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Special Issue "Public Health during and after the COVID-19 Pandemic"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Global Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 August 2022 | Viewed by 5127

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Paola Borrelli
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Medical, Oral and Biotechnological Sciences, Laboratory of Biostatistics, University G. d’Annunzio of Chieti-Pescara, Via dei Vestini 31, 66100 Chieti, Italy
Interests: public health; epidemiology; neurology; neurosurgery; pediatric neurology; ageing; environmental epidemiology; asbestos; mental health; children’s health; eating habits; physical activity; electronic health record (EHR)

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

On 11 March 2020, the World Health Organization declared the global pandemic of COVID-19. More than a year later, the pandemic has highlighted the fragility of the health system and the consequences for people’s wellbeing. The significant impact that the pandemic has had on public health has spared no part of the health system. Indeed, scientific evidence shows significant changes in access to primary and specialist care, available resources in terms of healthcare professionals, trends in chronic degenerative diseases, the effects of isolation on children, on adolescents and mental health in general, habits and lifestyles (nutrition and physical activity), delay in early diagnosis, and increased overall mortality. Not least, the pandemic has highlighted even more the existence of health inequalities such as chronic health conditions, and unequal living and working conditions have inexorably increased the prevalence and severity of COVID-19 infections.

This Special Issue of the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (IJERPH) focused on public health during and after the COVID-19 pandemic offers the opportunity to publish original articles dealing with various aspects related to public health. The aim is to offer, through different multidisciplinary approaches, wider knowledge on the effects and consequences of the pandemic and the change in health behaviors.

Dr. Paola Borrelli
Guest Editor

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. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly 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 2500 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

  • COVID-19 pandemic
  • public health
  • epidemiology
  • lockdown
  • post-COVID-19 syndrome
  • health impact
  • lifestyle changes
  • health equity

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

Article
Impacts of COVID-19 Pandemic on Dietary Consumption among Chinese Residents: Evidence from Provincial-Level Panel Data
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(13), 7612; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19137612 - 22 Jun 2022
Viewed by 220
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly affected people’s daily lives, including their dietary behaviors. Using a panel data set of 31 provinces from 2015 to 2020, this study employed two-way fixed effects (FE) models to examine the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on dietary [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly affected people’s daily lives, including their dietary behaviors. Using a panel data set of 31 provinces from 2015 to 2020, this study employed two-way fixed effects (FE) models to examine the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on dietary consumption among Chinese residents. The results showed that the COVID-19 pandemic positively affected residents’ consumption of grain, eggs, dairy, and white meat (poultry and aquatic products), while it had a negative effect on individuals’ red meat consumption in both urban and rural areas. These results were robust to different measures of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the number of confirmed cases, suspect cases, and dead cases. Comparatively, the changes in food consumption induced by the COVID-19 pandemic were more prominent for Chinese residents who lived in rural areas than urban areas. In addition, compared to their counterparts, the dietary consequences of the pandemic were more pronounced for residents living in the eastern region and regions with a high old-age dependency ratio and low illiteracy rate. Furthermore, the estimation results of the quantile regression model for panel data suggested that the COVID-19 pandemic had relatively larger impacts on the dietary consumption of Chinese residents at lower quantiles of food consumption compared with those at higher quantiles. Overall, the results of this study suggested that Chinese residents had a healthier diet after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. We discussed possible mechanisms, including health awareness, income, food supply and prices, and other behavioral changes during COVID-19 (e.g., physical activity and cooking). To further improve residents’ dietary behaviors and health, our study proposed relevant measures, such as increasing residents’ dietary knowledge, ensuring employment and income, and strengthening the food supply chain resilience during the pandemic. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Health during and after the COVID-19 Pandemic)
Article
One-Size-Fits-All Policies Are Unacceptable: A Sustainable Management and Decision-Making Model for Schools in the Post-COVID-19 Era
by , , and
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(10), 5913; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19105913 - 12 May 2022
Viewed by 752
Abstract
This paper proposes a sustainable management and decision-making model for COVID-19 control in schools, which makes improvements to current policies and strategies. It is not a case study of any specific school or country. The term one-size-fits-all has two meanings: being blind to [...] Read more.
This paper proposes a sustainable management and decision-making model for COVID-19 control in schools, which makes improvements to current policies and strategies. It is not a case study of any specific school or country. The term one-size-fits-all has two meanings: being blind to the pandemic, and conducting inflexible and harsh policies. The former strategy leads to more casualties and does potential harm to children. Conversely, under long-lasting strict policies, people feel exhausted. Therefore, some administrators pretend that they are working hard for COVID-19 control, and people pretend to follow pandemic control rules. The proposed model helps to alleviate these problems and improve management efficiency. A customized queue model is introduced to control social gatherings. An indoor–outdoor tracking system is established. Based on tracing data, we can assess people’s infection risk, and allocate medical resources more effectively in case of emergency. We consider both social and technical feasibility. Test results demonstrate the improvements and effectiveness of the model. In conclusion, the model has patched up certain one-size-fits-all strategies to balance pandemic control and normal life. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Health during and after the COVID-19 Pandemic)
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Article
How Does the COVID-19 Pandemic Affect People’s Willingness to Pay for Health in the Short and Long Term? A Longitudinal Study during and after the COVID-19 Pandemic in China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(3), 1568; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19031568 - 29 Jan 2022
Viewed by 838
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic has posed a substantial threat to people’s lives and aroused health concerns. This study aims at exploring the following questions. First, how does the COVID-19 pandemic affect people’s willingness to pay for health (WPH) in the short and long term? [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic has posed a substantial threat to people’s lives and aroused health concerns. This study aims at exploring the following questions. First, how does the COVID-19 pandemic affect people’s willingness to pay for health (WPH) in the short and long term? Second, what is the psychological mechanism underlying such an effect? Finally, what are the boundary conditions for this effect? To answer these questions, we conducted three longitudinal surveys. The first survey was launched in February 2020—the time of the most serious outbreak of COVID-19 in China. Data were obtained from 1548 participants through questionnaires on an online survey platform. The sample covered 297 prefecture-level cities in 31 provincial administrative regions. Subsequently, we conducted two follow-up surveys in August 2020 and July 2021. The samples of these surveys were randomly selected from the sample of the first survey. The findings showed that the pandemic promoted people’s WPH in the outbreak period. The fear of death and self-esteem mediated and moderated this effect, respectively. Moreover, the effect persisted for six months after the COVID-19 pandemic had been brought under control (August 2020). However, the effect disappeared after a year and a half (July 2021). These results indicate that the COVID-19 pandemic promoted people’s WPH and that this effect was sustained in the short term after the pandemic had been brought under control but not in the long term. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Health during and after the COVID-19 Pandemic)
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Article
Behavioral Changes, Adaptation, and Supports among Indonesian Female Sex Workers Facing Dual Risk of COVID-19 and HIV in a Pandemic
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(3), 1361; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19031361 - 26 Jan 2022
Viewed by 961
Abstract
The objective of this study is to explore the impacts of COVID-19 and changes taking place among the Indonesian female sex worker (FSW) community during the COVID-19 pandemic and the predictors of these changes. We conducted a cross-sectional online survey and selected the [...] Read more.
The objective of this study is to explore the impacts of COVID-19 and changes taking place among the Indonesian female sex worker (FSW) community during the COVID-19 pandemic and the predictors of these changes. We conducted a cross-sectional online survey and selected the participants using a purposive snowball sampling technique. Incentives were provided to participants in the form of a 5 USD e-wallet balance. Variables of interest included adaptation to online sex work, adherence to COVID-19 prevention measures during sex work, number of clients, income reduction, social support, condom access, and condom use frequency. Sociodemographic data and COVID-19 fear index values were also collected. Final analysis included 951 FSWs, of whom 36.4% of had adapted to online sex work and 48.6% had practiced COVID-19 prevention measures. Major reductions in client frequency and income were reported by 67.8% and 71.1% of respondents, respectively. However, only 36.3% of FSWs reported they had ever received any form of social support from any parties, public or private. Meanwhile, 16.7% encountered difficulties in accessing condoms and 12.5% reported less frequent condom use during the pandemic. Easy access to condoms was the main factor influencing the frequency of condom use. As expected, staying in employment protected FSWs from major income loss, while education and younger age predicted adaptive behavioral changes, such as taking up online sex work. The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted access to socioeconomic support systems and HIV prevention services among FSWs and has further exposed them to the dual jeopardy of HIV and COVID-19 infections. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Health during and after the COVID-19 Pandemic)
Article
Living Lab for Citizens’ Wellness: A Case of Maintaining and Improving a Healthy Diet under the COVID-19 Pandemic
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(3), 1254; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19031254 - 23 Jan 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 723
Abstract
The establishment and implementation of a healthy lifestyle is fundamental to public health and is an important issue for working-aged people, as it affects not only them but also the future generations. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and associated behavioural restrictions, lifestyles [...] Read more.
The establishment and implementation of a healthy lifestyle is fundamental to public health and is an important issue for working-aged people, as it affects not only them but also the future generations. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and associated behavioural restrictions, lifestyles have altered, and, in certain environments, significantly worsened. In the present study, we conducted a project to improve the intestinal environment by focussing on the dietary habits of participants, utilising the living laboratory as a social technology to explore how to adapt to this drastic environmental change. We held eight workshops for voluntary participants and implemented a self-monitoring process of recording dietary behaviours (n = 78) and testing the intestinal environment (n = 14). Through this initiative, we developed a personalised wellness enhancement programme based on collaboration with multiple stakeholders and a framework for using personal data for research and practical purposes. These results provide an approach for promoting voluntary participation and behavioural changes among people, especially under the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as a practical basis for the government, academia, and industry to intervene effectively in raising people’s awareness of health and wellness. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Health during and after the COVID-19 Pandemic)
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Article
Risk Perception, Perception of Collective Efficacy and Sleep Quality in Chinese Adults during COVID-19 Pandemic in Hong Kong: A Cross-Sectional Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(21), 11533; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182111533 - 03 Nov 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 882
Abstract
Background: Only a few studies have studied the link between risk perception and sleep in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The purpose of our study is to propose and test a theoretical model to understand the relationships between COVID-19 risk appraisals—risk perception [...] Read more.
Background: Only a few studies have studied the link between risk perception and sleep in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The purpose of our study is to propose and test a theoretical model to understand the relationships between COVID-19 risk appraisals—risk perception and perception of collective coordinated defense (PCCD) in particular—and subjective sleep quality in Chinese adults in Hong Kong during the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19-related fear and rumination were examined as potential mediators of the relationships. Methods: Data were collected using a self-report online questionnaire from a convenience sample of 224 Chinese adults during the fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in Hong Kong. Results: Risk perception and PCCD were found to predict poor sleep quality. Mediation analysis showed that both fear and rumination mediated the relationship between risk perception and sleep quality, whereas only fear mediated the relationship between PCCD and sleep quality. The model was an excellent fit to the data and accounted for 44% of the variance in sleep quality in Chinese adults. This study indicated that both perception of high risks of contracting COVID-19 and anticipations of collective disease preventive efforts had adverse effects on subjective sleep quality via increasing COVID-19-related fear. Conclusions: These findings underscore the need for addressing sleep problems induced by psychological consequences of the pandemic. While policy makers often deliver public messaging campaigns that frame disease prevention as a collective goal, developing evidence-based coping strategies to combat COVID-19 adverse impacts on psychological health is equally important. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Health during and after the COVID-19 Pandemic)
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: The Psychological Effects of a COVID-19 Lockdown on University Students of Naples, Federico II -Italy
Author: Paola Borrelli
Affiliation: Department of Medical, Oral and Biotechnological Sciences, Laboratory of Biostatistics, University G. d’Annunzio of Chieti-Pescara, Via dei Vestini 31, 66100 Chieti, Italy

Title: Living Lab for citizens’ wellness: A case of maintaining and improving a healthy diet under the COVID-19 pandemic
Authors: Shintaro Sengoku and  Natsuko Tabata
Affiliation: Life Style by Design Research Unit, Institute for Future Initiatives, University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan

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