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: 31 October 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Evelyne Bischof
Website
Guest Editor
1. Shanghai University of Medicine and Health Sciences, Shanghai, China
2. University Hospital of Basel, Petersgraben 4, 4051 Basel, Switzerland
Interests: preventative and precision medicine; biogerontology; geronto-oncology; next-generation medical technology; the applications of artificial intelligence for biomedical research and practice.
Dr. Naomi I. Maria
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 (13 papers)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial
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
Abstract
The COVID-19 global pandemic is accelerating investigations for effective vaccines and repurposable validated therapeutics [...] Full article

Research

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Open AccessArticle
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
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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Open AccessArticle
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
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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Open AccessArticle
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
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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Open AccessArticle
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
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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Open AccessArticle
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
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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Open AccessArticle
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
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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Open AccessArticle
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 1
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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Open AccessArticle
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
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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Open AccessCommunication
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
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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Open AccessArticle
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 2
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

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Open AccessReview
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 13
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

Open AccessViewpoint
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
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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