Special Issue "Outbreak of a Novel Coronavirus: A Global Health Threat"

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 December 2020.

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Jianyong Wu
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA
Interests: data science; global environmental health; infectious diseases; spatial epidemiology
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) emerged in Wuhan in December 2019 and has become an ongoing epidemic in China. The outbreak is spreading rapidly. So far, over 60,000 cases have been confirmed and the death toll has surpassed 1500. Human infections by the virus were also reported in more than 20 countries outside China, such as Japan, Singapore, and Thailand. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak of the novel coronavirus a global health emergency

Currently, the priority is to contain the spreading of the virus and help patients to recover. Meanwhile, it is urgent to understand how the virus is transmitted between people, what factors lead to the outbreak, what are patterns and future trends of outbreak, and what are efficient ways to curb the outbreak and treat patients? To answer these questions, it needs researchers, doctors, and health care professionals from cross-disciplinary fields to work together to share data, experience, and insights.

This Special Issue solicits papers that help to understand the outbreak of a novel coronavirus from global health perspectives. Papers closely related to the topics below are particularly welcome:

  • Epidemiological characteristics of the outbreak of a novel coronavirus
  • Environmental fate and transmission pathway of a novel coronavirus;
  • Pattern recognition and prediction of the outbreak using data analytics
  • Experience and insight in preventing and curbing the outbreak  
  • Global health influence of the outbreak of a novel coronavirus

High quality research and review papers will be considered.

Dr. Jianyong Wu
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 papers will be 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 2300 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

  • Global health
  • Transmission pathway
  • Epidemiology
  • Pattern recognition
  • Predictive modeling
  • Prevention and control

Published Papers (21 papers)

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Open AccessArticle
The Recommended and Excessive Preventive Behaviors during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Community-Based Online Survey in China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(19), 6953; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17196953 - 23 Sep 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
COVID-19 presents unprecedented challenges to the global public health response. Preventive behaviors and keeping social distance are regarded as compelling ways to prevent COVID-19. This study focused on the sociological and psychological factors associated with proper and excessive preventive behaviors of the COVID-19 [...] Read more.
COVID-19 presents unprecedented challenges to the global public health response. Preventive behaviors and keeping social distance are regarded as compelling ways to prevent COVID-19. This study focused on the sociological and psychological factors associated with proper and excessive preventive behaviors of the COVID-19 outbreak in China. For the sample, we collected the data of 4788 participants who were surveyed between 4 April and 15 April 2020 from eight provinces in China. This study designed a self-filled questionnaire that included demographic information, six components of the Health Belief Model, and target preventive behaviors. Descriptive analysis, Chi-square test, logistic regression analysis, Mantel–Haenszel hierarchical analysis, and propensity score matching were employed in this study. The results showed that 54.7% of the participants had adequate basic prevention, 63.6% of the participants had adequate advanced prevention, and 5.8% of the participants practiced excessive prevention. The elder participants were less likely to engage in proper preventive behaviors. Perceived susceptibility, perceived benefits, perceived barriers, cues to action, and knowledge levels were associated with preventive behaviors. Excessive preventive behaviors in high-risk groups with suspected symptoms were associated with their extreme psychological condition, while the support from the community and family plays an important role in avoiding these behaviors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Outbreak of a Novel Coronavirus: A Global Health Threat)
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Open AccessArticle
Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Knowledge, Precaution Practice, and Associated Depression Symptoms among University Students in Korea, China, and Japan
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(18), 6671; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17186671 - 13 Sep 2020
Abstract
This study assessed university students’ knowledge and precaution practices of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in South Korea, China, and Japan, and investigated their depressive states during the pandemic. This cross-sectional survey collected data from 821 respondents, using an anonymous online questionnaire designed by the [...] Read more.
This study assessed university students’ knowledge and precaution practices of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in South Korea, China, and Japan, and investigated their depressive states during the pandemic. This cross-sectional survey collected data from 821 respondents, using an anonymous online questionnaire designed by the Yonsei Global Health Center, from 23 March to 20 April 2020, which included socio-demographic questions, knowledge and perceptions of COVID-19, preventative practices, and the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) scale to assess mental health. High proportions of respondents showed good knowledge of the transmission pathways and information related to COVID-19. Contact history as well as concerns about family members and the disease showed statistically significant distinctions by nationality and gender. On the whole, all participants reported good levels of preventative practices. The Chinese group reported the highest preventative practice scores; and females scored higher than males. Moreover, the Japanese group showed the most severe depressive states; overall, females experienced more severe depression than males. Thus, authorities should especially emphasize the importance of COVID-19 precautions to males. Educational departments and health authorities should observe the mental health of university adults during the pandemic and plan interventions to improve it. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Outbreak of a Novel Coronavirus: A Global Health Threat)
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Open AccessArticle
Relationships between Physical and Social Behavioural Changes and the Mental Status of Homebound Residents in Hong Kong during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(18), 6653; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17186653 - 12 Sep 2020
Abstract
In Hong Kong, social distancing has been adopted in order to minimise the spread of COVID-19. This study aims to examine the changes in physical health, mental health, and social well-being experienced by local residents who were homebound during the pandemic. An online [...] Read more.
In Hong Kong, social distancing has been adopted in order to minimise the spread of COVID-19. This study aims to examine the changes in physical health, mental health, and social well-being experienced by local residents who were homebound during the pandemic. An online questionnaire in both Chinese and English versions was completed by 590 eligible participants from 24 April to 13 May 2020. The questionnaire found that individuals aged 18 to 25 years spent more time resting and relaxing but experienced more physical strain. Working status was associated with social contact, with participants working full-time jobs scoring higher in “maintaining social communication via electronic means” and “avoiding social activities outside the home”. Additionally, approximately one third of the participants (29.7%) had moderate to severe depression, and participants aged 18 to 25 were found to have higher scores in PHQ-9. Changes in physical health and social contact were significantly associated with developing depressive symptoms. From the results, it is clear that the COVID-19 pandemic has the potential to exert a negative impact on the mental health status of individuals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Outbreak of a Novel Coronavirus: A Global Health Threat)
Open AccessArticle
An Examination on the Transmission of COVID-19 and the Effect of Response Strategies: A Comparative Analysis
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(16), 5687; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17165687 - 06 Aug 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
The major purpose of this paper was to examine the transmission of COVID-19 and the associated factors that affect the transmission. A qualitative analysis was conducted by comparing the COVID-19 transmission of six countries: China, Korea, Japan, Italy, the USA, and Brazil. This [...] Read more.
The major purpose of this paper was to examine the transmission of COVID-19 and the associated factors that affect the transmission. A qualitative analysis was conducted by comparing the COVID-19 transmission of six countries: China, Korea, Japan, Italy, the USA, and Brazil. This paper attempted to examine the mitigation effectiveness for the transmission of COVID-19 and the pandemic severity. Time to reach the peak of daily new confirmed cases and the maximum drop rate were used to measure the mitigation effectiveness, while the proportion of confirmed cases to population and the mortality rate were employed to evaluate the pandemic severity. Based on the mitigation effectiveness, the pandemic severity, and the mortality rate, the six sample countries were categorized into four types: high mitigation effectiveness vs. low pandemic severity, middle mitigation effectiveness vs. low pandemic severity, high mitigation effectiveness vs. high pandemic severity, and low mitigation effectiveness vs. high pandemic severity. The results found that Korea and China had relatively higher mitigation effectiveness and lower pandemic severity, while the USA and Brazil had the opposite. This paper suggests that viral testing together with contacts tracing, strict implementation of lockdown, and public cooperation play important roles in achieving a reduction in COVID-19 transmission. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Outbreak of a Novel Coronavirus: A Global Health Threat)
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Open AccessArticle
Factors Associated with Mental Health Results among Workers with Income Losses Exposed to COVID-19 in China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(15), 5627; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17155627 - 04 Aug 2020
Abstract
The outbreak and worldwide spread of COVID-19 has resulted in a high prevalence of mental health problems in China and other countries. This was a cross-sectional study conducted using an online survey and face-to-face interviews to assess mental health problems and the associated [...] Read more.
The outbreak and worldwide spread of COVID-19 has resulted in a high prevalence of mental health problems in China and other countries. This was a cross-sectional study conducted using an online survey and face-to-face interviews to assess mental health problems and the associated factors among Chinese citizens with income losses exposed to COVID-19. The degrees of the depression, anxiety, insomnia, and distress symptoms of our participants were assessed using the Chinese versions of the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9), the Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7 (GAD-7), the Insomnia Severity Index-7 (ISI-7), and the revised 7-item Impact of Event Scale (IES-7) scales, respectively, which found that the prevalence rates of depression, anxiety, insomnia, and distress caused by COVID-19 were 45.5%, 49.5%, 30.9%, and 68.1%, respectively. Multivariable logistic regression analysis was performed to identify factors associated with mental health outcomes among workers with income losses during COVID-19. Participants working in Hubei province with heavy income losses, especially pregnant women, were found to have a high risk of developing unfavorable mental health symptoms and may need psychological support or interventions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Outbreak of a Novel Coronavirus: A Global Health Threat)
Open AccessArticle
Design and Psychometric Analysis of the COVID-19 Prevention, Recognition and Home-Management Self-Efficacy Scale
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(13), 4653; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17134653 - 28 Jun 2020
Abstract
In order to control the spread of COVID-19, people must adopt preventive behaviours that can affect their day-to-day life. People’s self-efficacy to adopt preventive behaviours to avoid COVID-19 contagion and spread should be studied. The aim of this study was to develop and [...] Read more.
In order to control the spread of COVID-19, people must adopt preventive behaviours that can affect their day-to-day life. People’s self-efficacy to adopt preventive behaviours to avoid COVID-19 contagion and spread should be studied. The aim of this study was to develop and psychometrically test the COVID-19 prevention, detection, and home-management self-efficacy scale (COVID-19-SES). We conducted an observational cross-sectional study. Six-hundred and seventy-eight people participated in the study. Data were collected between March and May 2020. The COVID-19-SES’ validity (content, criterion, and construct), reliability (internal consistency and test-retest reliability), and legibility were studied. The COVID-19-SES’ reliability was high (Cronbach’s alpha = 0.906; intraclass correlation coefficient = 0.754). The COVID-19-SES showed good content validity (scale’s content validity index = 0.92) and good criterion validity when the participants’ results on the COVID-19-SES were compared to their general self-efficacy (r = 0.38; p < 0.001). Construct validity analysis revealed that the COVID-19-SES’ three-factor structure explained 52.12% of the variance found and it was congruent with the World Health Organisation’s recommendations to prevent COVID-19 contagion and spread. Legibility analysis showed that the COVID-19-SES is easy to read and understand by laypeople. The COVID-19-SES is a psychometrically robust instrument that allows for a valid and reliable assessment of people’s self-efficacy in preventing, detecting symptoms, and home-managing COVID-19. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Outbreak of a Novel Coronavirus: A Global Health Threat)
Open AccessArticle
Differences in Preventive Behaviors of COVID-19 between Urban and Rural Residents: Lessons Learned from A Cross-Sectional Study in China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(12), 4437; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17124437 - 20 Jun 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Purpose: The purpose of this study is to examine the differences in preventive behaviors of COVID-19 between urban and rural residents, as well as identify the factors that might contribute to such differences. Methods: Our online survey included 1591 participants from 31 provinces [...] Read more.
Purpose: The purpose of this study is to examine the differences in preventive behaviors of COVID-19 between urban and rural residents, as well as identify the factors that might contribute to such differences. Methods: Our online survey included 1591 participants from 31 provinces of China with 87% urban and 13% rural residents. We performed multiple linear regressions and path analysis to examine the relationship between rural status and behavioral intention, attitude, subjective norms, information appraisal, knowledge, variety of information source use, and preventive behaviors against COVID-19. Findings: Compared with urban residents, rural residents were less likely to perform preventive behaviors, more likely to hold a negative attitude toward the effectiveness of performing preventive behaviors, and more likely to have lower levels of information appraisal skills. We identified information appraisal as a significant factor that might contribute to the rural/urban differences in preventive behaviors against COVID-19 through attitude, subjective norms, and intention. We found no rural/urban differences in behavioral intention, subjective norms, knowledge about preventive behaviors, or the variety of interpersonal/media source use. Conclusions: As the first wave of the pandemic inundated urban areas, the current media coverage about COVID-19 prevention may not fully satisfy the specific needs of rural populations. Thus, rural residents were less likely to engage in a thoughtful process of information appraisal and adopt the appropriate preventive measures. Tailoring health messages to meet rural populations’ unique needs can be an effective strategy to promote preventive health behaviors against COVID-19. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Outbreak of a Novel Coronavirus: A Global Health Threat)
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Open AccessArticle
Exercising in Times of Lockdown: An Analysis of the Impact of COVID-19 on Levels and Patterns of Exercise among Adults in Belgium
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(11), 4144; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17114144 - 10 Jun 2020
Cited by 10
Abstract
Countries all over the world implemented lockdowns to counteract COVID-19. These lockdowns heavily limited people’s exercise possibilities. At the same time, experts advocated to remain physically active to prevent future health problems. Based on an online survey, this study examines adults’ exercise levels [...] Read more.
Countries all over the world implemented lockdowns to counteract COVID-19. These lockdowns heavily limited people’s exercise possibilities. At the same time, experts advocated to remain physically active to prevent future health problems. Based on an online survey, this study examines adults’ exercise levels and patterns during the COVID-19 lockdown in Belgium. Ordinal logistic regression analyses of 13,515 valid and population-weighted responses indicate a general increase in exercise frequencies, as well as in sedentary behavior. Except for people aged 55+, previously low active adults self-reported to exercise more during the lockdown. Among the people who were already high active before COVID-19, those above 55 years old, those with low education, those used to exercise with friends or in a sport club, and those who were not using online tools to exercise, self-reported to exercise less during the lockdown. Having less time, sitting more, and missing the familiar way and competitive element of exercising were the main reasons for a self-reported exercise reduction. Given the health risks associated with physical inactivity, results imply that governments should consider how those who were not reached can be encouraged to exercise during a lockdown. After all, additional COVID-19 lockdowns might be implemented in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Outbreak of a Novel Coronavirus: A Global Health Threat)
Open AccessArticle
Prediction of Epidemic Peak and Infected Cases for COVID-19 Disease in Malaysia, 2020
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(11), 4076; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17114076 - 08 Jun 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
The coronavirus COVID-19 has recently started to spread rapidly in Malaysia. The number of total infected cases has increased to 3662 on 05 April 2020, leading to the country being placed under lockdown. As the main public concern is whether the current situation [...] Read more.
The coronavirus COVID-19 has recently started to spread rapidly in Malaysia. The number of total infected cases has increased to 3662 on 05 April 2020, leading to the country being placed under lockdown. As the main public concern is whether the current situation will continue for the next few months, this study aims to predict the epidemic peak using the Susceptible–Exposed–Infectious–Recovered (SEIR) model, with incorporation of the mortality cases. The infection rate was estimated using the Genetic Algorithm (GA), while the Adaptive Neuro-Fuzzy Inference System (ANFIS) model was used to provide short-time forecasting of the number of infected cases. The results show that the estimated infection rate is 0.228 ± 0.013, while the basic reproductive number is 2.28 ± 0.13. The epidemic peak of COVID-19 in Malaysia could be reached on 26 July 2020, with an uncertain period of 30 days (12 July–11 August). Possible interventions by the government to reduce the infection rate by 25% over two or three months would delay the epidemic peak by 30 and 46 days, respectively. The forecasting results using the ANFIS model show a low Normalized Root Mean Square Error (NRMSE) of 0.041; a low Mean Absolute Percentage Error (MAPE) of 2.45%; and a high coefficient of determination (R2) of 0.9964. The results also show that an intervention has a great effect on delaying the epidemic peak and a longer intervention period would reduce the epidemic size at the peak. The study provides important information for public health providers and the government to control the COVID-19 epidemic. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Outbreak of a Novel Coronavirus: A Global Health Threat)
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Open AccessArticle
Distress and Resilience in the Days of COVID-19: Comparing Two Ethnicities
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(11), 3956; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17113956 - 03 Jun 2020
Cited by 5
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic is an ongoing epidemic of coronavirus disease, caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome, which has spread recently worldwide. Efforts to prevent the virus from spreading include travel restrictions, lockdowns as well as national or regional quarantines throughout the international community. [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic is an ongoing epidemic of coronavirus disease, caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome, which has spread recently worldwide. Efforts to prevent the virus from spreading include travel restrictions, lockdowns as well as national or regional quarantines throughout the international community. The major negative psychological outcome of the COVID-19 pandemic is the anxiety caused by it. The aim of the present study was to examine the level of concern and the contributions of modes of resilience, well-being and demographic attributes towards decreasing or enhancing anxiety and depression among two samples: Israeli Jews (majority group) and Israeli Arabs (minority group). These random samples included 605 Jews and 156 Arabs who participated in an internet survey. A previous study, which has been conducted in the context of terror attacks, has shown that compared to Israeli Jews, Israeli Arabs expressed a higher level of fear of war and lower levels of resilience supporting personality attributes. The results of the current study indicated a similar pattern that emerged in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic: the Israeli Arabs reported a higher level of distress and a lower level of resilience and well-being. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Outbreak of a Novel Coronavirus: A Global Health Threat)
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Open AccessArticle
The Psychological Impact of Confinement Linked to the Coronavirus Epidemic COVID-19 in Algeria
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(10), 3604; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17103604 - 21 May 2020
Cited by 4
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread in countries around the world. The impact of this virus is very great on populations following the application of total and partial containment measures. Our study aims to study the psychological impact of total and partial containment [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread in countries around the world. The impact of this virus is very great on populations following the application of total and partial containment measures. Our study aims to study the psychological impact of total and partial containment applied in Algeria, on 23 March 2020, following the spread of the virus COVID-19 and also studied the habits and behaviors of the Algerian population during this new way of life and this through a cross-sectional survey launched after three days from the start of confinement to quickly assess the impacts over the period from 23 March to 12 April 2020, by an online questionnaire which allowed us to obtain 678 responses from Internet users, who live in confinement in Algeria. According to the gender variable, our sample includes 405 men, or 59.7%, and 273 women, representing 40.3%. The results of the statistical analysis carried out using SPSS version 22.0 software showed that 50.3% of the respondents were in an anxious situation during these first three weeks of confinement. In addition, 48.2% feels stressed, 46.6% of the respondents confirmed to be feeling in a bad mood, and 47.4% do not stop thinking throughout the day about this epidemic and how to protect themselves. In addition, the study shows that 87.9% of the respondents in Algeria found it difficult to follow the confinement instructions. A significant change in the habits of the population was noted especially for the time of going to bed, the time of waking up, and the use of the Internet as well as the hours devoted to daily reading. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Outbreak of a Novel Coronavirus: A Global Health Threat)
Open AccessArticle
Emerging Adults and COVID-19: The Role of Individualism-Collectivism on Perceived Risks and Psychological Maladjustment
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(10), 3497; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17103497 - 17 May 2020
Cited by 7
Abstract
The outbreak of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has dramatically changed our habits and routines. Uncertainty, insecurity, instability for the present and future, and reduced autonomy and self-directedness, are common feelings at the time of COVID-19. These aspects are very important during emerging [...] Read more.
The outbreak of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has dramatically changed our habits and routines. Uncertainty, insecurity, instability for the present and future, and reduced autonomy and self-directedness, are common feelings at the time of COVID-19. These aspects are very important during emerging adulthood. In spite of the fact that medical reports suggest that youth are less prone to experience COVID-19 infections, emerging adults might be at higher risk for their psychological adjustment. Emerging adults showed higher concerns about their role as a possible asymptomatic carrier than being positive with COVID-19 themselves. Both worries and concerns about COVID-19 and psychological maladjustment may be related to cultural factors. Individualism, collectivism, equality, and hierarchy seem to be meaningful perspectives to take into account. A total of 1183 Italian emerging adults were asked to fill out an online survey during the second week of the national lockdown in Italy. Results showed they reported an accurate perceived knowledge about COVID-19. At the same time, they showed higher worries and concerns about COVID-19 for their relatives, followed by more general/social worries. The lowest score included worries about COVID-19 related to themselves. State anxiety and stress levels were above the normal cutoff, confirming the challenges that emerging adults are facing during the pandemic. On one hand, emerging adults’ collectivistic orientation was related to higher perceived risks of infection; on the other hand, it predicted lower psychological maladjustment, controlling for socio-demographic variables. The study suggests that to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and decrease levels of psychological maladjustment in emerging adulthood, individuals’ cultural orientation such as the wish of sharing common goals with others, interdependence, and sociability, have to be emphasized and promoted as protective factors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Outbreak of a Novel Coronavirus: A Global Health Threat)
Open AccessArticle
The Predictive Capacity of Air Travel Patterns during the Global Spread of the COVID-19 Pandemic: Risk, Uncertainty and Randomness
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(10), 3356; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17103356 - 12 May 2020
Cited by 4
Abstract
Air travel has a decisive role in the spread of infectious diseases at the global level. We present a methodology applied during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic that uses detailed aviation data at the final destination level in order to measure [...] Read more.
Air travel has a decisive role in the spread of infectious diseases at the global level. We present a methodology applied during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic that uses detailed aviation data at the final destination level in order to measure the risk of the disease spreading outside China. The approach proved to be successful in terms of identifying countries with a high risk of infected travellers and as a tool to monitor the evolution of the pandemic in different countries. The high number of undetected or asymptomatic cases of COVID-19, however, limits the capacity of the approach to model the full dynamics. As a result, the risk for countries with a low number of passengers from Hubei province appeared as low. Globalization and international aviation connectivity allow travel times that are much shorter than the incubation period of infectious diseases, a fact that raises the question of how to react in a potential new pandemic. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Outbreak of a Novel Coronavirus: A Global Health Threat)
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Open AccessArticle
Analysis of Imported Cases of COVID-19 in Taiwan: A Nationwide Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(9), 3311; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17093311 - 09 May 2020
Cited by 8
Abstract
In the early stages of the 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, containment of disease importation from epidemic areas was essential for outbreak control. This study is based on publicly accessible data on confirmed COVID-19 cases in Taiwan extracted from the Taiwan Centers [...] Read more.
In the early stages of the 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, containment of disease importation from epidemic areas was essential for outbreak control. This study is based on publicly accessible data on confirmed COVID-19 cases in Taiwan extracted from the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control website. We analysed the characteristics, infection source, symptom presentation, and route of identification of the 321 imported cases that were identified from 21 January to 6 April 2020. They were mostly returned Taiwanese citizens who had travelled to one or more of 37 countries for tourism, business, work, or study. Half of these cases developed symptoms before arrival, most of the remainder developed symptoms 1–13 days (mean 4.0 days) after arrival, and 3.4% never developed symptoms. Three-quarters of the cases had respiratory symptoms, 44.9% had fever, 13.1% lost smell or taste, and 7.2% had diarrhoea. Body temperature and symptom screening at airports identified 32.7% of the cases. Of the remainder, 27.7% were identified during home quarantining, 16.2% were identified via contact tracing, and 23.4% were reported by hospitals. Under the strict enforcement of these measures, the incidence of locally acquired COVID-19 cases in Taiwan remains sporadic. In conclusion, proactive border control measures are effective for preventing community transmission of this disease. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Outbreak of a Novel Coronavirus: A Global Health Threat)
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Open AccessArticle
Modeling Impact of Word of Mouth and E-Government on Online Social Presence during COVID-19 Outbreak: A Multi-Mediation Approach
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(8), 2954; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17082954 - 24 Apr 2020
Cited by 4
Abstract
Although social presence plays an essential role under general conditions, its role becomes significant for societal protection during the quarantine period in epidemic outbreak. In this study, we attempted to identify the role of E-government and COVID-19 word of mouth in terms of [...] Read more.
Although social presence plays an essential role under general conditions, its role becomes significant for societal protection during the quarantine period in epidemic outbreak. In this study, we attempted to identify the role of E-government and COVID-19 word of mouth in terms of their direct impact on online social presence during the outbreak as well as their impacts mediated by epidemic protection and attitudes toward epidemic outbreaks. For this purpose, a unique multi-mediation model is proposed to provide a new direction for research in the field of epidemic outbreaks and their control. Through random sampling, an online survey was conducted and data from 683participants were analyzed. Partial least squares structural equation modeling was used to test the relationships between the variables of interest. The study results revealed that the roles of E-government and COVID-19 word of mouth are positively related to online social presence during the outbreak. Epidemic protection and attitude toward epidemic outbreak were found to positively moderate the impact of the role of E-government and COVID-19 word of mouth on online social presence during the outbreak. The key findings of this study have both practical and academic implications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Outbreak of a Novel Coronavirus: A Global Health Threat)
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Open AccessArticle
Spatio-Temporal Patterns of the 2019-nCoV Epidemic at the County Level in Hubei Province, China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(7), 2563; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17072563 - 08 Apr 2020
Cited by 3
Abstract
Understanding the spatio-temporal characteristics or patterns of the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) epidemic is critical in effectively preventing and controlling this epidemic. However, no research analyzed the spatial dependency and temporal dynamics of 2019-nCoV. Consequently, this research aims to detect the spatio-temporal patterns [...] Read more.
Understanding the spatio-temporal characteristics or patterns of the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) epidemic is critical in effectively preventing and controlling this epidemic. However, no research analyzed the spatial dependency and temporal dynamics of 2019-nCoV. Consequently, this research aims to detect the spatio-temporal patterns of the 2019-nCoV epidemic using spatio-temporal analysis methods at the county level in Hubei province. The Mann–Kendall and Pettitt methods were used to identify the temporal trends and abrupt changes in the time series of daily new confirmed cases, respectively. The local Moran’s I index was applied to uncover the spatial patterns of the incidence rate, including spatial clusters and outliers. On the basis of the data from January 26 to February 11, 2020, we found that there were 11 areas with different types of temporal patterns of daily new confirmed cases. The pattern characterized by an increasing trend and abrupt change is mainly attributed to the improvement in the ability to diagnose the disease. Spatial clusters with high incidence rates during the period were concentrated in Wuhan Metropolitan Area due to the high intensity of spatial interaction of the population. Therefore, enhancing the ability to diagnose the disease and controlling the movement of the population can be confirmed as effective measures to prevent and control the regional outbreak of the epidemic. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Outbreak of a Novel Coronavirus: A Global Health Threat)
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Open AccessArticle
Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Mental Health and Quality of Life among Local Residents in Liaoning Province, China: A Cross-Sectional Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(7), 2381; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17072381 - 31 Mar 2020
Cited by 105
Abstract
Our study aimed to investigate the immediate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health and quality of life among local Chinese residents aged ≥18 years in Liaoning Province, mainland China. An online survey was distributed through a social media platform between January [...] Read more.
Our study aimed to investigate the immediate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health and quality of life among local Chinese residents aged ≥18 years in Liaoning Province, mainland China. An online survey was distributed through a social media platform between January and February 2020. Participants completed a modified validated questionnaire that assessed the Impact of Event Scale (IES), indicators of negative mental health impacts, social and family support, and mental health-related lifestyle changes. A total of 263 participants (106 males and 157 females) completed the study. The mean age of the participants was 37.7 ± 14.0 years, and 74.9% had a high level of education. The mean IES score in the participants was 13.6 ± 7.7, reflecting a mild stressful impact. Only 7.6% of participants had an IES score ≥26. The majority of participants (53.3%) did not feel helpless due to the pandemic. On the other hand, 52.1% of participants felt horrified and apprehensive due to the pandemic. Additionally, the majority of participants (57.8–77.9%) received increased support from friends and family members, increased shared feeling and caring with family members and others. In conclusion, the COVID-19 pandemic was associated with mild stressful impact in our sample, even though the COVID-19 pandemic is still ongoing. These findings would need to be verified in larger population studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Outbreak of a Novel Coronavirus: A Global Health Threat)
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Open AccessArticle
Prediction of Number of Cases of 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Using Social Media Search Index
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(7), 2365; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17072365 - 31 Mar 2020
Cited by 17
Abstract
Predicting the number of new suspected or confirmed cases of novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is crucial in the prevention and control of the COVID-19 outbreak. Social media search indexes (SMSI) for dry cough, fever, chest distress, coronavirus, and pneumonia were collected from [...] Read more.
Predicting the number of new suspected or confirmed cases of novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is crucial in the prevention and control of the COVID-19 outbreak. Social media search indexes (SMSI) for dry cough, fever, chest distress, coronavirus, and pneumonia were collected from 31 December 2019 to 9 February 2020. The new suspected cases of COVID-19 data were collected from 20 January 2020 to 9 February 2020. We used the lagged series of SMSI to predict new suspected COVID-19 case numbers during this period. To avoid overfitting, five methods, namely subset selection, forward selection, lasso regression, ridge regression, and elastic net, were used to estimate coefficients. We selected the optimal method to predict new suspected COVID-19 case numbers from 20 January 2020 to 9 February 2020. We further validated the optimal method for new confirmed cases of COVID-19 from 31 December 2019 to 17 February 2020. The new suspected COVID-19 case numbers correlated significantly with the lagged series of SMSI. SMSI could be detected 6–9 days earlier than new suspected cases of COVID-19. The optimal method was the subset selection method, which had the lowest estimation error and a moderate number of predictors. The subset selection method also significantly correlated with the new confirmed COVID-19 cases after validation. SMSI findings on lag day 10 were significantly correlated with new confirmed COVID-19 cases. SMSI could be a significant predictor of the number of COVID-19 infections. SMSI could be an effective early predictor, which would enable governments’ health departments to locate potential and high-risk outbreak areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Outbreak of a Novel Coronavirus: A Global Health Threat)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Systematic Review of Clinical Insights into Novel Coronavirus (CoVID-19) Pandemic: Persisting Challenges in U.S. Rural Population
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(12), 4279; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17124279 - 15 Jun 2020
Cited by 4
Abstract
(1) Introduction. A recent viral outbreak of novel coronavirus (CoVID-19) was declared as a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) due to its global public health concern. There has been an aggressive growth in the number of emerging cases suggesting rapid spread [...] Read more.
(1) Introduction. A recent viral outbreak of novel coronavirus (CoVID-19) was declared as a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) due to its global public health concern. There has been an aggressive growth in the number of emerging cases suggesting rapid spread of the virus. Since the first reported case of CoVID-19, there has been vast progress in understanding the dynamics of CoVID-19. However, there is an increasing evidence of epidemiological disparity in disease burden between urban and rural areas, with rural areas having minimal pandemic preparedness and their own healthcare challenges. Therefore, this review aims to provide insight on the pathogenesis and the transmission dynamics of CoVID-19 along with pharmacological and non-pharmacological intervention strategies to mitigate the clinical manifestation of this virus. This review also aims to assess existing challenges of the CoVID-19 pandemic in rural areas based on past pandemic experiences and the effect on rural population. (2) Methods. A literature review was conducted using databases such as PubMed, Science Direct, Academic Search Premier, ProQuest, and Google Scholar, along with information from governmental organizations such as Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO). (3) Results. The causative virus, with its likely zoonotic origin, has demonstrated high pathogenicity in humans through increasing human-to-human transmission leading to extensive mitigation strategies, including patient quarantine and mass “social distancing” measures. Although the clinical manifestation of symptoms is mild in majority of the virus-inflicted population, critical patients may present with pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome, exacerbated by pre-existing comorbidities, eventually leading to death. While effective coronavirus disease (CoVID-19)-specific vaccines and drugs are under clinical trials, several pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions have been adapted to manage symptoms and curtail the effect of the virus to prevent increasing morbidity and mortality. Several persisting challenges have been noted for mitigating CoVID-19 in rural areas, including the poor healthcare infrastructure, health literacy, pandemic preparedness along with the fact that majority of rural population are frail subjects with pre-existing comorbidities. (4) Discussion. The increasing rate of incidence of CoVID-19 presents its own challenges, burdening healthcare institutions and the global economy, and impacting the physical and mental health of people worldwide. Given the clinical insights into CoVID-19 and the challenges presented in this review for the U.S. rural population, mitigation strategies should be designed accordingly to minimize the morbidity and mortality of this contagion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Outbreak of a Novel Coronavirus: A Global Health Threat)
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Open AccessReview
The Need for the Right Socio-Economic and Cultural Fit in the COVID-19 Response in Sub-Saharan Africa: Examining Demographic, Economic Political, Health, and Socio-Cultural Differentials in COVID-19 Morbidity and Mortality
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(10), 3445; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17103445 - 15 May 2020
Cited by 9
Abstract
The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has spread quickly across the globe with devastating effects on the global economy as well as the regional and societies’ socio-economic fabrics and the way of life for vast populations. The nonhomogeneous continent faces local contextual complexities that require [...] Read more.
The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has spread quickly across the globe with devastating effects on the global economy as well as the regional and societies’ socio-economic fabrics and the way of life for vast populations. The nonhomogeneous continent faces local contextual complexities that require locally relevant and culturally appropriate COVID-19 interventions. This paper examines demographic, economic, political, health, and socio-cultural differentials in COVID-19 morbidity and mortality. The health systems need to be strengthened through extending the health workforce by mobilizing and engaging the diaspora, and implementing the International Health Regulations (2005) core capacities. In the absence of adequate social protection and welfare programs targeting the poor during the pandemic, sub-Saharan African countries need to put in place flexible but effective policies and legislation approaches that harness and formalise the informal trade and remove supply chain barriers. This could include strengthening cross-border trade facilities such as adequate pro-poor, gender-sensitive, and streamlined cross-border customs, tax regimes, and information flow. The emphasis should be on cross-border infrastructure that not only facilitates trade through efficient border administration but can also effectively manage cross-border health threats. There is an urgent need to strengthen social protection systems to make them responsive to crises, and embed them within human rights-based approaches to better support vulnerable populations and enact health and social security benefits. The COVI-19 response needs to adhere to the well-established ‘do no harm’ principle to prevent further damage or suffering as a result of the pandemic and examined through local lenses to inform peace-building initiatives that may yield long-term gains in the post-COVID-19 recovery efforts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Outbreak of a Novel Coronavirus: A Global Health Threat)

Other

Jump to: Research, Review

Open AccessComment
Is Exercise the Best Medicine during a COVID-19 Pandemic? Comment on Constandt, B.; Thibaut, E.; De Bosscher, V.; Scheerder, J.; Ricour, M.; Willem, A. Exercising in Times of Lockdown: An Analysis of the Impact of COVID-19 on Levels and Patterns of Exercise among Adults in Belgium. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 4144
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(16), 5730; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17165730 - 08 Aug 2020
Abstract
From Constandt et al.’s survey of 13,515 Belgium respondents, regular physical activity can be successfully initiated and sustained during a lockdown, with appropriate social distancing measures. Documentation that 77% of highly active people and 58% of low active people exercised as much or [...] Read more.
From Constandt et al.’s survey of 13,515 Belgium respondents, regular physical activity can be successfully initiated and sustained during a lockdown, with appropriate social distancing measures. Documentation that 77% of highly active people and 58% of low active people exercised as much or more following the institution of a nationwide lockdown was impressive, given that the cases of COVID-19 were accelerating at that time. The Belgian government’s central promotion of exercise, to boost both the mental and physical health of the population, likely contributed to the health, tolerance, and ultimate success of lockdown. In this commentary, we wish to pose a follow-up query which highlights the potential detrimental effects of intense exercise (competition) performed without social distancing measures. The proposed graphical abstract elucidates these possible risks, in contrast to the favorable results outlined in Constandt et al.’s study. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Outbreak of a Novel Coronavirus: A Global Health Threat)
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