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COVID, Volume 4, Issue 5 (May 2024) – 7 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): This article reviews methodological and conceptual issues that need to be considered in the development and use of a case definition for long COVID. These include appropriately phrasing questions assessing symptoms, specifying thresholds for when to count a symptom, determining how many symptoms should be required for a diagnosis, assessing symptoms over time, using multiple assessment modalities, and differentiating symptomatology from functionality. View this paper
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14 pages, 1039 KiB  
Article
How Political Ideology and Media Shaped Vaccination Intention in the Early Stages of the COVID-19 Pandemic in the United States
by Dilshani Sarathchandra and Jennifer Johnson-Leung
COVID 2024, 4(5), 658-671; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/covid4050045 - 20 May 2024
Viewed by 411
Abstract
As a pharmaceutical intervention, vaccines remain a major public health strategy for mitigating the effects of COVID-19. Yet, vaccine intake has been affected by various cognitive and cultural factors. We examine how a selected set of factors (i.e., knowledge, concern, media, peer influence, [...] Read more.
As a pharmaceutical intervention, vaccines remain a major public health strategy for mitigating the effects of COVID-19. Yet, vaccine intake has been affected by various cognitive and cultural factors. We examine how a selected set of factors (i.e., knowledge, concern, media, peer influence, and demographics) shaped COVID-19 vaccination intention in the early phase of the pandemic (Fall 2020). Using a survey conducted in three US states (Idaho, Texas, and Vermont) just prior to the rollout of the first vaccines against COVID-19, we find that COVID-19 concern was the primary driver of vaccination intention. Concern was shaped mainly by two factors: political ideology and media sources. Yet, ideology and media were much more important in affecting concern for those who leaned politically conservative, as opposed to those who leaned liberal or remained moderate. The results from our structural equation models affirm that the information politically conservative respondents were receiving reinforced the effects of their ideology, leading to a greater reduction in their concern. We discuss the potential implications of these findings for future pandemic preparedness. Full article
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6 pages, 563 KiB  
Communication
Mortality of Laryngeal Cancer before and during the COVID-19 Pandemic
by Riccardo Nocini, Giuseppe Lippi and Camilla Mattiuzzi
COVID 2024, 4(5), 652-657; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/covid4050044 - 17 May 2024
Viewed by 425
Abstract
(1) Background: The interplay between coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and laryngeal cancer represents a substantial challenge for both patients and healthcare. To garner information on recent mortality data for laryngeal cancer, including during the COVID-19 pandemic, we analyzed real-world data from the US [...] Read more.
(1) Background: The interplay between coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and laryngeal cancer represents a substantial challenge for both patients and healthcare. To garner information on recent mortality data for laryngeal cancer, including during the COVID-19 pandemic, we analyzed real-world data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2) Methods: We searched the CDC WONDER online database 2018–2022 using the ICD-10 code for laryngeal cancer (C32; malignant neoplasm of the larynx). We also performed a sub-analysis between genders and across ten-year age groups. The data were analyzed with one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) and Tukey’s post hoc test. (3) Results: The trend of age-adjusted mortality ×100,000 did not change significantly between the years 2018 and 2022 (p = 0.553). Males had higher age-adjusted mortality rates (M/F ratios between 4.6 and 5.0), but no significant variation was found in both genders (males: p = 0.676; females: p = 0.596). Although the mortality rate remained unchanged in people aged 35–84 years, the variation reached statistical significance in those aged 85 or older (p = 0.004), displaying a significant increase in 2021 compared to 2018 (p = 0.006) and 2019 (p = 0.039). (4) Conclusions: The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mortality for laryngeal cancer seems to be relatively modest in the general US population. Nevertheless, closer attention must be paid to older people, for whom the unfavorable consequences of misdiagnosis or mistreatment of this and other types of cancers can be exacerbated. Full article
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7 pages, 1399 KiB  
Communication
COVID-19 Therapeutics Use by Social Deprivation Index in England, July 2020–April 2023
by Angela Falola, Hanna Squire, Sabine Bou-Antoun, Alessandra Løchen, Colin S. Brown and Alicia Demirjian
COVID 2024, 4(5), 645-651; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/covid4050043 - 15 May 2024
Viewed by 526
Abstract
Coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) has disproportionately affected certain demographics in England, exacerbating existing health disparities. Effective therapeutics are a critical line of defence against COVID-19, particularly for patients at elevated risk for severe disease. Surveillance systems were established to monitor the usage of COVID-19 [...] Read more.
Coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) has disproportionately affected certain demographics in England, exacerbating existing health disparities. Effective therapeutics are a critical line of defence against COVID-19, particularly for patients at elevated risk for severe disease. Surveillance systems were established to monitor the usage of COVID-19 therapeutics in hospital and community settings and to inform stewardship. Three antiviral therapies—nirmatrelvir plus ritonavir (Paxlovid®), remdesivir (Veklury®), and molnupiravir (Lagevrio®)—and two neutralising monoclonal antibody therapies (nMAbs)—sotrovimab (Xevudy®) and casirivimab with imdevimab (Ronapreve®)—were in use in England between July 2020 and April 2023. This paper aims to illuminate trends in the utilisation of COVID-19 therapeutics treatment in both hospital and community settings, stratified by the Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) in England. Chapter 3 of the English Surveillance Programme for Antimicrobial Utilisation and Resistance (ESPAUR) Report 2022 to 2023 also discusses the epidemiological surveillance of these five directly acting antiviral COVID-19 therapeutics’ use in England between 2022 and 2023. Full article
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8 pages, 377 KiB  
Article
Impact and Occurrence of Herpesvirus and Aspergillosis Superinfection in Patients with Severe COVID-19 Pneumonia
by Antoinette D. Reichert, Júlia M. da Silva Voorham, Karin H. Groenewegen and Huub La van den Oever
COVID 2024, 4(5), 637-644; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/covid4050042 - 13 May 2024
Viewed by 455
Abstract
Background: Pulmonary superinfections with Herpesviridae and Aspergillus spp. are common in severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pneumonia but their epidemiology and impact remain poorly understood. Methods: We conducted a retrospective observational study of 61 mechanically ventilated COVID-19 patients at Deventer Hospital’s ICU (2020–2021) [...] Read more.
Background: Pulmonary superinfections with Herpesviridae and Aspergillus spp. are common in severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pneumonia but their epidemiology and impact remain poorly understood. Methods: We conducted a retrospective observational study of 61 mechanically ventilated COVID-19 patients at Deventer Hospital’s ICU (2020–2021) who underwent bronchoalveolar lavage (BL) due to clinical deterioration. We analyzed blood and respiratory samples, treatment, and clinical outcomes. Results: Among 61 mechanically ventilated COVID-19 patients who underwent BL, 34 (55.7%) had superinfections, with 18 having COVID-19-associated pulmonary aspergillosis (CAPA), 7 having herpes simplex virus (HSV) infection, and 9 having both. Patients with HSV had later diagnoses (median 14 vs. 8 days, p = 0.014), longer mechanical ventilation (median 47 vs. 18.5 days, p = 0.015), and longer ICU stays (median 74 vs. 24 days, p = 0.021) compared to CAPA patients. At baseline, laboratory parameters and treatment (dexamethasone or tocilizumab) showed no significant association with superinfections. Mortality did not differ significantly among groups. Conclusion: In mechanically ventilated COVID-19 patients undergoing bronchoalveolar lavage, HSV reactivation occurred later in the course of illness and was associated with longer mechanical ventilation and ICU stays compared to CAPA. Baseline parameters did not predict superinfections. Full article
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32 pages, 866 KiB  
Article
Assessing the Impact of COVID-19 on Subjective Well-Being and Quality of Life in Mexico: Insights from Structural Equation Modeling
by Ignacio Alejandro Mendoza-Martínez, Edmundo Marroquín-Tovar, Jorge Pablo Rivas-Díaz, Araceli Durand, Gustavo Enrique Sauri-Alpuche and Blanca Rosa Garcia-Rivera
COVID 2024, 4(5), 605-636; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/covid4050041 - 13 May 2024
Viewed by 638
Abstract
Amid the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, the living conditions of the population were dramatically altered, with social distancing measures and the looming threat to public health leaving a profound impact on people’s lives. This study aims to assess the influence of COVID-19 [...] Read more.
Amid the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, the living conditions of the population were dramatically altered, with social distancing measures and the looming threat to public health leaving a profound impact on people’s lives. This study aims to assess the influence of COVID-19 on subjective well-being and overall quality of life in Mexico. A structural model with latent variables was used. Data were extracted from the National Self-Reported Well-being Survey (SWLS) from October 2020 and January 2021, featuring a robust sample size of 3615 residents from urban areas in Mexico, all aged 18 and above. Findings revealed that around 38% of the variance in overall life satisfaction in October 2020 and January 2021 could be attributed to Personal well-being (0.231), Personal satisfaction (0.320), Satisfaction with the environment (0.076), and Negative emotional states (−0.116). In comparison, October 2019 to January 2020 saw a lower 20% explained variance, primarily associated with Personal well-being (0.184), Personal satisfaction (0.270), and Satisfaction with the environment (0.052). Reliability assessments, including Cronbach’s Alpha coefficients, Rho_a, and Composite Reliability, all surpassed 0.70 for each subscale. In addition, our study confirmed convergent validity, as the Average Variance Extracted (AVE) consistently exceeded 0.50 across all subscales, while the discriminant coefficient exceeded 0.70. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Analysis of Modeling and Statistics for COVID-19)
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13 pages, 519 KiB  
Article
The Relationship between Coping Strategies and State Anxiety during COVID-19 Lockdown: The Role of Perceived Emotional Intelligence
by Alessandro Geraci, Laura Di Domenico and Antonella D’Amico
COVID 2024, 4(5), 592-604; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/covid4050040 - 12 May 2024
Viewed by 631
Abstract
Background: The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has caused an unprecedented and unexpected change all around the globe. The long-term effects are still ongoing, especially those related to the confinement measures. The study took place during the first COVID-19 lockdown in Italy, where [...] Read more.
Background: The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has caused an unprecedented and unexpected change all around the globe. The long-term effects are still ongoing, especially those related to the confinement measures. The study took place during the first COVID-19 lockdown in Italy, where everyone was forced to stay home in order to reduce the spread of the virus. The aim was to investigate the role of perceived emotional intelligence abilities (PEI) in coping with COVID-19-related anxiety. Methods: A cross-sectional study design was employed, and this study used an online survey launched through social networks, inviting adults to participate. The participants anonymously completed a three-scale online measurement of self-reported emotional abilities, coping strategies (approach and avoidance), and state anxiety towards COVID-19. Results: perceived emotional intelligence and approach coping significantly predicted state anxiety. In addition, perceived emotional intelligence mediated the relationship between approach coping and state anxiety. Conclusions: the study highlights the positive role of perceived emotional abilities in dealing with the unprecedented event represented by the COVID-19 pandemic, and in particular, in coping with anxiety related to lockdown and confinement. Their results highlight the importance of fostering emotional intelligence for navigating critical life events. Full article
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10 pages, 219 KiB  
Review
Conceptual and Methodological Barriers to Understanding Long COVID
by Leonard A. Jason and Nicole Hansel
COVID 2024, 4(5), 582-591; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/covid4050039 - 29 Apr 2024
Viewed by 1434
Abstract
This article focuses on individuals with Long COVID after contracting SARS-CoV-2. Although some patients have complications such as diabetes mellitus or tissue damage to the heart or lungs as a result of SARS-CoV-2 infection, our research focuses on individuals who have persistent symptoms [...] Read more.
This article focuses on individuals with Long COVID after contracting SARS-CoV-2. Although some patients have complications such as diabetes mellitus or tissue damage to the heart or lungs as a result of SARS-CoV-2 infection, our research focuses on individuals who have persistent symptoms that are not consistent with major organ dysfunction. The current article reviews methodological and conceptual issues that need to be considered in the development and use of a case definition for Long COVID and discusses the significance of appropriately phrasing questions assessing symptoms, specifying thresholds for when to count a symptom, determining how many symptoms should be required for a diagnosis, assessing symptoms over time, using multiple assessment modalities, and differentiating symptomatology from functionality. Dealing with these issues, particularly triangulating data from multiple sources, allows investigators to develop a more reliable and valid way to assess Long COVID. Full article
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