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COVID, Volume 4, Issue 3 (March 2024) – 7 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): COVID (ISSN 2673-8112) is an open access journal that provides an advanced and multidisciplinary forum for the study of coronaviruses, coronavirus-related diseases and global impact. Our aim is to publish papers on all aspects of coronaviruses, from basic molecular and clinical research to COVID-related public health studies, physical and psychological health, economic and environmental impact and all other aspects affected by coronaviruses.
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20 pages, 3466 KiB  
Article
A Case Study of Consumer’s Attitudes towards Agro-Food Markets in Danube Microregion in COVID-19 Pandemic
by Dario Iljkić, Olgica Klepač, Dubravka Užar, Ionel Samfira, Dušan Dunđerski, Daniel Haman, Catalin Zoican, Ivana Majić and Ivana Varga
COVID 2024, 4(3), 409-428; https://doi.org/10.3390/covid4030027 - 15 Mar 2024
Viewed by 343
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic affected many aspects of human life including consumer behavior. The main aim of this paper was to identify basic patterns of changes in consumer attitudes towards agri-food products under the influence of the 2020 pandemic and to better understand to [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic affected many aspects of human life including consumer behavior. The main aim of this paper was to identify basic patterns of changes in consumer attitudes towards agri-food products under the influence of the 2020 pandemic and to better understand to what extent and what kind of food market problems appeared for the inhabitants of the Danube microregion. For this purpose, an explorative study was elaborated. Assuming that the experience of COVID-19 affected consumer attitudes and sense of food security, a hybrid survey was conducted in the Danube microregion (Croatia, Serbia and Romania) during 2022. Data collected from a total of 903 respondents were statistically analyzed in SPSS. Descriptive statistics, PCA, ANOVA and t-Test were employed. The main results have shown that although the surveyed population of the Danube microregion during the pandemic in 2020 was generally not afraid of food shortages, food was in most part available for their families and their shopping habits have not changed to a large degree, the experience of the pandemic has raised the level of awareness about some issues related to food and specifically the prices of food products. Also, three different patterns of attitude and behavior towards food and agriculture, which emerged as a result of the experience of the pandemic in 2020, were identified. These patterns also proved to be different for different segments of the population. The findings suggest the need for stronger support for the development of locally affordable food systems with the use of ICT as a coping mechanism in crises. Full article
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18 pages, 533 KiB  
Article
Peritraumatic Distress among Chinese Canadians during the Early Lockdown Stage of the COVID-19 Pandemic: Sociodemographic and Pandemic-Related Predictors
by Alexandra Katsiris, Kesaan Kandasamy and Lixia Yang
COVID 2024, 4(3), 391-408; https://doi.org/10.3390/covid4030026 - 13 Mar 2024
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Abstract
The current study investigates the peritraumatic distress of Chinese residents living in Canada and identifies the associated sociodemographic and pandemic-related predictors during the initial phases of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic lockdown (i.e., from April 2020 to June 2020). A final sample [...] Read more.
The current study investigates the peritraumatic distress of Chinese residents living in Canada and identifies the associated sociodemographic and pandemic-related predictors during the initial phases of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic lockdown (i.e., from April 2020 to June 2020). A final sample of 457 valid participants aged 18 or older completed an online survey in which peritraumatic distress was assessed with the COVID-19 Peritraumatic Distress Index (CPDI). The results showed 32.76% of the sample was in the mild to moderate range (i.e., 28–51) and 5.03% in the severe range (i.e., 52 to higher) for peritraumatic distress. The hierarchical regression models on the continuous CPDI score identified life satisfaction as a consistent protector for the CPDI (absolute values of βs = −1.21 to −0.49, ps < 0.001). After controlling for life satisfaction, the following sociodemographic risk factors were identified: being middle-aged, being employed (relative to retired people/students), living in Ontario (rather than elsewhere), and a poor health status. Furthermore, the following pandemic-related risk factors were identified: a higher self-contraction worry, more of a COVID-19 information authenticity concern, a higher future infection rate prediction, and a higher personal health hygiene appraisal. The results of our study shed light on cognitive, experiential, behavioural, and sociodemographic factors associated with peritraumatic distress for Chinese residents living in Canada during the early outbreak stage of the pandemic. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue How COVID-19 and Long COVID Changed Individuals and Communities 2.0)
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13 pages, 1375 KiB  
Article
Evaluating Teachers’ Workplace Climate and Anxiety Response during the COVID-19 Pandemic: The Role of Information Seeking Platforms
by Medina Srem-Sai, Frank Quansah, Edmond Kwesi Agormedah, John Elvis Hagan, Jr. and Thomas Schack
COVID 2024, 4(3), 378-390; https://doi.org/10.3390/covid4030025 - 13 Mar 2024
Viewed by 869
Abstract
The COVID-19 disease affected the school workplace climate for teachers and led to psychological consequences. However, it is not clear how the workplace climate affected the anxiety levels of teachers. This study assessed the connection between workplace climate and COVID-19-related anxiety among senior [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 disease affected the school workplace climate for teachers and led to psychological consequences. However, it is not clear how the workplace climate affected the anxiety levels of teachers. This study assessed the connection between workplace climate and COVID-19-related anxiety among senior high school (SHS) teachers during the COVID-19 pandemic. This study further examined the moderating role of professional and social media platform use on the relationship between workplace climate and COVID-19-related anxiety among teachers. Through a cross-sectional survey design, 395 high school teachers were conveniently sampled from various schools in the Central Region of Ghana. A questionnaire was used to survey participants, and the obtained data were analysed using descriptive statistics as well as simple linear regression and moderation analyses with Hayes’ PROCESS. This study revealed a negative association between workplace climate and anxiety. The relationship between workplace climate and anxiety was contingent on social media use but not professional platform use. Therefore, the consumption of unscrutinised COVID-19-related information on social media heightened fear and anxiety among teachers, even in the midst of a safe workplace environment. An effective strategy against teachers’ COVID-19-related anxiety required the provision of accurate science-driven information about the virus. School counselling psychologists, school welfare officers, and school health coordinators are encouraged to collaborate towards designed interventions that promote a safe working environment and the mental health of teachers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue How COVID-19 and Long COVID Changed Individuals and Communities 2.0)
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0 pages, 1276 KiB  
Article
Pro-Vaccination Flu and COVID-19 Messages: Evidence of Congenial Targeted and Spillover Effects
by James Price Dillard and Lijiang Shen
COVID 2024, 4(3), 363-377; https://doi.org/10.3390/covid4030024 - 11 Mar 2024
Viewed by 488
Abstract
Given the plentitude of messages in the public arena that promote vaccination against different diseases or raise the possibility of vaccine mandates, we asked whether message effects in one disease domain might spill over into other domains. Our experiment exposed individuals (N [...] Read more.
Given the plentitude of messages in the public arena that promote vaccination against different diseases or raise the possibility of vaccine mandates, we asked whether message effects in one disease domain might spill over into other domains. Our experiment exposed individuals (N = 1755) recruited from an opt-in online panel (Qualtrics) on influenza or COVID-19 pro-vaccination messages then measured intentions to vaccinate for each disease and intentions to support a vaccine mandate for each disease. Messages that targeted flu (vs. COVID-19) exhibited stronger effects on intentions to vaccinate for corresponding (vs. noncorresponding) disease. We observed positive spillover from intention to vaccinate against one disease to intention to vaccinate against the other disease, as well as from vaccination intention type to support for corresponding and noncorresponding vaccine mandates. Although pro-vaccination flu and COVID-19 messages have multiple effects, those effects are congenial. The results adjudicate differences in spillover theory and suggest synergistic effects between pro-vaccination campaigns. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue How COVID-19 and Long COVID Changed Individuals and Communities 2.0)
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14 pages, 635 KiB  
Article
Changes in Need, Changes in Infrastructure: A Comparative Assessment of Rural Nonprofits Responding to COVID-19
by Margaret F. Sloan, Tina Switzer, Laura Hunt Trull, Claire Switzer, Melody Eaton, Kelly Atwood and Emily Akerson
COVID 2024, 4(3), 349-362; https://doi.org/10.3390/covid4030023 - 10 Mar 2024
Viewed by 443
Abstract
Due to the variance in community infrastructure and resources, COVID-19 impacted rural communities differently than their urban counterparts. This study examines two waves of data from a survey of rural residents in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia regarding how community organizations responded to [...] Read more.
Due to the variance in community infrastructure and resources, COVID-19 impacted rural communities differently than their urban counterparts. This study examines two waves of data from a survey of rural residents in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia regarding how community organizations responded to the pandemic, what strategies were most successful, and where needs shifted. The findings demonstrate that organizations with deeply embedded community leaders achieve higher levels of collaborative change in a timely manner. Additionally, mental health services have become a more pronounced need as a result of the pandemic. The interdependence of community needs, recognized by community members, calls for collaborative strategies for the future. Full article
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15 pages, 2720 KiB  
Article
What Was It like to Learn or Teach in the Health Professions during the COVID-19 Pandemic? Sombre and Tough: A Duoethnography
by Daniela Ruiz Cosignani and Tanisha Jowsey
COVID 2024, 4(3), 334-348; https://doi.org/10.3390/covid4030022 - 08 Mar 2024
Viewed by 517
Abstract
The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic proved challenging for people working and teaching in the health professions. What was it like to learn or teach in the health professions during the pandemic? What challenges were experienced, and how were these navigated? We undertook duoethnography to [...] Read more.
The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic proved challenging for people working and teaching in the health professions. What was it like to learn or teach in the health professions during the pandemic? What challenges were experienced, and how were these navigated? We undertook duoethnography to provide answers to these questions. The authors are an endodontist from Chile who undertook her Master of Clinical Education in New Zealand during the COVID-19 pandemic and one of her postgraduate supervisors. A dataset of 40 photo-reflection dyads and duoethnographic text are presented. We experienced this pandemic as isolating, sombre and tough, albeit for different reasons. Managing relationships and family needs from a distance or in the same space in which work was to occur proved difficult. Postgraduate research was slowed. The educator workload was significantly increased, especially for the first six months of the pandemic, whereby she was tasked with rapidly creating a lot of online virtual learning material. We draw on Emotional Labour theory to make sense of these experiences. Support for clinical educators during pandemics should cater to situational contexts. We recommend Communities of Practice, psychological supports, acts of care (including self-care), wellbeing initiatives, and arts-based practice as potential mechanisms to support educators and learners. Full article
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17 pages, 1252 KiB  
Article
Prevalence and Levels of Anti-SARS-CoV-2 Antibodies in the Eswatini Population and Subsequent Severity of the Fourth COVID-19 Epidemic Wave
by Portia C. Mutevedzi, Vusie Lokotfwako, Gaurav Kwatra, Gugu Maphalala, Vicky Baillie, Lindiwe Dlamini, Senzokuhle Dlamini, Fortune Mhlanga, Tenelisiwe Dlamini, Nhlanhla Nhlabatsi, Marta C. Nunes, Simon Zwane and Shabir A. Madhi
COVID 2024, 4(3), 317-333; https://doi.org/10.3390/covid4030021 - 20 Feb 2024
Viewed by 647
Abstract
Background: Seroepidemiology studies are useful for quantifying the magnitude of past infections and estimating the extent of population-based immunity to inform risk mitigation strategies for the future. We report on the only national population-based survey of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) immunoglobulin [...] Read more.
Background: Seroepidemiology studies are useful for quantifying the magnitude of past infections and estimating the extent of population-based immunity to inform risk mitigation strategies for the future. We report on the only national population-based survey of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) immunoglobulin G (IgG) seroprevalence in Eswatini. Methods: The survey was undertaken from 31 August to 30 September 2021, following three earlier waves of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), and preceded the onset of the fourth wave, which was dominated by the Omicron variant of concern. We also report on epidemiological trends of recorded COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations before and after the fourth COVID-19 wave through to March 2022. We evaluated the immunoglobulin G (IgG) seropositivity based on either anti-nucleocapsid (N) or anti-spike (S) antigens. Results: Of 4564 individuals, 58.5% were female, 36.0% were aged 18–50 years, and 863 (18.9%) of adults who were older than 18 years had received at least a single dose of COVID-19 vaccine. Overall, 2769 (60.7%) were seropositive with heterogeneity across sub-regions (53.7%; 95% CI:49.2–58.1 to 68.6%; 95% CI:64.5–72.4), with the highest rates occurring in sub-regions of the Manzini region. Seropositivity was higher in vaccinated individuals (84.5%; 95% CI: 81.9–86.7) compared to unvaccinated individuals (55.1%; 95% CI:53.5–56.7). Amongst unvaccinated individuals, seropositivity was highest in 18–50-year-olds (59.5%;95% CI: 56.9–62.1). Seropositivity was associated with female gender, previous positive SARS-CoV-2 NAAT status and being vaccinated, non-smoking, and being formally employed. We estimated as of 15 September 2021 that there had been 639,475 SARS-CoV-2 infections (95% CI; 620,824–658,003) in Eswatini, which was 25.5-fold greater than the 25,048 COVID-19 cases that had been recorded by then. The national case fatality rate (CFR) based on recorded cases was 4.8%, being 25-fold greater than the infection fatality rate (0.19; 95% CI: 0.18–0.19) based on recorded deaths and extrapolating the force of infection from seroprevalence. Nationally and across all four regions, we report the decoupling of COVID-19 cases from hospitalisations and deaths, observed as early as during the third wave, which was dominated by the Delta variant compared with earlier waves. Conclusions: We identified that 60.7% of people in Eswatini had been infected by SARS-CoV-2 at least once and before the onset of the Omicron wave in mid-November 2021. Despite a modest uptake of COVID-19 vaccines, the evolution of population immunity from infection has likely contributed to the decoupling of infection and severe COVID-19 in Eswatini. Full article
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