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COVID, Volume 3, Issue 11 (November 2023) – 6 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Our study examined the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on type 2 diabetes (T2D) care in the Netherlands, using data from 182,048 T2D patients in 2019 and 2020. The results show a 9% increase in GP visits in 2020, driven by office visits (6%) and phone calls (33%), while the number of home visits remained stable. The HbA1c levels rose by 1.65 mmol/mol, with small but significant changes in the BMI, LDL, and SBP values. Subgroup analysis revealed higher clinical measurement scores in those under 70, meeting the HbA1c targets, and non-high-risk T2D patients. This study highlights the shifts in primary healthcare during the pandemic, emphasizing increased GP visits, reduced clinical measurements, and elevated HbA1c levels in the T2D patients. Further research is needed to understand the long-term impact on the outcomes and complications. View this paper
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9 pages, 282 KiB  
Article
Relationship between BMI and COVID-19
COVID 2023, 3(11), 1698-1706; https://doi.org/10.3390/covid3110117 - 19 Nov 2023
Viewed by 802
Abstract
Body mass index has been studied as one of the factors that negatively influences COVID-19. In this work, we intend to analyze this influence. A representative sample of the population of Beira Interior was used (around 2%), on which immunity research and a [...] Read more.
Body mass index has been studied as one of the factors that negatively influences COVID-19. In this work, we intend to analyze this influence. A representative sample of the population of Beira Interior was used (around 2%), on which immunity research and a socio-demographic survey were carried out. It was found that obesity influences the vaccination rate, and that all other variables analyzed were not influenced by body mass index. Full article
10 pages, 638 KiB  
Article
Service Uptake Challenges Experienced by Pasifika Communities during COVID-19 Lockdowns in New Zealand
COVID 2023, 3(11), 1688-1697; https://doi.org/10.3390/covid3110116 - 10 Nov 2023
Viewed by 615
Abstract
Background: New Zealand was one of the first countries to adopt an elimination strategy based on a four-tier Alert Level system that included strict lockdowns at levels three and four. The lockdowns meant shutting out external social networks and being confining to individual [...] Read more.
Background: New Zealand was one of the first countries to adopt an elimination strategy based on a four-tier Alert Level system that included strict lockdowns at levels three and four. The lockdowns meant shutting out external social networks and being confining to individual household ‘bubbles’ only. This presented challenges for minority Pasifika communities in New Zealand as their cultural values are based on social bonding, interconnectedness, community engagement and caring for each other. The aim of this research was to conduct a small-scale pilot study to test and refine the study design and identify the major challenges faced by Pasifika communities in relation to accessing health, social and mental services while in lockdown. Methods: This exploratory study was designed using an online anonymous questionnaire survey targeting people who identified as Pasifika. A total of eighty-seven respondents were included in our analyses following the questionnaire survey. Results: Five main barriers to accessing health, social and mental health services during lockdowns were identified; (1) unavailability of or limited services; (2) fear of contracting the virus; (3) perception of high costs associated with seeking medical assistance; (4) transportation difficulties; and (5) lack of time. Almost a quarter of the respondents reported losing their jobs, 80% indicated a decline in their household income and more than half experienced some form of psychosocial distress while in lockdown. Conclusions: The findings of this research highlight existing challenges faced by Pasifika communities in adequately accessing essential services. Future research can focus on the key barriers to access identified in this research to gain a deeper understanding of services and its interaction with Pasifika communities during lockdowns. Full article
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11 pages, 572 KiB  
Article
The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic in The Netherlands on Primary Healthcare Use and Clinical Outcomes in Persons with Type 2 Diabetes
COVID 2023, 3(11), 1677-1687; https://doi.org/10.3390/covid3110115 - 03 Nov 2023
Viewed by 543
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on healthcare systems worldwide, including the postponing or canceling of appointments and procedures for type 2 diabetes (T2D) care by general practitioners (GPs) in the Netherlands. The aim of this study was to investigate the [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on healthcare systems worldwide, including the postponing or canceling of appointments and procedures for type 2 diabetes (T2D) care by general practitioners (GPs) in the Netherlands. The aim of this study was to investigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on primary healthcare use and clinical measurements for people with T2D. Additionally, we aimed to determine if changes were observed among specific risk groups: (1) persons 70 years or older, or below 70 years, (2) patients who were meeting their HbA1c targets and those who were not, and (3) patients with high-risk and non-high-risk T2D. This retrospective cohort study among persons with T2D was conducted using data from the DIAbetes MANagement and Treatment (DIAMANT) data infrastructure, deriving data from electronic medical records of Dutch GPs. The study assessed GP visit counts, and counts and values of clinical measurements, including hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), body mass index (BMI), low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, and systolic blood pressure (SBP). Adjusted negative binomial (NB) regression and generalized estimating equations (GEE) models were used to estimate GP visit counts and population averages of clinical measurements, respectively, comparing 2019 (pre-pandemic) with 2020 (during the pandemic). Changes in specific groups were examined by stratifying outcomes for the aforementioned subgroups. The cohort consisted of 182,048 patients with T2D (47% female, mean age 69 ± 13 years) on 1 March 2019, of which 168,097 persons (92%) still contributed follow-up data in 2020. We observed an increase in total GP visits in 2020, with an adjusted rate ratio (RR) of 1.09 (95% CI 1.08–1.09). The frequency increased for office visits (RR 1.06; 1.06–1.07) and phone calls (RR 1.33; 1.31–1.35) but remained stable for home visits (RR 1.02; 0.99–1.04). On both population and individual levels, HbA1c values increased in 2020 by 1.65 (1.59–1.70) mmol/mol compared to 2019. Observed changes in 2020 for BMI, LDL, and SBP values were also statistically significant but small. Subgroup stratifications showed higher scores of all clinical measurements in younger persons (<70 years), those who met their HbA1c target, and non-high-risk T2D patients than their respective high-risk subgroups. During the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Netherlands, changes in primary healthcare use were observed among persons with T2D, with an increase in GP office visits and phone calls and a decreased number of clinical measurements and GP home visits. HbA1c levels increased among patients with T2D in 2020. Further research is necessary to determine the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on long-term clinical outcomes and (long-term) T2D complications. Full article
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14 pages, 558 KiB  
Article
Prevalence of Post COVID-19 Condition among Healthcare Workers: Self-Reported Online Survey in Four African Countries, December 2021–January 2022
COVID 2023, 3(11), 1663-1676; https://doi.org/10.3390/covid3110114 - 30 Oct 2023
Viewed by 1328
Abstract
The impact of Post COVID-19 Condition (PCC) is ongoing despite the declaration that the 2019 COVID-19 pandemic has ended. In this study, we explore the prevalence of PCC among healthcare workers (HCWs) in four African Countries and its influence on their professional performance. [...] Read more.
The impact of Post COVID-19 Condition (PCC) is ongoing despite the declaration that the 2019 COVID-19 pandemic has ended. In this study, we explore the prevalence of PCC among healthcare workers (HCWs) in four African Countries and its influence on their professional performance. This study was conducted as an online cross-sectional survey of healthcare workers from four African countries (Cameroon, Egypt, Nigeria, and Somalia) between the 20th of December 2021 to 12th of January 2022. We determined the prevalence of PCC based on the WHO case definition and assessed variables associated with a higher prevalence of PCC in these countries using univariable and multivariable logistic regression analyses. A total of 706 HCWs from four African countries were included in this survey. Most of the HCWs were aged between 18–34 years (75.8%, n = 535). Our findings showed that 19.5% (n = 138) of the HCWs had tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. However, 8.4% (n = 59) were symptomatic for COVID-19 but tested negative or were never tested. Two-thirds of the HCWs (66.4%, n = 469) have received a COVID-19 vaccine and 80.6% (n = 378) of those vaccinated had been fully vaccinated. The self-reported awareness rate of PCC among the HCWs was 16.1% (n = 114/706) whereas the awareness rate of PCC among COVID-19-positive HCWs was 55.3% (n = 109/197). The prevalence of PCC among HCWs was 58.8% (n = 116). These changes include the self-reported symptoms of PCC which included headache (58.4%, n = 115), fatigue (58.8%, n = 116), and muscle pain (39.6%, n = 78). Similarly, 30% (n = 59) and 20.8% (n = 41) of the HCWs reported the loss of smell and loss of taste long after their COVID-19 infection, respectively. Some HCWs (42%, n = 83) believed that their work performance has been affected by their ongoing symptoms of PCC. There was no significant difference in the prevalence of PCC among the vaccinated and unvaccinated HCWs (p > 0.05). Of the socio-demographic variables, age (older HCWs between 45–54 years; OR:1.7; 95% CI: 1.06, 10.59; p = 0.001) and location (Egypt; OR:14.57; 95% CI: 2.62, 26.76; p = 0.001) were more likely to have experienced PCC than other age groups and countries respectively. The study revealed a low prevalence of PCC among the surveyed HCWs. In addition, it observed the need for adequate medical and psychological support to HCWs with PCC and improved mass advocacy campaigns on PCC. Full article
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15 pages, 3470 KiB  
Article
Transmission of COVID-19 in Cities with Weather Conditions of High Air Humidity: Lessons Learned from Turkish Black Sea Region to Face Next Pandemic Crisis
COVID 2023, 3(11), 1648-1662; https://doi.org/10.3390/covid3110113 - 29 Oct 2023
Viewed by 612
Abstract
The goal of this study is to analyze associations between COVID-19 transmission and meteorological indicators in cities of the Black Sea region of Turkey, located specifically in the dampest area, with excess rainfall and recurring fog. In particular, the working hypothesis is that [...] Read more.
The goal of this study is to analyze associations between COVID-19 transmission and meteorological indicators in cities of the Black Sea region of Turkey, located specifically in the dampest area, with excess rainfall and recurring fog. In particular, the working hypothesis is that the widespread transmission of new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 (leading to the airborne disease COVID-19) in cities can be explained by specific weather conditions, namely high levels of air humidity. Statistical evidence here does not seem, in general, to support the hypothesis that the accelerated transmission of COVID-19 in the studied cities can be explained by high levels of humidity because different meteorological, environmental, demographic, and socioeconomic factors also plays a critical role in the disease transmission dynamics of the investigated region. The main implications of our findings here are that the demographic structure of the population, climate indicators, organization of the health system, and environmental factors (e.g., air pollution, etc.) should be considered through a systemic approach when designing effective national and regional pandemic plans directed to implement health policies for facing new variants of COVID-19 and/or new airborne diseases, in order to reduce their negative effects on health, social and economic systems. Full article
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9 pages, 585 KiB  
Brief Report
Evaluation of CoronaVac and CoviShield Vaccines on SARS-CoV-2 Infection in Healthcare Workers in Salvador, Brazil
COVID 2023, 3(11), 1639-1647; https://doi.org/10.3390/covid3110112 - 27 Oct 2023
Viewed by 629
Abstract
The emergence and rapid spread of the SARS-CoV-2 Gamma variant in Brazil have raised concerns about SARS-CoV-2 vaccines’ neutralizing capacity and viral load impact. Our study aimed to assess the influence of the CoviShield and CoronaVac vaccines on the Ct-N2 value in the [...] Read more.
The emergence and rapid spread of the SARS-CoV-2 Gamma variant in Brazil have raised concerns about SARS-CoV-2 vaccines’ neutralizing capacity and viral load impact. Our study aimed to assess the influence of the CoviShield and CoronaVac vaccines on the Ct-N2 value in the healthcare organization’s staff who experienced primary SARS-CoV-2 infection. We examined sixty-three COVID-19 cases reported in the first half of 2021 and identified similar clinical and laboratory characteristics among individuals, regardless of the vaccine they received. Surprisingly, our observations revealed that both CoviShield and CoronaVac vaccines had no impact on viral load or the development and severity of symptoms. These findings suggest a potential reduction in neutralizing response and indicate the need to consider the incorporation of other SARS-CoV-2 vaccines and maintain additional containment measures against SARS-CoV-2, as they remain imperative despite vaccination efforts. Full article
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