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Special Issue "SARS-CoV2 and COVID-19 Outbreak: Lessons, Burning Points and Perspectives"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Evelyne Bischof (prev. Biskup)
E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
1. Department of Clinical Medicine, Shanghai University of Medicine and Health Sciences, Shanghai 201318, China
2. Department of Internal Medicine, University Hospital of Basel, 4051 Basel, Switzerland
3. Human Longevity, Inc., San Diego, CA 92121, USA
Interests: longevity medicine; medicine; clinical longevity; gerosciences; geroncology; gerocardiology; neurodegeneration; brain aging; longevity education; AI in medicine; deep learning; machine learning
Dr. Naomi I. Maria
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Center for Autoimmunity, Institute for Molecular Medicine, The Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research, Northwell Health, Manhasset, NY 11030, USA
Interests: The immune system in health and disease; with a particular interest in autoimmunity; immunomentabolism; how viruses evade immunity and immune dysregulation in pregnancy

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

As of January 2020, Covid19 has led to actual and figurative infections—the latter acting on an emotional and behavioral level and being mostly nurtured by data and their (mis-)interpretation, further spread by media and social networks. Both types of infections influence one another interactively. The events have revealed the severe impact of data illustration on subjective and collective perceptions, predominantly leading to counterproductive anxiety, mistrust, and stagnation.

The Special Issue provides a venue for authors from various disciplines to disseminate crucial information about the SARS-CoV2 virus and the associated outbreak of COVID19.

The scope of the issue shall encompass the following:

  • Original articles about the SARS-CoV2 (including pathology, virology, biology, transmission, etc.)
  • Original articles about the COVID19 (clinical and translational data)
  • Viewpoints (impactful reports, commentaries, and letters)
  • Perspectives (based on systematic reviews), such as predictions, estimations, comparisons to other viral entities, etc.
  • Innovations: drug development, original preventative measures, etc.

Dr. Evelyne Bischof
Dr. Naomi I. Maria
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

  • 2019-nCoV
  • Wuhan, China
  • coronavirus
  • COVID-19
  • pneumonia
  • comparative genomics
  • virus evolution
  • nomenclature
  • respiratory distress syndrome
  • species
  • taxonomy
  • virus
  • zoonosis
  • SARS-CoV

Published Papers (31 papers)

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Editorial

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Editorial
Towards Precision Medicine: Inclusion of Sex and Gender Aspects in COVID-19 Clinical Studies—Acting Now before It Is Too Late—A Joint Call for Action
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(10), 3715; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17103715 - 25 May 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2730
Abstract
The COVID-19 global pandemic is accelerating investigations for effective vaccines and repurposable validated therapeutics [...] Full article

Research

Jump to: Editorial, Review, Other

Article
Statistical Estimation of Effects of Implemented Government Policies on COVID-19 Situation in South Korea
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(4), 2144; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18042144 - 22 Feb 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 814
Abstract
Since the outbreak of novel SARS-COV-2, each country has implemented diverse policies to mitigate and suppress the spread of the virus. However, no systematic evaluation of these policies in their alleviation of the pandemic has been done. We investigate the impact of five [...] Read more.
Since the outbreak of novel SARS-COV-2, each country has implemented diverse policies to mitigate and suppress the spread of the virus. However, no systematic evaluation of these policies in their alleviation of the pandemic has been done. We investigate the impact of five indices derived from 12 policies in the Oxford COVID-19 Government Response Tracker dataset and the Korean government’s index, which is the social distancing level implemented by the Korean government in response to the changing pandemic situation. We employed segmented Poisson model for this analysis. In conclusion, health and the Korean government indices are most consistently effective (with negative coefficients), while the restriction and stringency indexes are mainly effective with lagging (1~10 days), as intuitively daily confirmed cases of a given day is affected by the policies implemented days before, which shows that a period of time is required before the impact of some policies can be observed. The health index demonstrates the importance of public information campaign, testing policy and contact tracing, while the government index shows the importance of social distancing guidelines in mitigating the spread of the virus. These results imply the important roles of these polices in mitigation of the spread of COVID-19 disease. Full article
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Article
Application of Lean 6s Methodology in an Engineering Education Environment during the SARS-CoV-2 Pandemic
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(24), 9407; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17249407 - 15 Dec 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 694
Abstract
In this work, the application of the Lean 6S methodology is exposed, which includes the Safety-Security activity in response to the demands caused by the epidemiological situation due to exposure to SARS-CoV-2, as well as its implementation through a standardized process in n [...] Read more.
In this work, the application of the Lean 6S methodology is exposed, which includes the Safety-Security activity in response to the demands caused by the epidemiological situation due to exposure to SARS-CoV-2, as well as its implementation through a standardized process in n higher education environment in the engineering field. The application of methodologies based on lean principles in the organizational system of an educational institution, causes an impact on the demands of organizational efficiency, where innovation and continuous improvement mark the path to success. The Lean 6S methodology, based on the development of six phases, guarantees, thanks to the impact of all its phases and especially of three of them: cleaning, standardize and safety, the control of the health risk against SARS-CoV-2. This guarantee is achieved through the permanent review of safety in the workplace. The areas of selected implementation to verify the effect have been the essential spaces for the development of the teaching activity: center accesses, learning rooms and practical laboratories. The laboratories are adapted to the security and organization conditions that are required in the regulations required by the Occupational Risk Prevention Services against exposure to SARS-CoV-2, since the appropriate protective equipment for the risk level is reviewed, the ordering of the workstations, the class attendance through the shifts organization and the rearrangement of the common places where the maintenance of a minimum interpersonal safety distance between the teaching staff, auxiliary services and students is guaranteed. The effort of the teaching staff in terms of following the established rules is notably increased. To balance this dedication, it is necessary to increase and rely on auxiliary personnel who guarantee rules compliance control in different spaces than the classroom and the laboratory. Full article
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Article
Associations between COVID-19 Incidence Rates and the Exposure to PM2.5 and NO2: A Nationwide Observational Study in Italy
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(24), 9318; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17249318 - 13 Dec 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3181
Abstract
The COVID-19 outbreak disproportionately affected the elderly and areas with higher population density. Among the multiple factors possibly involved, a role for air pollution has also been hypothesized. This nationwide observational study demonstrated the significant positive relationship between COVID-19 incidence rates and PM2.5 [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 outbreak disproportionately affected the elderly and areas with higher population density. Among the multiple factors possibly involved, a role for air pollution has also been hypothesized. This nationwide observational study demonstrated the significant positive relationship between COVID-19 incidence rates and PM2.5 and NO2 levels in Italy, both considering the period 2016–2020 and the months of the epidemic, through univariate regression models, after logarithmic transformation of the variables, as the data were not normally distributed. That relationship was confirmed by a multivariate analysis showing the combined effect of the two pollutants, adjusted for the old-age index and population density. An increase in PM2.5 and NO2 concentrations by one unit (1 µg/m3) corresponded to an increase in incidence rates of 1.56 and 1.24 × 104 people, respectively, taking into account the average levels of air pollutants in the period 2016–2020, and 2.79 and 1.24 × 104 people during March–May 2020. Considering the entire epidemic period (March–October 2020), these increases were 1.05 and 1.01 × 104 people, respectively, and could explain 59% of the variance in COVID-19 incidence rates (R2 = 0.59). This evidence could support the implementation of targeted responses by focusing on areas with low air quality to mitigate the spread of the disease. Full article
Article
Analysis of the Impact of Health Beliefs and Resource Factors on Preventive Behaviors against the COVID-19 Pandemic
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(22), 8666; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17228666 - 22 Nov 2020
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 1567
Abstract
The global spread of COVID-19 requires not only national-level responses but also active compliance with individual-level prevention measures. Because COVID-19 is an infectious disease that spreads through human contact, it is impossible to end its spread without individuals’ active cooperation and preventive behavior. [...] Read more.
The global spread of COVID-19 requires not only national-level responses but also active compliance with individual-level prevention measures. Because COVID-19 is an infectious disease that spreads through human contact, it is impossible to end its spread without individuals’ active cooperation and preventive behavior. This study analyzes the effects of health beliefs and resource factors on behaviors to prevent COVID-19. In particular, it analyzes how resource factors moderate the impact of health beliefs on preventive behavior. A regression analysis showed that gender (female), age, number of elderly people in one’s family, perceived severity, perceived benefit, self-efficacy, poor family health, media exposure, knowledge, personal health status, and social support positively affected preventive actions, whereas perceived susceptibility negatively affected them. In explaining preventive actions, self-efficacy had the greatest explanatory power, followed by gender (female), knowledge, personal health status, perceived severity, and social support. In addition, an analysis of moderating effects shows that resource variables, such as education level, personal health status, and social support, play moderating roles in inducing preventive actions. Full article
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Article
High Probability of Long Diagnostic Delay in Coronavirus Disease 2019 Cases with Unknown Transmission Route in Japan
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(22), 8655; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17228655 - 21 Nov 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1459
Abstract
Long diagnostic delays (LDDs) in patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) might decrease the effectiveness of patient isolation in reducing subsequent transmission. We assumed that direction of government considerably increased probability of LDD among COVID-19 cases with unknown exposure in Japan. This study [...] Read more.
Long diagnostic delays (LDDs) in patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) might decrease the effectiveness of patient isolation in reducing subsequent transmission. We assumed that direction of government considerably increased probability of LDD among COVID-19 cases with unknown exposure in Japan. This study aimed to investigate association of route of case detection and proportion of LDD of COVID-19 in Japan. We included confirmed COVID-19 patients with symptom onset between the ninth and eleventh week in 2020, in 6 prefectures of Japan. LDD was defined as the duration between COVID-19 symptom onset and confirmation ≥6 days. We used multivariable logistic regression analyses to elucidate factors associated with LDD. The mean diagnostic delay for 364 cases was 6.3 days. Proportion of LDD was 38% for cases with known exposure, and 65% for cases with unknown exposure. The probability of LDD in cases with unknown exposure was significantly higher than that for known exposure cases (adjusted odds ratio: 2.38, 95% confidence interval: 1.354–4.21). Early PCR test after symptom onset, strengthening of PCR test capacity, and investigations to study impact of high proportion of LDD in cases without known exposure might be necessary. Full article
Article
Clinical Characteristics and Survival Analysis in a Small Sample of Older COVID-19 Patients with Defined 60-Day Outcome
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(22), 8362; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17228362 - 12 Nov 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1275
Abstract
The older population is one of the most vulnerable to experience adverse outcomes of COVID-19. Exploring different clinical features that may act as detrimental to this population’s survival is pivotal for recognizing the highest risk individuals for poor outcome. We thus aimed to [...] Read more.
The older population is one of the most vulnerable to experience adverse outcomes of COVID-19. Exploring different clinical features that may act as detrimental to this population’s survival is pivotal for recognizing the highest risk individuals for poor outcome. We thus aimed to characterize the clinical differences between 60-day survivors and non-survivors, as well as analyze variables influencing survival in the first older adults hospitalized in Poznan, Poland, with COVID-19. Symptoms, comorbidities, complications, laboratory results, and functional capacity regarding the first 50 older patients (≥60 years) hospitalized due to COVID-19 were retrospectively studied. Functional status before admission (dependent/independent) was determined based on medical history. The 60-day survivors (n = 30/50) and non-survivors (n = 20/50) were compared across clinical parameters. The patients had a mean age of 74.8 ± 9.4 years. Overall, 20/50 patients died during hospitalization, with no further fatal outcomes reported during the 60-day period. The non-survivors were on average older (78.3 ± 9.7 years), more commonly experienced concurrent heart disease (75%), and displayed functional dependence (65%) (p < 0.05). When assessing the variables influencing survival (age, heart disease, and functional dependence), using a multivariate proportional hazards regression, functional dependence (requiring assistance in core activities of daily living) was the main factor affecting 60-day survival (HR, 3.34; 95% CI: 1.29–8.63; p = 0.01). In our study, functional dependence was the most important prognostic factor associated with mortality. Elderly with COVID-19 who required assistance in core activities of daily living prior to hospitalization had a three times increased risk to experience mortality, as compared to those with complete independence. Exploring geriatric approaches, such as assessment of functional capacity, may assist in constructing comprehensive survival prognosis in the elderly COVID-19 population. Full article
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Article
Fast Response to Superspreading: Uncertainty and Complexity in the Context of COVID-19
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(21), 7884; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17217884 - 27 Oct 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2070
Abstract
Although the first coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) wave has peaked with the second wave underway, the world is still struggling to manage potential systemic risks and unpredictability of the pandemic. A particular challenge is the “superspreading” of the virus, which starts abruptly, is [...] Read more.
Although the first coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) wave has peaked with the second wave underway, the world is still struggling to manage potential systemic risks and unpredictability of the pandemic. A particular challenge is the “superspreading” of the virus, which starts abruptly, is difficult to predict, and can quickly escalate into medical and socio-economic emergencies that contribute to long-lasting crises challenging our current ways of life. In these uncertain times, organizations and societies worldwide are faced with the need to develop appropriate strategies and intervention portfolios that require fast understanding of the complex interdependencies in our world and rapid, flexible action to contain the spread of the virus as quickly as possible, thus preventing further disastrous consequences of the pandemic. We integrate perspectives from systems sciences, epidemiology, biology, social networks, and organizational research in the context of the superspreading phenomenon to understand the complex system of COVID-19 pandemic and develop suggestions for interventions aimed at rapid responses. Full article
Article
Assessment of the Consultation Rate with General Practitioners in the Initial Phase of the COVID-19 Pandemic
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(21), 7710; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17217710 - 22 Oct 2020
Viewed by 694
Abstract
Background: The COVID-19 pandemic affected the functioning of healthcare systems (HSs) in a way that was difficult to foresee earlier. It quickened the introduction of e-medicine, and changed the manner and number of services provided in the open medical setting. Aim: To assess [...] Read more.
Background: The COVID-19 pandemic affected the functioning of healthcare systems (HSs) in a way that was difficult to foresee earlier. It quickened the introduction of e-medicine, and changed the manner and number of services provided in the open medical setting. Aim: To assess variations in the consultation rate of patients in primary healthcare centers (PHCs) in consecutive months of the pandemic. Method: Data collected from two PHCs located in Olsztyn (Poland) were analyzed retrospectively. Collectively, these two centers provide care for approximately 20,000 inhabitants and perform approximately 100,000 medical services annually. The analysis was based on data covering the period April–July of the years 2010–2020, consisting in total of 337,510 medical services records. Results: A large, statistically significant decrease in the consultation rate (consultation rate understood as the number of individuals seeking consultation in relation to the number of people under care in a given time period) was revealed in each age group in the initial phase of the pandemic. In consecutive months, the approximated consultation rate achieved mean long-term values. Conclusions. The largest reduction in the consultation rate was revealed in the youngest age group, with the smallest occurring in the oldest. In the group of patients older than 65 years of age, the consultation rate after 3 months of the pandemic was the same as before the outbreak. Variations in the consultation rate were independent of the epidemiological situation. During the study, we observed an increased level of the administrative and paperwork activities carried out by PHC physicians. Full article
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Article
Citation Network Analysis of the Novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(20), 7690; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17207690 - 21 Oct 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 965
Abstract
Background: The first outbreaks of the new coronavirus disease, named COVID-19, occurred at the end of December 2019. This disease spread quickly around the world, with the United States, Brazil and Mexico being the countries the most severely affected. This study aims to [...] Read more.
Background: The first outbreaks of the new coronavirus disease, named COVID-19, occurred at the end of December 2019. This disease spread quickly around the world, with the United States, Brazil and Mexico being the countries the most severely affected. This study aims to analyze the relationship between different publications and their authors through citation networks, as well as to identify the research areas and determine which publication has been the most cited. Methods: The search for publications was carried out through the Web of Science database using terms such as “COVID-19” and “SARS-CoV-2” for the period between January and July 2020. The Citation Network Explorer software was used for publication analysis. Results: A total of 14,335 publications were found with 42,374 citations generated in the network, with June being the month with the largest number of publications. The most cited publication was “Clinical Characteristics of Coronavirus Disease 2019 in China” by Guan et al., published in April 2020. Nine groups comprising different research areas in this field, including clinical course, psychology, treatment and epidemiology, were found using the clustering functionality. Conclusions: The citation network offers an objective and comprehensive analysis of the main papers on COVID-19 and SARS-CoV-2. Full article
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Article
A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Hospitalised Current Smokers and COVID-19
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(20), 7394; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17207394 - 11 Oct 2020
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 2344
Abstract
SARS-CoV-2 is a new coronavirus that has caused a worldwide pandemic. It produces severe acute respiratory disease (COVID-19), which is fatal in many cases, characterised by the cytokine release syndrome (CRS). According to the World Health Organization, those who smoke are likely to [...] Read more.
SARS-CoV-2 is a new coronavirus that has caused a worldwide pandemic. It produces severe acute respiratory disease (COVID-19), which is fatal in many cases, characterised by the cytokine release syndrome (CRS). According to the World Health Organization, those who smoke are likely to be more vulnerable to infection. Here, in order to clarify the epidemiologic relationship between smoking and COVID-19, we present a systematic literature review until 28th April 2020 and a meta-analysis. We included 18 recent COVID-19 clinical and epidemiological studies based on smoking patient status from 720 initial studies in China, the USA, and Italy. The percentage of hospitalised current smokers was 7.7% (95% CI: 6.9–8.4) in China, 2.3% (95% CI: 1.7–2.9) in the USA and 7.6% (95% CI: 4.2–11.0) in Italy. These percentages were compared to the smoking prevalence of each country and statistically significant differences were found in them all (p < 0.0001). By means of the meta-analysis, we offer epidemiological evidence showing that smokers were statistically less likely to be hospitalised (OR = 0.18, 95% CI: 0.14–0.23, p < 0.01). In conclusion, the analysis of data from 18 studies shows a much lower percentage of hospitalised current smokers than expected. As more studies become available, this trend should be checked to obtain conclusive results and to explore, where appropriate, the underlying mechanism of the severe progression and adverse outcomes of COVID-19. Full article
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Article
Epidemiology of and Risk Factors for COVID-19 Infection among Health Care Workers: A Multi-Centre Comparative Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(19), 7149; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17197149 - 29 Sep 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1582
Abstract
Healthcare workers (HCWs) worldwide are putting themselves at high risks of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) by treating a large number of patients while lacking protective equipment. We aim to provide a scientific basis for preventing and controlling the COVID-19 infection among HCWs. We [...] Read more.
Healthcare workers (HCWs) worldwide are putting themselves at high risks of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) by treating a large number of patients while lacking protective equipment. We aim to provide a scientific basis for preventing and controlling the COVID-19 infection among HCWs. We used data on COVID-19 cases in the city of Wuhan to compare epidemiological characteristics between HCWs and non-HCWs and explored the risk factors for infection and deterioration among HCWs based on hospital settings. The attack rate (AR) of HCWs in the hospital can reach up to 11.9% in Wuhan. The time interval from symptom onset to diagnosis in HCWs and non-HCWs dropped rapidly over time. From mid-January, the median time interval of HCW cases was significantly shorter than in non-HCW cases. Cases of HCWs and non-HCWs both clustered in northwestern urban districts rather than in rural districts. HCWs working in county-level hospitals in high-risk areas were more vulnerable to COVID-19. HCW cases working in general, ophthalmology, and respiratory departments were prone to deteriorate compared with cases working in the infection department. The AR of COVID-19 in HCWs are higher than in non-HCWs. Multiple factors in hospital settings may play important roles in the transmission of COVID-19. Effective measures should be enhanced to prevent HCWs from COVID-19 infection. Full article
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Article
The Effect of Strict State Measures on the Epidemiologic Curve of COVID-19 Infection in the Context of a Developing Country: A Simulation from Jordan
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(18), 6530; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17186530 - 08 Sep 2020
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 1668
Abstract
COVID-19 has posed an unprecedented global public health threat and caused a significant number of severe cases that necessitated long hospitalization and overwhelmed health services in the most affected countries. In response, governments initiated a series of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) that led to [...] Read more.
COVID-19 has posed an unprecedented global public health threat and caused a significant number of severe cases that necessitated long hospitalization and overwhelmed health services in the most affected countries. In response, governments initiated a series of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) that led to severe economic and social impacts. The effect of these intervention measures on the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic are not well investigated within developing country settings. This study simulated the trajectories of the COVID-19 pandemic curve in Jordan between February and May and assessed the effect of Jordan’s strict NPI measures on the spread of COVID-19. A modified susceptible, exposed, infected, and recovered (SEIR) epidemic model was utilized. The compartments in the proposed model categorized the Jordanian population into six deterministic compartments: suspected, exposed, infectious pre-symptomatic, infectious with mild symptoms, infectious with moderate to severe symptoms, and recovered. The GLEAMviz client simulator was used to run the simulation model. Epidemic curves were plotted for estimated COVID-19 cases in the simulation model, and compared against the reported cases. The simulation model estimated the highest number of total daily new COVID-19 cases, in the pre-symptomatic compartmental state, to be 65 cases, with an epidemic curve growing to its peak in 49 days and terminating in a duration of 83 days, and a total simulated cumulative case count of 1048 cases. The curve representing the number of actual reported cases in Jordan showed a good pattern compatibility to that in the mild and moderate to severe compartmental states. The reproduction number under the NPIs was reduced from 5.6 to less than one. NPIs in Jordan seem to be effective in controlling the COVID-19 epidemic and reducing the reproduction rate. Early strict intervention measures showed evidence of containing and suppressing the disease. Full article
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Article
Incorrect Use of Face Masks during the Current COVID-19 Pandemic among the General Public in Japan
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(18), 6484; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17186484 - 06 Sep 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2706
Abstract
Since the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, the use of face masks by healthy individuals for prevention has been attracting public attention. However, efficacy depends on proper usage. We set out to determine the prevalence of wearing masks to prevent COVID-19 and compliance [...] Read more.
Since the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, the use of face masks by healthy individuals for prevention has been attracting public attention. However, efficacy depends on proper usage. We set out to determine the prevalence of wearing masks to prevent COVID-19 and compliance with appropriate measures for the correct use of face masks among the general public in Japan where wearing medical masks is a “cultural” normality. This cross-sectional study was based on an internet-based survey completed by 2141 people (50.8% men, aged 20–79 years) who were selected among registrants of an Internet research company between 1 April and 6 April 2020. Participants were asked to indicate how often they wore masks for prevention and to what extent they practiced appropriate measures suggested by the World Health Organization. The prevalence of wearing masks was 80.9% and compliance rates with appropriate measures ranged from 38.3% to 83.5%. Only 23.1% complied with all recommendations. Compliance rates were overall low in men and persons with low household incomes. Our results, hence show that many citizens implement inaccurate measures when using face masks. Therefore, providing guidance on correct usage is essential when encouraging the use of face masks to prevent COVID-19. Full article
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Article
COVID-WAREHOUSE: A Data Warehouse of Italian COVID-19, Pollution, and Climate Data
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(15), 5596; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17155596 - 03 Aug 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1503
Abstract
The management of the COVID-19 pandemic presents several unprecedented challenges in different fields, from medicine to biology, from public health to social science, that may benefit from computing methods able to integrate the increasing available COVID-19 and related data (e.g., pollution, demographics, climate, [...] Read more.
The management of the COVID-19 pandemic presents several unprecedented challenges in different fields, from medicine to biology, from public health to social science, that may benefit from computing methods able to integrate the increasing available COVID-19 and related data (e.g., pollution, demographics, climate, etc.). With the aim to face the COVID-19 data collection, harmonization and integration problems, we present the design and development of COVID-WAREHOUSE, a data warehouse that models, integrates and stores the COVID-19 data made available daily by the Italian Protezione Civile Department and several pollution and climate data made available by the Italian Regions. After an automatic ETL (Extraction, Transformation and Loading) step, COVID-19 cases, pollution measures and climate data, are integrated and organized using the Dimensional Fact Model, using two main dimensions: time and geographical location. COVID-WAREHOUSE supports OLAP (On-Line Analytical Processing) analysis, provides a heatmap visualizer, and allows easy extraction of selected data for further analysis. The proposed tool can be used in the context of Public Health to underline how the pandemic is spreading, with respect to time and geographical location, and to correlate the pandemic to pollution and climate data in a specific region. Moreover, public decision-makers could use the tool to discover combinations of pollution and climate conditions correlated to an increase of the pandemic, and thus, they could act in a consequent manner. Case studies based on data cubes built on data from Lombardia and Puglia regions are discussed. Our preliminary findings indicate that COVID-19 pandemic is significantly spread in regions characterized by high concentration of particulate in the air and the absence of rain and wind, as even stated in other works available in literature. Full article
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Article
Risk Interactions of Coronavirus Infection across Age Groups after the Peak of COVID-19 Epidemic
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(14), 5246; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17145246 - 21 Jul 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1072
Abstract
Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has incurred significant disease burden worldwide, particularly on the elderly population. This study aims to explore how risks of coronavirus infection interact across age groups using data from South Korea. Methods: Daily new COVID-19 cases from 10 March to [...] Read more.
Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has incurred significant disease burden worldwide, particularly on the elderly population. This study aims to explore how risks of coronavirus infection interact across age groups using data from South Korea. Methods: Daily new COVID-19 cases from 10 March to 30 April 2020 were scraped from online open sources. A multivariate vector autoregressive model for time series of count data was used to examine the risk interactions across age groups. Case counts from previous days were included as predictors to dynamically examine the change of risk patterns. Results: In South Korea, the risk of coronavirus infection among elderly people was significantly affected by other age groups. An increase in virus infection among people aged 20–39 was associated with a double risk of infection among elderly people. Meanwhile, an increase in virus infection among elderly people was also significantly associated with risks of infection among other age groups. The risks of infection among younger people were relatively unaffected by that of other age groups. Conclusions: Protecting elderly people from coronavirus infection could not only reduce the risk of infection among themselves but also ameliorate the risks of virus infection among other age groups. Such interventions should be effective and for the long term. Full article
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Article
Conspiracy Beliefs Are Associated with Lower Knowledge and Higher Anxiety Levels Regarding COVID-19 among Students at the University of Jordan
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(14), 4915; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17144915 - 08 Jul 2020
Cited by 28 | Viewed by 4220
Abstract
The world has been afflicted heavily by the burden of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) that overwhelmed health care systems and caused severe economic and educational deficits, in addition to anxiety among the public. The main aim of this study was to evaluate the [...] Read more.
The world has been afflicted heavily by the burden of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) that overwhelmed health care systems and caused severe economic and educational deficits, in addition to anxiety among the public. The main aim of this study was to evaluate the mutual effects of belief that the pandemic was the result of a conspiracy on knowledge and anxiety levels among students at the University of Jordan (UJ). An electronic-based survey was conducted between 29 March, 2020 and 31 March, 2020. The targeted population involved all undergraduate and postgraduate students from the health, scientific and humanities schools at UJ. Survey sections included 26 items on: socio-demographic information, knowledge and sources of information about the disease, attitude towards the false notion that COVID-19 stemmed from a conspiracy and items to assess the anxiety level among students during the quarantine period. The total number of participants was 1540 students. The mean age of study participants was 22 years and females predominated the study population (n = 1145, 74.4%). The majority of participants perceived the disease as moderately dangerous (n = 1079, 70.1%). Males, Jordanians and participants with lower income were more inclined to feel that COVID-19 is very dangerous. A lower level of knowledge and a higher level of anxiety about COVID-19 were associated with the belief that the disease is part of a conspiracy. Females and participants with lower income were more likely to believe that the disease is related to conspiracy. Belief in conspiracy regarding the origin of COVID-19 was associated with misinformation about the availability of a vaccine and the therapeutic use of antibiotics for COVID-19 treatment. The Ministry of Health in Jordan was the most common source of information about COVID-19 reported by the participants (n = 1018). The false belief that COVID-19 was the result of a global conspiracy could be the consequence of a lower level of knowledge about the virus and could lead to a higher level of anxiety, which should be considered in the awareness tools of various media platforms about the current pandemic. Full article
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Article
Redesigning Portable Health Clinic Platform as a Remote Healthcare System to Tackle COVID-19 Pandemic Situation in Unreached Communities
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(13), 4709; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17134709 - 30 Jun 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1509
Abstract
Medical staff carry an inordinate risk of infection from patients, and many doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers are affected by COVID-19 worldwide. The unreached communities with noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) such as chronic cardiovascular, respiratory, endocrine, digestive, or renal diseases became more vulnerable [...] Read more.
Medical staff carry an inordinate risk of infection from patients, and many doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers are affected by COVID-19 worldwide. The unreached communities with noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) such as chronic cardiovascular, respiratory, endocrine, digestive, or renal diseases became more vulnerable during this pandemic situation. In both cases, Remote Healthcare Systems (RHS) may help minimize the risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission. This study used the WHO guidelines and Design Science Research (DSR) framework to redesign the Portable Health Clinic (PHC), an RHS, for the containment of the spread of COVID-19 as well as proposed corona logic (C-Logic) for the main symptoms of COVID-19. Using the distributed service platform of PHC, a trained healthcare worker with appropriate testing kits can screen high-risk individuals and can help optimize triage to medical services. PHC with its new triage algorithm (C-Logic) classifies the patients according to whether the patient needs to move to a clinic for a PCR test. Through modified PHC service, we can help people to boost their knowledge, attitude (feelings/beliefs), and self-efficacy to execute preventing measures. Our initial examination of the suitability of the PHC and its associated technologies as a key contributor to public health responses is designed to “flatten the curve”, particularly among unreached high-risk NCD populations in developing countries. Theoretically, this study contributes to design science research by introducing a modified healthcare providing model. Full article
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Article
Black–White Risk Differentials in COVID-19 (SARS-COV2) Transmission, Mortality and Case Fatality in the United States: Translational Epidemiologic Perspective and Challenges
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(12), 4322; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17124322 - 17 Jun 2020
Cited by 48 | Viewed by 6343
Abstract
Background: Social and health inequities predispose vulnerable populations to adverse morbidity and mortality outcomes of epidemics and pandemics. While racial disparities in cumulative incidence (CmI) and mortality from the influenza pandemics of 1918 and 2009 implicated Blacks with survival disadvantage relative to Whites [...] Read more.
Background: Social and health inequities predispose vulnerable populations to adverse morbidity and mortality outcomes of epidemics and pandemics. While racial disparities in cumulative incidence (CmI) and mortality from the influenza pandemics of 1918 and 2009 implicated Blacks with survival disadvantage relative to Whites in the United States, COVID-19 currently indicates comparable disparities. We aimed to: (a) assess COVID-19 CmI by race, (b) determine the Black–White case fatality (CF) and risk differentials, and (c) apply explanatory model for mortality risk differentials. Methods: COVID-19 data on confirmed cases and deaths by selective states health departments were assessed using a cross-sectional ecologic design. Chi-square was used for CF independence, while binomial regression model for the Black–White risk differentials. Results: The COVID-19 mortality CmI indicated Blacks/AA with 34% of the total mortality in the United States, albeit their 13% population size. The COVID-19 CF was higher among Blacks/AA relative to Whites; Maryland, (2.7% vs. 2.5%), Wisconsin (7.4% vs. 4.8%), Illinois (4.8% vs. 4.2%), Chicago (5.9% vs. 3.2%), Detroit (Michigan), 7.2% and St. John the Baptist Parish (Louisiana), 7.9%. Blacks/AA compared to Whites in Michigan were 15% more likely to die, CmI risk ratio (CmIRR) = 1.15, 95% CI, 1.01–1.32. Blacks/AA relative to Whites in Illinois were 13% more likely to die, CmIRR = 1.13, 95% CI, 0.93–1.39, while Blacks/AA compared to Whites in Wisconsin were 51% more likely to die, CmIRR = 1.51, 95% CI, 1.10–2.10. In Chicago, Blacks/AA were more than twice as likely to die, CmIRR = 2.24, 95% CI, 1.36–3.88. Conclusion: Substantial racial/ethnic disparities are observed in COVID-19 CF and mortality with Blacks/AA disproportionately affected across the United States. Full article
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Article
Statistical and Network-Based Analysis of Italian COVID-19 Data: Communities Detection and Temporal Evolution
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(12), 4182; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17124182 - 12 Jun 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1163
Abstract
The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak started in Wuhan, China, and it has rapidly spread across the world. Italy is one of the European countries most affected by COVID-19, and it has registered high COVID-19 death rates and the death toll. In this article, [...] Read more.
The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak started in Wuhan, China, and it has rapidly spread across the world. Italy is one of the European countries most affected by COVID-19, and it has registered high COVID-19 death rates and the death toll. In this article, we analyzed different Italian COVID-19 data at the regional level for the period 24 February to 29 March 2020. The analysis pipeline includes the following steps. After individuating groups of similar or dissimilar regions with respect to the ten types of available COVID-19 data using statistical test, we built several similarity matrices. Then, we mapped those similarity matrices into networks where nodes represent Italian regions and edges represent similarity relationships (edge length is inversely proportional to similarity). Then, network-based analysis was performed mainly discovering communities of regions that show similar behavior. In particular, network-based analysis was performed by running several community detection algorithms on those networks and by underlying communities of regions that show similar behavior. The network-based analysis of Italian COVID-19 data is able to elegantly show how regions form communities, i.e., how they join and leave them, along time and how community consistency changes along time and with respect to the different available data. Full article
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Article
Public Health Emergency and Crisis Management: Case Study of SARS-CoV-2 Outbreak
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(11), 3984; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17113984 - 04 Jun 2020
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 1969
Abstract
The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has caused an unparalleled public health crisis, delivering an immense shock to humanity. With the virus’s health consequences largely unknown, different health systems around the globe have pursued various avenues of crisis management. South Korea, troubled early by the virus, [...] Read more.
The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has caused an unparalleled public health crisis, delivering an immense shock to humanity. With the virus’s health consequences largely unknown, different health systems around the globe have pursued various avenues of crisis management. South Korea, troubled early by the virus, was once the second most affected nation in the world. Arrays of measures in South Korea, such as large-scale diagnostic testing and technology-based comprehensive contact tracing, have brought about debates among public health experts and medical professionals. This case study describes the major cluster transmissions in SARS-CoV-2 hotspots in South Korea (such as a religious sect, a call center, logistics facilities, and nightclubs) and offers early observations on how South Korean public health authorities acted in response to the initial outbreak of the virus and to the new waves prompted by re-opening economies. We then discuss the way in which South Korea’s experience can act as a reference for shaping other countries’ public health strategies in pandemic crisis management. Full article
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Article
Forecast Possible Risk for COVID-19 Epidemic Dissemination under Current Control Strategies in Japan
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(11), 3872; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17113872 - 29 May 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1218
Abstract
COVID-19 has globally spread to over 4 million people and the epidemic situation in Japan is very serious. The purpose of this research was to assess the risk of COVID-19 epidemic dissemination in Japan by estimating the current state of epidemic dissemination and [...] Read more.
COVID-19 has globally spread to over 4 million people and the epidemic situation in Japan is very serious. The purpose of this research was to assess the risk of COVID-19 epidemic dissemination in Japan by estimating the current state of epidemic dissemination and providing some epidemic prevention and control recommendations. Firstly, the period from 6 January to 31 March 2020 was divided into four stages and the relevant parameters were estimated according to the imported cases in Japan. The basic reproduction number of the current stage is 1.954 (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.851–2.025), which means COVID-19 will spread quickly, and the self-healing rate of Japanese is about 0.495 (95% CI 0.437–0.506), with small variations in the four stages. Secondly, the results were applied to the actual reported cases from 1 to 5 April 2020, verifying the reliability of the estimated data using the accumulated reported cases located within the 95% confidence interval and the relative error of forecast data of five days being less than 2.5 % . Thirdly, considering the medical resources in Japan, the times the epidemic beds and ventilators become fully occupied are predicted as 5 and 15 May 2020, respectively. Keeping with the current situation, the final death toll in Japan may reach into the millions. Finally, based on experience with COVID-19 prevention and control in China, robust measures such as nationwide shutdown, store closures, citizens isolating themselves at home, and increasing PCR testing would quickly and effectively prevent COVID-19 spread. Full article
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Article
Research Progress of Coronavirus Based on Bibliometric Analysis
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(11), 3766; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17113766 - 26 May 2020
Cited by 19 | Viewed by 1811
Abstract
Background: COVID-19 has become one of the most serious global epidemics in the 21st Century. This study aims to explore the distribution of research capabilities of countries, institutions, and researchers, and the hotspots and frontiers of coronavirus research in the past two decades. [...] Read more.
Background: COVID-19 has become one of the most serious global epidemics in the 21st Century. This study aims to explore the distribution of research capabilities of countries, institutions, and researchers, and the hotspots and frontiers of coronavirus research in the past two decades. In it, references for funding support of urgent projects and international cooperation among research institutions are provided. Method: the Web of Science core collection database was used to retrieve the documents related to coronavirus published from 2003 to 2020. Citespace.5.6.R2, VOSviewer1.6.12, and Excel 2016 were used for bibliometric analysis. Results: 11,036 documents were retrieved, of which China and the United States have contributed the most coronavirus studies, Hong Kong University being the top contributor. Regarding journals, the Journal of Virology has contributed the most, while in terms of researchers, Yuen Kwok Yung has made the most contributions. The proportion of documents published by international cooperation has been rising for decades. Vaccines for SARS-CoV-2 are under development, and clinical trials of several drugs are ongoing. Conclusions: international cooperation is an important way to accelerate research progress and achieve success. Developing corresponding vaccines and drugs are the current hotspots and research directions. Full article
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Article
Spatio-Temporal Resource Mapping for Intensive Care Units at Regional Level for COVID-19 Emergency in Italy
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(10), 3344; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17103344 - 12 May 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1259
Abstract
COVID-19 is a worldwide emergency since it has rapidly spread from China to almost all the countries worldwide. Italy has been one of the most affected countries after China. North Italian regions, such as Lombardia and Veneto, had an abnormally large number of [...] Read more.
COVID-19 is a worldwide emergency since it has rapidly spread from China to almost all the countries worldwide. Italy has been one of the most affected countries after China. North Italian regions, such as Lombardia and Veneto, had an abnormally large number of cases. COVID-19 patients management requires availability of sufficiently large number of Intensive Care Units (ICUs) beds. Resources shortening is a critical issue when the number of COVID-19 severe cases are higher than the available resources. This is also the case at a regional scale. We analysed Italian data at regional level with the aim to: (i) support health and government decision-makers in gathering rapid and efficient decisions on increasing health structures capacities (in terms of ICU slots) and (ii) define a geographic model to plan emergency and future COVID-19 patients management using reallocating them among health structures. Finally, we retain that the here proposed model can be also used in other countries. Full article
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Communication
Combating the COVID-19 Epidemic: Experiences from Vietnam
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(9), 3125; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17093125 - 30 Apr 2020
Cited by 23 | Viewed by 3934
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic is spreading fast globally. Vietnam’s strict containment measures have significantly reduced the spread of the epidemic in the country. This was achieved through the use of emergency control measures in the epidemic areas and integration of resources from multiple sectors [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic is spreading fast globally. Vietnam’s strict containment measures have significantly reduced the spread of the epidemic in the country. This was achieved through the use of emergency control measures in the epidemic areas and integration of resources from multiple sectors including health, mass media, transportation, education, public affairs, and defense. This paper reviews and shares specific measures for successful prevention and control of COVID-19 in Vietnam, which could provide useful learning for other countries. Full article
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Article
Twenty-Year Span of Global Coronavirus Research Trends: A Bibliometric Analysis
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(9), 3082; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17093082 - 28 Apr 2020
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 2507
Abstract
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic aroused global public concern and became a major medical issue. This study aims to investigate the global research routine and trends of coronavirus over the last twenty years based on the production, hotspots, and frontiers of published [...] Read more.
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic aroused global public concern and became a major medical issue. This study aims to investigate the global research routine and trends of coronavirus over the last twenty years based on the production, hotspots, and frontiers of published articles as well as to provide the global health system with a bibliometric reference. The Web of Science core collection database was retrieved for coronavirus articles published from 1 January 2000 to 17 March 2020. Duplicates and discrete papers were excluded. Analysis parameters including time, regions, impact factors, and citation times were processed through professional software. A total of 9043 coronavirus articles originated from 123 countries and were published in 1202 journals. The USA contributed most articles (3101) followed by China (2230). The research was published in specialized journals including the Journal of Virology. Universities were the main institutions of science progress. High-impact articles covered fields of basic science and clinical medicine. There were two sharp increases in research yields after the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) outbreaks. International collaborations promoted study progress, and universities and academies act as the main force in coronavirus research. More research on prevention and treatment is needed according to an analysis of term density. Full article
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Review

Jump to: Editorial, Research, Other

Review
Viral Pandemics of the Last Four Decades: Pathophysiology, Health Impacts and Perspectives
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(24), 9411; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17249411 - 15 Dec 2020
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2231
Abstract
The last four decades has witnessed some of the deadliest viral pandemics with far-reaching consequences. These include the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) (1981), Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (SARS-CoV) (2002), Influenza A virus subtype H1N1 (A/H1N1) (2009), Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) [...] Read more.
The last four decades has witnessed some of the deadliest viral pandemics with far-reaching consequences. These include the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) (1981), Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (SARS-CoV) (2002), Influenza A virus subtype H1N1 (A/H1N1) (2009), Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) (2012), Ebola virus (2013) and the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) (2019-present). Age- and gender-based characterizations suggest that SARS-CoV-2 resembles SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV with regard to higher fatality rates in males, and in the older population with comorbidities. The invasion-mechanism of SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV, involves binding of its spike protein with angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptors; MERS-CoV utilizes dipeptidyl peptidase 4 (DPP4), whereas H1N1 influenza is equipped with hemagglutinin protein. The viral infections-mediated immunomodulation, and progressive inflammatory state may affect the functions of several other organs. Although no effective commercial vaccine is available for any of the viruses, those against SARS-CoV-2 are being developed at an unprecedented speed. Until now, only Pfizer/BioNTech’s vaccine has received temporary authorization from the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency. Given the frequent emergence of viral pandemics in the 21st century, proper understanding of their characteristics and modes of action are essential to address the immediate and long-term health consequences. Full article
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Review
Winter Is Coming: A Southern Hemisphere Perspective of the Environmental Drivers of SARS-CoV-2 and the Potential Seasonality of COVID-19
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(16), 5634; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17165634 - 05 Aug 2020
Cited by 32 | Viewed by 3416
Abstract
SARS-CoV-2 virus infections in humans were first reported in December 2019, the boreal winter. The resulting COVID-19 pandemic was declared by the WHO in March 2020. By July 2020, COVID-19 was present in 213 countries and territories, with over 12 million confirmed cases [...] Read more.
SARS-CoV-2 virus infections in humans were first reported in December 2019, the boreal winter. The resulting COVID-19 pandemic was declared by the WHO in March 2020. By July 2020, COVID-19 was present in 213 countries and territories, with over 12 million confirmed cases and over half a million attributed deaths. Knowledge of other viral respiratory diseases suggests that the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 could be modulated by seasonally varying environmental factors such as temperature and humidity. Many studies on the environmental sensitivity of COVID-19 are appearing online, and some have been published in peer-reviewed journals. Initially, these studies raised the hypothesis that climatic conditions would subdue the viral transmission rate in places entering the boreal summer, and that southern hemisphere countries would experience enhanced disease spread. For the latter, the COVID-19 peak would coincide with the peak of the influenza season, increasing misdiagnosis and placing an additional burden on health systems. In this review, we assess the evidence that environmental drivers are a significant factor in the trajectory of the COVID-19 pandemic, globally and regionally. We critically assessed 42 peer-reviewed and 80 preprint publications that met qualifying criteria. Since the disease has been prevalent for only half a year in the northern, and one-quarter of a year in the southern hemisphere, datasets capturing a full seasonal cycle in one locality are not yet available. Analyses based on space-for-time substitutions, i.e., using data from climatically distinct locations as a surrogate for seasonal progression, have been inconclusive. The reported studies present a strong northern bias. Socio-economic conditions peculiar to the ‘Global South’ have been omitted as confounding variables, thereby weakening evidence of environmental signals. We explore why research to date has failed to show convincing evidence for environmental modulation of COVID-19, and discuss directions for future research. We conclude that the evidence thus far suggests a weak modulation effect, currently overwhelmed by the scale and rate of the spread of COVID-19. Seasonally modulated transmission, if it exists, will be more evident in 2021 and subsequent years. Full article
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Review
The First 75 Days of Novel Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) Outbreak: Recent Advances, Prevention, and Treatment
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(7), 2323; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17072323 - 30 Mar 2020
Cited by 88 | Viewed by 11452
Abstract
The recent severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2, previously known as 2019-nCoV) outbreak has engulfed an unprepared world amidst a festive season. The zoonotic SARS-CoV-2, believed to have originated from infected bats, is the seventh member of enveloped RNA coronavirus. Specifically, the [...] Read more.
The recent severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2, previously known as 2019-nCoV) outbreak has engulfed an unprepared world amidst a festive season. The zoonotic SARS-CoV-2, believed to have originated from infected bats, is the seventh member of enveloped RNA coronavirus. Specifically, the overall genome sequence of the SARS-CoV-2 is 96.2% identical to that of bat coronavirus termed BatCoV RaTG13. Although the current mortality rate of 2% is significantly lower than that of SARS (9.6%) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) (35%), SARS-CoV-2 is highly contagious and transmissible from human to human with an incubation period of up to 24 days. Some statistical studies have shown that, on average, one infected patient may lead to a subsequent 5.7 confirmed cases. Since the first reported case of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by the SARS-CoV-2 on December 1, 2019, in Wuhan, China, there has been a total of 60,412 confirmed cases with 1370 fatalities reported in 25 different countries as of February 13, 2020. The outbreak has led to severe impacts on social health and the economy at various levels. This paper is a review of the significant, continuous global effort that was made to respond to the outbreak in the first 75 days. Although no vaccines have been discovered yet, a series of containment measures have been implemented by various governments, especially in China, in the effort to prevent further outbreak, whilst various medical treatment approaches have been used to successfully treat infected patients. On the basis of current studies, it would appear that the combined antiviral treatment has shown the highest success rate. This review aims to critically summarize the most recent advances in understanding the coronavirus, as well as the strategies in prevention and treatment. Full article
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Other

Commentary
Commentary: Physiological and Psychological Impact of Face Mask Usage during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(18), 6655; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17186655 - 12 Sep 2020
Cited by 23 | Viewed by 9137
Abstract
In this commentary, we discuss the physiological effects of wearing masks for prolonged periods of time, including special considerations, such as mask wearing among those who engage in exercise training, and concerns for individuals with pre-existing chronic diseases. In healthy populations, wearing a [...] Read more.
In this commentary, we discuss the physiological effects of wearing masks for prolonged periods of time, including special considerations, such as mask wearing among those who engage in exercise training, and concerns for individuals with pre-existing chronic diseases. In healthy populations, wearing a mask does not appear to cause any harmful physiological alterations, and the potentially life-saving benefits of wearing face masks seem to outweigh the documented discomforts (e.g. headaches). However, there continues to be controversy over mask wearing in the United States, even though wearing a mask appears to have only minor physiological drawbacks. While there are minimal physiological impacts on wearing a mask, theoretical evidence suggests that there may be consequential psychological impacts of mask wearing on the basic psychological needs of competence, autonomy, and relatedness. These psychological impacts may contribute to the controversy associated with wearing masks during the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. After we discuss the physiological impacts of mask wearing, we will discuss psychological effects associated with wearing masks during the COVID-19 pandemic. Full article
Viewpoint
Preparing for the Next Wave of COVID-19: Resilience in the Face of a Spreading Pandemic
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(11), 4098; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17114098 - 08 Jun 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1698
Abstract
COVID-19 painfully demonstrates how little resilience our societies have to novel viruses. Societies, decision makers, and scientists lack (1) a comprehensive understanding of the complexity of viral outbreaks and their impact on society; (2) intervention portfolios; and (3) a global crisis and resilience [...] Read more.
COVID-19 painfully demonstrates how little resilience our societies have to novel viruses. Societies, decision makers, and scientists lack (1) a comprehensive understanding of the complexity of viral outbreaks and their impact on society; (2) intervention portfolios; and (3) a global crisis and resilience policy, all of which are required to develop appropriate measures and to improve societal resilience. We highlight COVID-19 immunity as one key benchmark in preparation for the next wave of the pandemic. Specifically, using network scenarios, we demonstrate the substantial advantage of reintegrating health care workers with acquired COVID-19 immunity in epidemic hotspots, which would not only enable their safe contribution to the health care system but also drastically contain further spread. Full article
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