.) South are disproportionately affected by HIV and experience significant disparities in HIV incidence, access to HIV care, and prevention across ages and socio-economic statuses. The aim of this commentary is to critically review current literature on the state of PrEP use among BMSM in the U.S. South, including identifying barriers and facilitators to PrEP use in order to inform intervention development. Extant literature shows that despite the documented benefits of PrEP as an effective HIV-prevention method, its uptake among BMSM is limited across the U.S. South. Common barriers to PrEP uptake included stigma, homophobia, mistrust of healthcare systems, negative attitudes from healthcare providers, access and transportation issues, poverty, and misinformation about PrEP. These barriers are likely to have been further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Limited access to PrEP and other HIV-prevention programs, such as HIV testing, post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), and condoms for BMSM are likely increase HIV incidence in this community. Moreover, the rapid expansion of telehealth services during the COVID-19 period may offer increased opportunity to scale-up PrEP through telehealth interventions, especially if in-person services remain limited due to pandemic precautions. Given the intersectional barriers that limit the access and uptake of PrEP among BMSM, we suggest that tailored programs or interventions that seek to address PrEP disparities among Southern BMSM should adopt intersectional and interdisciplinary approaches to better understand the complex challenges of scaling up PrEP. More studies are needed to investigate the impact of COVID-19 on HIV-prevention services among BMSM and to understand how to co-develop—with the BMSM community and healthcare providers—culturally acceptable interventions to reduce the identified challenges using intersectional and interdisciplinary approaches.
Published: 15 September 2021
by MDPI
Abstract:
Testing programs for COVID-19 depend on the voluntary actions of members of the public for their success. Understanding people’s knowledge, attitudes, and behavior related to COVID-19 testing is, therefore, key to the design of effective testing programs worldwide. This paper reports on the findings of a rapid scoping review to map the extent, characteristics, and scope of social science research on COVID-19 testing and identifies key themes from the literature. Main findings include the discoveries that people are largely accepting of testing technologies and guidelines and that a sense of social solidarity is a key motivator of testing uptake. The main barriers to accessing and undertaking testing include uncertainty about eligibility and how to access tests, difficulty interpreting symptoms, logistical issues including transport to and from test sites and the discomfort of sample extraction, and concerns about the consequences of a positive result. The review found that existing research was limited in depth and scope. More research employing longitudinal and qualitative methods based in under-resourced settings and examining intersections between testing and experiences of social, political, and economic vulnerability is needed. Last, the findings of this review suggest that testing should be understood as a social process that is inseparable from processes of contact tracing and isolation and is embedded in people’s everyday routines, livelihoods and relationships.
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, Volume 18; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18189728

Abstract:
Unlike men, who are disproportionately affected by severe disease progression and mortality from COVID-19, women may be more affected by the economic, social and psychological consequences of the pandemic. Psychological distress and mental health problems are general risk factors for increases in the use of alcohol and other substances as a dysfunctional coping mechanism. Methods: An analysis was carried out of the female subset (n= 2153) of a population-based, cross-sectional online survey (October–December 2020), covering the “second wave” of the COVID-19 pandemic in Germany. Results: Among women, 23% increased their alcohol use, 28.4% increased their nicotine use and 44% increased their illicit substance use during the COVID-19 pandemic. Twenty percent reported major depressive symptoms and 23.4% symptoms of generalized anxiety. Generalized anxiety proved to be a significant predictor of increases in alcohol and nicotine use in logistic regression. Discussion: The mental health burden remained high during the second wave of COVID-19 and alcohol, nicotine and other substance use increased. However, the association between mental health and substance use was weak. Psychological distress does not seem to be the main motivator of substance use.
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, Volume 18; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18189735

Abstract:
Healthcare workers (HCWs) are exposed to a higher risk of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) contamination. This prospective multicenter study describes the characteristics of HCWs tested for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) while working in a geriatric environment. We also compared HCWs with a positive reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RTPCR) assay (RTPCR+ group) and those with a negative test result (RTPCR− group). Between 15/5/2020 and 15/9/2020, 258 HCWs, employed in the acute geriatric unit (AGU), geriatric rehabilitation unit (GRU) or nursing home of three hospitals in Burgundy (France) were invited to complete an online survey. Among the 171 respondents, 83 participants, with mean age 42 years and 87.9% female, were tested for SARS-CoV-2 infection. Among these 83 participants, COVID-19 was confirmed in 38 cases (RTPCR+ group) of which 36 were symptomatic, and the RTPCR assay was negative in 45 cases (RTPCR− group) of which 20 participants were symptomatic. A total of 22.9% (of 83) had comorbidities, 21.7% were active smokers, and 65.1% had received the flu vaccine. A total of 37.3% worked in AGU, 19.3% in GRU and 16.9% in nursing homes. The most common symptom described was headache (23.2%), followed by fatigue or cough (12.5% each), and fever or myalgia (10.7% each). There were more participants with normal body mass index (p = 0.03) in the RTPCR+ group. In contrast, there were more users of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (p = 0.01), active smokers (p = 0.03) and flu vaccinated (p = 0.01) in the RTPCR− group. No difference was found between the two groups for the type of work (p = 0.20 for physicians and p = 0.18 for nurses). However, acquiring COVID-19 was significantly associated with working in AGU (p< 0.001) and nursing homes (p = 0.001). There were significantly more users of surgical masks (p = 0.035) in the RTPCR+ group and more filtering facepiece-2 mask users (p = 0.016) in the RTPCR− group. Our results reflect the first six months of the COVID-19 pandemic in France. Further studies are needed to evaluate and track the risks and consequences of COVID-19 in HCWs.
Published: 15 September 2021
by MDPI
BioMed, Volume 1, pp 80-92; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomed1010006

Abstract:
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) interacts with the nervous system directly and indirectly by affecting the activation of the immune system. Guillain–Barré syndrome (GBS) is triggered by an inappropriate immune system activation that overlaps with the neurotoxic mechanism of an invading pathogen. Here, we discuss the complexity of an abnormal immune system response leading to the generation of autoimmunity in the setting of acute viral infection. A 67-year-old male patient with COVID-19 developed a sensory motor acute polyneuropathy with respiratory failure. Several serum inflammatory and neurodegeneration markers were collected during hospital days 1, 3, 8, and 67 and compared to healthy individuals. Neural cell adhesion molecule 1 (NCAM-1) and neurofilament light chain (NfL) values were highly variable when compared to healthy individuals, but not to the reference COVID-19 group. We focused our attention on NCAM-1 as a possible target for antibodies directed at COVID-19 in silico.
Published: 15 September 2021
by MDPI
Sustainability, Volume 13; https://doi.org/10.3390/su131810314

Abstract:
Throughout time, the global tourism industry and economy have been significantly affected by disasters and crises. At present, COVID-19 represents one of these disasters as it has been causing a serious economic downturn with huge implications in tourism. In this review paper, we have analysed more than 100 papers regarding the effect and consequences of a pandemic on tourism and related industries, the economic situation in countries and areas, and mitigation of the loss incurred due to pandemic situations. The article (1) is based on past research on tourism and economy, (2) examines the effects of a pandemic on listed sectors and mitigation processes, and (3) suggests future research and approaches to help progress the field. We have gathered and categorised the literature reviews into several parts. In addition, we have listed the name of authors, journal names, books, websites, and relevant data.
Krina B Patel, Savfeena M. Nagani, Aanal T. Patel, Nirav Bapat
IP Indian Journal of Clinical and Experimental Dermatology, Volume 7, pp 243-248; https://doi.org/10.18231/j.ijced.2021.046

Abstract:
“MASK-NE”-Mask associated Acne, is a common form of acne during COVID-19 pandemic. It is type of acne mechanica seen when external factor occludes the skin, leads to irritation, inflammation and starts/aggravates all grades of acne. We conducted a cross-sectional study among 773 participants, using a Self-administered, aim oriented, questionnaire which includes demographic data, acne related history, type and duration of wearing mask & other mask related skin problems in COVID-19 pandemic during 15 October to 15December,2020. : Among 773 participants, age ranged 18-45 years with mean 30.69 (SD: 61.30) and M:F was 1:1.78. After starting of Pandemic, occurrence of new development of mask associated Acne/ Maskne was higher among Health Care Workers (HCW) (34.98%) as compared to non- Health Care Workers (non-HCWs) (17.36%). Moreover, more number of HCWs had aggravation of their pre-existing acne and/or development of new of acne during pandemic (81.2%) than non-HCWs (61%). Wearing N95 type of mask showed the highest aggravation (82%) of Maskne as compare to wearing Surgical mask (75.5%) and wearing cloth (cotton) mask (65.6%). Wearing a face mask for 4 to 8 hours/day and >8 hours/day showed increase in the aggravation of Maskne as compared to wearing a facemask <4 hrs/day. Though wearing face masks can be the best strategy against COVID-19 infection, HAZARD OF THIS SAFETY is not negligible especially in front-line workers-doctors, nurses, pharmacist, policemen, hospital staff who are at higher risk due to several factors including type of mask use, duration of mask use etc.
Published: 15 September 2021
by MDPI
Abstract:
This manuscript is devoted to investigating a fractional-order mathematical model of COVID-19. The corresponding derivative is taken in Caputo sense with power-law of fractional order μ and fractal dimension χ. We give some detailed analysis on the existence and uniqueness of the solution to the proposed problem. Furthermore, some results regarding basic reproduction number and stability are given. For the proposed theoretical analysis, we use fixed point theory while for numerical analysis fractional Adams–Bashforth iterative techniques are utilized. Using our numerical scheme is verified by using some real values of the parameters to plot the approximate solution to the considered model. Graphical presentations corresponding to different values of fractional order and fractal dimensions are given. Moreover, we provide some information regarding the real data of Saudi Arabia from 1 March 2020 till 22 April 2021, then calculated the fatality rates by utilizing the SPSS, Eviews and Expert Modeler procedure. We also built forecasts of infection for the period 23 April 2021 to 30 May 2021, with 95% confidence.
Roma Madan-Soni
Published: 15 September 2021
Ecofeminism and Climate Change; https://doi.org/10.1108/efcc-06-2021-0010

Abstract:
Purpose The purpose of this article is to collectively work towards understanding and resolving the COVID-19 pandemic issues based on Messersmith's (2018) song, We All Do Better When We All Do Better. Furthermore, Our Identity should not Remain Marked to understand and overcome the workings of a virus whose Identity [DOES NOT] Remain Marked! Design/methodology/approach Practice-based creation coalesced with analytical writing. Findings We All Do Better When We All Do Better! The COVID-19 pandemic corresponds to crucial fundamental assumptions which have appeared from adversity anthropology over the past epochs. First, that environmental catastrophes infrequently surface, because calamities are communal and reliant on trans-species relationships. Furthermore, they appear from a blend of threat and susceptibility, with susceptibility as the causal issue. Second, the disaster occurs at manifold ranks concurrently, with responses to a threat; it endangers all the weak issues along with the original threat (Kelman, 2020). Research limitations/implications Throughout COVID-19 much of the media left cavernous time gaps, masks turned into tools of rebellion, and power and violence were exercised indirectly on the vulnerable. The virtual campuses of WhatsApp, Facebook and conventional broadcasting are disseminating specialist knowledge in pandemic science; now everyone is certified. They voice a nouveau-vindictive biopolitical language, so we rise towards COVID-19 denialism. And, we turn into unthinking puppets who speed up the transfer of misinformation that moves like an “asymptomatic” cough through an overcrowded bar or beach as all inhale-consume it. Practical implications Part of pandemic planning and dealing with the consequential calamity is to integrate instantly the disastrous aspects caused by lockdowns. In this surge of terror and apprehension, we cannot afford to isolate people, even more through shame and prejudice. Each one of us is accountable to support each other and advocate for an all-inclusive healthy community. Social implications Unescapably, as an immigrant, I had never dreaded this “home away from home” and stay anyhow, and I always had something to write home about. But recently I have had “Nothing to Write Home About,” (Madan-Soni, 2019). Migrant employees in most countries including international students were not much more than uninvited guests positioned in a conventional neighbourhood. It is as if your every expatriate-neighbour was plague-ridden and waiting to infect you. But the virus required no genomic or national identity or visa rank, it could cut all lines to get to you. The virus's Identity Is [Not] Marked. Originality/value Our Identity Remains Marked (2020) is my probing visual description of how Our Identity Remains Marked, layered, and stratified in stone under authoritarian structures of patriarchy. I read and researched about how Our Identity Remains Marked when humans are othered through the colours of race, gender, national and immigrant status, including all Earth others. Crafting things, creating something engages with a developing field of ecofeminist research on visual and embodied approaches and creativity (VEM Network, n.d; Reynolds, 2021). Painting offered me a therapeutic way of thinking and of using my senses.
Journal of Enterprise Information Management; https://doi.org/10.1108/jeim-02-2021-0077

Abstract:
Purpose This paper documents and links firm- and country-level outcomes to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs) by portraying how the Chinese economy has fared during the COVID-19 crisis. It does so by shedding light on the factors that determine the effectiveness of health policies implemented in China. Design/methodology/approach Unlike the prior literature, in which lagging performance measures are used, the authors use leading indicators with event study methodology to develop effectiveness scores and identify the determinants of effectiveness, including financial variables, firm infection, geographical location of the spread, travel bans, lockdown periods, policies of home quarantine, health innovations and other innovative measures undertaken by the Chinese authorities. Findings The detailed disaggregated results show many dimensions where abnormal returns are indeed associated with various health policies and that the effectiveness, influenced by firm size, profitability, firm infection and location. The results remain robust when the authors control for various event windows and models and provide evidence of a strong UNSDG link, which the authors draw up a list. Research limitations/implications Apart from the quantitative analysis approach, future studies can complement and add further insights by utilizing qualitative research approaches. Practical implications The results offers robust evidence for policy-makers and firm managers on how a crisis of such proportions and subsequent health policies is affecting different firms and why. Social implications The study shows how COVID-19 health policies open a new dimension in terms of energy demand reduction and lower emissions, factors linking to the UNSDGs. Originality/value The study is the first to show detailed disaggregated results across many dimensions where abnormal returns are indeed associated with various health policies and that the effectiveness, influenced by firm size, profitability, firm infection and location.
Ruchi Bhandari, R. Constance Wiener, Christopher Waters, Cassandra Bambrick
Journal of Integrative Cardiology Open Access, Volume 2021, pp 1-6; https://doi.org/10.31487/j.jicoa.2021.03.08

Abstract:
Patients with opioid use disorder are more likely to get coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Cardiovascular diseases frequently present in COVID-19 patients and can increase their susceptibility to invasive infectious diseases, such as infective endocarditis (IE). This study examines the difference in IE incidence following COVID-19 diagnosis between individuals with and without non-medical opioid use. De-identified electronic medical records data were retrieved from TriNetX, a web-based database. Patients in the U.S., aged 18-60 years, with a diagnosis of COVID-19 during January 2020 - January 2021 were included in this study. Development of IE was determined within three months after COVID-19 diagnosis. Logistic regression was conducted to estimate the risk of developing IE between COVID-19 patients with and without opioid use after propensity score matching. COVID-19 patients with non-medical opioid use had 6.8 times the risk of developing IE compared with COVID-19 patients without opioid use (95% CI: 5.44, 8.56; p<0.0001) after propensity score matching. Findings suggest a significant risk of IE among COVID-19 patients with a history of non-medical opioid use. It provides objective evidence to account for baseline opioid use in the risk assessment of IE among COVID-19 patients.
, Nazlıcan Gözaçan, Çisem Lafcı, Yiğit Kazançoğlu
Challenges and Opportunities of Circular Economy in Agri-Food Sector pp 41-53; https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-16-3791-9_3

Abstract:
The importance given to Circular Economy (CE) has further increased in the Agri-Food Supply Chain (AFSC) to combat the challenges of food loss and waste which could be caused by various reasons, such as poor stock management, economic behavior and also, the occurrence of COVID-19 outbreak. The transition from linear to circularity can also enable competitive sustainability from farm to fork in AFSC, which consists of different stages: farmers, food processors, food distributors, food retailers, consumers. Food loss mainly occurs in AFSC at near-farm stages (i.e., harvesting, processing) while food waste happens in AFSC at near-fork stages (i.e., retail, post-consumption). Thus, 6Rs (remanufacture, redesign, reduce, recycle, reuse, and recover) of CE principles can offer various benefits to close the loop of the wastages along with the AFSC. In this chapter, a conceptual framework for circularity in the AFSC is proposed considering the 6Rs. Furthermore, this framework also supports the Sustainable Development Goals. The applicability of the proposed framework is examined and discussed in the case of Turkey using SWOT Analysis. Key findings indicate that there is confusion about food loss and waste issues in Turkey. In addition, the solutions and developments for FLW problem are generally focused on food waste.
, Niccolò Di Marco, , Alfredo Milani
Published: 15 September 2021
Disinformation in Open Online Media pp 189-198; https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-86993-9_18

Abstract:
From 20 March to 10 May 2020, the “stay at home” countermeasures for the Covid-19 emergency lockdown were defined in the United Kingdom (UK) as leaving home for only the following reasons: “Key worker travelling to work”, “Shopping for basic necessities”, “Any medical need” or “Exercise once a day”. Data collected from the UK Office for National Statistics through online and telephone questionnaires are an exceptional baseline data set on people behaviour during the Covid-19 pandemics. In this paper, data from demographic surveys from the UK are compared to statistical and feedback data from the Virtual Reality app called TRIPP for meditation in the experiences called Focus and Calm. Our data analysis shows that during lockdown the psychological and emotional mindset, severely challenged, has been successfully enhanced with the use of Virtual Reality.
Hokey Min, C. Christopher Lee, Seong-Jong Joo
Published: 15 September 2021
Benchmarking: An International Journal; https://doi.org/10.1108/bij-05-2021-0241

Abstract:
Purpose To identify sources of the success and failure of COVID-19 control measures and develop best-practice public health policy in mitigating the spread of COVID-19, this paper aims to evaluate the efficiency of various combinations of government COVID-19 control measures among OECD countries. This paper also identifies which factors critically influence the efficiency of COVID-19 control measures. Design/methodology/approach This paper employed two-stage network SBM (slacks-based measure of efficiency) models with variable returns-to-scale and constant returns-to-scale, respectively, among various forms of data envelopment analysis (DEA) models. As a post hoc analysis, the authors used Tobit regression for examining the causal relationship between a nation's cultural dimensions and its COVID-19 control measure's efficiency scores. Findings The authors found that the pervasive less individualistic and higher uncertainty avoiding culture positively influenced the efficient control of COVID-19 outbreaks since such a culture helped the government impose its mandatory COVID-19 control measures without people's strong resistance to those measures. Originality/value Many public health policymakers are wondering why COVID-19 control measures are not effective in coping with the COVID-19 outbreaks. This paper helps the government find the most efficient combination of COVID-19 controls measures for curbing the spread of the stubborn coronavirus. This paper is one of the first attempts to identify pandemic risk mitigation factors from a cultural perspective.
Heloísa T.B. Moreira, Ana P. Oyan, Gabriel Martines, Gabriel Vigna, Marcela G.D. Crivelaro, Patrícia G. Pereira, Claudia R.A. Starnini, Thais M.P. Souza, Eder V. Souza, Maria R.N.L. Paltronieri, et al.
Published: 15 September 2021
Pregnancy Hypertension, Volume 25; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.preghy.2021.07.307

Published: 15 September 2021
Algorithmic Game Theory pp 33-49; https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-87031-7_3

Abstract:
We propose an integration of Non-negative Matrix Factorisation, Sentiment analysis and Structural Break Models to identify significant topical shifts on the social media platform Twitter. For the topic modelling, we compare Latent Dirichlet Allocation and Non-negative Matrix Factorization in terms of their applicability to short text documents. The extraction of sentiment is done by the rule-based VADER model. Structural breaks in the relative frequency and daily sentiments of topics over time are identified with the Bai-Perron model. Combining these methods, we provide a valuable and easy to use exploratory tool for social scientists to study the discourse on Twitter over time. Detecting statistically significant shifts in topics over time enables researchers to perform statistical inference and test hypotheses about the discourse on Twitter. The framework is implemented efficiently to ensure that it can be used on average consumer hardware in a reasonable amount of time. A case study with COVID-19 related tweets in the UK is provided. Our method is validated by linking the topical shifts to real world events by the use of the timestamps of the COVID-19 related tweets.
Published: 15 September 2021
by MDPI
Applied Sciences, Volume 11; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11188556

Abstract:
The COVID-19 pandemic affected many areas of public life and industry. This also applies to research particularly that relies on scientific studies with test persons. In order to minimize the risk of infection, several aspects of experiment design including the setting might require alteration. An extensive review of the latest research involving the COVID-19 pandemic as a blueprint for dealing with other health situations has been conducted in order to develop a step-by-step approach to plan a study with regard to infection protection. As a result, a generic six-step concept was developed that is applicable for scientific studies in both stationary rooms and vehicles while being adaptable to the respective circumstances. The infection protection measures determined through research were implemented in the individual sub-steps from study planning to execution. They allow a step-by-step approach to prevent infections in scientific studies with different settings during a pandemic and in situations where increased hygiene measures are required.
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