How COVID-19 and Long COVID Changed Individuals and Communities

A special issue of COVID (ISSN 2673-8112).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2023) | Viewed by 44540

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Social and Political Sciences, University of Florence, Florence, Italy
Interests: public sector communication; public sector organizations’ changes; digital and social media processes
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Dipartimento di Scienze della Salute, Università degli Studi di Firenze, 50121 Firenze, Italy
Interests: health literacy; primary health care; food and nutrition sustainability; healthcare for frail social groups (especially for older people)
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We are organizing a Special Issue devoted to presenting how three years of COVID-19 have changed the attitudes, awareness, and behaviors of human beings as individuals, communities, and institutions toward the COVID-19 virus, illness, and therapies (e.g., vaccine). Three years after patient zero, people are still dealing with repeated infections and the persistence of symptoms after the acute phase of the disease (i.e., long COVID-19). COVID-19 vaccines have been central topics of public debate around the world in the last two years and increased knowledge and competencies in health-related issues, as well as reinforced “extreme” point of views (e.g., conspiracy theories). Currently, there is another alarming issue, namely the non-adhesion of people around the world to screening (e.g., swab tests), conscious self-isolation, and maintenance of some social restrictions of common sense. In this context, the role of health institutions and public sector organizations in fostering citizens’ trust and managing information flows seems to be crucial, especially in digital environments.

Dr. Letizia Materassi
Prof. Dr. Andrea Guazzini
Dr. Mirko Duradoni
Dr. Guglielmo Bonaccorsi
Dr. Chiara Lorini
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. COVID is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • individual and social attitudes and awareness toward COVID-19
  • literacy (scientific, medical, vaccine, health)
  • vaccine hesitancy
  • compliance with screening and mitigation rules
  • pandemic community resilience

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Published Papers (17 papers)

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Research

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11 pages, 812 KiB  
Article
Patterns of Mentally Active versus Passive Sedentary Behavior in Adults: Post-COVID-19 Insights
by Daliya S. Alobaid and Abdullah B. Alansare
COVID 2024, 4(1), 63-73; https://doi.org/10.3390/covid4010006 - 10 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1065
Abstract
Background: Although sedentary behavior (SB) before and during COVID-19 has been studied, mental activity-based SB patterns have been overlooked. This secondary analysis investigated the patterns of mentally active vs. passive SB in adults post-COVID-19 pandemic and examined sex differences. Methods: Adults (n [...] Read more.
Background: Although sedentary behavior (SB) before and during COVID-19 has been studied, mental activity-based SB patterns have been overlooked. This secondary analysis investigated the patterns of mentally active vs. passive SB in adults post-COVID-19 pandemic and examined sex differences. Methods: Adults (n = 1255; 45% males; 50% aged between 20 and 29 years old) self-reported general characteristics, anthropometric and socioeconomic variables, and mentally active and passive SB (weekdays and weekend days) using a structured web-based survey. Adjusted ANCOVA on Ranks tests assessed differences between mentally active and mentally passive SB during the day, on weekdays, and weekend days. Adjusted Quade Nonparametric ANCOVA tests evaluated these differences in males vs. females. Results: Adults significantly spent greater time in mentally active vs. passive SB (5.61 ± 4.57 vs. 2.50 ± 3.25; p < 0.001). Mentally active SB was more prevalent on weekdays than on weekends (6.00 ± 5.00 vs. 5.00 ± 5.00; p < 0.001). No significant difference was observed for mentally passive SB (p > 0.05). Males significantly accumulated more mentally active SB compared to females (p < 0.001 for all). Females significantly spent more time in mentally passive SB on weekdays than males (p < 0.05). Conclusion: Our results highlight the need for individualized SB reduction strategies based on mental activity to obtain the most benefits of SB reduction interventions and promoting overall health post-COVID-19 pandemic. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue How COVID-19 and Long COVID Changed Individuals and Communities)
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11 pages, 290 KiB  
Article
Changes in Lifestyle Habits in Individuals with Diabetes during the COVID-19 Pandemic: The ELSA-Brasil Cohort Study
by William Jones Dartora, Maria Inês Schmidt, Rosane Harter Griep and Bruce B. Duncan
COVID 2023, 3(10), 1601-1611; https://doi.org/10.3390/covid3100109 - 12 Oct 2023
Viewed by 1307
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic and society’s response to it may have constrained the ability of those with diabetes to achieve a healthy lifestyle. We conducted a longitudinal study to assess the frequency and magnitude of sedentary habits, physical activity, sleep, alcohol consumption, weight, and [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic and society’s response to it may have constrained the ability of those with diabetes to achieve a healthy lifestyle. We conducted a longitudinal study to assess the frequency and magnitude of sedentary habits, physical activity, sleep, alcohol consumption, weight, and smoking from July 2020 to February 2021 and compared these levels to those before the pandemic (2017–2019) in 1082 participants of the ELSA-Brasil study with known diabetes. Our results showed that inappropriate sleep duration was common (649, 68.9%) before the pandemic. Many (447, 31.1%) with this problem achieved an adequate sleep duration during the pandemic. Significant increases occurred in time in front of screens (1.3; 95%CI 0.66–2.11 h/day) and time sitting or reclining (1.4, 95%CI 0.8–2.3 h/day). Physical activity decreased (270, 95%CI 243–298 MET-min/wk). Alcohol consumption decreased without statistical significance (−19.6, 95%CI −51.1–11.9 g/w). In general, changes were similar between diabetics and non-diabetics, except that screen time in-creased less (−0.18, −0.35–−0.01 h/day) for those with diabetes. Sleep duration improved, but the frequency of sedentary habits increased, and physical activity decreased during the pandemic. Understanding changes brought on by the pandemic is essential to facilitate the implementation of quality health care for those with diabetes in moments of social stress. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue How COVID-19 and Long COVID Changed Individuals and Communities)
24 pages, 3495 KiB  
Article
Assessing the Impacts of COVID-19 and Social Isolation on Mental Health in the United States of America
by Alexander Fulk, Raul Saenz-Escarcega, Hiroko Kobayashi, Innocent Maposa and Folashade Agusto
COVID 2023, 3(6), 807-830; https://doi.org/10.3390/covid3060060 - 24 May 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2898
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on the world at large with over 750 million cases and almost 7 million deaths reported thus far. Of those, over 100 million cases and 1 million deaths have occurred in the United States of [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on the world at large with over 750 million cases and almost 7 million deaths reported thus far. Of those, over 100 million cases and 1 million deaths have occurred in the United States of America (USA). The mental health of the general population has been impacted by several aspects of the pandemic including lockdowns, media sensationalism, social isolation, and spread of the disease. In this paper, we examine the associations that social isolation and COVID-19 infection and related death had with the prevalence of anxiety and depression in the general population of the USA in a state-by-state multiple time-series analysis. Vector Error Correction Models are estimated and we subsequently evaluated the coefficients of the estimated models and calculated their impulse response functions for further interpretation. We found that COVID-19 incidence was positively associated with anxiety across the studied period for a majority of states. Variables related to social isolation had a varied effect depending on the state being considered. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue How COVID-19 and Long COVID Changed Individuals and Communities)
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13 pages, 559 KiB  
Article
Assessing Internet Surfing Behaviours and Digital Health Literacy among University Students in Ghana during the COVID-19 Pandemic
by Francis Britwum, Stephen Kofi Anin, Edmond Kwesi Agormedah, Frank Quansah, Medina Srem-Sai, John Elvis Hagan and Thomas Schack
COVID 2023, 3(3), 405-417; https://doi.org/10.3390/covid3030030 - 20 Mar 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2005
Abstract
This study assessed the internet surfing behaviours and digital health literacy (DHL) among university students in Ghana during the COVID-19 pandemic. The research was guided by three major objectives: (1) examine the online information searching behaviours of university students during the COVID-19 pandemic, [...] Read more.
This study assessed the internet surfing behaviours and digital health literacy (DHL) among university students in Ghana during the COVID-19 pandemic. The research was guided by three major objectives: (1) examine the online information searching behaviours of university students during the COVID-19 pandemic, (2) investigate the thematic areas university students searched during COVID-19, and (3) examine the DHL level of university students. The study conveniently sampled 1014 university students to solicit their responses through questionnaire administration. Using frequency and percent counts, multiple response analysis, as well as mean and standard deviation, the study revealed that the predominant platforms university students used were search engines (n = 954, 94.1%), social media (n = 950, 93.7%), and WhatsApp (n = 950, 93.7%). Predominant themes among the thematic areas university students searched during COVID-19 were symptoms of COVID-19 (n = 701, 81.7%), COVID-19 vaccines (n = 689, 80.3%), and transmission routes of the coronavirus (n = 664, 77.4%). Further, other results showed that students enrolled in health-related programmes showed significantly higher levels of DHL compared to those in non-health-related programmes. The findings suggest the need to implement health education measures to strengthen students’ health literacy capacities and their DHL ability. This finding requires governments and health authorities to implement evidence-informed health communication strategies to provide valid and reliable health information concerning the COVID-19 pandemic and support individuals to make health-promoting decisions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue How COVID-19 and Long COVID Changed Individuals and Communities)
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12 pages, 373 KiB  
Article
Infection Prevention and Control in Public Hospitals and COVID-19 Temporary Treatment and Monitoring Facilities in the Philippines: Results of a Baseline Survey
by Vergil de Claro, Noemi Bautista, Ma. Rosario Torralba, Vina Vanessa Castro, Miguel Angelo Lucero, Lady Jedfeliz Molleno and Laurentiu Stan
COVID 2023, 3(3), 336-347; https://doi.org/10.3390/covid3030025 - 2 Mar 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 6433
Abstract
Infection prevention and control measures are effective at protecting patients and healthcare workers from healthcare-acquired infections, averting onward transmission of the disease and mitigating the impact of the outbreak on the healthcare system. This study assessed the compliance of public hospitals and isolation [...] Read more.
Infection prevention and control measures are effective at protecting patients and healthcare workers from healthcare-acquired infections, averting onward transmission of the disease and mitigating the impact of the outbreak on the healthcare system. This study assessed the compliance of public hospitals and isolation facilities with a set of standards for COVID-19 infection prevention and control. A 35-point questionnaire was developed and utilized to collect data from selected facilities in 38 local government units across the country. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze the data, and differences between island groups were tested using Pearson’s χ2 test for categorical variables. The results indicate that hospitals reported better infection prevention and control preparedness and compliance than temporary treatment and monitoring facilities in the domains of engineering and administrative controls. However, weak compliance was observed in a number of indicators for waste management in both types of facilities. These suggest that periodic monitoring and the augmentation of resources are necessary to sustain adherence to standards and to immediately address compliance gaps. In addition, systemic improvements through sufficient planning and long-term investments are required to sustain infection prevention and control practices over time. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue How COVID-19 and Long COVID Changed Individuals and Communities)
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12 pages, 309 KiB  
Article
Behavioral Changes during the First Year of the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Longitudinal Comparison of Bullying, Cyberbullying, Externalizing Behavior Problems and Prosocial Behavior in Adolescents
by Neele Bäker and Jessica Schütz-Wilke
COVID 2023, 3(2), 289-300; https://doi.org/10.3390/covid3020022 - 20 Feb 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2473
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in rapid, unprecedented changes in the lives of children and adolescents worldwide. During the first year in the COVID-19 pandemic German schools were partially closed. The restrictions to limit the pandemic can be viewed as incongruent with developmental [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in rapid, unprecedented changes in the lives of children and adolescents worldwide. During the first year in the COVID-19 pandemic German schools were partially closed. The restrictions to limit the pandemic can be viewed as incongruent with developmental tasks of children and adolescent, and this can harbor risks such as loss of education, well-being, and daily structure. Additionally, social skills could decrease. The current study analyzed behavioral changes in traditional bullying and cyberbullying, externalizing behavior problems and prosocial behavior from spring 2020 (pandemic outbreak) to spring 2021 (during the pandemic; a time when schools were closed and infection rates peaked). We addressed our research question with an online survey in a German sample. A total of 130 students (65 females and 65 males) with ages ranging from 10 to 17 (MT1 = 13.88; SDT1 = 1.26) participated. Our results revealed significant differences in cyberbullying and prosocial behavior and no significant differences in traditional bullying and externalizing behavior problems across one year. Cyberbullying increased and prosocial behavior decreased during the first year of pandemic. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue How COVID-19 and Long COVID Changed Individuals and Communities)
15 pages, 1486 KiB  
Article
The Effects on Neighborhood Environments during Lockdowns: Being Comfortable in Residences
by Yasmeen Gul, Gul Ahmed Jokhio, Zahid Sultan, John Alexander Smith, Wan Saiful Nizam, Mehdi Moeinaddini and Dalia Hafiz
COVID 2022, 2(12), 1635-1649; https://doi.org/10.3390/covid2120118 - 24 Nov 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1950
Abstract
Cities around the world have been hit by the COVID-19 crisis. The worst consequences of the pandemic are closely related to urban areas. Many studies investigated the impact of COVID-19 on people but there are few studies that have investigated the satisfaction level [...] Read more.
Cities around the world have been hit by the COVID-19 crisis. The worst consequences of the pandemic are closely related to urban areas. Many studies investigated the impact of COVID-19 on people but there are few studies that have investigated the satisfaction level of university students during the COVID-19 lockdown at the neighborhood level. Therefore, the aim of this study is to investigate the satisfaction of university students at the neighborhood level during the COVID-19 lockdown and investigate the experience of online education during that period—if they received any. An online survey was conducted involving university students of different countries, and a total of 427 responses (n = 427) were received and analyzed using the CHAID model. Results show that comfort at residences during the COVID-19 lockdown was affected by the neighborhood environment (viz., greenery, pleasant views, independent housing with gardening facilities), transportation (i.e., saving 1–2 commuting hours on a daily basis and safety from traffic hazards), and the provision of online education (i.e., effectiveness, such as traditional methods of education and the opportunity to connect with field experts). Thus, it can be concluded that providing green neighborhoods, detached or terraced houses (townhouses) with visual connection, and gardening facilities for the residents should be encouraged in the future because these types of neighborhoods are not only comfortable in ordinary situations but also provide comfort during critical periods such as COVID-19 lockdowns. It can also be concluded that a hybrid style of education should be encouraged for universities, as it can save travel time, provide safety from traffic, and provide more opportunities to become connected with international experts through online guest lectures, seminars, and workshops. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue How COVID-19 and Long COVID Changed Individuals and Communities)
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12 pages, 556 KiB  
Article
Subjective Reasons for COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy and Sociodemographic Predictors of Vaccination in Nigeria: An Online Survey
by Muhammad Chutiyami, Umar Muhammad Bello, Dauda Salihu, Mustapha Adam Kolo, Abdalkarem Fedgash Alsharari, Hadiza Sabo, Mohammed Bukar, Usman Shehu, Haruna Adamu, Hafsat Ibrahim Alkali, Amina Abdullahi Gambo, Fatima Ado Mahmud, Abdullahi Salisu Muhammad and Ibrahim Ali Bukar
COVID 2022, 2(10), 1329-1340; https://doi.org/10.3390/covid2100097 - 25 Sep 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 4132
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to examine the subjective reasons for hesitancy to receive COVID-19 vaccination and the sociodemographic factors associated with vaccination uptake. An online social media survey was conducted among the general Nigerian population using a self-developed questionnaire. Data were [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study was to examine the subjective reasons for hesitancy to receive COVID-19 vaccination and the sociodemographic factors associated with vaccination uptake. An online social media survey was conducted among the general Nigerian population using a self-developed questionnaire. Data were analyzed using binary logistic regression with crude and adjusted odds ratios (AOR) at a 95% confidence interval (CI) and a p value of less than 0.05. A total of 576 participants with a mean age of 31.86 years participated in the study. 28% (n = 158) received one or more doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. Teachers were significantly less likely than health professionals to be vaccinated (AOR = 0.33, 95% CI 0.16–0.69). In addition, unemployed people (AOR = 0.37, 95% CI 0.15–0.89) were less likely to be vaccinated than government employees, and those of intermediate socioeconomic status (AOR = 0.47 95% CI 0.26–0.88) were less likely to be vaccinated than were those of high socioeconomic status. Five main themes emerged regarding participants’ subjective reasons for hesitating to receive the COVID-19 vaccine: fear related to vaccine content (e.g., efficacy), negative effects on the body (e.g., blood clots), distrust of the system/government (e.g., politics), psychological concerns (e.g., anxiety), and misconceptions. Sociodemographic variables and vaccine misconceptions were found to play an important role in COVID-19 vaccination coverage in Nigeria. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue How COVID-19 and Long COVID Changed Individuals and Communities)
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12 pages, 669 KiB  
Article
Neuropsychological Outcomes of COVID-19: A Multicenter, Cross-Cultural Study of Patients Referred for Outpatient Assessment
by Christina D. Kay, Ana Sofia Costa, Tracy D. Vannorsdall, Paula Aduen, Clara Vila-Castelar, Sarah M. Burstein, Lauren Pollak, Daniel K. Leibel, Janet C. Sherman, Julia Bungenberg, Kathrin Reetz and Yakeel T. Quiroz
COVID 2022, 2(9), 1253-1264; https://doi.org/10.3390/covid2090092 - 2 Sep 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2583
Abstract
Objective: Cognitive dysfunction is one of the most frequently reported symptoms in post-acute sequelae of COVID-19 (PASC) and has become a common reason for neuropsychological referral. While data are emerging, we aimed to address possible cross-cultural patterns of neuropsychological outcomes that remain underexplored. [...] Read more.
Objective: Cognitive dysfunction is one of the most frequently reported symptoms in post-acute sequelae of COVID-19 (PASC) and has become a common reason for neuropsychological referral. While data are emerging, we aimed to address possible cross-cultural patterns of neuropsychological outcomes that remain underexplored. Methods: In this cross-sectional, retrospective study, we characterize the cognitive performance, demographic makeup, and clinical characteristics of 84 PASC patients (Mage = 57 years) referred for neuropsychological evaluation to three USA sites and one in Germany. Neuropsychological data (mean demographically adjusted z-scores and frequencies of impairment) were examined across six cognitive domains. Independent t-tests compared performances of previously hospitalized and non-hospitalized patients. Results: Patients were assessed on average seven months post-COVID-19 infection. The majority were women and non-hospitalized. Mean cognitive performance was within the normative range, but high variability existed within and between sites. Deficits were generally mild and most frequent in processing speed (range across sites: 9–57% of patients), executive functioning (range across sites: 4–43% of patients) and attention/working memory (range across sites: 0–43% of patients). Hospitalized patients showed greater cognitive impairment than those not requiring hospitalization. Mood symptoms and fatigue/sleep disturbance were more frequent than objective cognitive impairments. At the time of assessment, most patients were unable to return to work. Conclusions: Cognitive performance in clinically referred PASC patients was, overall, within the normative range. Mild deficits were most frequent in time-based attentional/executive tasks. Other factors, such as affective symptoms and fatigue, were frequent and may significantly impact functioning, perhaps more than cognition. Further work with larger samples and longitudinal measures is needed to clarify the impact of COVID-19 on cognitive function and psychiatric distress. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue How COVID-19 and Long COVID Changed Individuals and Communities)
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14 pages, 316 KiB  
Article
Analysis of COVID-19 Risk Perception and Its Correlates among University Students in Ghana
by Frank Quansah, Stephen Kofi Anin, John Elvis Hagan, Jr., Edmond Kwesi Agormedah, Prince Oduro, Medina Srem-Sai, James Boadu Frimpong and Thomas Schack
COVID 2022, 2(8), 1125-1138; https://doi.org/10.3390/covid2080083 - 11 Aug 2022
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2739
Abstract
Monitoring students’ risk perception forms part of emergency management during public health emergencies. Thus, public risk perception generally triggers attitudes, emotional responses, and prevention behaviors, which affect the evolution of emergencies and disease control strategies. However, research has paid less attention to the [...] Read more.
Monitoring students’ risk perception forms part of emergency management during public health emergencies. Thus, public risk perception generally triggers attitudes, emotional responses, and prevention behaviors, which affect the evolution of emergencies and disease control strategies. However, research has paid less attention to the COVID-19 risk perception of students in Ghana. This study assessed the prevalence of COVID-19 risk perception and further identified its correlates among university students. In this study, 882 students from two public universities in Ghana were conveniently recruited. The data were analysed using frequency counts, percentages, and ordered logistic regression. The study revealed the prevalence of a high degree of COVID-19 risk perception among almost half (47.4%) of the sampled students. Results from ordered logistic regression analysis showed that age, sex, religion, use of professional and social media platforms, level (years) of study, and COVID-19 knowledge were significant correlates of COVID-19 risk perception. The dissemination of appropriate COVID-19 information and behavior-change communication to such relatively high-risk behavior sub-groups could help counter the debilitative effects of non-altruistic attitudes because of COVID-19 risk perception. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue How COVID-19 and Long COVID Changed Individuals and Communities)

Review

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21 pages, 1108 KiB  
Review
Addressing Inequality in the COVID-19 Pandemic in Africa: A Snapshot from Clinical Symptoms to Vaccine Distribution
by Ana Catarina Pêgo, Illyane Sofia Lima and Raffaella Gozzelino
COVID 2024, 4(2), 170-190; https://doi.org/10.3390/covid4020014 - 25 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1324
Abstract
On 30 January 2020, WHO declared COVID-19 a public health emergency of global concern. COVID-19 became pandemic on 11 March 2020, and spread unprecedently. No country was prepared to face its impact. Major fears started to be expressed for Africa, where dramatic consequences [...] Read more.
On 30 January 2020, WHO declared COVID-19 a public health emergency of global concern. COVID-19 became pandemic on 11 March 2020, and spread unprecedently. No country was prepared to face its impact. Major fears started to be expressed for Africa, where dramatic consequences were expected, due to the weakness of health systems. In this review, we related major concerns, at that time but still present, regarding the limited resources in terms of qualified physicians and researchers, as well as the scarce funds to purchase essential medical equipment and improve hospital infrastructures. The difficulties to provide proper care became an undeniable mark of inequality, highlighting the need to empower local capacity and raise preparedness against infection outbreaks. The transmissibility of genetic variants affecting African nations, the immunopathology underlying comorbidities, sequelae, and pre-existing conditions, often related to changes in iron metabolism and enhancing COVID-19 severity, were described. The obstacles in adopting standardized prevention measures were highlighted, along with testing capacity biases and inequity of healthcare access and vaccine distribution. By providing a better understanding of the COVID-19 pandemic in Africa, we draw attention to the need for collaborative efforts to leverage the quality of healthcare and research in this continent. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue How COVID-19 and Long COVID Changed Individuals and Communities)
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11 pages, 273 KiB  
Review
COVID-19 Pandemic: Brief Overview of the Consequences on Family Informal Caregiving
by Antonella Serafini, Giuseppe Peralta, Paola Martucci, Alberto Tagliaferro, Ann Hutchinson and Carlo Barbetta
COVID 2023, 3(3), 381-391; https://doi.org/10.3390/covid3030028 - 11 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2123
Abstract
Background and aim of the work: The COVID-19 pandemic has deeply affected the quality of people’s social life, strongly impacting family dynamics, too, not only in the harshest periods of the pandemic but also afterwards. Pandemic-related measures led to a ‘stay-at-home’ approach that [...] Read more.
Background and aim of the work: The COVID-19 pandemic has deeply affected the quality of people’s social life, strongly impacting family dynamics, too, not only in the harshest periods of the pandemic but also afterwards. Pandemic-related measures led to a ‘stay-at-home’ approach that increased the mental and physical burdens of family caregivers, irrespective of whether they were living together with the person they were caring for or not. In this paper, we provide an overview of the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic had on family relationships and dynamics, as well as on family caregivers’ mental burden, and outline how this developed. Methods: We collected relevant info by searching the PubMed/Medline database with appropriate keywords. The search was performed up to 28 February 2023. This paper is reported in line with PRISMA guidance. Results: Given the recent onset of the issue, the number of relevant papers was limited. However, the additional burden that the pandemic has caused worldwide to informal caregivers clearly emerges. Conclusions: The worldwide impact of the pandemic on informal caregiving is assessed, and recommendations on how the issue can be handled are briefly sketched, too. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue How COVID-19 and Long COVID Changed Individuals and Communities)
12 pages, 289 KiB  
Review
A Review of Telework in the COVID-19 Pandemic: Lessons Learned for Work-Life Balance?
by Christopher L. Atkinson
COVID 2022, 2(10), 1405-1416; https://doi.org/10.3390/covid2100101 - 4 Oct 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 4243
Abstract
The rationale for this review paper is to take stock of the current knowledge in the literature on the intersection of telework and work–life balance—an area that has grown in importance due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The review also considers [...] Read more.
The rationale for this review paper is to take stock of the current knowledge in the literature on the intersection of telework and work–life balance—an area that has grown in importance due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The review also considers the context of the government’s role in pursuing policies to reduce the impacts of the pandemic in order to improve societal if not personal resilience, as these policies sometimes had unintended adverse impacts. After a section on the literature search method, sections follow on the literature considering telework/working from home, stress, and gender; work–life balance figures prominently in the papers reviewed. An additional category for the government and its role in concerns related to this topic follows. For future research, the differences between groups in responding to the demands of telework and work–life balance, particularly in regard to gender, are worth further investigation, as the COVID-19 pandemic has offered great challenges but also immense opportunities to learn and prepare organizations for future crises. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue How COVID-19 and Long COVID Changed Individuals and Communities)

Other

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14 pages, 278 KiB  
Case Report
COVID-19 Pandemic Planning and Management: The Case of New Zealand General Practice Medical Centres
by Nargis Mashal and Sussie C. Morrish
COVID 2023, 3(9), 1440-1453; https://doi.org/10.3390/covid3090099 - 15 Sep 2023
Viewed by 1095
Abstract
The objective of this study was to explore the potential enhancement of response within GP medical centres in New Zealand when facing heightened healthcare demand during a pandemic. This investigation sheds light on effective crisis management and leadership. By elucidating the contributions of [...] Read more.
The objective of this study was to explore the potential enhancement of response within GP medical centres in New Zealand when facing heightened healthcare demand during a pandemic. This investigation sheds light on effective crisis management and leadership. By elucidating the contributions of this research, we gain a deeper appreciation of its importance in advancing our understanding of pandemic management. This study has yielded fresh insights and knowledge, beneficial to both academic and real-world applications, particularly concerning the adoption and effects of leadership and management within the healthcare domain amidst crisis situations. Using a multiple case study design, we conducted 86 in-depth interviews with staff from 16 General Practice centres in New Zealand. The critical activities delivered during the first six months of the COVID pandemic to keep New Zealand communities safe during the initial COVID-19 outbreak were (a) leadership in health service planning, including workforce planning, new operational processes, and expansion in the use of Information Communication Technology systems by the GP medical centres; (b) environment disinfection using national guidelines, education and establishment of respiratory clinics and expanding testing sites in GP medical centres; and (c) education and outreach to the patients including the protection of Māori, Pasifika, and remote communities. The decision to adopt a localised response to the pandemic, centralise testing, and better understand local-level needs prompted GP medical centres to communicate and engage early and effectively with patients. This enabled centres to lead and manage the COVID-19 pandemic with greater efficiency in the first six months of the outbreak. The New Zealand government’s “team of 5 million” COVID-compliance campaign program provided clear and persistent communication by the Ministry of Health. This campaign assisted in a better national understanding and compliance with the regulation of the COVID-19 pandemic. The dedication of medical centre managers to forward planning using contingency and accrued funding and setting up Community-Based Assessment Centres and respiratory clinics, including walk-in and outreach services, proved to be highly effective. GP centres led the way in COVID-19 pandemic planning, response, and management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue How COVID-19 and Long COVID Changed Individuals and Communities)
52 pages, 2044 KiB  
Systematic Review
The Health System’s Response to and the Impact of COVID-19 on Health Services, Providers, and Seekers: A Rapid Review in the Wake of the Pandemic
by Ankur Singh Chauhan, Kultar Singh, Rajesh Bhatia, Sonalini Khetrapal and Aditya Naskar
COVID 2023, 3(8), 1106-1157; https://doi.org/10.3390/covid3080081 - 1 Aug 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2142
Abstract
Background: The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted global healthcare systems, requiring rapid adaptations. This study evaluates the impact on health systems and services in India during the peak of the first wave and its aftermath. It analyses disruptions, adaptive measures, and challenges faced by healthcare [...] Read more.
Background: The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted global healthcare systems, requiring rapid adaptations. This study evaluates the impact on health systems and services in India during the peak of the first wave and its aftermath. It analyses disruptions, adaptive measures, and challenges faced by healthcare providers and seekers to enhance future preparedness. Methods: Primary studies conducted in India exploring the impact of COVID-19 on health services provision, utilisation, availability, and the well-being of providers and seekers were included. Electronic searches were conducted in six databases: PubMed, MEDLINE, Embase, Global Health, CINAHL, and the WHO database on COVID-19. The results were analysed using narrative synthesis. Results and Conclusion: The review examined 38 articles with 22,502 subjects. Health service provision, utilisation, and availability were significantly impacted, particularly in outpatient departments (n = 19) and elective services (n = 16), while emergency services remained sub-optimal (n = 20). Adaptations were made in precautionary measures, protocols, staff allocation, training, personal protective equipment (PPE), infrastructure, and resources. Providers faced mental health challenges including depression, stress (n = 14), fear of infection (n = 9), stigmatisation (n = 5), and financial repercussions (n = 5). Seekers also encountered notable challenges (n = 13). Future preparedness necessitates improved healthcare infrastructure, resource optimisation, and comprehensive protocols. Lessons should inform strategies to mitigate disruptions and prioritise the well-being of providers and seekers in future outbreaks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue How COVID-19 and Long COVID Changed Individuals and Communities)
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8 pages, 788 KiB  
Brief Report
Assessing the Vaccine Efficacy in Health Care Providers for Combating the COVID-19 Infection: Results from Tertiary Cancer Care Centre
by Shalini Agnihotri, Anurag Mehta and Anurag Sharma
COVID 2023, 3(2), 238-245; https://doi.org/10.3390/covid3020018 - 10 Feb 2023
Viewed by 1481
Abstract
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s rapid expansion, the creation of vaccines is crucial for lowering disease transmission. Therefore, to determine the safety and efficacy of the vaccine against symptomatic illness and to evaluate breakthrough infections, those who received single or both the doses [...] Read more.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s rapid expansion, the creation of vaccines is crucial for lowering disease transmission. Therefore, to determine the safety and efficacy of the vaccine against symptomatic illness and to evaluate breakthrough infections, those who received single or both the doses of vaccine against COVID-19 infection. A retrospective observational study was carried out on vaccine efficacy and the incidence of the breakthrough infections among the heath care workers, support staff and administrative staff. Out of 599 fully vaccinated health care workers, those who tested COVID-19 positive post-vaccination only 1.16% developed a severe illness that necessitates hospitalization. This study reflects a significant vaccine efficacy of 81.3% after a complete dose of vaccination and protection of 76.9% after one standard dose against symptomatic disease. The frequency of COVID-19 vaccine breakthrough is very low, which means that COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective at preventing COVID-19, particularly when it comes to severity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue How COVID-19 and Long COVID Changed Individuals and Communities)
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17 pages, 968 KiB  
Systematic Review
Association between SARS-CoV-2 Infection and Neuropsychiatric Manifestations
by Aranza Llorente Vidrio, Humberto Nicolini, Carlos Tovilla Zarate, Thelma Gonzales Castro, Isela Juárez Rojop, Jaime Martínez Magaña, Nicolás Martínez López and Alma Delia Genis Mendoza
COVID 2022, 2(9), 1270-1286; https://doi.org/10.3390/covid2090094 - 9 Sep 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2293
Abstract
Coronaviruses are neurotropic viruses capable of entering the brain through various mechanisms and generating an important inflammatory response that is capable of triggering neuropsychiatric manifestations. Several reports describe the appearance of different conditions, such as sleep problems, anxiety and depression disorders, acute psychotic [...] Read more.
Coronaviruses are neurotropic viruses capable of entering the brain through various mechanisms and generating an important inflammatory response that is capable of triggering neuropsychiatric manifestations. Several reports describe the appearance of different conditions, such as sleep problems, anxiety and depression disorders, acute psychotic disorders, encephalitis, and delirium, among others, associated with COVID-19 infection. We performed a literature review in PubMed, Springer, Nature, MDPI, and other scientific journals on the relationship between COVID-19 infection with the development and aggravation of neuropsychiatric manifestations explained by molecular changes secondary to SARS-CoV-2 where it was found that there is a relationship between the virus and the development of these manifestations. Prospective neuropsychiatric follow-up of people exposed to SARS-CoV-2 at different points in their lives, as well as their neuroimmunological status, is necessary to fully understand the long-term impact of COVID-19 on mental health. It is required to identify the risk of developing neuropsychiatric problems due to COVID-19 infection to provide better medical care from a multidisciplinary team and improve the prognosis of these patients as well as the treatment of long-term sequelae. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue How COVID-19 and Long COVID Changed Individuals and Communities)
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