Topic Editors

Prof. Dr. Zhengchao Dong
1. Molecular Imaging and Neuropathology Division, Columbia University and New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York, NY 10032, USA
2. New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York, NY 10032, USA
Prof. Dr. Juan Manuel Gorriz
Department of Signal Theory, Telematics and Communications, University of Granada, 18071 Granada, Spain
Prof. Dr. Yudong Zhang
School of Computer Science, University of Leicester, Leicester LE1 7RH, UK

Fighting against COVID-19: Latest Advances, Challenges and Methodologies

Abstract submission deadline
31 December 2022
Manuscript submission deadline
31 March 2023
Viewed by
64745

Topic Information

Dear Colleagues,

The 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic is an ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). It was declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern and recognized as a pandemic by the World Health Organization. The outbreak of COVID-19 has rapidly spread to most countries in the world. There have been more than 351 million confirmed cases and 5.5 million deaths worldwide.

The scientific community must play a leading role to fight against COVID-19, and it is our obligation to step forward to assist in the eradication of COVID-19. For this purpose, it is important to find mechanisms, methodologies, models, techniques and/or systems capable of helping during the various stages of this pandemic: evolution, early diagnosis, prevention of spread, isolation measures, etc. Particularly, Artificial intelligence (AI) plays a vital role in fighting COVID-19. For example, AI techniques can help develop vaccines & targeted drugs for COVID-19. In epidemiology, AI can provide tracking and prediction of the spread speed of infected territories and areas to assist policymakers in making appropriate decisions. The visualization technology provides a global overview for policymakers. AI methods are efficient in making fast and accurate diagnoses of COVID-19 using trained models based on routine CT or X-ray. Wearable sensors with AI can monitor abnormality for home-based mild COVID-19 patients. AI can analyze human behavioral data to improve individual or community quarantine and social control policies. AI can help predict the protein structures of the coronavirus. AI can utilize the emotional data in the mental health of COVID-19 patients to help cope with self-quarantined people. AI can manage medical resources (e.g., face masks, ventilator, et al.) supply chain.

We are seeking contributions that report the Latest Advances, Challenges and Methodologies for Fighting against COVID-19. Investigations on mathematical models built on the pandemic prevalence and incidence are also welcome. Submissions should clarify the substantive improvements on work that has already been published, accepted for publication, or submitted in parallel to other conferences or journals.

Topics of interest include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Data-driven AI for fighting COVID-19
  • Explainable AI for fighting COVID-19
  • Trustworthy AI for fighting COVID-19
  • Evolutionary AI for fighting COVID-19
  • Deep learning for fighting COVID-19
  • Multi-agent for fighting COVID-19
  • Multimodal fusion for fighting COVID-19
  • Feature extraction, selection, reduction, and optimization
  • Prediction and forecast for fighting COVID-19
  • Wearable systems to fighting against COVID-19
  • Statistical studies of future trends of COVID-19
  • Medical images analysis for fighting against COVID-19
  • Computer-aided systems for fighting against COVID-19
  • Machine learning models, methods, and theories

Keywords

  • Artificial intelligence
  • COVID-19
  • Computed tomography
  • Prevention and control
  • Diagnostic test
  • Epidemic dynamics
  • Healthcare and infection
  • Mathematical modeling
  • Gene mutation
  • Pandemic
  • Pattern recognition
  • Precision medicine
  • Public health
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Vaccine
  • Rehabilitation
  • Risk and survival
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Social distancing
  • Socioeconomic impacts
  • Antiviral strategy
  • Targeted drug
  • Therapeutics
  • Trustworthy AI
  • Respiratory virus

Participating Journals

Journal Name Impact Factor CiteScore Launched Year First Decision (median) APC
Biomedicines
biomedicines
4.757 3.0 2013 17.2 Days 2200 CHF Submit
Diagnostics
diagnostics
3.992 2.4 2011 19 Days 1800 CHF Submit
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
ijerph
4.614 4.5 2004 21.4 Days 2500 CHF Submit
Journal of Clinical Medicine
jcm
4.964 4.4 2012 20.4 Days 2400 CHF Submit
Journal of Imaging
jimaging
- 4.8 2015 22 Days 1600 CHF Submit

Published Papers (111 papers)

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Article
SARS-CoV-2 Viral Load Analysis at Low and High Altitude: A Case Study from Ecuador
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(13), 7945; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19137945 (registering DOI) - 28 Jun 2022
Abstract
SARS-CoV-2 has spread throughout the world, including remote areas such as those located at high altitudes. There is a debate about the role of hypobaric hypoxia on viral transmission and COVID-19 incidence. A descriptive cross-sectional analysis of SARS-CoV-2 infection and viral load among [...] Read more.
SARS-CoV-2 has spread throughout the world, including remote areas such as those located at high altitudes. There is a debate about the role of hypobaric hypoxia on viral transmission and COVID-19 incidence. A descriptive cross-sectional analysis of SARS-CoV-2 infection and viral load among patients living at low (230 m) and high altitude (3800 m) in Ecuador was completed. Within these two communities, the total number of infected people at the time of the study was 108 cases (40.3%). The COVID-19 incidence proportion at low altitude was 64% while at high altitude was 30.3%. The mean viral load from those patients who tested positive was 3,499,184 copies/mL (SD = 23,931,479 copies/mL). At low altitude (Limoncocha), the average viral load was 140,223.8 copies/mL (SD = 990,840.9 copies/mL), while for the high altitude group (Oyacachi), the mean viral load was 6,394,789 copies/mL (SD = 32,493,469 copies/mL). We found no statistically significant differences when both results were compared (p = 0.056). We found no significant differences across people living at low or high altitude; however, men and younger populations had higher viral load than women older populations, respectively. Full article
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Article
COVID-19 Vaccination Campaign among the Health Workers of Fondazione Policlinico Universitario Agostino Gemelli IRCCS: A Cost–Benefit Analysis
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(13), 7848; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19137848 - 26 Jun 2022
Abstract
Vaccinations generate health, economic and social benefits in both vaccinated and unvaccinated populations. The aim of this study was to conduct a cost–benefit analysis to estimate the costs and benefits associated with the COVID-19 vaccination campaign for health workers in Fondazione Policlinico Universitario [...] Read more.
Vaccinations generate health, economic and social benefits in both vaccinated and unvaccinated populations. The aim of this study was to conduct a cost–benefit analysis to estimate the costs and benefits associated with the COVID-19 vaccination campaign for health workers in Fondazione Policlinico Universitario Agostino Gemelli IRCCS (FPG). The analysis included 5152 healthcare workers who voluntarily received the Pfizer–BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, divided into physicians, nurses and other health workers. Data about vaccine cost, administration and materials were derived from administrative databases of the FPG from 28 December 2020 to 31 March 2021. The costs associated with the COVID-19 vaccination campaign amounted to EUR 2,221,768, while the benefits equaled EUR 10,345,847. The benefit-to-cost ratio resulted in EUR 4.66, while the societal return on investment showed a ratio of EUR 3.66. The COVID-19 vaccination campaign for health workers in FPG has high social returns and it strengthens the need to inform and update decision-making about the economic and social benefits associated with a vaccination campaign. Health economic evaluations on vaccines should always be considered by decision-makers when considering the inclusion of a new vaccine into the national program. Full article
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Communication
The Detection of SARS-CoV2 Antigen in Wastewater Using an Automated Chemiluminescence Enzyme Immunoassay
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(13), 7783; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19137783 - 24 Jun 2022
Abstract
The SARS-CoV-2 virus, which is driving the current COVID-19 epidemic, has been detected in wastewater and is being utilized as a surveillance tool to establish an early warning system to aid in the management and prevention of future pandemics. qPCR is the method [...] Read more.
The SARS-CoV-2 virus, which is driving the current COVID-19 epidemic, has been detected in wastewater and is being utilized as a surveillance tool to establish an early warning system to aid in the management and prevention of future pandemics. qPCR is the method usually used to detect SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater. There has been no study using an immunoassay that is less laboratory-intensive than qPCR with a shorter turnaround time. Therefore, we aimed to evaluate the performance of an automated chemiluminescence enzyme immunoassay (CLEIA) for SARS-CoV-2 antigen in wastewater. The CLEIA assay achieved 100% sensitivity and 66.7% specificity in a field-captured wastewater sample compared to the gold standard RT-qPCR. Our early findings suggest that the SARS-CoV-2 antigen can be identified in wastewater samples using an automated CLEIA, reducing the turnaround time and improving the performance of SARS-CoV-2 wastewater monitoring during the pandemic. Full article
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Comment
Single-Breath Counting Test to Start Non-Invasive Respiratory Support in COVID-19 Patients: Early Detection and the Eternal Dilemma. Comment on Longhitano et al. Single-Breath Counting Test Predicts Non-Invasive Respiratory Support Requirements in Patients with COVID-19 Pneumonia. J. Clin. Med. 2022, 11, 179
J. Clin. Med. 2022, 11(13), 3588; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm11133588 - 22 Jun 2022
Abstract
We have read this study, in which the predictive role of a single-breath counting test (SBCT) to foresee the need of non-invasive respiratory strategies (NIRS) in patients with COVID-19 has been explored, with great interest [...] Full article
Review
COVID-19—What Price Do Children Pay? An Analysis of Economic and Social Policy Factors
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(13), 7604; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19137604 - 21 Jun 2022
Abstract
Numerous studies have addressed the indirect consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic for children such as social isolation or increases in reported child maltreatment. Research on the economic and sociopolitical consequences is scarce as they can only be evaluated with a time lag. To [...] Read more.
Numerous studies have addressed the indirect consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic for children such as social isolation or increases in reported child maltreatment. Research on the economic and sociopolitical consequences is scarce as they can only be evaluated with a time lag. To improve our understanding of future, long-term developments in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, we gathered findings from the still unexploited empirical literature on the aftermath of earlier pandemics, epidemics, and other infectious disease outbreaks. On top of this, we scrutinized research on past economic crises to interpret the link between changes in the economy and the health of children. Many of the side effects of battling the spread of the current pandemic, such as school closures, the stigma of infection, or conflicts about vaccines, are not novel and have already been documented in connection with previous infectious disease outbreaks. Results highlight that changes in the financial situation of families and socio-political challenges affect the situation and daily routine of children and youth in the long term. In consequence, the already pronounced socioeconomic inequalities will likely further increase. On top of this, due to reduced revenues, child protective services are likely to face challenges in the availability of human and financial resources. Full article
Article
Behavioral Intention and Its Predictors toward COVID-19 Booster Vaccination among Chinese Parents: Applying Two Behavioral Theories
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(12), 7520; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19127520 - 20 Jun 2022
Abstract
The booster vaccination of COVID-19 is being implemented in most parts of the world. This study used behavioral psychology to investigate the predictors of parents’ intentions regarding the COVID-19 booster vaccination for their children. This is a cross-sectional study with a self-designed questionnaire [...] Read more.
The booster vaccination of COVID-19 is being implemented in most parts of the world. This study used behavioral psychology to investigate the predictors of parents’ intentions regarding the COVID-19 booster vaccination for their children. This is a cross-sectional study with a self-designed questionnaire based on two behavioral theories—protective motivation theory (PMT) and theory of planned behavior (TPB). A stratified multi-stage sampling procedure was conducted in Nanjing, China, and multivariable regression analyses were applied to examine the parents’ intentions. The intention rate was 87.3%. The response efficacy (ORa = 2.238, 95% CI: 1.360–3.682) and response cost (ORa = 0.484, 95% CI: 0.319–0.732) in the PMT, were significant psychological predictors of parents’ intentions, and so were the attitude (ORa = 2.619, 95% CI: 1.480–4.636) and behavioral control (ORa = 3.743, 95% CI: 2.165–6.471) in the TPB. The findings of crucial independent predictors in the PMT and TPB constructs inform the evidence-based formulation and implementation of strategies for booster vaccination in children. Full article
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Article
Impact of COVID-19 by Pandemic Wave among Patients with Gastroenterology Symptoms in the Emergency Departments at a Medical Center in Taiwan
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(12), 7516; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19127516 - 20 Jun 2022
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected emergency department (ED) usage. This study examines changes in the number of ED visits for gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding and nonemergency GI conditions, such as acute gastroenteritis (AGE) and constipation, before the pandemic and at the peak and slack [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected emergency department (ED) usage. This study examines changes in the number of ED visits for gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding and nonemergency GI conditions, such as acute gastroenteritis (AGE) and constipation, before the pandemic and at the peak and slack periods of the pandemic in Taiwan. This retrospective observational study was conducted at a referral medical center in northern Taiwan. We recorded the number of weekly ED visits for GI bleeding, AGE, and constipation from 2019 to 2021. We then compared the baseline period (calendar weeks 4–18 and 21–31, 2019) with two peak pandemic periods (period 1, calendar weeks 4–18, 2020; period 2, calendar weeks 21–31, 2021) and their corresponding slack periods. The decline in the number of ED visits during the two peak pandemic periods for GI bleeding (−18.4% and −30.2%) were not as substantial as for AGE (−64.1% and −76.7%) or for constipation (−44.4% and −63.6%), but GI bleeding cases were still significantly lower in number relative to the baseline. During the slack period, the number of ED visits for all three diagnoses rebounded but did not exceed the baseline. Our study revealed that there was a significant decline of GI complaint during the pandemic. This phenomenon was more prominent in nonemergency complaints (AGE and constipation) and less prominent in serious complaints (GI bleeding). Full article
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Article
Usefulness of Hospital Admission Chest X-ray Score for Predicting Mortality and ICU Admission in COVID-19 Patients
J. Clin. Med. 2022, 11(12), 3548; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm11123548 - 20 Jun 2022
Abstract
We aimed to investigate the performance of a chest X-ray (CXR) scoring scale of lung injury in prediction of death and ICU admission among patients with COVID-19 during the 2021 peak pandemic in HCM City, Vietnam. CXR and clinical data were collected from [...] Read more.
We aimed to investigate the performance of a chest X-ray (CXR) scoring scale of lung injury in prediction of death and ICU admission among patients with COVID-19 during the 2021 peak pandemic in HCM City, Vietnam. CXR and clinical data were collected from Vinmec Central Park-hospitalized patients from July to September 2021. Three radiologists independently assessed the day-one CXR score consisting of both severity and extent of lung lesions (maximum score = 24). Among 219 included patients, 28 died and 34 were admitted to the ICU. There was a high consensus for CXR scoring among radiologists (κ = 0.90; CI95%: 0.89–0.92). CXR score was the strongest predictor of mortality (tdAUC 0.85 CI95% 0.69–1) within the first 3 weeks after admission. A multivariate model confirmed a significant effect of an increased CXR score on mortality risk (HR = 1.33, CI95%: 1.10 to 1.62). At a threshold of 16 points, the CXR score allowed for predicting in-hospital mortality and ICU admission with good sensitivity (0.82 (CI95%: 0.78 to 0.87) and 0.86 (CI95%: 0.81 to 0.90)) and specificity (0.89 (CI95%: 0.88 to 0.90) and 0.87 (CI95%: 0.86 to 0.89)), respectively, and can be used to identify high-risk patients in needy countries such as Vietnam. Full article
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Review
How COVID-19 Affects Lung Transplantation: A Comprehensive Review
J. Clin. Med. 2022, 11(12), 3513; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm11123513 - 18 Jun 2022
Abstract
Lung transplant (LuTx) recipients are at a higher risk of developing serious illnesses from COVID-19, and thus, we have closely reviewed the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on lung transplantation. In most transplant centers, the overall LuTx activity significantly declined and led to [...] Read more.
Lung transplant (LuTx) recipients are at a higher risk of developing serious illnesses from COVID-19, and thus, we have closely reviewed the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on lung transplantation. In most transplant centers, the overall LuTx activity significantly declined and led to a specific period of restricting lung transplantation to urgent cases. Moreover, several transplant centers reported difficulties due to the shortage of ICU capacities. The fear of donor-derived transmission generated extensive screening programs. Nevertheless, reasonable concerns about the unnecessary losses of viable organs were also raised. The overall donor shortage resulted in increased waiting-list mortality, and COVID-19-associated ARDS became an indication of lung transplantation. The impact of specific immunosuppressive agents on the severity of COVID-19 varied. Corticosteroid discontinuation was not found to be beneficial for LuTx patients. Tacrolimus concentrations were reported to increase during the SARS-CoV-2 infection, and in combination with remdesivir, tacrolimus may clinically impact renal functions. Monoclonal antibodies were shown to reduce the risk of hospitalization in SOT recipients. However, understanding the pharmacological interactions between the anti-COVID-19 drugs and the immunosuppressive drugs requires further research. Full article
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Article
Associations between COVID-19 Pandemic, Lockdown Measures and Human Mobility: Longitudinal Evidence from 86 Countries
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(12), 7317; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19127317 - 14 Jun 2022
Abstract
Recognizing an urgent need to understand the dynamics of the pandemic’s severity, this longitudinal study is conducted to explore the evolution of complex relationships between the COVID-19 pandemic, lockdown measures, and social distancing patterns in a diverse set of 86 countries. Collecting data [...] Read more.
Recognizing an urgent need to understand the dynamics of the pandemic’s severity, this longitudinal study is conducted to explore the evolution of complex relationships between the COVID-19 pandemic, lockdown measures, and social distancing patterns in a diverse set of 86 countries. Collecting data from multiple sources, a structural equation modeling (SEM) technique is applied to understand the interdependencies between independent variables, mediators, and dependent variables. Results show that lockdown and confinement measures are very effective to reduce human mobility at retail and recreation facilities, transit stations, and workplaces and encourage people to stay home and thereby control COVID-19 transmission at critical times. The study also found that national contexts rooted in socioeconomic and institutional factors influence social distancing patterns and severity of the pandemic, particularly with regard to the vulnerability of people, treatment costs, level of globalization, employment distribution, and degree of independence in society. Additionally, this study portrayed a mutual relationship between the COVID-19 pandemic and human mobility. A higher number of COVID-19 confirmed cases and deaths reduces human mobility and the countries with reduced personal mobility have experienced a deepening of the severity of the pandemic. However, the effect of mobility on pandemic severity is stronger than the effect of pandemic situations on mobility. Overall, the study displays considerable temporal changes in the relationships between independent variables, mediators, and dependent variables considering pandemic situations and lockdown regimes, which provides a critical knowledge base for future handling of pandemics. It has also accommodated some policy guidelines for the authority to control the transmission of COVID-19. Full article
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Article
Electrostatic Spray Disinfection Using Nano-Engineered Solution on Frequently Touched Surfaces in Indoor and Outdoor Environments
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(12), 7241; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19127241 - 13 Jun 2022
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in high demand for disinfection technologies. However, the corresponding spray technologies are still not completely optimized for disinfection purposes. There are important problems, like the irregular coverage and dripping of disinfectant solutions on hard and vertical surfaces. In [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in high demand for disinfection technologies. However, the corresponding spray technologies are still not completely optimized for disinfection purposes. There are important problems, like the irregular coverage and dripping of disinfectant solutions on hard and vertical surfaces. In this study, we highlight two major points. Firstly, we discuss the effectiveness of the electrostatic spray deposition (ESD) of nanoparticle-based disinfectant solutions for systematic and long-lasting disinfection. Secondly, we show that, based on the type of material of the substrate, the effectiveness of ESD varies. Accordingly, 12 frequently touched surface materials were sprayed using a range of electrostatic spray system parameters, including ion generator voltage, nozzle spray size and distance of spray. It was observed that for most cases, the surfaces become completely covered with the nanoparticles within 10 s. Acrylic, Teflon, PVC, and polypropylene surfaces show a distinct effect of ESD and non-ESD sprays. The nanoparticles form a uniform layer with better surface coverage in case of electrostatic deposition. Quantitative variations and correlations show that 1.5 feet of working distance, an 80 μm spray nozzle diameter and an ion generator voltage of 3–7 kV ensures a DEF (differential electric field) that corresponds to an optimized charge-to-mass ratio, ensuring efficient coverage of nanoparticles. Full article
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Article
SARS-CoV-2 Risk Quantification Model and Validation Based on Large-Scale Dutch Test Events
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(12), 7238; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19127238 - 13 Jun 2022
Abstract
In response to the outbreak of SARS-CoV-2, many governments decided in 2020 to impose lockdowns on societies. Although the package of measures that constitute such lockdowns differs between countries, it is a general rule that contact between people, especially in large groups of [...] Read more.
In response to the outbreak of SARS-CoV-2, many governments decided in 2020 to impose lockdowns on societies. Although the package of measures that constitute such lockdowns differs between countries, it is a general rule that contact between people, especially in large groups of people, is avoided or prohibited. The main reasoning behind these measures is to prevent healthcare systems from becoming overloaded. As of 2021 vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 are available, but these do not guarantee 100% risk reduction and it will take a while for the world to reach a sufficient immune status. This raises the question of whether and under which conditions events like theater shows, conferences, professional sports events, concerts, and festivals can be organized. The current paper presents a COVID-19 risk quantification method for (large-scale) events. This method can be applied to events to define an alternative package of measures replacing generic social distancing. Full article
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Article
Jordan’s Pandemic Influenza Preparedness (PIP): A Reflection on COVID-19 Response
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(12), 7200; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19127200 - 12 Jun 2022
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic made it clear to the world that better preparedness for future pandemics is paramount. This study aims to explore how the 2018 Jordan’s Pandemic Influenza Preparedness (PIP) assessment plan (conducted utilizing a standardized tool of the CDC National Inventory of [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic made it clear to the world that better preparedness for future pandemics is paramount. This study aims to explore how the 2018 Jordan’s Pandemic Influenza Preparedness (PIP) assessment plan (conducted utilizing a standardized tool of the CDC National Inventory of Core Capabilities for Pandemic Influenza Preparedness and Response) reflected on the initial COVID-19 response. A qualitative, single intrinsic case study design, utilizing interpretivist approach, was utilized to interview subject-matter experts and explore the potential reflection of PIP assessment on COVID-19 response. Utilizing a mini-Delphi approach, the interviews aimed at generating an in-depth understanding of how the Jordan’s PIP risk assessment reflects on the country’s response to COVID-19. The following 12 core capabilities, along with their reflections on COVID-19, were assessed: country planning, research and use of findings, communications, epidemiologic capability, laboratory capability, routine influenza surveillance, national respiratory disease surveillance, outbreak response, resources for containment, community-based interventions to prevent the spread of influenza, infection control (IC), and health sector pandemic response. Jordan’s experience and preparedness for influenza may have served as a crucial guide to establishing success in COVID-19 control and mitigation. Surveillance, outbreak, and research activities were very well established in Jordan’s PIP, whereas surge capacity in human capital and health facility were identified as two high-risk areas. However, the limitation in these two areas was met during the COVID-19 response. Still, human capital suffered fatigue, and there was an evident lack of laboratory testing plans when COVID-19 cases increased. Jordan’s experience with PIP may have served as a guide for establishing successful COVID-19 control and mitigation. The established PIP principles, systems, and capacities seem to have reflected well on fighting against COVID-19 in terms of more efficient utilization of available surveillance, laboratory, outbreak management, and risk communications. This reflection facilitated a better mitigation and control of COVID-19. Full article
Article
Clinical (BMI and MRI) and Biochemical (Adiponectin, Leptin, TNF-α, and IL-6) Effects of High-Intensity Aerobic Training with High-Protein Diet in Children with Obesity Following COVID-19 Infection
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(12), 7194; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19127194 - 11 Jun 2022
Abstract
Objective: To find the clinical and biochemical effects of high-intensity aerobic training with a high-protein diet in children with obesity following COVID-19 infection. Methods: By using the block randomization method, the eligible participants were randomized into two groups. The first group received high-intensity [...] Read more.
Objective: To find the clinical and biochemical effects of high-intensity aerobic training with a high-protein diet in children with obesity following COVID-19 infection. Methods: By using the block randomization method, the eligible participants were randomized into two groups. The first group received high-intensity aerobic training with a high-protein diet (Group A; n = 38) and the second group were allowed to do regular physical activities and eat a regular diet (Group B; n = 38) for 8 weeks. Clinical (basal metabolic index (BMI) and muscle-mass-cross-sectional area (CSA)) and biochemical (Adiponectin, leptin, TNF-α, and IL-6) measures were measured at baseline, on the 8th week, and at 6-months follow-up. Results: Baseline demographic and clinical attributes show homogenous presentation among the study groups (p > 0.05). After eight weeks of intervention, and at the end of 6-months follow-up, the basal metabolic index (BMI) (6.3) (CI 95% 4.71 to 7.88), mid-arm CSA (17) (CI 95% 14.70 to 19.29), mid-thigh CSA (13.10) (CI 95% 10.60 to 15.59), mid-calf CSA (11.3) (CI 95% 9.30 to 13.29), adiponectin (−1.9) (CI 95% −2.13 to −1.66), leptin (5.64) (CI 95% 5.50 to 5.77), TNF-α (0.5) (CI 95% 0.42 to 0.57), and IL-6 (0.21) (CI 95% 0.18 to 0.23) showed more improvement (p < 0.001) in Group A than Group B (p > 0.05). Conclusion: Overall, this trial found that high-intensity aerobic training with a high-protein diet decreased the BMI percentile and muscle mass (arm, thigh, and calf), and positively altered the biochemical variables in children with obesity. Full article
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Article
The Influence of SARS-CoV-2 Pandemic on TMJ Disorders, OSAS and BMI
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(12), 7154; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19127154 - 10 Jun 2022
Abstract
The pandemic of the 21st century had a significant influence on the lives of the world population in a negative way. This situation determined a change of lifestyle; it caused the necessity of social isolation for a great number of people. In fact, [...] Read more.
The pandemic of the 21st century had a significant influence on the lives of the world population in a negative way. This situation determined a change of lifestyle; it caused the necessity of social isolation for a great number of people. In fact, people tended to avoid crowded environments, social events, to reduce medical checks and sports activities, favoring sedentary life because of fear of the virus. This social attitude brought a high level of stress that worsened many health conditions. This study has the aim of evaluating the possible influence of the pandemic on temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS) and body mass index (BMI). An anonymized survey, available in two languages (Italian and English), was given to 208 patients from different private dental practices. In this questionnaire, the patients shared experiences about their life during the pandemic. The article highlighted that during this health emergency, there was an increase in body weight in the considered sample. This brought a worsening of OSAS in 65% of patients with a previous diagnosis. Eventually, an increase in TMJ disorders and orofacial pain was reported. Full article
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Article
How Much Do We Care about Teacher Burnout during the Pandemic: A Bibliometric Review
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(12), 7134; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19127134 - 10 Jun 2022
Abstract
In this study, a descriptive bibliometric analysis of the scientific production was performed in the Web of Science on burnout and/or stress in teachers in pandemic situations. The aim of the study was to analyse the scientific production on stress and burnout in [...] Read more.
In this study, a descriptive bibliometric analysis of the scientific production was performed in the Web of Science on burnout and/or stress in teachers in pandemic situations. The aim of the study was to analyse the scientific production on stress and burnout in teachers during the COVID-19 pandemic. A total of 75 documents from 33 journals with 3947 cited references were considered, with 307 researchers from 35 countries publishing at least one article. The country with the most publications was the USA, followed by China and Spain. The USA was the country with the most collaborations. A total of 184 institutions published documents, and the universities with the most records were Christopher Newport and Columbia, although the American University of Sharjah and Cape Breton University had a higher overall citation coefficient. Of the 33 journals that have published on the subject, Frontiers in Psychology and the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health stood out in terms of the number of articles, and they were also listed in this order with regard to their impact factor. Full article
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Article
Assessment of Smell and Taste Disturbances among COVID-19 Convalescent Patients: A Cross-Sectional Study in Armenia
J. Clin. Med. 2022, 11(12), 3313; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm11123313 - 09 Jun 2022
Abstract
Background and Objectives: Neurological manifestations of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) such as olfactory and gustatory disturbance have been reported among convalescent COVID-19 patients. However, scientific data on the prevalence of smell and taste disturbance are lacking. Therefore, we present findings on the degree [...] Read more.
Background and Objectives: Neurological manifestations of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) such as olfactory and gustatory disturbance have been reported among convalescent COVID-19 patients. However, scientific data on the prevalence of smell and taste disturbance are lacking. Therefore, we present findings on the degree of smell and taste disturbances among the Armenian population. Methods: Study participants were randomly recruited and then categorized into two groups based on their course of the disease. A cross-sectional study was performed to assess participants’ sensitivity to smell triggered by the olfactory and the trigeminal nerves; their ability to differentiate between various odors; and to evaluate their gustatory perception. Results: The smell test revealed that the degree of olfactory nerve disturbance was different by 30.7% in those participants of the early group as compared to those of the late group, and the degree of trigeminal nerve disturbance was different by 71.3% in the early group as compared to the late group. A variation of the differentiating ability among the participants of the early and late groups was detected. Gustatory disturbances for all flavors were also found to be different in both the groups. A moderate positive correlation (0.51) was found between the overall sensitivity of smell and the ability to differentiate between various odors as cumulatively stimulated by both the olfactory and trigeminal nerves. Also, a moderate positive correlation (0.33) was found between headache and smell sensitivity through the olfactory nerve and a high negative correlation (−0.71) was found between headache and smell sensitivity through the trigeminal nerve. Conclusion: Pathological changes in the olfactory and trigeminal perceptive abilities caused disturbances in smell sensation, with the trigeminal nerve being more affected. The capacity to differentiate fragrances did not improve with time and the disturbance severity of bitter taste perception was higher among the study participants. Full article
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Article
Perceived Satisfaction with Online Study during COVID-19 Lockdown Correlates Positively with Resilience and Negatively with Anxiety, Depression, and Stress among Slovenian Postsecondary Students
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(12), 7024; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19127024 - 08 Jun 2022
Abstract
Background: The purpose of this study is to fill the research gap regarding the influence of satisfaction with distance learning on the correlates of mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods: An online cross-sectional study was conducted in February and March 2021, involving [...] Read more.
Background: The purpose of this study is to fill the research gap regarding the influence of satisfaction with distance learning on the correlates of mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods: An online cross-sectional study was conducted in February and March 2021, involving 4661 postsecondary students. Five validated instruments—PHQ-9 (depression), GAD-7 (anxiety), PSS-4 (stress), CD-RISC-10 (resilience) and SAT-5 (satisfaction with online study)—were used in the present study. Findings: The correlations between anxiety, depression, and stress were so high that they were almost inextricably linked. Both satisfaction with online learning and psychological resilience were negatively correlated with anxiety, depression, and stress. Satisfaction with online learning was also negatively correlated with psychological resilience. Females showed higher levels of vulnerability to anxiety, depression, and stress, and exhibited lower levels of psychological resilience than males. Conclusion: Home-based distance-learning during the COVID-19-induced lockdown had a significant impact on students’ mental health. Low satisfaction with distance learning can lead to the development of anxiety and depression symptoms, increase stress, and decrease the psychological resilience of postsecondary students; therefore, it is critical that educational institutions focus on implementing interventions that promote students’ satisfaction with distance learning, and their psychological resilience, to protect their mental health. Full article
Article
COVID-19, Long COVID Syndrome, and Mental Health Sequelae in a Mexican Population
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(12), 6970; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19126970 - 07 Jun 2022
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic is currently a worldwide threat and concern, not only because of COVID-19 itself but its sequelae. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether a relation between COVID-19, Long COVID, and the prevalence of mental health disorders exist. A [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic is currently a worldwide threat and concern, not only because of COVID-19 itself but its sequelae. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether a relation between COVID-19, Long COVID, and the prevalence of mental health disorders exist. A total of 203 people from Tabasco were included in this study, answering a survey integrated by three dominions: General and epidemiological data, the DASS-21 test (to determine the presence of signs or symptoms suggestive of depression, anxiety, and/or stress) and an exploratory questionnaire about Long COVID syndrome. A descriptive and inferential statistical analysis was made via Microsoft Excel and Graphpad Prism software, evaluating differences through the Mann–Whitney U test and considering p < 0.05 as statistically significant. Of the 203 people surveyed, 96 (47.29%) had had COVID-19 and 107 (52.71%) had not; from the ones that had COVID-19, 29 (30.21%) presented mental health disorders and 88 (91.66%) presented at least one symptom or sign of Long COVID syndrome; meanwhile, 31 (32.29%) presented 10 or more symptoms or signs. From the comparison between the population with previous mental health disorders and COVID-19 and those without background disorders or COVID-19, the results were the following: 27.58% vs. 16.82% presented severe depression, 48.27% vs. 17.75% presented severe anxiety, and 27.58% vs. 20.56% presented severe stress. A high prevalence of mental health effects was observed in patients without COVID-19 and increased in the population with Long COVID syndrome and previous mental health disorders. Full article
Article
Better Understanding Adult COVID-19 Vaccination Hesitancy and Refusal: The Influence of Broader Beliefs about Vaccines
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(11), 6838; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19116838 - 02 Jun 2022
Abstract
Published surveys in the United States provide much evidence that COVID-19 vaccination is influenced by disease and vaccine-related risk perceptions. However, there has been little examination of whether individual’s general beliefs about vaccines are also related to COVID-19 vaccination, especially among unvaccinated adults. [...] Read more.
Published surveys in the United States provide much evidence that COVID-19 vaccination is influenced by disease and vaccine-related risk perceptions. However, there has been little examination of whether individual’s general beliefs about vaccines are also related to COVID-19 vaccination, especially among unvaccinated adults. This study used an August 2021 national survey of 1000 U.S. adults to examine whether general beliefs about vaccines were associated with COVID-19 vaccination status. In addition, it used multivariate analyses to assess the relative contribution of individual vaccine beliefs to current vaccine status independently of COVID-19-specific attitudes and experiences, and demographics. The findings indicated that, collectively, general vaccine beliefs mattered more than demographics, COVID-19-specific risk perceptions, confidence in government, or trust in public health agencies in COVID-19 vaccination status. Overall, the findings affirm the importance of vaccine education and communication efforts that help people understand why vaccines are needed, how vaccine safety is established and monitored, and how vaccines provide protection from infectious diseases. To achieve success among vaccine-hesitant individuals, communication strategies should target vaccine beliefs that most influence vaccination outcomes. Full article
Article
Comparison of the Characteristics and Outcomes of COVID-19 Patients Treated by a Hospital-at-Home Service in Japan during the Alpha and Delta Waves
J. Clin. Med. 2022, 11(11), 3185; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm11113185 - 02 Jun 2022
Abstract
Coronavirus infections occurred in repeated waves caused by different variants of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), with the number of patients increasing during each wave. A private after-hours house-call (AHHC) service provides hospital-at-home (HaH) services to patients in Japan requiring oxygen [...] Read more.
Coronavirus infections occurred in repeated waves caused by different variants of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), with the number of patients increasing during each wave. A private after-hours house-call (AHHC) service provides hospital-at-home (HaH) services to patients in Japan requiring oxygen when hospital beds are in short supply. This retrospective study aimed to compare the characteristics of COVID-19 patients treated by the AHHC service during the COVID-19 waves caused by the Alpha (March–June 2021) and Delta (July–December 2021) SARS-CoV-2 variants. All patients with COVID-19 treated by the AHHC service from March to December 2021 while awaiting hospitalization were included. The data were collected from medical records and follow-up telephone interviews. The AHHC service treated 55 and 273 COVID-19 patients during the Alpha and Delta waves, respectively. The patients treated during the Delta wave were significantly younger than those treated during the Alpha wave (median: 63 years and 47 years, respectively; p < 0.001). Disease severity did not differ significantly between the two waves, but the crude case-fatality rate was significantly higher during the Alpha wave (10/55, 18.2%) than during the Delta wave (4/273, 1.4%; p < 0.001). The patient characteristics and outcomes differed between the Alpha and Delta waves. Full article
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Article
The Long-Term Effect of COVID-19 Disease Severity on Risk of Diabetes Incidence and the Near 1-Year Follow-Up Outcomes among Postdischarge Patients in Wuhan
J. Clin. Med. 2022, 11(11), 3094; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm11113094 - 30 May 2022
Abstract
We assessed the nearly 1-year health consequences following discharge and related risk factors of COVID-19 infection and further explored the long-term effect of COVID-19 disease severity on the risk of diabetes incidence. This prospective study included 248 COVID-19 patients discharged from Wuhan Hospital [...] Read more.
We assessed the nearly 1-year health consequences following discharge and related risk factors of COVID-19 infection and further explored the long-term effect of COVID-19 disease severity on the risk of diabetes incidence. This prospective study included 248 COVID-19 patients discharged from Wuhan Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine who were followed up between 1 March and 10 June 2021. Logistic regression models were used to evaluate risk factors. The top ten symptoms were shortness of breath (30.3%), sore or dry throat (25.7%), cough (23.2%), expectoration (23.2%), body pain (22.3%), chest tightness (20.8%), palpitations (17.8%), sleep difficulties (17.0%), fatigue (16.6%), and anxiety (15.3%). Hypertension was associated with fatigue (OR = 2.51, 95% CI: 1.08, 5.80), shortness of breath (OR = 2.34, 95% CI: 1.16, 4.69), palpitations (OR = 2.82, 95% CI: 1.26, 6.31), expectoration (OR = 2.08, 95% CI: 1.01, 4.30), and sore or dry throat (OR = 2.71, 95% CI: 1.30, 5.65). Diabetes was associated with palpitations (OR = 3.22, 95% CI: 1.18, 8.81). Critical illness was associated with an increased risk of diabetes incidence after discharge (OR = 2.90, 95% CI: 1.07, 7.88), which seemed more evident in males. Long COVID-19 symptoms were common at 1-year postdischarge; hypertension and diabetes could be projected as potential risk factors. We are among the first researchers to find that critical illness is associated with incident diabetes after discharge. Full article
Article
Concerns of Home Isolating COVID-19 Patients While Receiving Care via Telemedicine during the Pandemic in the Northern Thailand: A Qualitative Study on Text Messaging
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(11), 6591; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19116591 - 28 May 2022
Abstract
As there were strict limits on contact between health professionals and patients during the COVID-19 pandemic, telemedicine increased in importance with regard to improving the provision of health care and became the preferred method of care. This study aims to determine the topics [...] Read more.
As there were strict limits on contact between health professionals and patients during the COVID-19 pandemic, telemedicine increased in importance with regard to improving the provision of health care and became the preferred method of care. This study aims to determine the topics of concern expressed by individuals with COVID-19 receiving care at home via teleconsultation. The qualitative study was conducted using secondary data of chat messages from 213 COVID-19 patients who had consented to online consultation with the health care team. The messages were sent during the home isolation period, which was between 29th October and 20th December 2021. Thematic analysis was used to analyze the data. All patients had consented to the use of their data. A small majority of the patients were female (58.69%). The average age was 32.26 ± 16.92 years. A total of 475 questions were generated by 150 patients during the isolation period. Nearly thirty percent (29.58%) never asked any questions. From the analysis, the questions could be divided into three themes including: (1) complex care system; (2) uncertainty about self-care and treatment plan with regard to lack of knowledges and skills; and (3) concern about recovery and returning to the community after COVID-19 infection. In conclusion, there were enquiries about many aspects of medical care during home isolation, detailed answers from professionals were useful for the self-care of patients and to provide guidance for their future health behavior. The importance of the service being user friendly and accessible to all became increasingly evident. Full article
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Review
The Impact of Physical Activity on Mental Health during COVID-19 Pandemic in China: A Systematic Review
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(11), 6584; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19116584 - 28 May 2022
Abstract
The outbreak and spread of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in 2019 was a public health emergency of global concern. As an important health behavior, physical activity (PA) and its impact on mental health have been increasingly explored during the epidemic period. The keywords [...] Read more.
The outbreak and spread of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in 2019 was a public health emergency of global concern. As an important health behavior, physical activity (PA) and its impact on mental health have been increasingly explored during the epidemic period. The keywords and references were searched on PubMed, Web of Science, Scopus, Cochrane Library, EBSCO, and CNKI since the inception of an electronic bibliographic database until October 2021. A total of 2979 articles were identified, of which 23 were eligible for inclusion to examine the relationship between PA and mental health during the COVID-19 epidemic. Residents with regular PA, high-intensity PA, and PA duration of 30–60 min or more per day were associated with a lower risk of anxiety, depression, and negative emotions. In contrast, residents with no exercise and physical inactivity were more likely to have anxiety, depression, sleep disturbances, and lower subjective well-being. In addition, the dose–response curve between PA and negative emotions indicated a U-shaped relationship, and there were urban–rural differences in the relationship between emotional status and the levels of PA in adolescents. The findings have significant implications for addressing mental health issues during the current pandemic and future pandemics. Future studies adopting an experimental study design, conducting objective PA measures, and focusing on the vulnerable subpopulations are warranted to further explore the association of PA on mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. Full article
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Article
Evaluation of the Microbiological Effectiveness of Three Accessible Mask Decontamination Methods and Their Impact on Filtration, Air Permeability and Physicochemical Properties
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(11), 6567; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19116567 - 27 May 2022
Abstract
The need to secure public health and mitigate the environmental impact associated with the massified use of respiratory protective devices (RPD) has been raising awareness for the safe reuse of decontaminated masks by individuals and organizations. Among the decontamination treatments proposed, in this [...] Read more.
The need to secure public health and mitigate the environmental impact associated with the massified use of respiratory protective devices (RPD) has been raising awareness for the safe reuse of decontaminated masks by individuals and organizations. Among the decontamination treatments proposed, in this work, three methods with the potential to be adopted by households and organizations of different sizes were analysed: contact with nebulized hydrogen peroxide (H2O2); immersion in commercial bleach (NaClO) (sodium hypochlorite, 0.1% p/v); and contact with steam in microwave steam-sanitizing bags (steam bag). Their decontamination effectiveness was assessed using reference microorganisms following international standards (issued by ISO and FDA). Furthermore, the impact on filtration efficiency, air permeability and several physicochemical and structural characteristics of the masks, were evaluated for untreated masks and after 1, 5 and 10 cycles of treatment. Three types of RPD were analysed: surgical, KN95, and cloth masks. Results demonstrated that the H2O2 protocol sterilized KN95 and surgical masks (reduction of >6 log10 CFUs) and disinfected cloth masks (reduction of >3 log10 CFUs). The NaClO protocol sterilized surgical masks, and disinfected KN95 and cloth masks. Steam bags sterilized KN95 and disinfected surgical and cloth masks. No relevant impact was observed on filtration efficiency. Full article
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Article
Individual Stress Burden and Mental Health in Health Care Workers during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Moderating and Mediating Effects of Resilience
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(11), 6545; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19116545 - 27 May 2022
Abstract
Introduction: The COVID-19 pandemic generated a significant burden on the German health care system, affecting the mental health of health care workers (HCW) in particular. Resilience may serve as an essential protective factor for individuals’ well-being. Objective: Our objective was to identify demographic [...] Read more.
Introduction: The COVID-19 pandemic generated a significant burden on the German health care system, affecting the mental health of health care workers (HCW) in particular. Resilience may serve as an essential protective factor for individuals’ well-being. Objective: Our objective was to identify demographic and work-related correlates of individual resilience and to investigate the association between pandemic-related stress, resilience and mental health using different resilience models. Methods: Our sample comprised 1034 German HCW in different medical professions who completed an online survey from 20 April to 1 July 2020. Resilience was assessed using the Resilience Scale-5 (RS-5). The pandemic-related self-reported stress burden was captured by a single item, while depression and anxiety symptoms were measured with the PHQ-2 and GAD-2, respectively. Additionally, various sociodemographic and work-related factors were assessed. Results: Overall, we found high levels of resilience in the sample compared to a German sample before the pandemic, which were significantly associated only with the older age of participants and having children in both univariate and multivariate analyses. Regarding mechanisms of resilience, moderation analysis revealed that low individual resilience and high pandemic-related stress burden independently contributed to both anxiety and depression symptoms while resilience additionally moderated the relationship between stress burden and anxiety symptoms. The link between self-reported stress burden and mental health symptoms was also partially mediated by individual resilience. Conclusion: Taken together, the findings based on the present sample during the COVID-19 pandemic suggest that resilience plays a central role in the mental health of healthcare workers and that resilience-building interventions should be expanded, especially with a focus on younger employees. Full article
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Article
Lung Ultrasound Improves Outcome Prediction over Clinical Judgment in COVID-19 Patients Evaluated in the Emergency Department
J. Clin. Med. 2022, 11(11), 3032; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm11113032 - 27 May 2022
Abstract
In the Emergency Department (ED), the decision to hospitalize or discharge COVID-19 patients is challenging. We assessed the utility of lung ultrasound (LUS), alone or in association with a clinical rule/score. This was a multicenter observational prospective study involving six EDs (NCT046291831). From [...] Read more.
In the Emergency Department (ED), the decision to hospitalize or discharge COVID-19 patients is challenging. We assessed the utility of lung ultrasound (LUS), alone or in association with a clinical rule/score. This was a multicenter observational prospective study involving six EDs (NCT046291831). From October 2020 to January 2021, COVID-19 outpatients discharged from the ED based on clinical judgment were subjected to LUS and followed-up at 30 days. The primary clinical outcome was a composite of hospitalization or death. Within 393 COVID-19 patients, 35 (8.9%) reached the primary outcome. For outcome prognostication, LUS had a C-index of 0.76 (95%CI 0.68–0.84) and showed good performance and calibration. LUS-based classification provided significant differences in Kaplan–Meier curves, with a positive LUS leading to a hazard ratio of 4.33 (95%CI 1.95–9.61) for the primary outcome. The sensitivity and specificity of LUS for primary outcome occurrence were 74.3% (95%CI 59.8–88.8) and 74% (95%CI 69.5–78.6), respectively. The integration of LUS with a clinical score further increased sensitivity. In patients with a negative LUS, the primary outcome occurred in nine (3.3%) patients (p < 0.001 vs. unselected). The efficiency for rule-out was 69.7%. In unvaccinated ED patients with COVID-19, LUS improves prognostic stratification over clinical judgment alone and may support standardized disposition decisions. Full article
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Article
Explainable Vision Transformers and Radiomics for COVID-19 Detection in Chest X-rays
J. Clin. Med. 2022, 11(11), 3013; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm11113013 - 26 May 2022
Abstract
The rapid spread of COVID-19 across the globe since its emergence has pushed many countries’ healthcare systems to the verge of collapse. To restrict the spread of the disease and lessen the ongoing cost on the healthcare system, it is critical to appropriately [...] Read more.
The rapid spread of COVID-19 across the globe since its emergence has pushed many countries’ healthcare systems to the verge of collapse. To restrict the spread of the disease and lessen the ongoing cost on the healthcare system, it is critical to appropriately identify COVID-19-positive individuals and isolate them as soon as possible. The primary COVID-19 screening test, RT-PCR, although accurate and reliable, has a long turn-around time. More recently, various researchers have demonstrated the use of deep learning approaches on chest X-ray (CXR) for COVID-19 detection. However, existing Deep Convolutional Neural Network (CNN) methods fail to capture the global context due to their inherent image-specific inductive bias. In this article, we investigated the use of vision transformers (ViT) for detecting COVID-19 in Chest X-ray (CXR) images. Several ViT models were fine-tuned for the multiclass classification problem (COVID-19, Pneumonia and Normal cases). A dataset consisting of 7598 COVID-19 CXR images, 8552 CXR for healthy patients and 5674 for Pneumonia CXR were used. The obtained results achieved high performance with an Area Under Curve (AUC) of 0.99 for multi-class classification (COVID-19 vs. Other Pneumonia vs. normal). The sensitivity of the COVID-19 class achieved 0.99. We demonstrated that the obtained results outperformed comparable state-of-the-art models for detecting COVID-19 on CXR images using CNN architectures. The attention map for the proposed model showed that our model is able to efficiently identify the signs of COVID-19. Full article
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Comment
Health Perception among Female COVID-19 Patients. Comment on Fernández-de-las-Peñas et al. Female Sex Is a Risk Factor Associated with Long-Term Post-COVID Related-Symptoms but Not with COVID-19 Symptoms: The LONG-COVID-EXP-CM Multicenter Study. J. Clin. Med. 2022, 11, 413
J. Clin. Med. 2022, 11(11), 2999; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm11112999 - 26 May 2022
Cited by 1
Abstract
We read with interest the original paper by Fernández-de-las-Peñas et al. [...] Full article
Article
How Seasonality and Control Measures Jointly Determine the Multistage Waves of the COVID-19 Epidemic: A Modelling Study and Implications
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(11), 6404; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19116404 - 25 May 2022
Abstract
The current novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a multistage epidemic consisting of multiple rounds of alternating outbreak and containment periods that cannot be modeled with a conventional single-stage Suspected-Exposed-Infectious-Removed (SEIR) model. Seasonality and control measures could be the two most important driving [...] Read more.
The current novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a multistage epidemic consisting of multiple rounds of alternating outbreak and containment periods that cannot be modeled with a conventional single-stage Suspected-Exposed-Infectious-Removed (SEIR) model. Seasonality and control measures could be the two most important driving factors of the multistage epidemic. Our goal is to formulate and incorporate the influences of seasonality and control measures into an epidemic model and interpret how these two factors interact to shape the multistage epidemic curves. New confirmed cases will be collected daily from seven Northern Hemisphere countries and five Southern Hemisphere countries from March 2020 to March 2021 to fit and validate the modified model. Results show that COVID-19 is a seasonal epidemic and that epidemic curves can be clearly distinguished in the two hemispheres. Different levels of control measures between different countries during different seasonal periods have different influences on epidemic transmission. Seasonality alone cannot cause the baseline reproduction number R0 to fall below one and control measures must be taken. A superposition of a high level of seasonality and a low level of control measures can lead to a dramatically rapid increase in reported cases. Full article
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Article
Do They Really Work? Quantifying Fabric Mask Effectiveness to Improve Public Health Messaging
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(11), 6372; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19116372 - 24 May 2022
Abstract
The purpose of this study is to compare masks (non-medical/fabric, surgical, and N95 respirators) on filtration efficiency, differential pressure, and leakage with the goal of providing evidence to improve public health messaging. Masks were tested on an anthropometric face filtration mount, comparing both [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study is to compare masks (non-medical/fabric, surgical, and N95 respirators) on filtration efficiency, differential pressure, and leakage with the goal of providing evidence to improve public health messaging. Masks were tested on an anthropometric face filtration mount, comparing both sealed and unsealed. Overall, surgical and N95 respirators provided significantly higher filtration efficiency (FE) and differential pressure (dP). Leakage comparisons are one of the most significant factors in mask efficiency. Higher weight and thicker fabric masks had significantly higher filtration efficiency. The findings of this study have important implications for communication and education regarding the use of masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses, specifically the differences between sealed and unsealed masks. The type and fabric of facial masks and whether a mask is sealed or unsealed has a significant impact on the effectiveness of a mask. Findings related to differences between sealed and unsealed masks are of critical importance for health care workers. If a mask is not completely sealed around the edges of the wearer, FE for this personal protective equipment is misrepresented and may create a false sense of security. These results can inform efforts to educate health care workers and the public on the importance of proper mask fit. Full article
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Article
Comparative Clinical Characteristics, Laboratory Findings, and Outcomes of Hypoxemic and Non-Hypoxemic Patients Treated at a Makeshift COVID-19 Unit in Bangladesh: A Retrospective Chart Analysis
J. Clin. Med. 2022, 11(11), 2968; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm11112968 - 24 May 2022
Abstract
Background: Starting on 31 December 2019, from Wuhan City, China, Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused a global pandemic by 11 March 2020. Bangladesh detected its first case on 8 March 2020, only 66 days later the detection of the first case in China. [...] Read more.
Background: Starting on 31 December 2019, from Wuhan City, China, Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused a global pandemic by 11 March 2020. Bangladesh detected its first case on 8 March 2020, only 66 days later the detection of the first case in China. We aimed to describe the epidemiology, clinical features, laboratory characteristics, and outcomes of Bangladeshi COVID-19 patients. Methods: This retrospective chart analysis compared Bangladeshi COVID-19 patients with hypoxemia compared to those without hypoxemia treated in a makeshift COVID-19 unit of icddr,b. Results: By March 2021, 207 remained in-patient. Nineteen patients (9.2%) died, whereas 10 (4.8%) were referred to different facilities for definitive care. Out of 207 in-patients, 88 patients required oxygen therapy. Multivariable logistic regression identified age (1.07 (1.02–1.13)), dyspnea (3.56 (1.06–11.96)), high CRP (1.13 (1.03–1.25)), and lymphopenia (6.18 (1.81–21.10)) as the independent predictors for hypoxemia in patients hospitalized for COVID 19 (for all, p < 0.05). Conclusion: Older age, dyspnea, high CRP, and lymphopenia are simple, but important, clinical and laboratory parameters. These may help clinicians to identify COVID-19 patients early who are at risk of fatal hypoxemia. Close monitoring, and prompt and aggressive treatment of these patients would curb their morbidity and mortality, especially in resource-limited settings. Full article
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Article
Long-Term Characteristics of Severe COVID-19: Respiratory Function, Functional Capacity, and Quality of Life
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(10), 6304; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19106304 - 23 May 2022
Abstract
Recovery from pneumonia takes around 3–6 months in individuals with severe COVID-19. In order to detect the isolated damage caused by COVID-19, the 6-month period must pass after the recoveries. However, to our knowledge, no published study analyzes a comprehensive evaluation of individuals [...] Read more.
Recovery from pneumonia takes around 3–6 months in individuals with severe COVID-19. In order to detect the isolated damage caused by COVID-19, the 6-month period must pass after the recoveries. However, to our knowledge, no published study analyzes a comprehensive evaluation of individuals with severe COVID-19 after 6 months. We aimed to evaluate long-term consequences of severe COVID patients by comparing respiratory function, functional capacity, quality of life, fatigue, and balance 6 months after the intensive care unit (ICU) discharge with healthy individuals. Method: 26 post-COVID adult patients and 26 healthy individuals (control group) were included in this study. Physical characteristics of both groups and patients’ ICU data, including APACHE II scores, were recorded. Lung function, respiratory, and peripheral muscle strength were measured. The lower limit of normal (LLN) cutoff points for forced vital capacity (FVC) and forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) were calculated. A 6-minute walk test (6MWT) was used to assess functional capacity. Time Up and Go test (TUG) with a stadiometer was performed for balance evaluation. Quality of life was evaluated using Nottingham Health Profile (NHP) and St George Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ). Results: Percent predicted FVC and FEV1, 6MWT distance, change in oxygen saturation (SpO2) during 6MWT, were lower and NHP, SGRQ, FSS scores and TUG findings were higher in the COVID group than the control group (p < 0.05). The FVC of nine individuals and the FEV1 value of seven individuals in the COVID-19 group were below the LLN values. A moderate correlation was found between ICU length of stay and APACHE II scores with FVC, FEV1, 6MWT distance, and change in SpO2 values in the COVID-19 patients (p < 0.05). Conclusion: Respiratory function, functional capacity, quality of life, and fatigue levels of the individuals with severe COVID-19 infection are impaired at 6 months after ICU discharge. Impaired lung function might be associated with severe inflammation, which starts during the acute infection process and the fibrous tissue during the healing process, impairing lung compliance and diffusion capacity. Infiltration of coronavirus and inflammatory cytokines into the cerebrum and muscle might have increased fatigue and decreased functional capacity. Overall, our study suggests that severe COVID patients need post-discharge care even after 6 months of recovery. Full article
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Article
Understanding COVID-19 Halal Vaccination Discourse on Facebook and Twitter Using Aspect-Based Sentiment Analysis and Text Emotion Analysis
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(10), 6269; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19106269 - 21 May 2022
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic introduced unprecedented challenges for people and governments. Vaccines are an available solution to this pandemic. Recipients of the vaccines are of different ages, gender, and religion. Muslims follow specific Islamic guidelines that prohibit them from taking a vaccine with certain [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic introduced unprecedented challenges for people and governments. Vaccines are an available solution to this pandemic. Recipients of the vaccines are of different ages, gender, and religion. Muslims follow specific Islamic guidelines that prohibit them from taking a vaccine with certain ingredients. This study aims at analyzing Facebook and Twitter data to understand the discourse related to halal vaccines using aspect-based sentiment analysis and text emotion analysis. We searched for the term “halal vaccine” and limited the timeline to the period between 1 January 2020, and 30 April 2021, and collected 6037 tweets and 3918 Facebook posts. We performed data preprocessing on tweets and Facebook posts and built the Latent Dirichlet Allocation (LDA) model to identify topics. Calculating the sentiment analysis for each topic was the next step. Finally, this study further investigates emotions in the data using the National Research Council of Canada Emotion Lexicon. Our analysis identified four topics in each of the Twitter dataset and Facebook dataset. Two topics of “COVID-19 vaccine” and “halal vaccine” are shared between the two datasets. The other two topics in tweets are “halal certificate” and “must halal”, while “sinovac vaccine” and “ulema council” are two other topics in the Facebook dataset. The sentiment analysis shows that the sentiment toward halal vaccine is mostly neutral in Twitter data, whereas it is positive in Facebook data. The emotion analysis indicates that trust is the most present emotion among the top three emotions in both datasets, followed by anticipation and fear. Full article
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Article
Assessment of the Diagnostic Performance of a Novel SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Sealing Tube Test Strip (Colloidal Gold) as Point-of-Care Surveillance Test
Diagnostics 2022, 12(5), 1279; https://doi.org/10.3390/diagnostics12051279 - 21 May 2022
Abstract
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variant outbreaks have highlighted the need of antigen-detecting rapid diagnostic tests (Ag-RDTs) that can be used at the point-of-care (POC). Although many Ag-RDTs have been approved for SARS-CoV-2 detection, studies demonstrating the clinical performance of Ag-RDTs [...] Read more.
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variant outbreaks have highlighted the need of antigen-detecting rapid diagnostic tests (Ag-RDTs) that can be used at the point-of-care (POC). Although many Ag-RDTs have been approved for SARS-CoV-2 detection, studies demonstrating the clinical performance of Ag-RDTs against variants of concern, especially the new Omicron variant, are limited. The aim of this study was to evaluate the diagnostic sensitivity and specificity of the AMAZING COVID-19 Antigen Sealing Tube Test Strip (Colloidal Gold) in 584 early symptomatic and asymptomatic participants (age range 0–90 years). The performance of this Ag-RDT was assessed by comparing its results with reverse transcription RT-PCR (rRT-PCR). One hundred twenty positive samples were also analyzed with rRT-PCR to discriminate Omicron and Delta/Kappa variants (72.50% Omicron; 27.50% Delta/Kappa). Overall, the Ag-RDT showed high positive and negative percent values of 92.52% (95% CI, 86.61–95.95%) and 98.05% (95% CI, 96.41–98.95%), respectively, as well as an overall diagnostic accuracy of 96.92% (95% CI, 95.17–98.16%). Taken together, these data indicate that this inexpensive and simple-to-use Ag-RDT presents excellent analytical performance and can reliably detect Omicron and Delta/Kappa variants. Full article
Article
Health Communication through Positive and Solidarity Messages Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic: Automated Content Analysis of Facebook Uses
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(10), 6159; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19106159 - 19 May 2022
Abstract
The COVID-19 outbreak has caused significant stress in our lives, which potentially increases frustration, fear, and resentful emotions. Managing stress is complex, but helps to alleviate negative psychological effects. In order to understand how the public coped with stress during the COVID-19 pandemic, [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 outbreak has caused significant stress in our lives, which potentially increases frustration, fear, and resentful emotions. Managing stress is complex, but helps to alleviate negative psychological effects. In order to understand how the public coped with stress during the COVID-19 pandemic, we used Macao as a case study and collected 104,827 COVID-19 related posts from Facebook through data mining, from 1 January to 31 December 2020. Divominer, a big-data analysis tool supported by computational algorithm, was employed to identify themes and facilitate machine coding and analysis. A total of 60,875 positive messages were identified, with 24,790 covering positive psychological themes, such as “anti-epidemic”, “solidarity”, “hope”, “gratitude”, “optimism”, and “grit”. Messages that mentioned “anti-epidemic”, “solidarity”, and “hope” were the most prevalent, while different crisis stages, key themes and media elements had various impacts on public involvement. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first-ever study in the Chinese context that uses social media to clarify the awareness of solidarity. Positive messages are needed to empower social media users to shoulder their shared responsibility to tackle the crisis. The findings provide insights into users’ needs for improving their subjective well-being to mitigate the negative psychological impact of the pandemic. Full article
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Article
Costs of Employee Stewardship Behaviors for Employees in the Work-to-Family Penetration Context during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(10), 6117; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19106117 - 18 May 2022
Abstract
Drawing on the work–home resources model, our aim in this study was to explore the negative effects of employee stewardship behavior on work–family conflict (WFC) through work-to-family border permeation (WFBP) for employees. A conditional process model linking employee stewardship behavior (ESB), family-supportive supervisor [...] Read more.
Drawing on the work–home resources model, our aim in this study was to explore the negative effects of employee stewardship behavior on work–family conflict (WFC) through work-to-family border permeation (WFBP) for employees. A conditional process model linking employee stewardship behavior (ESB), family-supportive supervisor behavior (FBBS), work-to-family border permeation (WFBP), family support, and work–family conflict (WFC) was developed. Longitudinal data collected at two different time points from 323 employees of three internet companies in south China were examined. The results revealed that WFBP mediates the impact of ESB on WFC. Family-supportive supervisor behavior substantially weakens the relationship between ESB and WFBP and the indirect effect of WFBP. Similarly, family support undermines the relationship between WFBP and WFC and the indirect effect of WFBP. Employee-level stewardship and blurred work–family boundaries have been common phenomena in contemporary China, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. This study is among the first to focus on the negative impacts of employee stewardship behaviors on the employee, especially on their family, from a Chinese context. These findings also increase our understanding of the effects of ESB and provide some new insights into how to mitigate WFC. Full article
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Article
Lessons We Have Learned Regarding Seroprevalence in High and Low SARS-CoV-2 Contexts in Greece before the Omicron Pandemic Wave
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(10), 6110; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19106110 - 17 May 2022
Abstract
Background: Antibody seroprevalence in rural communities remains poorly investigated. We compared the SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence in two Greek communities in June and July 2021 after the end of the Delta-driven pandemic wave that started in November 2020. One community was affected worse than the [...] Read more.
Background: Antibody seroprevalence in rural communities remains poorly investigated. We compared the SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence in two Greek communities in June and July 2021 after the end of the Delta-driven pandemic wave that started in November 2020. One community was affected worse than the other. Methods: The SARS-CoV-2 IgG II Quant method (Architect, Abbott, IL, USA) was used for antibody testing. Results: We found a high rate of SARS-CoV-2 seropositivity in both communities, approaching 77.5%. In the area with a higher burden of COVID-19, Malesina, seropositivity was achieved with vaccine-acquired and naturally acquired immunity, whereas in the low-burden context of Domokos, the high rates of seropositivity were achieved mainly with vaccination. Previously infected individuals were less likely to be vaccinated than previously uninfected adults. The antibody titers were significantly higher in previously infected, vaccinated participants than in unvaccinated ones. In total, 4% and 10% of the unvaccinated population were diagnosed seropositive for the first time while not knowing about the previous infection. Age and gender did not impact antibody titers in high- or low-burden contexts. Conclusions: Before the Omicron pandemic wave, herd immunity was reached in different contexts in Greece. Higher antibody titers were measured in infected vaccinated individuals than in infected unvaccinated ones. Full article
Review
Efficacy and Safety of Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation in Patients under Mechanical Ventilation with COVID-19 and Severe Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome: A Health Technology Assessment
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(10), 6080; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19106080 - 17 May 2022
Abstract
We aimed to assess the efficacy and safety of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) in patients under mechanical ventilation with COVID-19 and severe acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). A systematic review of the literature published in PubMed, Cochrane Library and LILACS databases, was performed. [...] Read more.
We aimed to assess the efficacy and safety of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) in patients under mechanical ventilation with COVID-19 and severe acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). A systematic review of the literature published in PubMed, Cochrane Library and LILACS databases, was performed. A manual search was also conducted using the reference lists of the studies included in the full-text assessment, as well as a grey-literature search on Google. Additionally, websites of state institutions and organizations developing clinical practice guidelines and health technology assessments were reviewed. The ClinicalTrials.gov website was screened along with the websites of the International Clinical Trial Registry Platform and the National Registry of Health Research Projects of the Peruvian National Institute of Health. No restrictions were applied in terms of language, time, or country. A total of 13 documents were assessed, which included 7 clinical practice guidelines, 3 health technology assessments, 1 systematic review, 1 randomized clinical trial, and 1 observational study. A critical appraisal was conducted for each document. After this, we considered that the currently available evidence is insufficient for a conclusion supporting the use of ECMO in patients under mechanical ventilation with severe ARDS associated to COVID-19 in terms of mortality, safety, and quality of life. Full article
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Article
The Role of Moral Distress on Physician Burnout during COVID-19
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(10), 6066; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19106066 - 17 May 2022
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to explore the role of moral distress on physician burnout during COVID-19. Physicians in the US were interviewed between February and March 2021; 479 responded to our survey. The results indicated that moral distress was a key [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study was to explore the role of moral distress on physician burnout during COVID-19. Physicians in the US were interviewed between February and March 2021; 479 responded to our survey. The results indicated that moral distress was a key mediator in explaining the relationship between perceived organizational support, medical specialization, emotional labor, and coping with burnout. Results did not support increased burnout among female physicians, and contracting COVID-19 likewise did not play a role in burnout. Our findings suggest that physician burnout can be mitigated by increasing perceived organizational support; likewise, physicians who engaged in deep emotional labor and problem-focused coping tended to fare better when it came to feelings of moral distress and subsequent burnout. Full article
Article
Health-Promoting Quality of Life at Work during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A 12-Month Longitudinal Study on the Work-Related Sense of Coherence in Acute Care Healthcare Professionals
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(10), 6053; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19106053 - 16 May 2022
Abstract
(1) Background: During a pandemic, the wellbeing of healthcare professionals is crucial. We investigated the long-term association of the Work-related Sense of Coherence (Work-SoC) and the evolution of psychological health symptoms of acute care healthcare professionals during the first year of the COVID-19 [...] Read more.
(1) Background: During a pandemic, the wellbeing of healthcare professionals is crucial. We investigated the long-term association of the Work-related Sense of Coherence (Work-SoC) and the evolution of psychological health symptoms of acute care healthcare professionals during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. (2) Methods: This longitudinal observational study enrolled 520 multinational healthcare professionals, who completed an online survey every three months from April 2020 to April 2021. Mixed linear models examined the associations between Work-SOC and COVID-19-related anxiety, perceived vulnerability, depressiveness, and psychological trauma symptomatology. (3) Results: Healthcare professionals with a higher Work-SoC reported lower levels of COVID-19-related anxiety, perceived vulnerability, depressiveness, and psychological trauma symptomatology in April 2020 than healthcare professionals with an average or lower Work-SoC, but the levels increased to higher values in April 2021. Healthcare professionals with a lower Work-SoC reported higher levels of depressiveness and psychological trauma symptomatology in April 2020 but lower levels in April 2021. (4) Conclusions: Healthcare professionals with higher levels of Work-related Sense of Coherence might be protected against variations in psychological symptoms for about three months, but this protection seems to decrease as the pandemic continues, resulting in mental health deterioration. In contrast, healthcare professionals with a lower Work-SoC might be protected at later stages of the pandemic. Full article
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Article
Research on the Design Strategy of Healing Products for Anxious Users during COVID-19
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(10), 6046; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19106046 - 16 May 2022
Abstract
With the spread of COVID-19 worldwide, various travel restrictions are becoming a significant trigger for anxiety. Although healing products could relieve anxiety, few scholars have proposed a practical design strategy. Therefore, we offer a design strategy for healing products that includes three phases: [...] Read more.
With the spread of COVID-19 worldwide, various travel restrictions are becoming a significant trigger for anxiety. Although healing products could relieve anxiety, few scholars have proposed a practical design strategy. Therefore, we offer a design strategy for healing products that includes three phases: preparation, analysis, and verification. In Phase 1, 20 people with moderate or high anxiety are invited to rate 100 samples. Then, FCM is used to obtain representative samples. In Phase 2, a three-layer diagram (incl. the upper, middle, and lower layers) of healing products is obtained using the evaluation grid method. Subsequently, the middle layer is considered evaluation criteria. Additionally, 18 items in the lower layer are considered design guidelines. In Phase 3, we invite two teams to develop innovative designs based on design guidelines and personal experience, generating four alternatives. Finally, four alternatives and four healing commodities are evaluated using grey relation analysis and perceptual questionnaires. The consistency of both evaluations could confirm the validity of the evaluation criteria. The alternatives generated based on the design guidelines are better than other alternatives, demonstrating the effectiveness of the design guidelines. The design strategy is beneficial for developing and evaluating healing products to alleviate people’s anxiety during COVID-19. Full article
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Article
Effectiveness of Intermediate Respiratory Care Units as an Alternative to Intensive Care Units during the COVID-19 Pandemic in Catalonia
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(10), 6034; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19106034 - 16 May 2022
Abstract
Objectives: During the COVID-19 pandemic, the risk of collapse for the health system created great difficulties. We will demonstrate that intermediate respiratory care units (IRCU) provide adequate management of patients with non-invasive respiratory support, which is particularly important for patients with SARS-CoV-2 pneumonia. [...] Read more.
Objectives: During the COVID-19 pandemic, the risk of collapse for the health system created great difficulties. We will demonstrate that intermediate respiratory care units (IRCU) provide adequate management of patients with non-invasive respiratory support, which is particularly important for patients with SARS-CoV-2 pneumonia. Methods: A prospective observational study of patients with COVID-19 admitted to the ICU of a tertiary hospital. Sociodemographic data, comorbidities, pharmacological, respiratory support, laboratory and blood gas variables were collected. The overall cost of the unit was subsequently analyzed. Results: 991 patients were admitted, 56 to the IRCU (from a of 81 admitted to the critical care unit). Mean age was 65 years (SD 12.8), Barthel index 75 (SD 8.3), Charlson comorbidity index 3.1 (SD 2.2), HTN 27%, COPD 89% and obesity 24%. A significant relationship (p < 0.05) with higher mortality was noted for the following parameters: fever greater than or equal to 39 °C [OR 5.6; 95% CI (1.2–2.7); p = 0.020], protocolized pharmacological treatment [OR 0.3; 95% CI (0.1–0.9); p = 0.023] and IOI [OR 3.7; 95% CI (1.1–12.3); p = 0.025]. NIMV had less of a negative impact [OR 1.8; 95% CI (0.4–8.4); p = 0.423] than IOI. The total cost of the IRCU amounted to €66,233. The cost per day of stay in the IRCU was €164 per patient. The total cost avoided was €214,865. Conclusions: The pandemic has highlighted the importance of IRCUs in facilitating the management of a high patient volume. The treatment carried out in IRCUs is effective and efficient, reducing both admissions to and stays in the ICU. Full article
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Article
Determinants of Quality of Life in the COVID-19 Pandemic Situation among Persons Using Psychological Help at Various Stages of the Pandemic
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(10), 6023; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19106023 - 16 May 2022
Abstract
This article presents the results of three surveys conducted during the initial stage of the COVID-19 pandemic, in March 2020 and in late June/early July 2020, when pandemic restrictions were in force. The surveys covered patients who had used psychological assistance before the [...] Read more.
This article presents the results of three surveys conducted during the initial stage of the COVID-19 pandemic, in March 2020 and in late June/early July 2020, when pandemic restrictions were in force. The surveys covered patients who had used psychological assistance before the pandemic. two were cross-sectional and one was longitudinal. The first survey involved 270 people (age: M = 29.59, SD = 10.74, women 79.3%), and the second one covered 117 subjects (age: M = 29.40, SD = 11.49, women 85.5%). The third, longitudinal, survey covered 83 subjects (age: M = 26.61, SD = 7.17, women 89.2%). In our research we used the Conservation of Resources Evaluation questionnaire, the abbreviated version of the Coping Orientation to Problems Experienced, the WHO Quality of Life Scale, and a questionnaire for collecting sociodemographic information. Our analysis of the quality-of-life correlates in the two cross-sectional studies leads to an observation that for people using psychological help, the constant determinants of quality of life during a pandemic are high gain in resources and little loss of resources. In the first phase of the pandemic, active strategies were not linked to the sense of quality of life. This sense, however, was diminished by a number of negative strategies, such as denial, venting, substance use, restraint, and self-blame. After 3 months of the ongoing pandemic, perceived quality of life was positively correlated with strategies related to seeking instrumental support and active coping. this most likely points to a process of adapting to a difficult situation. The results of our longitudinal surveys demonstrate increasing escapism. Our attempt at explaining which factors determined the quality of life after 3 months of the ongoing pandemic showed that the crucial factors are: a sense of quality of life before the occurrence of the pandemic, changes in the distribution of resilience-oriented resources, changed frequency of using passive strategies, and active ways of coping—but only after 3 months into the pandemic. The results thus obtained can be used both in prevention and in work with persons affected by the negative consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. Full article
Article
Clinical and Socio-Demographic Variables Associated with the Diagnosis of Long COVID Syndrome in Youth: A Population-Based Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(10), 5993; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19105993 - 15 May 2022
Cited by 1
Abstract
This study examines the demographic, clinical and socioeconomic factors associated with diagnosis of long COVID syndrome (LCS). Data of 20,601 COVID-19-positive children aged 5 to 18 years were collected between 2020 and 2021 in an Israeli database. Logistic regression analysis was used to [...] Read more.
This study examines the demographic, clinical and socioeconomic factors associated with diagnosis of long COVID syndrome (LCS). Data of 20,601 COVID-19-positive children aged 5 to 18 years were collected between 2020 and 2021 in an Israeli database. Logistic regression analysis was used to evaluate the adjusted odds ratio for the characteristics of the COVID-19 infection and pre-COVID-19 morbidities. Children with LCS were significantly more likely to have been severely symptomatic, required hospitalization, and experienced recurrent acute infection within 180 days. In addition, children with LCS were significantly more likely to have had ADHD, chronic urticaria, and allergic rhinitis. Diagnosis of LCS is significantly associated with pre-COVID-19 ADHD diagnosis, suggesting clinicians treating ADHD children who become infected with COVID-19 remain vigilant for the possibility of LCS. Although the risk of severe COVID-19 infection and LCS in children is low, further research on possible morbidity related to LCS in children is needed. Full article
Article
Risk Factors Associated with Mortality among Patients with COVID-19: Analysis of a Cohort of 1213 Patients in a Tertiary Healthcare Center
J. Clin. Med. 2022, 11(10), 2780; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm11102780 - 14 May 2022
Abstract
The presence of cardio-metabolic and respiratory comorbidities, immunosuppression, and chronic kidney disease have been associated with an increase in mortality from COVID-19. The objective of this study is to establish the risk factors associated with 30-day mortality in a cohort of hospitalized patients [...] Read more.
The presence of cardio-metabolic and respiratory comorbidities, immunosuppression, and chronic kidney disease have been associated with an increase in mortality from COVID-19. The objective of this study is to establish the risk factors associated with 30-day mortality in a cohort of hospitalized patients with COVID-19. This paper conducts a retrospective and analytical study of patients hospitalized for COVID-19 in a tertiary care center. A Cox proportional hazard analysis was performed to estimate the association of comorbidities with 30-day mortality. A total of 1215 patients with a median age of 59 years were included. In the adjusted Cox proportional hazards regression model, hypothyroidism, D-dimer ≥ 0.8 μg/mL, LHD ≥ 430 IU/L, CRP ≥ 4.83 ng/mL, and triglycerides ≥ 214 mg/dL were associated with an increased risk of death. The presence of a history of hypothyroidism and biomarkers (D-dimer, lactic dehydrogenase, CRP, and triglycerides) were associated with an increase in mortality in the studied cohort. Full article
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Article
Emergency Medical Services Calls Analysis for Trend Prediction during Epidemic Outbreaks: Interrupted Time Series Analysis on 2020–2021 COVID-19 Epidemic in Lazio, Italy
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(10), 5951; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19105951 - 13 May 2022
Abstract
(1) Background: During the COVID-19 outbreak in the Lazio region, a surge in emergency medical service (EMS) calls has been observed. The objective of present study is to investigate if there is any correlation between the variation in numbers of daily EMS calls, [...] Read more.
(1) Background: During the COVID-19 outbreak in the Lazio region, a surge in emergency medical service (EMS) calls has been observed. The objective of present study is to investigate if there is any correlation between the variation in numbers of daily EMS calls, and the short-term evolution of the epidemic wave. (2) Methods: Data from the COVID-19 outbreak has been retrieved in order to draw the epidemic curve in the Lazio region. Data from EMS calls has been used in order to determine Excess of Calls (ExCa) in the 2020–2021 years, compared to the year 2019 (baseline). Multiple linear regression models have been run between ExCa and the first-order derivative (D’) of the epidemic wave in time, each regression model anticipating the epidemic progression (up to 14 days), in order to probe a correlation between the variables. (3) Results: EMS calls variation from baseline is correlated with the slope of the curve of ICU admissions, with the most fitting value found at 7 days (R2 0.33, p < 0.001). (4) Conclusions: EMS calls deviation from baseline allows public health services to predict short-term epidemic trends in COVID-19 outbreaks, and can be used as validation of current data, or as an independent estimator of future trends. Full article
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Review
An Effective Mechanism for the Early Detection and Containment of Healthcare Worker Infections in the Setting of the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Systematic Review and Meta-Synthesis
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(10), 5943; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19105943 - 13 May 2022
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed healthcare workers (HCWs) to serious infection risks. In this context, the proactive monitoring of HCWs is the first step toward reducing intrahospital transmissions and safeguarding the HCW population, as well as reflecting the preparedness and response of the [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed healthcare workers (HCWs) to serious infection risks. In this context, the proactive monitoring of HCWs is the first step toward reducing intrahospital transmissions and safeguarding the HCW population, as well as reflecting the preparedness and response of the healthcare system. As such, this study systematically reviewed the literature on evidence-based effective monitoring measures for HCWs during the COVID-19 pandemic. This was followed by a meta-synthesis to compile the key findings, thus, providing a clearer overall understanding of the subject. Effective monitoring measures of syndromic surveillance, testing, contact tracing, and exposure management are distilled and further integrated to create a whole-process monitoring workflow framework. Taken together, a mechanism for the early detection and containment of HCW infections is, thus, constituted, providing a composite set of practical recommendations to healthcare facility leadership and policy makers to reduce nosocomial transmission rates while maintaining adequate staff for medical services. In this regard, our study paves the way for future studies aimed at strengthening surveillance capacities and upgrading public health system resilience, in order to respond more efficiently to future pandemic threats. Full article
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Article
Effects of Population Knowledge, Perceptions, Attitudes, and Practices on COVID-19 Infection Prevention and Control in NUST
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(10), 5918; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19105918 - 13 May 2022
Abstract
The global COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on the education sector of most countries. One of the basic CDC prevention guidelines is the implementation of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) to protect the health of students and staff members to curve the spread [...] Read more.
The global COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on the education sector of most countries. One of the basic CDC prevention guidelines is the implementation of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) to protect the health of students and staff members to curve the spread of COVID-19. The current study aimed to examine the knowledge, perceptions, attitudes, and practices of students at the Namibia University of Technology toward the COVID-19 pandemic. A cross-sectional descriptive survey was conducted using a closed-ended questionnaire. Data were collected from full-time students who were on campus during the COVID-19 pandemic between 29 January to 14 February 2021. The average knowledge about the modes of transmission, protective measures, and clinical symptoms ranged from 78% to 96%. About 31% of student respondents believed the virus was created in a laboratory, and 47% believed the vaccine has negative side effects and therefore, refused to take it. The three main sources of information about COVID-19 were social media (75%), television (63%), and friends and family (50%). The students had an overall positive attitude towards the implementation of NPIs. However, the importance of vaccine safety must be emphasized. Lockdowns should be lifted gradually to reduce the amount of time students are spending on online content. Reopening of classrooms for face-to-face study will bring unquestionable benefits to students and the wider economy. Full article
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Article
SARS-CoV-2 Vaccination Rate and SARS-CoV-2 Infection of Health Care Workers in Aerosol-Generating Medical Disciplines
J. Clin. Med. 2022, 11(10), 2751; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm11102751 - 12 May 2022
Abstract
Healthcare workers (HCW) who perform aerosol-generating procedures (AGP) are at high risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Data on infection rates and vaccination are limited. A nationwide, cross-sectional study focusing on AGP-related specialties was conducted between 3 May 2021 and 14 June 2021. Vaccination rates [...] Read more.
Healthcare workers (HCW) who perform aerosol-generating procedures (AGP) are at high risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Data on infection rates and vaccination are limited. A nationwide, cross-sectional study focusing on AGP-related specialties was conducted between 3 May 2021 and 14 June 2021. Vaccination rates among HCW, perception of infection risk, and infection rates were analyzed, focusing on the comparison of gastrointestinal endoscopy (GIE) and other AGP-related specialties (NON-GIE), from the beginning of the pandemic until the time point of the study. Infections rates among HCW developed similarly to the general population during the course of the pandemic, however, with significantly higher infections rates among the GIE specialty. The perceived risk of infection was distributed similarly among HCW in GIE and NON-GIE (91.7%, CI: 88.6–94.4 vs. 85.8%, CI: 82.4–89.0; p < 0.01) with strongest perceived threats posed by AGPs (90.8%) and close patient contact (70.1%). The very high vaccination rate (100–80%) among physicians was reported at 83.5%, being significantly more frequently reported than among nurses (56.4%, p < 0.01). GIE had more often stated very high vaccination rate compared with NON-GIE (76.1% vs. 65.3%, p < 0.01). A significantly higher rate of GIE was reported to have fewer concerns regarding infection risk after vaccination than NON-GIE (92.0% vs. 80.3%, p < 0.01). Full article
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Article
Sponge Whirl-Pak Sampling Method and Droplet Digital RT-PCR Assay for Monitoring of SARS-CoV-2 on Surfaces in Public and Working Environments
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(10), 5861; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19105861 - 11 May 2022
Abstract
The SARS-CoV-2 can spread directly via saliva, respiratory aerosols and droplets, and indirectly by contact through contaminated objects and/or surfaces and by air. In the context of COVID-19 fomites can be an important vehicle of virus transmission and contribute to infection risk in [...] Read more.
The SARS-CoV-2 can spread directly via saliva, respiratory aerosols and droplets, and indirectly by contact through contaminated objects and/or surfaces and by air. In the context of COVID-19 fomites can be an important vehicle of virus transmission and contribute to infection risk in public environments. The aim of the study was to analyze through surface sampling (sponge method) the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in public and working environments, in order to evaluate the risk for virus transmission. Seventy-seven environmental samples were taken using sterile sponges in 17 animal farms, 4 public transport buses, 1 supermarket and 1 hotel receptive structure. Furthermore, 246 and 93 swab samples were taken in the farms from animals and from workers, respectively. SARS-CoV-2 detection was conducted by real-time RT-PCR and by digital droplet RT-PCR (dd RT-PCR) using RdRp, gene E and gene N as targets. None of the human and animal swab samples were positive for SARS-CoV-2, while detection was achieved in 20 of the 77 sponge samples (26%) using dd RT-PCR. Traces of the RdRp gene, gene E and gene N were found in 17/77 samples (22%, average concentration 31.2 g.c./cm2, range 5.6 to 132 g.c./cm2), 8/77 samples (10%, average concentration 15.1 g.c./cm2, range 6 to 36 g.c./cm2), and in 1/77 (1%, concentration 7.2 g.c./cm2). Higher detection rates were associated with sampling in animal farms and on public transport buses (32% and 30%) compared to the supermarket (21%) and the hotel (no detection). The result of the study suggests that the risk of contamination of surfaces with SARS-CoV-2 increases in environments in which sanitation strategies are not suitable and/or in highly frequented locations, such as public transportation. Considering the analytical methods, the dd RT-PCR was the only approach achieving detection of SARS-CoV-2 traces in environmental samples. Thus, dd RT-PCR emerges as a reliable tool for sensitive SARS-CoV-2 detection. Full article
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Article
Job Satisfaction Level of Safety and Health Manager in Construction Industry: Pandemic Period
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(10), 5858; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19105858 - 11 May 2022
Abstract
In a widespread social turmoil such as the Pandemic, job groups with high turnover rates and high job stress, such as the construction industry, will have a greater adverse impact than the general job group. This is to be used as basic data [...] Read more.
In a widespread social turmoil such as the Pandemic, job groups with high turnover rates and high job stress, such as the construction industry, will have a greater adverse impact than the general job group. This is to be used as basic data in preparing management plans by identifying the factors that hinder job stress and job satisfaction of construction workers. In this study, during the Pandemic period (1 September 2021 to 31 December 2021), a survey was conducted on job stress and job satisfaction among safety and health managers working at construction sites. The overall job satisfaction of workers in the construction industry was grasped by analyzing the level of correlation and the mutual influence on job stress, job satisfaction, general characteristics, and work-related characteristics. As a result, in terms of work characteristics, it was found that the smaller the working period in the current position, the more positive the job satisfaction was (p < 0.01). In addition, it was found that job satisfaction increased significantly when there was a promotion opportunity (p < 0.001). The construction industry is a job group with high basic job stress and low job satisfaction. In addition, it was evaluated that job stress increased during the pandemic. Full article
Article
The Impact of Different Ventilatory Strategies on Clinical Outcomes in Patients with COVID-19 Pneumonia
J. Clin. Med. 2022, 11(10), 2710; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm11102710 - 11 May 2022
Abstract
Introduction: The aim was to investigate the impact of different ventilator strategies (non-invasive ventilation (NIV); invasive MV with tracheal tube (TT) and with tracheostomy (TS) on outcomes (mortality and intensive care unit (ICU) length of stay) in patients with COVID-19. We also assessed [...] Read more.
Introduction: The aim was to investigate the impact of different ventilator strategies (non-invasive ventilation (NIV); invasive MV with tracheal tube (TT) and with tracheostomy (TS) on outcomes (mortality and intensive care unit (ICU) length of stay) in patients with COVID-19. We also assessed the impact of timing of percutaneous tracheostomy and other risk factors on mortality. Methods: The retrospective cohort included 868 patients with severe COVID-19. Demographics, MV parameters and duration, and ICU mortality were collected. Results: MV was provided in 530 (61.1%) patients, divided into three groups: NIV (n = 139), TT (n = 313), and TS (n = 78). Prevalence of tracheostomy was 14.7%, and ICU mortality was 90.4%, 60.2%, and 30.2% in TT, TS, and NIV groups, respectively (p < 0.001). Tracheostomy increased the chances of survival and being discharged from ICU (OR 6.3, p < 0.001) despite prolonging ICU stay compared to the TT group (22.2 days vs. 10.7 days, p < 0.001) without differences in survival rates between early and late tracheostomy. Patients who only received invasive MV had higher odds of survival compared to those receiving NIV in ICU prior to invasive MV (OR 2.7, p = 0.001). The odds of death increased with age (OR 1.032, p < 0.001), obesity (1.58, p = 0.041), chronic renal disease (1.57, p = 0.019), sepsis (2.8, p < 0.001), acute kidney injury (1.7, p = 0.049), multiple organ dysfunction (3.2, p < 0.001), and ARDS (3.3, p < 0.001). Conclusions: Percutaneous tracheostomy compared to MV via TT significantly increased survival and the rate of discharge from ICU, without differences between early or late tracheostomy. Full article
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Article
Age-Dependent Biomarkers for Prediction of In-Hospital Mortality in COVID-19 Patients
J. Clin. Med. 2022, 11(10), 2682; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm11102682 - 10 May 2022
Cited by 1
Abstract
Background: Several biomarkers and models have been proposed to predict in-hospital mortality among COVID-19 patients. However, these studies have not examined the association in sub-populations. The present study aimed to identify the association between the two most common inflammatory biomarkers in the emergency [...] Read more.
Background: Several biomarkers and models have been proposed to predict in-hospital mortality among COVID-19 patients. However, these studies have not examined the association in sub-populations. The present study aimed to identify the association between the two most common inflammatory biomarkers in the emergency department and in-hospital mortality in subgroups of patients. Methods: A historical cohort study of adult patients who were admitted to acute-care hospital between March and December 2020 and had a diagnosis of COVID-19 infection. Data on age, sex, Charlson comorbidity index, white blood cell (WBC) count, C-reactive protein (CRP), and in-hospital mortality were collected. Discrimination ability of each biomarker was observed and the CHAID method was used to identify the association in subgroups of patients. Results: Overall, 762 patients (median age 70.9 years, 59.7% males) were included in the study. Of them, 25.1% died during hospitalization. In-hospital mortality was associated with higher CRP (median 138 mg/L vs. 85 mg/L, p < 0.001), higher WBC count (median 8.5 vs. 6.6 K/µL, p < 0.001), and higher neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio (NLR) (median 9.2 vs. 5.4, p < 0.001). The area under the ROC curve was similar among all biomarkers (WBC 0.643, NLR 0.677, CRP 0.646, p > 0.1 for all comparisons). The CHAID method revealed that WBC count was associated with in-hospital mortality in patients aged 43.1–66.0 years (<11 K/µL: 10.1% vs. 11+ K/µL: 27.9%), NLR in patients aged 66.1–80 years (≤8: 15.7%, >8: 43.3%), and CRP in patients aged 80.1+ years (≤47 mg/L: 18.8%, 47.1–149 mg/L: 43.1%, and 149.1+: 71.7% mortality). Conclusions: WBC, NLR, and CRP present similar discrimination abilities. However, each biomarker should be considered as a predictor for in-hospital mortality in different age groups. Full article
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Article
Long-Lasting Olfactory Dysfunction in Hospital Workers Due to COVID-19: Prevalence, Clinical Characteristics, and Most Affected Odorants
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(9), 5777; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19095777 - 09 May 2022
Abstract
Hospital workers have increased exposure risk of healthcare-associated infections due to the frontline nature of their work. Olfactory dysfunction is highly prevalent. The objectives for this investigation are to study the prevalence of long-lasting olfactory dysfunction associated with COVID-19 infection in hospital workers [...] Read more.
Hospital workers have increased exposure risk of healthcare-associated infections due to the frontline nature of their work. Olfactory dysfunction is highly prevalent. The objectives for this investigation are to study the prevalence of long-lasting olfactory dysfunction associated with COVID-19 infection in hospital workers during the first pandemic wave, to identify clinical characteristics and associated symptomatology, and to analyze how many patients with COVID-19 infection had developed olfactory dysfunction during infection and maintained a reduced olfactory function for approximately 10 weeks after diagnosis. Between June and July of 2020, a cross-sectional study was carried out at the Hospital Central de la Cruz Roja San José and Santa Adela in Madrid, Spain. One hundred sixty-four participants were included, of which 110 were patient-facing healthcare staff and 54 were non-patient-facing healthcare staff. Participants were split into three groups, according to COVID-19 diagnosis and presence of COVID-19 related olfactory symptomatology. Participants were asked to complete a structured online questionnaire along with Sniffin’ Stick Olfactory Test measurements. In this study, 88 participants were confirmed for COVID-19 infection, 59 of those participants also reported olfactory symptomatology. The prevalence of COVID-19 infection was 11.35%, and the prevalence for olfactory dysfunction was 67.05%. Olfactory dysfunction associated with COVID-19 infection leads to long-lasting olfactory loss. Objective assessment with Sniffin’ Stick Olfactory Test points to odor identification as the most affected process. Lemon, liquorice, solvent, and rose are the odors that are worst recognized. Mint, banana, solvent, garlic, coffee, and pineapple, although they are identified, are perceived with less intensity. The findings of this study confirmed a high prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 infection among the hospital workers. Full article
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Article
Streamlining Patient Management of Suspected COVID-19 Patients in the Emergency Department: Incorporation of Pulmonary CT Angiography into the Triaging Algorithm
Diagnostics 2022, 12(5), 1183; https://doi.org/10.3390/diagnostics12051183 - 09 May 2022
Abstract
Purpose: To evaluate the use of pulmonary computed tomography (CT) angiography during initial admission at an emergency department (ED), to identify COVID-19 patients with accompanying pulmonary embolism (PE) and its impact on clinical management. Methods: We performed a retrospective analysis of COVID-19 patients [...] Read more.
Purpose: To evaluate the use of pulmonary computed tomography (CT) angiography during initial admission at an emergency department (ED), to identify COVID-19 patients with accompanying pulmonary embolism (PE) and its impact on clinical management. Methods: We performed a retrospective analysis of COVID-19 patients that underwent pulmonary CT angiography at the ED. CT scans were evaluated for the presence and extent of PE and for imaging changes suspicious of COVID-19. Patients were subdivided into two groups: (1) Group A consisted of patients with proven COVID-19 based on real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), and (2) Group B of patients suspected for COVID-19, comprising patients positive on RT-PCR and/or COVID-19-suspicious CT findings. To assess the differences between patients with and without pulmonary embolism, Fisher’s exact test was used. Results: A total of 308 patients were admitted to the ED for diagnostic work-up of dyspnea and suspected COVID-19, and 95 patients underwent pulmonary CT angiography. PE was detected in 13.6% (3/22) of patients in Group A and 20.7% (6/29) in Group B. No significant differences were observed between patients with and without PE concerning hospitalization (Group B: 100% (6/6) vs. 91.3% (21/23)), the necessity of oxygen therapy (Group B: 66% (4/6) vs. 43.5% (10/23)), and death (Group B: 33% (2/6) vs. 4.3% (1/23) p > 0.05, respectively). Conclusions: In 20.7% of COVID-19 patients, PE was detected upon admission to the ED. Although the incorporation of early pulmonary CT angiography in patients suspicious of COVID-19 may be beneficial to identify concomitant PE, further studies are necessary to corroborate these findings. Full article
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Article
Acute Pulmonary Artery Thrombosis despite Anticoagulation in Patients with COVID-19 Pneumonia: A Single-Center Retrospective Cohort Study
J. Clin. Med. 2022, 11(9), 2633; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm11092633 - 07 May 2022
Abstract
(1) Background: We aimed to describe the clinical and imaging characteristics of patients diagnosed with pulmonary artery thrombosis (PAT) despite receiving anticoagulation with low-molecular-weight heparin (LMWH). (2) Methods: We retrospectively studied all hospitalized COVID-19 adult patients diagnosed with PAT between March 2020 and [...] Read more.
(1) Background: We aimed to describe the clinical and imaging characteristics of patients diagnosed with pulmonary artery thrombosis (PAT) despite receiving anticoagulation with low-molecular-weight heparin (LMWH). (2) Methods: We retrospectively studied all hospitalized COVID-19 adult patients diagnosed with PAT between March 2020 and December 2021, who received LMWH for ≥72 h until the diagnosis of PAT. Acute PAT was confirmed by a CT pulmonary angiogram. (3) Results: We included 30 severe and critical COVID-19 patients. Median age was 62 (54–74) years, with 83.3% males, and comorbidities seen in 73.3%. PAT was diagnosed despite prophylactic (23.3%), intermediate (46.6%) or therapeutic (30%) doses of LMWH for a median time of 8 (4.7–12) days. According to their Wells score, 80% of patients had a low probability of pulmonary embolism diagnosis. PAT was localized in the lower lobes of the lungs in 76.6% of cases with 33.3% having bilateral involvement, with the distal, peripheral arteries being the most affected. At the PAT diagnosis we found a worsening of respiratory function, with seven patients progressing to mechanical ventilation (p = 0.006). The in-hospital mortality was 30%. (4) Conclusions: PAT should be considered in patients with severe and critical COVID-19, mainly in elderly male patients with comorbidities, irrespective of Wells score and LMWH anticoagulation. Full article
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Article
SARS-CoV-2 Droplet and Airborne Transmission Heterogeneity
J. Clin. Med. 2022, 11(9), 2607; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm11092607 - 06 May 2022
Cited by 1
Abstract
The spread dynamics of the SARS-CoV-2 virus have not yet been fully understood after two years of the pandemic. The virus’s global spread represented a unique scenario for advancing infectious disease research. Consequently, mechanistic epidemiological theories were quickly dismissed, and more attention was [...] Read more.
The spread dynamics of the SARS-CoV-2 virus have not yet been fully understood after two years of the pandemic. The virus’s global spread represented a unique scenario for advancing infectious disease research. Consequently, mechanistic epidemiological theories were quickly dismissed, and more attention was paid to other approaches that considered heterogeneity in the spread. One of the most critical advances in aerial pathogens transmission was the global acceptance of the airborne model, where the airway is presented as the epicenter of the spread of the disease. Although the aerodynamics and persistence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the air have been extensively studied, the actual probability of contagion is still unknown. In this work, the individual heterogeneity in the transmission of 22 patients infected with COVID-19 was analyzed by close contact (cough samples) and air (environmental samples). Viral RNA was detected in 2/19 cough samples from patient subgroups, with a mean Ct (Cycle Threshold in Quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction analysis) of 25.7 ± 7.0. Nevertheless, viral RNA was only detected in air samples from 1/8 patients, with an average Ct of 25.0 ± 4.0. Viral load in cough samples ranged from 7.3 × 105 to 8.7 × 108 copies/mL among patients, while concentrations between 1.1–4.8 copies/m3 were found in air, consistent with other reports in the literature. In patients undergoing follow-up, no viral load was found (neither in coughs nor in the air) after the third day of symptoms, which could help define quarantine periods in infected individuals. In addition, it was found that the patient’s Ct should not be considered an indicator of infectiousness, since it could not be correlated with the viral load disseminated. The results of this work are in line with proposed hypotheses of superspreaders, which can attribute part of the heterogeneity of the spread to the oversized emission of a small percentage of infected people. Full article
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Epidemiology, Clinical Presentation and Treatment of Non-Hepatic Hyperammonemia in ICU COVID-19 Patients
J. Clin. Med. 2022, 11(9), 2592; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm11092592 - 05 May 2022
Abstract
(1) Background: Although COVID-19 is largely a respiratory disease, it is actually a systemic disease that has a wide range of effects that are not yet fully known. The aim of this study was to determine the incidence, predictors and outcome of non-hepatic [...] Read more.
(1) Background: Although COVID-19 is largely a respiratory disease, it is actually a systemic disease that has a wide range of effects that are not yet fully known. The aim of this study was to determine the incidence, predictors and outcome of non-hepatic hyperammonemia (NHH) in COVID-19 in intensive care unit (ICU); (2) Methods: This is a 3-month prospective observational study in a third-level COVID-19 hospital. The authors collected demographic, clinical, severity score and outcome data. Logistic regression analyses were performed to identify predictors of NHH; (3) Results: 156 COVID-19 patients were admitted to the ICU. The incidence of NHH was 12.2% (19 patients). The univariate analysis showed that invasive mechanical ventilation had a 6.6-fold higher risk (OR 6.66, 95% CI 0.86–51.6, p = 0.039) for NHH, while in the multiple regression analysis, there was a 7-fold higher risk for NHH—but it was not statistically significant (OR 7.1, 95% CI 0.90–56.4, p = 0.062). Demographics, clinical characteristics and mortality in the ICU at 28 days did not show a significant association with NHH. (4) Conclusions: The incidence of NHH in ICU COVID-19 patients was not low. NHH did not appear to significantly increase mortality, and all patients with non-hepatic hyperammonemia were successfully treated without further complications. However, the pathogenesis of NHH in ICU patients with COVID-19 remains a topic to be explored with further research. Full article
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Article
SARS-CoV-2 RNA Detection on Environmental Surfaces in a University Setting of Central Italy
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(9), 5560; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19095560 - 03 May 2022
Cited by 1
Abstract
The transmission of SARS-CoV-2 occurs through direct contact (person to person) and indirect contact by means of objects and surfaces contaminated by secretions from individuals with COVID-19 or asymptomatic carriers. In this study, we evaluated the presence of SARS-CoV-2 RNA on surfaces made [...] Read more.
The transmission of SARS-CoV-2 occurs through direct contact (person to person) and indirect contact by means of objects and surfaces contaminated by secretions from individuals with COVID-19 or asymptomatic carriers. In this study, we evaluated the presence of SARS-CoV-2 RNA on surfaces made of different materials located in university environments frequented by students and staff involved in academy activity during the fourth pandemic wave (December 2021). A total of 189 environmental samples were collected from classrooms, the library, computer room, gym and common areas and subjected to real-time PCR assay to evaluate the presence of SARS-CoV-2 RNA by amplification of the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) gene. All samples gave a valid result for Internal Process Control and nine (4.8%) tested very low positive for SARS-CoV-2 RNA amplification with a median Ct value of 39.44 [IQR: 37.31–42.66] (≤1 copy of viral genome). Our results show that, despite the prevention measures implemented, the presence of infected subjects cannot be excluded, as evidenced by the recovery of SARS-CoV-2 RNA from surfaces. The monitoring of environmental SARS-CoV-2 RNA could support public health prevention strategies in the academic and school world. Full article
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Article
Factors Affecting Preventive Health Behaviors against COVID-19 in Nursing Students: A Cross-Sectional Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(9), 5496; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19095496 - 01 May 2022
Abstract
This study was conducted to identify factors affecting preventive health behaviors and to provide basic data for developing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) prevention and education programs. The participants were 218 students enrolled in two nursing colleges located near Gyeongsang and Jeolla province, Republic [...] Read more.
This study was conducted to identify factors affecting preventive health behaviors and to provide basic data for developing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) prevention and education programs. The participants were 218 students enrolled in two nursing colleges located near Gyeongsang and Jeolla province, Republic of Korea. Data were collected in December 2020 and analyses were conducted using t- and Scheffé tests, analysis of variance, Pearson correlation coefficients, and stepwise multiple regression with the SPSS/WIN 25.0 program (IBM Corp., Armonk, NY, USA). The factors affecting preventive health behaviors were fear of infection (β = 0.26, p < 0.001), perceived benefits of COVID-19 infection control (β = 0.20, p = 0.002), educational needs concerning COVID-19 infection control (β = 0.18, p = 0.004), and perceived barriers to COVID-19 infection control (β = 0.16, p = 0.011). To improve preventive health behaviors of nursing students against COVID-19, effective and practical education is required, and a systematic infection prevention education program should be developed considering the fear of COVID-19 infection and the perceived benefits and barriers in infection control. Full article
Article
The Psychological Experience of COVID-19 Vaccination and Its Impact on the Willingness to Receive Booster Vaccines among the Chinese Population: Evidence from a National Cross-Sectional Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(9), 5464; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19095464 - 29 Apr 2022
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to assess the psychological experience of COVID-19 basic vaccination, the willingness to receive booster vaccines, and to determine their relationships among Chinese people. Between 6 August 2021 and 9 August 2021, a research firm performed a national [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study was to assess the psychological experience of COVID-19 basic vaccination, the willingness to receive booster vaccines, and to determine their relationships among Chinese people. Between 6 August 2021 and 9 August 2021, a research firm performed a national cross-sectional online survey among Chinese individuals (aged over 18), using the snowball sampling approach, with 26,755 participants. Factor analysis and binary logistic regression were used to evaluate the existing associations. The overall COVID-19 vaccination psychological experience score of the participants was 25.83 (25.78~25.89; scores ranged from 7–35). A total of 93.83% (95%CI = 93.54~94.12) of respondents indicated a willingness to receive booster vaccines. After classifying psychological experiences associated with COVID-19 vaccination into positive and negative experiences and adjusting for confounding factors, for the former, the willingness to receive booster vaccines for participants with the highest scores of 13–15 was 3.933 times higher (OR = 3.933, 95%CI = 3.176~4.871) than participants who obtained scores of 3–9, and for the latter, the willingness to receive booster vaccines for participants with the highest scores of 19–20 was 8.871 times higher (OR = 8.871, 95%CI = 6.240~12.612) than participants who obtained scores of 4–13. Our study suggests that a good psychological experience with vaccination is positively associated with an increased willingness to receive booster vaccines. Full article
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Article
Development and Psychometric Properties of the Health Belief Scales toward COVID-19 Vaccine: A Cross-Sectional Study in North-Eastern Poland
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(9), 5424; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19095424 - 29 Apr 2022
Abstract
In the study, we evaluated the psychometric properties of the Health Belief Scales Toward COVID-19 Vaccine, including the structure, reliability and validity of the scale. Psychometric properties were assessed on a general sample of 472 Polish participants aged between 19 and 69 years [...] Read more.
In the study, we evaluated the psychometric properties of the Health Belief Scales Toward COVID-19 Vaccine, including the structure, reliability and validity of the scale. Psychometric properties were assessed on a general sample of 472 Polish participants aged between 19 and 69 years (M = 25.43). The procedure consisted of completing the Health Belief Scales Toward COVID-19 Vaccine, the World Health Organization’s 5-item Well-being Index (WHO-5) and demographic questions. The presented research results obtained using the measure indicate that it can be considered to be a reliable and valid research tool. A four-factor solution demonstrated a good fit to the data: χ2/df = 3.90, RMSEA = 0.079, AGFI = 0.913, GFI = 0.951, CFI = 0.960, TLI = 0.941. The reliability measures for the overall index of the Health Belief Scales Toward COVID-19 Vaccine were: Cronbach’s α = 0.88 and McDonald’s ω = 0.87. The Health Belief Scales Toward COVID-19 Vaccine total score correlated negatively and weakly with the WHO-5 score. The Health Belief Scales Toward COVID-19 Vaccine proved to be a valid and a reliable tool to assess attitudes towards vaccination in four dimensions consistent with the HBM. Full article
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Article
Compliance with Standard Precaution and Its Relationship with Views on Infection Control and Prevention Policy among Chinese University Students during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(9), 5327; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19095327 - 27 Apr 2022
Abstract
Background: COVID-19 has placed tremendous pressure on the global public health system and has changed daily life. Aim: To examine the relationships between the perceived threat, perceived stress, coping responses and infection control practices towards the COVID-19 pandemic among university students in China. [...] Read more.
Background: COVID-19 has placed tremendous pressure on the global public health system and has changed daily life. Aim: To examine the relationships between the perceived threat, perceived stress, coping responses and infection control practices towards the COVID-19 pandemic among university students in China. Methods: Using a cross-sectional survey, 4392 students were recruited from six universities in two regions of China. Methods: Data were collected via an online platform using self-reported questionnaires. Hierarchical multiple regression analyses were performed to predict the variables on COVID-19 infection control practices. Results: Pearson correlation coefficients showed a significant negative relationship between perceived stress and COVID-19 infection control practices. A significant positive relationship was observed between wishful thinking and empathetic responding, and infection control practices. Hierarchical multiple regression analyses revealed that gender, geographical location, perceived stress and emotion-focused and relationship-focused coping responses were predictors of COVID-19 infection control practices. Conclusions: The findings suggest that university students displayed moderate levels of stress, using wishful thinking and empathetic responses as coping strategies. Counselling services should therefore emphasise reassurance and empathy. Male university students tended to be less compliant with social distancing. Both counselling and public health measures should recognise the importance of gender differences. Nurses should integrate these findings into future health programme planning and interventions. Full article
Article
Influence of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Adherence to Orally Administered Antineoplastics
J. Clin. Med. 2022, 11(9), 2436; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm11092436 - 26 Apr 2022
Abstract
Background: Several factors can influence adherence to orally administered antineoplastics, including fear or anxiety resulting from situations such as the COVID-19 pandemic. The aim of this study was to analyse the influence of these patients’ experiences on adherence to orally administered antineoplastics. Methods: [...] Read more.
Background: Several factors can influence adherence to orally administered antineoplastics, including fear or anxiety resulting from situations such as the COVID-19 pandemic. The aim of this study was to analyse the influence of these patients’ experiences on adherence to orally administered antineoplastics. Methods: Cross-sectional study in four hospitals including >18 year old cancer patients receiving orally administered antineoplastics during the first half of 2021. Data were collected from medical records and through telephone interviews. Adherence was assessed through the prescription refill records and pill counts. Patients’ fear resulting from the pandemic was assessed by means of a structured questionnaire using a 5-point Likert-type scale. Results: Our sample compr BARCELONAised 268 patients (54% men) with a mean age of 64 years (SD 12). More than 15% had experienced afraid and 5% had experienced a dangerous situation when attending hospital, 17% felt they had received less care, and 30% preferred telepharmacy. Adherence measured by pill count was 69.3% and 95.5% according to prescription refill records. Patients who had experienced fear or anxiety when attending hospital were less adherent (aOR 0.47, 95% CI 0.23–0.96, p = 0.039). Conclusion: The fear experienced by some patients has affected adherence to treatment. Full article
Article
Maximization of the Minicircle DNA Vaccine Production Expressing SARS-CoV-2 RBD
Biomedicines 2022, 10(5), 990; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines10050990 - 25 Apr 2022
Abstract
Nucleic acid vaccines have been proven to be a revolutionary technology to induce an efficient, safe and rapid response against pandemics, like the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Minicircle DNA (mcDNA) is an innovative vector more stable than messenger RNA and more efficient in cell [...] Read more.
Nucleic acid vaccines have been proven to be a revolutionary technology to induce an efficient, safe and rapid response against pandemics, like the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Minicircle DNA (mcDNA) is an innovative vector more stable than messenger RNA and more efficient in cell transfection and transgene expression than conventional plasmid DNA. This work describes the construction of a parental plasmid (PP) vector encoding the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of the S protein from severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), and the use of the Design of Experiments (DoE) to optimize PP recombination into mcDNA vector in an orbital shaker. First, the results revealed that host cells should be grown at 42 °C and the Terrific Broth (TB) medium should be replaced by Luria Broth (LB) medium containing 0.01% L-arabinose for the induction step. The antibiotic concentration, the induction time, and the induction temperature were used as DoE inputs to maximize the % of recombined mcDNA. The quadratic model was statistically significant (p-value < 0.05) and presented a non-significant lack of fit (p-value > 0.05) with a suitable coefficient of determination. The optimal point was validated using 1 h of induction, at 30 °C, without the presence of antibiotics, obtaining 93.87% of recombined mcDNA. Based on these conditions, the production of mcDNA was then maximized in a mini-bioreactor platform. The most favorable condition obtained in the bioreactor was obtained by applying 60% pO2 in the fermentation step during 5 h and 30% pO2 in the induction step, with 0.01% L-arabinose throughout 5 h. The yield of mcDNA-RBD was increased to a concentration of 1.15 g/L, when compared to the orbital shaker studies (16.48 mg/L). These data revealed that the bioreactor application strongly incremented the host biomass yield and simultaneously improved the recombination levels of PP into mcDNA. Altogether, these results contributed to improving mcDNA-RBD biosynthesis to make the scale-up of mcDNA manufacture simpler, cost-effective, and attractive for the biotechnology industry. Full article
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Article
Fatigue Is a Major Symptom at COVID-19 Hospitalization Follow-Up
J. Clin. Med. 2022, 11(9), 2411; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm11092411 - 25 Apr 2022
Abstract
Persistent symptoms after hospitalization with COVID-19 are common, but the frequency and severity of these symptoms are insufficiently understood. We aimed to describe symptoms and pulmonary function after hospitalization with COVID-19. Patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in Central Denmark Region were invited for follow-up [...] Read more.
Persistent symptoms after hospitalization with COVID-19 are common, but the frequency and severity of these symptoms are insufficiently understood. We aimed to describe symptoms and pulmonary function after hospitalization with COVID-19. Patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in Central Denmark Region were invited for follow-up 3 months after discharge. Clinical characteristics, patient reported outcomes (Fatigue Assessment Scale (FAS), anxiety and depression (HADS)), symptoms, pulmonary function test and 6-min walk test were collected. We included 218 patients (mean age 59.9 (95% CI: 58.2, 61.7), 59% males). Fatigue, dyspnea and impaired concentration were the most prevalent symptoms at follow-up. Using FAS, 47% reported mild-to-moderate fatigue and 18% severe fatigue. Mean HADS was 7.9 (95% CI: 6.9, 8.9). FAS was correlated to HADS (β = 0.52 (95% CI: 0.44, 0.59, p < 0.001)). Mean DLCO was 80.4% (95% CI: 77.8, 83.0) and 45% had DLCO ˂ 80%. Mean DLCO was significantly reduced in patients treated in the ICU (70.46% (95% CI 65.13, 75.79)). The highest FAS and HADS were seen in patients with the shortest period of hospitalization (2.1 days (95% CI: 1.4, 2.7)) with no need for oxygen. In conclusion, fatigue is a common symptom after hospitalization for COVID-19 and ICU treatment is associated to decreased diffusion capacity. Full article
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Article
Predictors of Submaximal Exercise Test Attainment in Adults Reporting Long COVID Symptoms
J. Clin. Med. 2022, 11(9), 2376; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm11092376 - 23 Apr 2022
Cited by 1
Abstract
Adults with long COVID often report intolerance to exercise. Cardiopulmonary exercise testing (CPET) has been used in many settings to measure exercise ability but has been conducted in a few long COVID cohorts. We conducted CPET in a sample of adults reporting long [...] Read more.
Adults with long COVID often report intolerance to exercise. Cardiopulmonary exercise testing (CPET) has been used in many settings to measure exercise ability but has been conducted in a few long COVID cohorts. We conducted CPET in a sample of adults reporting long COVID symptoms using a submaximal cycle ergometer protocol. We studied pre-exercise predictors of achieving 85% of the age-predicted maximum heart rate (85%HRmax) using logistic regression. Eighty participants were included (mean age 46 years, range 25–78, 71% women). Forty participants (50%) did not reach 85%HRmax. On average, non-achievers reached 84% of their predicted 85%HRmax. No adverse events occurred. Participants who did not achieve 85%HRmax were older (p < 0.001), had more recent COVID-19 illness (p = 0.012) with higher frequency of hospitalization (p = 0.025), and had been more affected by dizziness (p = 0.041) and joint pain (p = 0.028). In the logistic regression model including age, body mass index, time since COVID-19, COVID-19-related hospitalization, dizziness, joint pain, pre-existing cardiopulmonary disease, and use of beta blockers, independent predictors of achieving 85%HRmax were younger age (p = 0.001) and longer time since COVID-19 (p = 0.008). Our cross-sectional findings suggest that exercise tolerance in adults with long COVID has potential to improve over time. Longitudinal research should assess the extent to which this may occur and its mechanisms. ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT05027724 (TROPIC Study). Full article
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Article
Fine-Tuning BERT Models to Classify Misinformation on Garlic and COVID-19 on Twitter
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(9), 5126; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19095126 - 22 Apr 2022
Abstract
Garlic-related misinformation is prevalent whenever a virus outbreak occurs. With the outbreak of COVID-19, garlic-related misinformation is spreading through social media, including Twitter. Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers (BERT) can be used to classify misinformation from a vast number of tweets. This study [...] Read more.
Garlic-related misinformation is prevalent whenever a virus outbreak occurs. With the outbreak of COVID-19, garlic-related misinformation is spreading through social media, including Twitter. Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers (BERT) can be used to classify misinformation from a vast number of tweets. This study aimed to apply the BERT model for classifying misinformation on garlic and COVID-19 on Twitter, using 5929 original tweets mentioning garlic and COVID-19 (4151 for fine-tuning, 1778 for test). Tweets were manually labeled as ‘misinformation’ and ‘other.’ We fine-tuned five BERT models (BERTBASE, BERTLARGE, BERTweet-base, BERTweet-COVID-19, and BERTweet-large) using a general COVID-19 rumor dataset or a garlic-specific dataset. Accuracy and F1 score were calculated to evaluate the performance of the models. The BERT models fine-tuned with the COVID-19 rumor dataset showed poor performance, with maximum accuracy of 0.647. BERT models fine-tuned with the garlic-specific dataset showed better performance. BERTweet models achieved accuracy of 0.897–0.911, while BERTBASE and BERTLARGE achieved accuracy of 0.887–0.897. BERTweet-large showed the best performance with maximum accuracy of 0.911 and an F1 score of 0.894. Thus, BERT models showed good performance in classifying misinformation. The results of our study will help detect misinformation related to garlic and COVID-19 on Twitter. Full article
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Article
Will Macau’s Restaurants Survive or Thrive after Entering the O2O Food Delivery Platform in the COVID-19 Pandemic?
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(9), 5100; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19095100 - 22 Apr 2022
Abstract
COVID-19 presents a formidable challenge to global tourism. One of the emergency measures adopted by the Macau restaurant industry has been to increase its revenue by joining an online-to-offline (O2O) platform. Nevertheless, are there any risks that follow these opportunities? This article aims [...] Read more.
COVID-19 presents a formidable challenge to global tourism. One of the emergency measures adopted by the Macau restaurant industry has been to increase its revenue by joining an online-to-offline (O2O) platform. Nevertheless, are there any risks that follow these opportunities? This article aims to explore whether any risks follow these opportunities, which could extend the literature. Study 1 explores the key factors that customers focus on by analyzing the content of customer reviews published on the Aomi platform through Python. Results show that brand credibility, freshness, and taste remained prominent in the customers’ dining experience. Packaging, delivery quality, and hygiene emerged as new factors due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the popularity of the O2O platform. Customers and staff continued to participate in service interactions through these online channels. Meanwhile, Study 2 contributes to the present understanding of O2O services in restaurants by interviewing catering professionals, and the results highlight how restaurateurs adopt their strategies on O2O platforms. Full article
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Article
Do Contextual and Demographic Factors Help Malaysian Nurses Prepare in Dealing with the COVID-19 Pandemic?
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(9), 5097; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19095097 - 22 Apr 2022
Abstract
As of 11 October 2020, Sabah comprised a quarter of all COVID19 cases reported in Malaysia since the start of the pandemic last January 2020. In this pandemic, nurses serve in vital roles to mitigate the effects of COVID-19. This study aims to [...] Read more.
As of 11 October 2020, Sabah comprised a quarter of all COVID19 cases reported in Malaysia since the start of the pandemic last January 2020. In this pandemic, nurses serve in vital roles to mitigate the effects of COVID-19. This study aims to explore the nurses’ preparedness in managing the COVID-19 outbreak situation in Sabah, Malaysia, examining the contextual (e.g., participated in an actual major disaster event) and demographic factors (e.g., age and working experience that may influence nurses’ preparedness for managing the COVID-19 pandemic). A total of 317 nurses in Sabah, Malaysia were involved in this study. The Emergency Preparedness Information Questionnaire (EPIQ) contained 41 items and was used to assess civilian nurses’ perceived familiarity with 9 competency dimensions of preparedness. The mean scores of nurses’ preparedness indicated a moderate level of nurses’ preparedness in managing the COVID-19 pandemic (mean ranging from 2.89 to 3.79). The results indicated that there was a significant difference between the nurses who actively participate in an actual major disaster event and who were not active in a total of preparedness and all dimensions (t = 2.79, df = 285, p = 0.006) (except in familiarity with decontamination and familiarity with special populations), across working experience (F(2,291) = 5.09, p = 0.007) (except familiarity with Incident Command System and role), and age among nurses ((F(3,290) = 2.68, p = 0.047)) (total of preparedness, familiarity with ethical issues in triage, epidemiology, and surveillance, and psychological issues). Overall, this study has made a significant theoretical contribution, as well as in clinical implications in the field of nursing practice, by addressing the impact of contextual and demographic factors on nurses’ preparedness in managing the COVID-19 outbreak situation. This study will help nurses to understand the skills, abilities, knowledge, and actions needed to respond, mitigate, and prepare for emergencies during pandemics and disasters. Full article
Article
Student and Nature Interactions and Their Impact on Mental Health during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(9), 5030; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19095030 - 21 Apr 2022
Abstract
Passive and active interactions with nature reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. Populations that experience increased stress often have fewer interactions with nature due to many factors. More recently, the COVID-19 pandemic has created a new stressor for all populations due to sickness, isolation, [...] Read more.
Passive and active interactions with nature reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. Populations that experience increased stress often have fewer interactions with nature due to many factors. More recently, the COVID-19 pandemic has created a new stressor for all populations due to sickness, isolation, financial burdens, or other factors. University students were particularly impacted due to the change to online modalities, which isolated them from other students. To assess if any negative or other consequences were experienced and if nature factors could mitigate them, we examined how plant interactions affected university students (N = 353) in an online learning environment. Two modified Depression Anxiety Stress Surveys (DASS; Depression Anxiety Stress and Academic Stress, DASA) were administered over two semesters in 2020 to survey students on these interactions with nature. During the two semesters, most students experienced extremely severe self-reported mental health adversities. Further correlations between DASA scores and responses about nature interactions, home environments, plant exposure, and plant access showed that outdoor interactions were positively related to better self-reported mental health scores. However, the concerning and lingering effects of the pandemic were evidenced in our research as DASA scores increased across the two semesters. Nevertheless, going outdoors and interacting with nature brings some benefits that lessen the severity of depression, anxiety, and stress. Full article
Article
Effectiveness of Tocilizumab in Patients with Severe or Critical Lung Involvement in COVID-19: A Retrospective Study
J. Clin. Med. 2022, 11(9), 2286; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm11092286 - 20 Apr 2022
Abstract
Introduction: Acute lung injury is associated with dysfunctional immune response to SARS-CoV-2. This leads to CRS, which require immunomodulatory treatments aiming to limit the excessive production of cytokines. The literature so far indicates the effectiveness of tocilizumab in patients with COVID-19-associated pneumonia, but [...] Read more.
Introduction: Acute lung injury is associated with dysfunctional immune response to SARS-CoV-2. This leads to CRS, which require immunomodulatory treatments aiming to limit the excessive production of cytokines. The literature so far indicates the effectiveness of tocilizumab in patients with COVID-19-associated pneumonia, but there is no clear evidence of its effectiveness in patients with at least 50% lung involvement; therefore, we aimed to bridge this gap in knowledge. Materials and methods: Longitudinal data for 4287 patients with confirmed COVID-19 infection were collected between 1st March 2020 and 16th of January 2022. In total, 182 cases with lung involvement >50% and biochemical indicators of cytokine release storm (Il-6 >100 pg/mL) were selected and analyzed using non-parametric statistics and multivariate Cox models. Results: Among the 182 included patients, 100 (55%) were treated with TCZ, while 82 (45%) did not receive TCZ. The groups were balanced regarding demographics, lung involvement and biochemical markers. Overall mortality in the group was 63.1%. Mortality in the TCZ group was 58.0% compared to 69.5% (n = 57) in the non-TCZ group (p = 0.023). In multivariate Cox proportional hazards models, intravenous administration of tocilizumab was associated with lower probability of ICU admission (HR: 0333 (CI: 0.159–0.700, p = 0.004)) and lower mortality (HR: 0.57306 (CI: 0.354–0.927, p = 0.023)). Conclusions: Tocilizumab is effective as a treatment in the most severely ill patients, in whom the level of lung involvement by the inflammatory process can exceed 50% with coexisting biochemical indices of cytokine storm (Il-6 > 100 pg/mL). Full article
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Article
Comparison of Clinical Features and Outcomes between SARS-CoV-2 and Non-SARS-CoV-2 Respiratory Viruses Associated Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome: Retrospective Analysis
J. Clin. Med. 2022, 11(8), 2246; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm11082246 - 17 Apr 2022
Abstract
Although a few studies comparing severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and non-SARS-CoV-2 respiratory viruses have been reported, clinical features and outcomes comparing SARS-CoV-2 and non-SARS-CoV-2 respiratory viruses associated acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) are still lacking. We retrospectively identified patients with [...] Read more.
Although a few studies comparing severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and non-SARS-CoV-2 respiratory viruses have been reported, clinical features and outcomes comparing SARS-CoV-2 and non-SARS-CoV-2 respiratory viruses associated acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) are still lacking. We retrospectively identified patients with SARS-CoV-2 (November 2020 to January 2022) and non-SARS-CoV-2 respiratory viruses associated ARDS (February 2015 to November 2020) at a single tertiary hospital. Their clinical data were obtained by medical record review. All viral infections were confirmed by RT-PCR. Thirty-one SARS-CoV-2 and seventy-one patients with non-SARS-CoV-2 respiratory viruses associated ARDS patients were identified. Influenza (62%) was the most common in non-SARS-CoV-2 respiratory viruses associated ARDS patients. Patients with SARS-CoV-2 were more likely to be female and had higher body mass index, lower clinical frailty, APACHE II, and SOFA score than those with non-SARS-CoV-2 respiratory viruses. All patients with SARS-CoV-2 were treated with corticosteroids and used more high-flow nasal oxygen than those with non-SARS-CoV-2 respiratory viruses. The concomitant respiratory bacterial infection was significantly higher in non-SARS-CoV-2 respiratory viruses than SARS-CoV-2. Although there were no significant differences in the 28-, 60-day, and in-hospital mortality rates between SARS-CoV-2 and non-SARS-CoV-2 respiratory viruses associated ARDS, the duration of mechanical ventilation and length of hospital stay were significantly longer in patients with SARS-CoV-2 than those with non-SARS-CoV-2 respiratory viruses. Although the severity of illness and the concomitant bacterial infection rate were lower in patients with SARS-CoV-2 associated ARDS, mortality rates did not differ from non-SARS-CoV-2 respiratory viruses associated ARDS. Full article
Article
Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Maternal Well-Being during Pregnancy
J. Clin. Med. 2022, 11(8), 2212; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm11082212 - 15 Apr 2022
Abstract
The outbreak of a pandemic has negative psychological effects. We aimed to determine the impact of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic during pregnancy and identify the risk factors for maternal well-being. A multicenter, prospective, population-based study was carried out that included women (n = [...] Read more.
The outbreak of a pandemic has negative psychological effects. We aimed to determine the impact of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic during pregnancy and identify the risk factors for maternal well-being. A multicenter, prospective, population-based study was carried out that included women (n = 1320) who were pregnant during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic in Barcelona (Spain) compared against a pre-pandemic cohort (n = 345). Maternal well-being was assessed using the validated World Health Organization Well-Being Index Questionnaire (WHO-5 Index). Pregnant women attended during the COVID-19 pandemic showed worst WHO-5 well-being scores (median (IQR) of 56 (36–72) for the pandemic cohort vs. 64 (52–76) for the pre-pandemic cohort p < 0.001), with 42.8% of women presenting a poor well-being score vs. 28% for the pre-pandemic cohort (p < 0.001). Presence of a previous psychiatric disorder (OR 7.1; 95% CI 2.6–19, p < 0.001), being in the third trimester of pregnancy (OR 1.7; 95% CI 1.5–2, p < 0.001), or requiring hospital admission for COVID-19 (OR 4.7; 95% CI 1.4–16.7, p = 0.014), significantly contributed to low maternal well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic (multivariate analysis). Being infected by SARS-CoV-2 was not associated with a lower well-being score. We conclude that, during the COVID-19 pandemic, there were higher rates of poor maternal well-being; the infection of SARS-CoV-2 itself did not worsen maternal well-being, but other factors as psychiatric disorders, being in the third trimester of pregnancy or hospital admission for COVID-19 disease did. Full article
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Review
Mini Review: Co-Existing Diseases and COVID-19—A One Way Ticket?
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(8), 4738; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19084738 - 14 Apr 2022
Abstract
Background and aims. Many patients with SARS-CoV-2 virus infection have various comorbidities. Their presence in the background of coronavirus has a tendency to worsen the course of the disease and increase the risk of unfavorable outcomes. Understanding the interactions between SARS-CoV-2 and [...] Read more.
Background and aims. Many patients with SARS-CoV-2 virus infection have various comorbidities. Their presence in the background of coronavirus has a tendency to worsen the course of the disease and increase the risk of unfavorable outcomes. Understanding the interactions between SARS-CoV-2 and the most common comorbidities is key to the successful management of these patients. Methods. We systematically searched Medline, Springer and Elsevier databases and accessed the full text on SARS-CoV-2 virus infection and the following conditions: cardiovascular, renal, immunosuppression, metabolic disorder and hematological in order to prepare a narrative review on this topic. Results. Patients with underlying cardiovascular diseases are more likely to suffer from severe forms of COVID-19. Cardiovascular diseases were also noted as the most frequent comorbidities among coronavirus patients. Metabolic syndrome and its components have been identified as the second most common comorbidity among fatal cases of COVID-19. Infected patients with acute kidney injury also show a higher mortality rate among the others. Immunocompromised patients, such as organ recipients and cancer and hematologic patients, develop more severe forms of COVID-19 and are at higher risk of admission to ICUs and requiring mechanical ventilation. Higher mortality rates among those patients have also been observed. Conclusions. Based on recent studies, patients with co-existing diseases are at higher risk for severe courses of COVID-19 virus infection and unfavorable outcomes. Cardiovascular diseases, metabolic syndrome and immunosuppressive and kidney diseases in the presence of coronavirus may lead to longer and more aggressive treatment in the ICU and increased mortality rate. Full article
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Article
Differences in Puberty of Girls before and during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(8), 4733; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19084733 - 14 Apr 2022
Abstract
In the COVID-19 pandemic, there was an increase in consultations for precocious puberty. We aim to analyze differences in female puberty before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. A cross-sectional analytical study was designed at the Pediatric Endocrinology Clinic of the University Hospital of [...] Read more.
In the COVID-19 pandemic, there was an increase in consultations for precocious puberty. We aim to analyze differences in female puberty before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. A cross-sectional analytical study was designed at the Pediatric Endocrinology Clinic of the University Hospital of the Federal University of Maranhão in São Luis, Brazil. We included 55 girls with precocious puberty, 22 who started puberty during the pandemic and 33 who started puberty before the pandemic. Clinical, anthropometric, laboratory and imaging variables were compared between groups. Statistics were performed to determine if there was a statistical difference between the groups. Girls with puberty during the pandemic had higher Z-scores for weight (1.08 ± 1.29 versus 0.69 ± 0.83; p = 0.04), lower ovarian volume (1.88 ± 0.95 versus 3.15 ± 2.31; p = 0.01), and smaller differences between thelarche noticed by the parents and the diagnosis (6.63 ± 5.21 versus 12.15 ± 9.96; p = 0.02). The association between precocious puberty during the pandemic with higher Z-scores for weight, lower ovarian volume, and a reduction in the time between the perception of pubertal findings by parents and the diagnosis suggests the influence of the pandemic on the normal time of puberty. Full article
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Brief Report
Placental Ultrasonographical Findings during SARS-CoV-2 Infection
Diagnostics 2022, 12(4), 974; https://doi.org/10.3390/diagnostics12040974 - 13 Apr 2022
Cited by 1
Abstract
Infection with SARS-CoV-2 virus (COVID-19) during pregnancy has been associated with several complications. Increasing evidence suggests that COVID-19 infection leaves tell-tale signs of placental injury. During ultrasound examination and placental evaluation of COVID-19 infected pregnancies, we recorded signs of placental involvement, with findings [...] Read more.
Infection with SARS-CoV-2 virus (COVID-19) during pregnancy has been associated with several complications. Increasing evidence suggests that COVID-19 infection leaves tell-tale signs of placental injury. During ultrasound examination and placental evaluation of COVID-19 infected pregnancies, we recorded signs of placental involvement, with findings indicating malperfusion, chorangiosis, deciduitis, and subchorionitis. Early detection of placental damage through the use of specific ultrasound findings could indicate which pregnancies are at increased risk for complications. Full article
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Article
Strong Cellular Immune Response, but Not Humoral, against SARS-CoV-2 in Oncohematological Patients with Autologous Stem Cell Transplantation after Natural Infection
J. Clin. Med. 2022, 11(8), 2137; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm11082137 - 11 Apr 2022
Abstract
Oncohematological patients show a low immune response against SARS-CoV-2, both to natural infection and after vaccination. Most studies are focused on the analysis of the humoral response; therefore, the information available about the cellular immune response is limited. In this study, we analyzed [...] Read more.
Oncohematological patients show a low immune response against SARS-CoV-2, both to natural infection and after vaccination. Most studies are focused on the analysis of the humoral response; therefore, the information available about the cellular immune response is limited. In this study, we analyzed the humoral and cellular immune responses in nine individuals who received chemotherapy for their oncohematological diseases, as well as consolidation with autologous stem cell transplantation (ASCT), after being naturally infected with SARS-CoV-2. All individuals had asymptomatic or mild COVID-19 and were not vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2. These results were compared with matched healthy individuals who also had mild COVID-19. The humoral response against SARS-CoV-2 was not detected in 6 of 9 oncohematological individuals prior to ASCT. The levels of antibodies and their neutralization capacity decreased after ASCT. Conversely, an enhanced cytotoxic activity against SARS-CoV-2-infected cells was observed after chemotherapy plus ASCT, mostly based on high levels of NK, NKT, and CD8+TCRγδ+ cell populations that were able to produce IFNγ and TNFα. These results highlight the importance of performing analyses not only to evaluate the levels of IgGs against SARS-CoV-2, but also to determine the quality of the cellular immune response developed during the immune reconstitution after ASCT. Full article
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Article
QUCoughScope: An Intelligent Application to Detect COVID-19 Patients Using Cough and Breath Sounds
Diagnostics 2022, 12(4), 920; https://doi.org/10.3390/diagnostics12040920 - 07 Apr 2022
Abstract
Problem—Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, mass testing has become essential to reduce the spread of the virus. Several recent studies suggest that a significant number of COVID-19 patients display no physical symptoms whatsoever. Therefore, it is unlikely that these patients will [...] Read more.
Problem—Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, mass testing has become essential to reduce the spread of the virus. Several recent studies suggest that a significant number of COVID-19 patients display no physical symptoms whatsoever. Therefore, it is unlikely that these patients will undergo COVID-19 testing, which increases their chances of unintentionally spreading the virus. Currently, the primary diagnostic tool to detect COVID-19 is a reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test from the respiratory specimens of the suspected patient, which is invasive and a resource-dependent technique. It is evident from recent researches that asymptomatic COVID-19 patients cough and breathe in a different way than healthy people. Aim—This paper aims to use a novel machine learning approach to detect COVID-19 (symptomatic and asymptomatic) patients from the convenience of their homes so that they do not overburden the healthcare system and also do not spread the virus unknowingly by continuously monitoring themselves. Method—A Cambridge University research group shared such a dataset of cough and breath sound samples from 582 healthy and 141 COVID-19 patients. Among the COVID-19 patients, 87 were asymptomatic while 54 were symptomatic (had a dry or wet cough). In addition to the available dataset, the proposed work deployed a real-time deep learning-based backend server with a web application to crowdsource cough and breath datasets and also screen for COVID-19 infection from the comfort of the user’s home. The collected dataset includes data from 245 healthy individuals and 78 asymptomatic and 18 symptomatic COVID-19 patients. Users can simply use the application from any web browser without installation and enter their symptoms, record audio clips of their cough and breath sounds, and upload the data anonymously. Two different pipelines for screening were developed based on the symptoms reported by the users: asymptomatic and symptomatic. An innovative and novel stacking CNN model was developed using three base learners from of eight state-of-the-art deep learning CNN algorithms. The stacking CNN model is based on a logistic regression classifier meta-learner that uses the spectrograms generated from the breath and cough sounds of symptomatic and asymptomatic patients as input using the combined (Cambridge and collected) dataset. Results—The stacking model outperformed the other eight CNN networks with the best classification performance for binary classification using cough sound spectrogram images. The accuracy, sensitivity, and specificity for symptomatic and asymptomatic patients were 96.5%, 96.42%, and 95.47% and 98.85%, 97.01%, and 99.6%, respectively. For breath sound spectrogram images, the metrics for binary classification of symptomatic and asymptomatic patients were 91.03%, 88.9%, and 91.5% and 80.01%, 72.04%, and 82.67%, respectively. Conclusion—The web-application QUCoughScope records coughing and breathing sounds, converts them to a spectrogram, and applies the best-performing machine learning model to classify the COVID-19 patients and healthy subjects. The result is then reported back to the test user in the application interface. Therefore, this novel system can be used by patients in their premises as a pre-screening method to aid COVID-19 diagnosis by prioritizing the patients for RT-PCR testing and thereby reducing the risk of spreading of the disease. Full article
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Article
Perceived Stress and Coping Behavior of Nurses Caring for Critical Patients with COVID-19 Outbreak in Taiwan: A Mixed-Methods Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(7), 4258; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19074258 - 02 Apr 2022
Cited by 1
Abstract
Severe pneumonia with novel pathogens, also called COVID-19, caused a pandemic in Taiwan as well as in the rest of the world in May 2021. Nurses are under great stress when caring for critically ill patients with COVID-19. This study aimed to explore [...] Read more.
Severe pneumonia with novel pathogens, also called COVID-19, caused a pandemic in Taiwan as well as in the rest of the world in May 2021. Nurses are under great stress when caring for critically ill patients with COVID-19. This study aimed to explore the perceived stress and coping behaviors of nurses caring for critically ill patients with COVID-19 using a mixed-methods approach. We recruited 85 nurses from a special intensive care unit (ICU) of a medical center in Taiwan between May and June 2021. To gather data, we used a questionnaire on basic characteristics, the perceived stress scale (PSS-14), and the brief coping orientation to problems experienced inventory (B-COPE), then conducted a qualitative interview. The results showed that the average perceived stress level among nurses was 25.4 points, and most of them perceived moderate stress. The top three coping behaviors practiced by the nurses were active coping, planning, and acceptance. Nurses who received less perceived support from their friends or families and who had shorter working experience in nursing had significantly higher stress levels. The qualitative results revealed that the nurses’ perceived stress came from fear, worry, and the increased burden caused by caring for critical patients with COVID-19. Coping behaviors included rest, seeking support, and affirmative fighting. Based on these findings, it is suggested that the support nurses receive from their families is an important predictor of perceived stress. Therefore, it is suggested that nurses be provided with more support in dealing with stress caused by caring for critical patients with COVID-19 in special ICUs. Full article
Article
Soluble Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 as a Prognostic Biomarker for Disease Progression in Patients Infected with SARS-CoV-2
Diagnostics 2022, 12(4), 886; https://doi.org/10.3390/diagnostics12040886 - 01 Apr 2022
Abstract
Predicting disease severity in patients infected with SARS-CoV-2 is difficult. Soluble angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (sACE2) arises from the shedding of membrane ACE2 (mACE2), which is a receptor for SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. We evaluated the predictive value of sACE2 compared with known biomarkers of [...] Read more.
Predicting disease severity in patients infected with SARS-CoV-2 is difficult. Soluble angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (sACE2) arises from the shedding of membrane ACE2 (mACE2), which is a receptor for SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. We evaluated the predictive value of sACE2 compared with known biomarkers of inflammation and tissue damage (CRP, GDF-15, IL-6, and sFlt-1) in 850 patients with and without SARS-CoV-2 with different clinical outcomes. For univariate analyses, median differences between biomarker levels were calculated for the following patient groups (classified by clinical outcome): RT-PCR-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 positive (Groups 1–4); RT-PCR-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 negative following previous SARS-CoV-2 infection (Groups 5 and 6); and ‘SARS-CoV-2 unexposed’ patients (Group 7). Median levels of CRP, GDF-15, IL-6, and sFlt-1 were significantly higher in hospitalized patients with SARS-CoV-2 compared with discharged patients (all p < 0.001), whereas levels of sACE2 were significantly lower (p < 0.001). ROC curve analysis of sACE2 provided cut-offs for predicting hospital admission (≤0.05 ng/mL (positive predictive value: 89.1%) and ≥0.42 ng/mL (negative predictive value: 84.0%)). These findings support further investigation of sACE2, as a single biomarker or as part of a panel, to predict hospitalization risk and disease severity in patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection. Full article
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Article
Exploring Factors Contributing to the Smoking Behaviour among Hong Kong Chinese Young Smokers during COVID-19 Pandemic: A Qualitative Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(7), 4145; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19074145 - 31 Mar 2022
Abstract
COVID-19 has significant impacts on young smokers in their smoking behaviors. This qualitative study summarises the lived experience of young smokers during COVID-19. Moreover, through their lived experience, we aim to understand how the COVID-19 pandemic influence tobacco use behaviours in this population. [...] Read more.
COVID-19 has significant impacts on young smokers in their smoking behaviors. This qualitative study summarises the lived experience of young smokers during COVID-19. Moreover, through their lived experience, we aim to understand how the COVID-19 pandemic influence tobacco use behaviours in this population. A purposive sampling of 48 smokers aged between 17–25 years old is individually interviewed for 30 to 45 min. All interviews are transcribed in verbatim and analysed by two researchers separately using Colaizzi’s method of descriptive phenomenology. The results reveal the following six important themes, which could explain the mixed pattern of smoking behaviour changes in young smokers: (1) perceptions of COVID-19 and its association with smoking, (2) more time at home, (3) taking masks off to smoke, (4) the effects of COVID-19 on smokers’ financial status and academic performance, (5) reduced social gatherings, and (6) restricted access to tobacco products. To conclude, this pandemic and the anti-pandemic measures, i.e., mask mandates, stay-at-home and work-from-home orders, and class suspension, result in both new obstacles and new advantages for smoking cessation among young people. More studies should be performed to monitor any transition of tobacco products and the trajectory of use in this population during this pandemic, thus informing public health policy making. Full article
Article
Healthcare Workers’ Acceptance of COVID-19 Vaccination in Russia
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(7), 4136; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19074136 - 31 Mar 2022
Abstract
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the problem of the population’s adherence to vaccination has become significantly aggravated around the world. This study is aimed at evaluating healthcare workers’ (HCWs) acceptance of COVID-19 vaccination in Russia. A cross-sectional multicenter study was carried out by interviewing [...] Read more.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the problem of the population’s adherence to vaccination has become significantly aggravated around the world. This study is aimed at evaluating healthcare workers’ (HCWs) acceptance of COVID-19 vaccination in Russia. A cross-sectional multicenter study was carried out by interviewing HCWs in Russia using an electronic questionnaire and snowball sampling. The analysis included 85,216 questionnaires from 81 out of 85 regions of Russia. Statistical analysis was performed using SPSS v.22. The results indicated that 35.0% (CI 95%, 34.7–35.3) of HCWs were ready to get COVID-19 vaccination. The acceptance level was 42.4% (41.8–42.9) for all physicians and 31.3% (30.9–31.6) for nursing staff. A total of 29.4% (29.1–29.7) of HCWs were willing to recommend COVID-19 vaccination to patients: 38.5% (38.0–39.1) of physicians, and 24.7% (24.4–25.1) of nursing staff. Acceptance of COVID-19 vaccination is higher among HCWs dealing with infectious diseases and involved in vaccination. The low acceptance of HCWs toward vaccination against COVID-19 can be explained by the low level of awareness of HCWs in these issues. Additional educational programs are needed for HCWs, both for physicians and nurses, using all possible forms and methods of education. Full article
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Article
The Relationship between Exercise and Mental Health Outcomes during the COVID-19 Pandemic: From the Perspective of Hope
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(7), 4090; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19074090 - 30 Mar 2022
Abstract
The unexpected outbreak of COVID-19 triggered fear and anxiety in the general population. Exercise was one of the most widely promoted methods to improve body function when socially restricted. This study aims to examine the role of exercise in relieving stressful mental health [...] Read more.
The unexpected outbreak of COVID-19 triggered fear and anxiety in the general population. Exercise was one of the most widely promoted methods to improve body function when socially restricted. This study aims to examine the role of exercise in relieving stressful mental health outcomes (anxiety and depressive symptoms) during the COVID-19 pandemic and explore the underlying mechanism from the perspective of hope, using a combination of goal-directed planning (pathways) and motivation (agency). A cross-sectional online survey recruiting 2390 Chinese participants was conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic in China. A series of questions and scales, including the self-designed exercise questionnaire, the Adult Dispositional Hope Scale, the Generalized Anxiety Disorder Scale-7 and the Patient Health Questionnaire-9, were used to measure exercise, hope, anxiety symptoms and depressive symptoms, respectively. A structural equation model was constructed to test the hypothesis that exercise benefits mental health outcomes through the mediating role of hope. Our results showed that exercise relieved stressful mental health outcomes via three paths: one direct path (β = −0.077, 95% CI = (−0.138, −0.017), p < 0.01), one indirect path through hope of pathways thinking (β = −0.046, 95% CI = (−0.064, −0.027), p < 0.001) and another indirect path through hope of agency thinking (β = −0.060, 95% CI = (−0.081, −0.039), p < 0.001). Our results showed that exercise could alleviate stressful mental health outcomes by promoting both hope of pathway thinking and agency thinking. It provided practical insights into psychological prevention and intervention by means of exercise during the COVID-19 pandemic. Full article
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Article
COVID-19 Health Crisis Workloads and Screening for Psychological Impact in Nursing Home Staff: A Qualitative and Quantitative Survey
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(7), 4061; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19074061 - 29 Mar 2022
Abstract
Background: Nursing homes were particularly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The purpose of this study was to evaluate qualitatively and quantitatively with the use of a self-reported questionnaire as a tool for screening for mental disorders in nursing home staff. Methods: A multicenter [...] Read more.
Background: Nursing homes were particularly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The purpose of this study was to evaluate qualitatively and quantitatively with the use of a self-reported questionnaire as a tool for screening for mental disorders in nursing home staff. Methods: A multicenter epidemiological study was conducted in 12 nursing homes in France with 1117 nursing home staff eligible. Socio-demographic, occupational, and medical data were collected by anonymous self-reported questionnaire using validated scales to assess anxiety/depressive symptoms (HAD scale) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PCL-5). A total of 12 semi-structured interviews were conducted to assess acceptance and expectations for the use of the questionnaire. Results: The participation rate was 34.5%. Data from 373 questionnaires were included in the analysis. The questionnaire was well accepted by the participants and met their wishes for prevention action. The sample was 82% female. More than half reported a feeling of powerlessness and lack of time or staffing. The prevalence of anxiety symptoms was 22%, depressive symptoms 10%, and post-traumatic stress 7%. Conclusions: This study underlines the interest in screening for mental disorders by self-reported questionnaire and deploying preventive actions in the workplace to reduce stress and facilitate the reconciliation of family and working life in this context of the pandemic. Full article
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Evolution of Responses to COVID-19 and Epidemiological Characteristics in South Korea
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(7), 4056; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19074056 - 29 Mar 2022
Abstract
The characteristics of COVID-19 have evolved at an accelerated rate over the last two years since the first SARS-CoV-2 case was discovered in December 2019. This evolution is due to the complex interplay among virus, humans, vaccines, and environments, which makes the elucidation [...] Read more.
The characteristics of COVID-19 have evolved at an accelerated rate over the last two years since the first SARS-CoV-2 case was discovered in December 2019. This evolution is due to the complex interplay among virus, humans, vaccines, and environments, which makes the elucidation of the clinical and epidemiological characteristics of COVID-19 essential to assess ongoing policy responses. In this study, we carry out an extensive retrospective analysis on infection clusters of COVID-19 in South Korea from January 2020 to September 2021 and uncover important clinical and social factors associated with age and regional patterns through the sophisticated large-scale epidemiological investigation using the data provided by the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA). Epidemiological data of COVID-19 include daily confirmed cases, gender, age, city of residence, date of symptom onset, date of diagnosis, and route of infection. We divide the time span into six major periods based on the characte