Special Issue "Population Behavior during COVID-19"

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Isaac Ashkenazi
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
1. NIRED—Institute for Regulation of Emergency and Disaster, College of Law and Business, Faculty of Health Sciences, Ben gurion University Of the Negev, Beersheba, Israel
2. Faculty of Health Sciences, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beersheba 8410501, Israel
Interests: crisis management; crisis leadership; active bystanders; disaster medicine; disaster management; terrorism
Dr. Carmit Rapaport
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
NIRED—Institute for Regulation of Emergency and Disaster, College of Law and Business, Department of Geograhy and Environmental Studies, University of Haifa, Haifa, Israel
Interests: population behavior during emergencies; disaster management; crisis management; operational continuity

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

COVID-19 has had unprecendented effects on global and local systems. Management of the pandemic has been based on finding a fragile balance between controlling outbreaks in order to minimize potential risks caused by overwhelmed healthcare systems while maintaining the economy. Achievement of this balance heavily depends on the behavior of the population regarding their adherence to infection-prevention instructions (keeping physical distance, using face masks, and hygiene practices), compliance with stay-at home orders, management of psychological stress, social inclusion of minorities, and consumption of health services. Citizens' behavior during the pandemic is rooted in personal characteristics such as age, gender, socioeconomic status, being in a group at risk group for COVID-19, inclusion in a minority group, and education level. However, individual factors, both psychological and behavioral, such as risk perceptions, lifestyle, rituals, adaptivity, mental resilience, and emotional regulation, as well as social and cultural factors, such as community characteristics and the level of resilience, traditions and beliefs, and leadership, might also have significant effects. Papers addressing the behavioral aspects of population behavior in response to COVID-19 in terms of both challenges and opportunities in pandemic management are of interest for this Special Issue. Our focus will be on high quality research or theory-based papers as well those detailing with practical orientation and experience in individuals, communities, and nations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Prof. Dr. Isaac Ashkenazi
Dr. Carmit Rapaport
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • resilience
  • adaptive behavior
  • stress
  • leadership
  • rituals
  • crisis communication

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Article
Working from Home: Is Our Housing Ready?
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(14), 7329; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18147329 - 08 Jul 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 454
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic and the precautionary measures applied globally (lockdowns and curfews) have impacted homes, including work. Working from home (WFH) has emerged as a growing trend in the post-pandemic era. The research question was: Are our homes ready for teleworking? To respond, [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic and the precautionary measures applied globally (lockdowns and curfews) have impacted homes, including work. Working from home (WFH) has emerged as a growing trend in the post-pandemic era. The research question was: Are our homes ready for teleworking? To respond, a national prospective mixed approach was launched for Spanish households during the spring 2020 lockdown, using two online questionnaires, one quantitative and the other qualitative. Through a survey, photographs, and narratives, the study evaluates the perceived adequacy of telework spaces and their specific characteristics, the availability of digital resources and the internet. A total of 1800 surveys and over 200 images and texts related to telework environments were obtained. The results suggest that the adequacy of these spaces was insufficient for more than a quarter of the homes. Also, strong relations between the perceived workspace adequacy and a social status or stability of homes were shown and validated, despite other sociodemographic features, the home composition or habitat were not related. Some other variables statistically significant were occupation regime, type and surface of dwellings; their indoor environmental quality; the availability of exclusive spaces for teleworking; quality of digital resources; and the specific space features. The analysis was completed with qualitative insights through photos and texts. Telework, lived in this context as an experiment, needs this reflection from an environmental, resource-availability, and ergonomic point of view. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Population Behavior during COVID-19)
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Article
Habitability, Resilience, and Satisfaction in Mexican Homes to COVID-19 Pandemic
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(13), 6993; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18136993 - 30 Jun 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 475
Abstract
Following the 2020 confinement due to the COVID-19 pandemic, housing has become the only safe place and this has exposed inequity in habitability. This research on the reality of confined households and the perception of their homes in the Mexican republic is based [...] Read more.
Following the 2020 confinement due to the COVID-19 pandemic, housing has become the only safe place and this has exposed inequity in habitability. This research on the reality of confined households and the perception of their homes in the Mexican republic is based on a mixed participatory study, combining quantitative and qualitative approaches. The online questionnaire consisted of 58 questions in the quantitative approximation. The qualitative part required the provision of an image of the workspace, with testimonies and personal reflections. During the lockdown, all participants saw an increase in overall energy consumption; more than half reported not being in thermal comfort; and a third declared deficiencies in noise insulation. Regarding the perception of the telework/tele-study space, we found the following categories: bedrooms, living/dining rooms, studies and others. In addition, respondents had often adapted the workspace for both individual and shared use. In general, the households were satisfied with the size of their houses but would like landscaped spaces or better views outside. Confinement made housing the protective element against the pandemic. The consequences will have an effect globally, so new architectural design paradigms need to be rethought. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Population Behavior during COVID-19)
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Article
Toilet Paper, Minced Meat and Diabetes Medicines: Australian Panic Buying Induced by COVID-19
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(13), 6954; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18136954 - 29 Jun 2021
Viewed by 559
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the management of non-communicable diseases in health systems around the world. This study aimed to understand the impact of COVID-19 on diabetes medicines dispensed in Australia. Publicly available data from Australia’s government subsidised medicines program (Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme), [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the management of non-communicable diseases in health systems around the world. This study aimed to understand the impact of COVID-19 on diabetes medicines dispensed in Australia. Publicly available data from Australia’s government subsidised medicines program (Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme), detailing prescriptions by month dispensed to patients, drug item code and patient category, was obtained from January 2016 to November 2020. This study focused on medicines used in diabetes care (Anatomical Therapeutical Chemical code level 2 = A10). Number of prescriptions dispensed were plotted by month at a total level, by insulins and non-insulins, and by patient category (general, concessional). Total number of prescriptions dispensed between January and November of each year were compared. A peak in prescriptions dispensed in March 2020 was identified, an increase of 35% on March 2019, compared to average growth of 7.2% in previous years. Prescriptions dispensed subsequently fell in April and May 2020 to levels below the corresponding months in 2019. These trends were observed across insulins, non-insulins, general and concessional patient categories. The peak and subsequent dip in demand have resulted in a small unexpected overall increase for the period January to November 2020, compared to declining growth for the same months in prior years. The observed change in consumer behaviour prompted by COVID-19 and the resulting public health measures is important to understand in order to improve management of medicines supply during potential future waves of COVID-19 and other pandemics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Population Behavior during COVID-19)
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Article
Precautionary Behaviors during the Second and Third Phases of the COVID-19 Pandemic: Comparative Study in the Latin American Population
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(13), 6882; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18136882 - 26 Jun 2021
Viewed by 579
Abstract
The population’s behavioral responses to containment and precautionary measures during the COVID-19 pandemic have played a fundamental role in controlling the contagion. A comparative analysis of precautionary behaviors in the region was carried out. A total of 1184 people from Mexico, Colombia, Chile, [...] Read more.
The population’s behavioral responses to containment and precautionary measures during the COVID-19 pandemic have played a fundamental role in controlling the contagion. A comparative analysis of precautionary behaviors in the region was carried out. A total of 1184 people from Mexico, Colombia, Chile, Cuba, and Guatemala participated through an online survey containing a questionnaire on sociodemographic factors, precautionary behaviors, information about COVID-19, concerns, maintenance of confinement, and medical symptoms associated with COVID-19. Cubans reported the highest scores for information about COVID-19. Colombians reported less frequent usage of precautionary measures (e.g., use of masks), but greater adherence to confinement recommendations in general, in contrast to the low levels of these behaviors in Guatemalans. Chileans reported greater pandemic-related concerns and the highest number of medical symptoms associated with COVID-19. These findings allow a partial characterization of the Latin American population’s responses during the second and third phases of the COVID-19 pandemic and highlight the importance of designing and managing public health policies according to the circumstances of each population when facing pandemics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Population Behavior during COVID-19)
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Article
Confined Students: A Visual-Emotional Analysis of Study and Rest Spaces in the Homes
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(11), 5506; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18115506 - 21 May 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 927
Abstract
Confinement was adopted globally as a containment measure to face the COVID pandemic declared by WHO on March 2020. In Spain, the State of Alarm was established for three months. This implied the interruption of educational activities, having a higher incidence for children, [...] Read more.
Confinement was adopted globally as a containment measure to face the COVID pandemic declared by WHO on March 2020. In Spain, the State of Alarm was established for three months. This implied the interruption of educational activities, having a higher incidence for children, since teaching would not be resumed until the following academic year, in September. This, together with the confusing initial information about COVID-19 transmission between children and their families, has made them one of the groups most vulnerable. In this study, a qualitative approach is made to secondary school students (aged 12). They were asked to share their experiences about confinement from the perspective of the home spaces, in relation to two main tasks relevant in this period: the tele-study and their relaxing time and well-being. Using images and narratives with an abstract and emotional description, the response of 46 children was obtained. A sentiment analysis was carried out from their testimonies. Results suggest a greater availability of tele-study spaces with daylighting, mainly in bedrooms, with laptops. For leisure and rest spaces, sofas, beds, and cohabitant gathering were preferred. Written testimonials were mainly positive. Housing features and family cohesion condition their resilience in situations of uncertainty, like confinement. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Population Behavior during COVID-19)
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Article
Sink or Swim: Virtual Life Challenges among African American Families during COVID-19 Lockdown
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(8), 4290; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18084290 - 18 Apr 2021
Viewed by 760
Abstract
This study explores African American parents’ experiences with using technology to engage their children in meaningful activities (e.g., e-learning) during COVID-19 and its impact on family health. Eleven African American families were recruited through a local health department program from a rural Midwestern [...] Read more.
This study explores African American parents’ experiences with using technology to engage their children in meaningful activities (e.g., e-learning) during COVID-19 and its impact on family health. Eleven African American families were recruited through a local health department program from a rural Midwestern community to participate in semi-structured interviews. Majority of participants reported stresses from feelings of “sink or swim” in a digital world, without supports from schools to effectively provide for their children’s technology needs. The COVID-19 pandemic underscored the importance of family-school collaborative engagement and empowerment. Digital technology needs to become part of our school education system so that technology use among African Americans is elevated and families protected against future outbreaks. Further research with a more diverse African American sample is needed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Population Behavior during COVID-19)
Article
What Are the Reasons for the Different COVID-19 Situations in Different Cities of China? A Study from the Perspective of Population Migration
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(6), 3255; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18063255 - 21 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 794
Abstract
Understanding the reasons for the differences in the spread of COVID-19 in different cities of China is important for future epidemic prevention and control. This study analyzed this issue from the perspective of population migration from Wuhan (the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak [...] Read more.
Understanding the reasons for the differences in the spread of COVID-19 in different cities of China is important for future epidemic prevention and control. This study analyzed this issue from the perspective of population migration from Wuhan (the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in China). It reveals that population outflow from Wuhan to other cities in Hubei Province (the province where Wuhan is located) and metropolises and provincial capitals outside of Hubei province exceeded those to other cities. This is broadly consistent with the distribution of confirmed COVID-19 cases. Additionally, model analysis revealed that population outflow from Wuhan was the key factor that determined the COVID-19 situations. The spread of COVID-19 was positively correlated with GDP per capita and resident population and negatively correlated with the distance from Wuhan and the number of hospital beds, while population density was not a strong influential factor. Additionally, the demographic characteristics of population migration from Wuhan also affected the virus transmission. Particularly, businesspeople (who tend to have a high frequency of social activities) were more likely to spread COVID-19. This study indicated that specific measures to control population outflow from the epicenter at the early stage of the epidemic were of great significance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Population Behavior during COVID-19)
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Article
Keep Calm and Stay Safe: The Relationship between Anxiety and Other Psychological Factors, Media Exposure and Compliance with COVID-19 Regulations
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(6), 2852; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18062852 - 11 Mar 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 761
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic has led many countries to employ public health regulations to achieve behavioral change and stop the transmission of the virus. The factors influencing compliance with these regulations may differ from “classic” predictors for medical compliance. This study attempted to assess [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic has led many countries to employ public health regulations to achieve behavioral change and stop the transmission of the virus. The factors influencing compliance with these regulations may differ from “classic” predictors for medical compliance. This study attempted to assess the effect of social communication and psychological factors on intention to comply. A cross-sectional online survey was conducted on healthy adults living in Israel (n = 697). The survey assessed the intention to comply with the state COVID-19 regulations and explored possible correlations with demographic and psychosocial factors. Data were collected during May 2020 using a Qualtrics online survey. Data were analyzed to find correlations between anxiety, uncertainty, media exposure and other variables and the level of intention to comply as self-reported. Moderation and mediation effects were studied by an integrative model of influencing factors. We found that media exposure change, trust in responsible agencies and anxiety were positively correlated with compliance, while uncertainty was correlated with noncompliance. The effect of media exposure on compliance had two components. First, media exposure was positively correlated with compliance. On the other hand, media exposure was positively correlated with uncertainty, and uncertainty was negatively correlated with compliance. Interestingly, anxiety, which was positively correlated with media exposure, also moderated the negative correlation between uncertainty and compliance. Our results highlight the important role of uncertainty and anxiety as moderators between media exposure and compliance. To increase public compliance with COVID-19 regulations, efforts should be directed at decreasing uncertainty and anxiety. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Population Behavior during COVID-19)
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Concept Paper
Why Does Israel Lead the World in COVID-19 Vaccinations? Applying Mass Casualty Event Principles to COVID-19 Vaccination Programs
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(10), 5362; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18105362 - 18 May 2021
Viewed by 552
Abstract
The article examines Israel’s experience in managing the COVID-19 vaccination program beginning in December 2020. Utilizing principles of mass casualty event management, such as triaging, flow of casualty care, and flexibility (among others), we analyze Israel’s vaccination program. The successful Israeli experience was [...] Read more.
The article examines Israel’s experience in managing the COVID-19 vaccination program beginning in December 2020. Utilizing principles of mass casualty event management, such as triaging, flow of casualty care, and flexibility (among others), we analyze Israel’s vaccination program. The successful Israeli experience was found to be based on timely coordinated and adaptive health system logistics and operations, as well as cooperative population behaviors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Population Behavior during COVID-19)
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