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Impact of COVID-19 on the Environment, Energy and Economics (Closed)

A topical collection in Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This collection belongs to the section "Environmental Sustainability and Applications".

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Guest Editor
Nord University Business School, Nord University, 8049 Bodø, Norway
Interests: energy economics; climate change; environmental sustainability; environmental economics; health economics and renewable energy
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Topical Collection Information

Dear Colleagues,

The COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus—Sars-Cov-2) pandemic has been declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization due to its devastating impact on humanity. The institution of lockdown across countries is reported to have hampered several facets of life, ranging from waste management to economic development, energy consumption, and the environment. Thus, prompt discussions from the scientific community would be helpful in the fight against the virus. In line with the SDGs and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we invite papers on the following topics:

1) Chemicals—waste management—water and sanitation and COVID-19;

2) COVID-19 and the environment: transmission via surfaces, air, water, soil—detection of COVID-19 virus—the impact of environmental factors on transmission, survival, and infectivity such as wetness, dryness, temperature, relative humidity, sunlight, and air pollution (particulates, bioaerosol);

3) COVID-19 and oceans and blue economy—biodiversity and wildlife;

4) COVID-19 and economic growth, green recovery/greening economies;

5) Effective containment and preventive options and strategies for present and future spread, i.e., face masks, hand wash, disinfection technologies in public places and healthcare facilities;

6) Forecasting short- and long-term impact of the COVID-19 pandemic owing to current intervention and preventive measures.

Dr. Samuel Asumadu-Sarkodie
Guest Editor

References

  1. Sarkodie, S. A., & Owusu, P. A. (2020). Impact of meteorological factors on COVID-19 pandemic: Evidence from top 20 countries with confirmed cases. Environmental Research, 110101.
  2. Sarkodie, S. A., & Owusu, P. A. (2020). Investigating the cases of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in China using dynamic statistical techniques. Heliyon, e03747.
  3. Sarkodie, S. A., & Owusu, P. A. (2020). Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on waste management. Environment, development and sustainability, 1-10.
  4. Sarkodie, S. A., & Owusu, P. A. (2020). Global assessment of environment, health and economic impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Environment, Development and Sustainability, 1-11.

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Keywords

  • transmission modes of COVID-19
  • detection of COVID-19
  • COVID-19 and waste management
  • COVID-19 and weather
  • COVID-19 and temperature
  • COVID-19 and economics
  • COVID-19 and finance
  • COVID-19 and environment
  • COVID-19 and air pollution

Published Papers (17 papers)

2023

Jump to: 2022, 2021

16 pages, 431 KiB  
Article
Gender and Culture Differences in Consumers’ Travel Behavior during the COVID-19 Pandemic
by Xianglan Chen, Yuanyuan Hao, Yachao Duan, Qinghong Zhang and Xiaoli Hu
Sustainability 2023, 15(2), 1186; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15021186 - 9 Jan 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2881
Abstract
COVID-19, as a rampant health crisis, lies at the basis of fluctuating perceptions affecting decreased demand among travelers. Recent studies have witnessed a growth of interest in the interactions between tourists’ behaviors and other factors with the potential to moderate such behavior during [...] Read more.
COVID-19, as a rampant health crisis, lies at the basis of fluctuating perceptions affecting decreased demand among travelers. Recent studies have witnessed a growth of interest in the interactions between tourists’ behaviors and other factors with the potential to moderate such behavior during travel. However, it remains to be discussed whether the influence of demographic aspects, especially cultural and gender differences, on tourism behaviors will be more prominent during COVID-19. The current empirical research aims to integrate demographic variables, including gender and culture, with tourists’ behavior in terms of their choice of companions, travel destinations, and mode of transportation. According to the research findings, people in other countries have greater desire to travel than Chinese tourists who, in any case, prefer to travel with friends. Tourists from other countries are more willing to travel by plane and by car. Males show a more positive attitude than females to these means of transportation. Moreover, the interactive effect of gender and nationality reveals that female travelers from mainland China put the train or bus top on their agenda. These theoretical findings have the potential to provide actionable insights into how policymakers and service providers can make adjustments to bring back tourism stifled by COVID-19. Full article
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2022

Jump to: 2023, 2021

22 pages, 5842 KiB  
Review
From Short-Term Risk to Long-Term Strategic Challenges: Reviewing the Consequences of Geopolitics and COVID-19 on Economic Performance
by Goshu Desalegn, Anita Tangl and Maria Fekete-Farkas
Sustainability 2022, 14(21), 14455; https://doi.org/10.3390/su142114455 - 3 Nov 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 3069
Abstract
The COVID-19 crisis and the war between Russia and Ukraine affects the world economy badly. The western countries’ economic sanctions on Russia and the Russian government’s reverse sanctions on western countries create pressure on the world economy. This study was conducted to investigate [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 crisis and the war between Russia and Ukraine affects the world economy badly. The western countries’ economic sanctions on Russia and the Russian government’s reverse sanctions on western countries create pressure on the world economy. This study was conducted to investigate how the economic performance is responding to COVID-19 and the geopolitical crisis of the era. In doing so, both theoretical and numerical data reviews have been performed. The objective of the study is to investigate the short-term risks and long-term strategic challenges of the crisis. The study used a bibliometric approach with the help of RStudio software. The Web of Science database was used for extracting the resources in line with the grey literature from the Google Search engine. A total of 895 documents were utilized in this bibliometric analysis. At the same time, secondary panel data extracted from the international monetary fund (IMF) for a period of 4 years (2019–2022) were utilized for reviewing numerical implications. The purposive sampling technique is used for data selection and main economic variables. The findings of the study imply that countries over the world registered less economic growth, high inflation rate, and high government debt in 2022 compared to the fiscal period of 2019–2021. The emerging economies and developing countries of Europe were badly affected by the crisis as the level of inflation rate hit 27 percent and the economic growth of the region registered a negative 2.9 percent. The study also found rising interest rates, exchange rate volatility, risk of stagflation, and rising energy prices are the short-term risks to economies. The issue of sustainable development goals and green aspects, risk of hyperinflation, and risk of economic recession are the long-term strategic challenges or risks to economies. Bailout and debt relief were found to be necessary for those countries badly affected by the crisis. Policymakers should facilitate financial policies and should switch from general assistance to targeted support of viable enterprises. Full article
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27 pages, 2610 KiB  
Article
Novel COVID-19 Based Optimization Algorithm (C-19BOA) for Performance Improvement of Power Systems
by Sheikh Safiullah, Asadur Rahman, Shameem Ahmad Lone, S. M. Suhail Hussain and Taha Selim Ustun
Sustainability 2022, 14(21), 14287; https://doi.org/10.3390/su142114287 - 1 Nov 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1897
Abstract
The ongoing pandemic due to novel coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) has rapidly unsettled the health sector with a considerable fatality rate. The main factors that help minimize the spread of this deadly virus are the proper use of masks, social distancing and antibody growth [...] Read more.
The ongoing pandemic due to novel coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) has rapidly unsettled the health sector with a considerable fatality rate. The main factors that help minimize the spread of this deadly virus are the proper use of masks, social distancing and antibody growth rate in a person. Based on these factors, we propose a new nature-inspired meta-heuristic algorithm named COVID-19 Based Optimization Algorithm (C-19BOA). The proposed C-19BOA mimics the spread and control behavior of coronavirus disease centered on three containment factors: (1) social distancing, (2) use of masks, and (3) antibody rate. Initially, the mathematical models of containment factors are presented, and further, the proposed C-19BOA is developed. To ascertain the effectiveness of the developed C-19BOA, its performance is verified on standard IEEE mathematical benchmark functions for the minimization of these benchmark functions and convergence to the optimal values. These performances are compared with established bio-inspired optimization algorithms available in the literature. Finally, the developed C-19BOA is applied on an electrical power system load–frequency–control model to test its effectiveness in optimizing the power system parameters and to check its applicability in solving modern engineering problems. A performance comparison of the proposed C-19BOA and other optimization algorithms is validated based on optimizing the controller gains for reducing the steady-state errors by comparing the effective frequency and tie-line power regulation ability of an industrially applied Proportional–Integral–Derivative controller (PID) and Active Disturbance Rejection controller (ADRC). Moreover, the robustness of C-19BOA optimized PID and ADRC gains is tested by varying the system parameters from their nominal values. Full article
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14 pages, 2261 KiB  
Article
Spatial Distribution of COVID-19 Infected Cases in Kelantan, Malaysia
by Amal Najihah Muhamad Nor, Rohazaini Muhammad Jamil, Hasifah Abdul Aziz, Muhamad Azahar Abas, Kamarul Ariffin Hambali, Nor Hizami Hassin, Muhammad Firdaus Abdul Karim, Siti Aisyah Nawawi, Aainaa Amir, Nazahatul Anis Amaludin, Norfadhilah Ibrahim, Abdul Hafidz Yusoff, Nur Hanisah Abdul Malek, Nur Hairunnisa Rafaai, Siti Khairiyah Mohd Hatta and Darren Grafius
Sustainability 2022, 14(21), 14150; https://doi.org/10.3390/su142114150 - 29 Oct 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1877
Abstract
Kota Bharu city in Kelantan, Malaysia was reported with the highest cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) among other districts. Kota Bharu is the capital city of Kelantan, which acts as the administrative, commercial, and financial areas. A large population pool may become [...] Read more.
Kota Bharu city in Kelantan, Malaysia was reported with the highest cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) among other districts. Kota Bharu is the capital city of Kelantan, which acts as the administrative, commercial, and financial areas. A large population pool may become a potential carrier for disease transmission to become an epidemic. However, the impact of population density on the COVID-19 outbreak in Malaysia is still unknown and undiscovered. Therefore, this study investigates the impact of population density on COVID-19 as a potential virus transmission carrier using linear regression models. The chances of formulating new strategies for combating COVID-19 are higher when the driver of transmission potential is identified. This study shows that the highest value of infected area density is in Kota Bharu (0.76), while the infected risk area was highest in Jeli (0.33). This study found that there is a strong relationship between COVID-19 infection cases in Kelantan and population density (R2 which is 0.845). Therefore, high population density was identified as a potential driver of transmission of COVID-19 outbreak. Understanding the potential drivers of the disease in a local setting is very important for better preparation and management. The outcome of the study can aid in the development of a new analytical model for strategic planning of Zero COVID-19 for securing the public health and wellness, both social and economic, by researchers, scientists, planners, resource managers, and decision-makers. Full article
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22 pages, 5991 KiB  
Article
Long-Term Effects of COVID-19, and Its Impact on Business, Employees, and CO2 Emissions, a Study Using Arc-GIS Survey 123 and Arc-GIS Mapping
by Vegh Gary, Sajedi Sarah and Naybor Deborah
Sustainability 2022, 14(20), 13689; https://doi.org/10.3390/su142013689 - 21 Oct 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1960
Abstract
Further investigation is needed to study the impacts of the COVID-19 lockdown and subsequent lifestyle changes. The global pandemic caused a high degree of uncertainty, leading to extreme anxiety. These feelings were also compounded by the sudden changes in lifestyle at home, within [...] Read more.
Further investigation is needed to study the impacts of the COVID-19 lockdown and subsequent lifestyle changes. The global pandemic caused a high degree of uncertainty, leading to extreme anxiety. These feelings were also compounded by the sudden changes in lifestyle at home, within families, work, studies, and recreation. With the end of the lockdown approaching in most regions of the world, many of these lifestyle changes, including work-from-home, might remain for a good percentage of the workforce. The primary objective of this research is to explore employees’ work-from-home model and its impact on commute time, job satisfaction, and carbon footprint. Quantitative variables include data from North America and Global country-specific carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, and quantitative data, including employee satisfaction, commute time, miles traveled, and more, was collected using ArcGIS Survey123. This research focus on CO2 emissions data, comparing 2019 data (March to May) as a baseline to 2020, 2021, and 2022 (March to May) as the target year. The hypothesis is that the work-from-home order had a significant impact on short-term CO2 reductions and could have potential long-term impacts due to many corporations’ adoption of the “work-from-home” model. The data collected regarding CO2 were analyzed using ArcGIS Pro and Geostatistical Interpolation. This study also explored the potential impacts of this adoption on employee job satisfaction and CO2 emissions reductions based on surveyed employees. Another objective of this research is to look at the relationship between the COVID-19 lockdown with the work-from-home model and the reduction in air emissions, namely CO2. Full article
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13 pages, 308 KiB  
Article
Health Consequences of Overexposure to Disinfectants and Self-Medication against SARS-CoV-2: A Cautionary Tale Review
by Hassan Hashemi, Shiva Ghareghani, Nasrin Nasimi, Mohammad Shahbazi, Zahra Derakhshan and Samuel Asumadu Sarkodie
Sustainability 2022, 14(20), 13614; https://doi.org/10.3390/su142013614 - 20 Oct 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2394
Abstract
To control and prevent the spread of the infectious agents in the environment and body, various measures have been taken, including the use of disinfectants for hands and surfaces, use of detergents, self-medication by herbal concoctions, and dietary supplements. Although these actions may [...] Read more.
To control and prevent the spread of the infectious agents in the environment and body, various measures have been taken, including the use of disinfectants for hands and surfaces, use of detergents, self-medication by herbal concoctions, and dietary supplements. Although these actions may have a therapeutic effect or reduce the viral load, incorrect use (abuse or overuse) could have negative health repercussions. Therefore, public awareness in this context is essential. The purpose of this narrative review was to evaluate the health consequences of overexposure to disinfectants and self-medication against infectious agents, specially SARS-CoV-2. The literature search for this review was conducted using related keywords in PubMed, Web of Science (WOS), and Scopus databases. This review found a significant number of reported poisoning cases during the pandemic as a result of the overuse of alcoholic hand sanitizers, household bleach products, and detergents. This paper also provides an integrated systemic overview of the possible toxic effects of self-medication, alcohol consumption, and self-administration of dietary supplements and herbs during the COVID-19 pandemic. The present review indicated that the main adverse effects associated with the overuse of popular preventative actions against contagious respiratory illnesses specially COVID-19 and Influenza (flu) were methanol intoxication, skin damage, respiratory problems, gastrointestinal ulcers, nausea, vomiting, epigastric pain, and liver injury. Due to the significant increase in the use of these preventative measures, it is essential to raise public awareness of the side effects of their excessive and unnecessary use. Full article
16 pages, 2489 KiB  
Article
Investigating the Role of Environmental Factors on the Survival, Stability, and Transmission of SARS-CoV-2, and Their Contribution to COVID-19 Outbreak: A Review
by Leili Mohammadi, Ahmad Mehravaran, Zahra Derakhshan, Ehsan Gharehchahi, Elza Bontempi, Mohammad Golaki, Razieh Khaksefidi, Mohadeseh Motamed-Jahromi, Mahsa Keshtkar, Amin Mohammadpour, Hamid Dahmardeh and Samuel Asumadu Sarkodie
Sustainability 2022, 14(18), 11135; https://doi.org/10.3390/su141811135 - 6 Sep 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2275
Abstract
Studies conducted in the last four years show conflicting findings on the role of the environment in the survival, stability, and transmission of SARS-CoV-2. Based on the current evidence, the factors that affect the severity of COVID-19 include host interaction, environmental stability, virus [...] Read more.
Studies conducted in the last four years show conflicting findings on the role of the environment in the survival, stability, and transmission of SARS-CoV-2. Based on the current evidence, the factors that affect the severity of COVID-19 include host interaction, environmental stability, virus volume, stability, transmission, social interactions, and restriction measures. Moreover, the persistence of the virus depends on different environmental conditions, videlicet temperature, humidity, pH, salinity, and solar radiation. The outbreak of respiratory viruses is related mainly to temperature and humidity, and geographical locations (latitude). In SARS-CoV-2, mainly temperature and humidity seem to play a fundamental role. Moreover, studies have indicated that social health factors such as equitable health systems, hygiene, and underlying diseases have played a pivotal role in the incidence and outbreak of COVID-19. Therefore, addressing health issues associated with reducing SARS-CoV-2 outbreaks plays an essential role in global health. In contrast, the environmental stimuli of the COVID-19 outbreak are mainly unknown. Given the ongoing threat of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to understand the stimuli to respond quickly to emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants while implementing long-term and sustainable control strategies. This review discusses the role of environmental factors and health conditions in the outbreak of SARS-CoV-2. Full article
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20 pages, 2287 KiB  
Article
The Correlation Analysis between Air Quality and Construction Sites: Evaluation in the Urban Environment during the COVID-19 Pandemic
by Haoran Li, Ali Cheshmehzangi, Zhiang Zhang, Zhaohui Su, Saeid Pourroostaei Ardakani, Maycon Sedrez and Ayotunde Dawodu
Sustainability 2022, 14(12), 7075; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14127075 - 9 Jun 2022
Viewed by 2139
Abstract
This research studies the data on air quality and construction activities from 29 January 2020 to 30 April 2020. The analysis focuses on three sample districts of Hangzhou’s Xiacheng, Gongshu, and Xiaoshan districts. The samples, respectively, represent low-level, mid-level, and high-level districts in [...] Read more.
This research studies the data on air quality and construction activities from 29 January 2020 to 30 April 2020. The analysis focuses on three sample districts of Hangzhou’s Xiacheng, Gongshu, and Xiaoshan districts. The samples, respectively, represent low-level, mid-level, and high-level districts in the scale of construction projects. The correlative relationships are investigated, respectively, in the periods of ‘pandemic lockdown (29 January 2020–20 February 2020)’ and ‘after pandemic lockdown (21 February 2020–30 April 2020)’. The correlative equations are obtained. Based on the guideline values of air parameters provided by the Chinese criteria and standards, the recommended maximum scales of construction projects are defined. The numbers of construction sites are 16, 118, and 311 for the Xiacheng, Gongshu, and Xiaoshan districts during the imposed lockdown period, respectively, and 19, 88, 234, respectively, after the lockdown period. Because the construction site is only one influential factor on the air quality, and the database is not large enough, there are some limitations in the mathematical model and the management plan. Possible problem solving techniques and future studies are introduced at the end of the research study. Full article
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2021

Jump to: 2023, 2022

21 pages, 1474 KiB  
Article
Evaluating the Impact of COVID-19 on Society, Environment, Economy, and Education
by Vijay Kumar, Hammam Alshazly, Sahar Ahmed Idris and Sami Bourouis
Sustainability 2021, 13(24), 13642; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132413642 - 10 Dec 2021
Cited by 49 | Viewed by 17269
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused drastic changes across the globe, affecting all areas of life. This paper provides a comprehensive study on the influence of COVID-19 in various fields such as the economy, education, society, the environment, and globalization. In this study, both [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused drastic changes across the globe, affecting all areas of life. This paper provides a comprehensive study on the influence of COVID-19 in various fields such as the economy, education, society, the environment, and globalization. In this study, both the positive and negative consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on education are studied. Modern technologies are combined with conventional teaching to improve the communication between instructors and learners. COVID-19 also greatly affected people with disabilities and those who are older, with these persons experiencing more complications in their normal routine activities. Additionally, COVID-19 provided negative impacts on world economies, greatly affecting the business, agriculture, entertainment, tourism, and service sectors. The impact of COVID-19 on these sectors is also investigated in this study, and this study provides some meaningful insights and suggestions for revitalizing the tourism sector. The association between globalization and travel restrictions is studied. In addition to economic and human health concerns, the influence of a lockdown on environmental health is also investigated. During periods of lockdown, the amount of pollutants in the air, soil, and water was significantly reduced. This study motivates researchers to investigate the positive and negative consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic in various unexplored areas. Full article
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16 pages, 557 KiB  
Article
Research on the Spatial Correlation and Spatial Lag of COVID-19 Infection Based on Spatial Analysis
by Keqiang Dong and Liao Guo
Sustainability 2021, 13(21), 12013; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132112013 - 30 Oct 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1949
Abstract
COVID-19 has spread throughout the world since the virus was discovered in 2019. Thus, this study aimed to identify the global transmission trend of the COVID-19 from the perspective of the spatial correlation and spatial lag. The research used primary data collected of [...] Read more.
COVID-19 has spread throughout the world since the virus was discovered in 2019. Thus, this study aimed to identify the global transmission trend of the COVID-19 from the perspective of the spatial correlation and spatial lag. The research used primary data collected of daily increases in the amount of COVID-19 in 14 countries, confirmed diagnosis, recovered numbers, and deaths. Findings of the Moran index showed that the propagation of infection was aggregated between 9 May and 21 May based on the composite spatial weight matrix. The results from the Lagrange multiplier test indicated the COVID-19 patients can infect others with a lag. Full article
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27 pages, 2167 KiB  
Review
Impacts of COVID-19 on the Aquatic Environment and Implications on Aquatic Food Production
by Fatimah Md Yusoff, Ahmad Fikri Abdullah, Ahmad Zaharin Aris and Wahidah Ahmad Dini Umi
Sustainability 2021, 13(20), 11281; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132011281 - 13 Oct 2021
Cited by 19 | Viewed by 10084
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic, caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), resulted in ecological changes of aquatic ecosystems, affected the aquatic food supply chain, and disrupted the socio-economy of global populations. Due to reduced human activities during the pandemic, the aquatic [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic, caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), resulted in ecological changes of aquatic ecosystems, affected the aquatic food supply chain, and disrupted the socio-economy of global populations. Due to reduced human activities during the pandemic, the aquatic environment was reported to improve its water quality, wild fishery stocks, and biodiversity. However, the sudden surge of plastics and biomedical wastes during the COVID-19 pandemic masked the positive impacts and increased the risks of aquatic pollution, especially microplastics, pharmaceuticals, and disinfectants. The transmission of SARS-CoV-2 from wastewater treatment plants to natural water bodies could have serious impacts on the environment and human health, especially in developing countries with poor waste treatment facilities. The presence and persistence of SARS-CoV-2 in human excreta, wastewaters, and sludge and its transmission to aquatic ecosystems could have negative impacts on fisheries and aquaculture industries, which have direct implications on food safety and security. COVID-19 pandemic-related environmental pollution showed a high risk to aquatic food security and human health. This paper reviews the impacts of COVID-19, both positive and negative, and assesses the causes and consequences of anthropogenic activities that can be managed through effective regulation and management of eco-resources for the revival of biodiversity, ecosystem health, and sustainable aquatic food production. Full article
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21 pages, 3317 KiB  
Article
Towards Smart Healthcare: UAV-Based Optimized Path Planning for Delivering COVID-19 Self-Testing Kits Using Cutting Edge Technologies
by Hafiz Suliman Munawar, Hina Inam, Fahim Ullah, Siddra Qayyum, Abbas Z. Kouzani and M. A. Parvez Mahmud
Sustainability 2021, 13(18), 10426; https://doi.org/10.3390/su131810426 - 18 Sep 2021
Cited by 25 | Viewed by 3362
Abstract
Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) has emerged as a global pandemic since late 2019 and has affected all forms of human life and economic developments. Various techniques are used to collect the infected patients’ sample, which carries risks of transferring the infection to others. [...] Read more.
Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) has emerged as a global pandemic since late 2019 and has affected all forms of human life and economic developments. Various techniques are used to collect the infected patients’ sample, which carries risks of transferring the infection to others. The current study proposes an AI-powered UAV-based sample collection procedure through self-collection kits delivery to the potential patients and bringing the samples back for testing. Using a hypothetical case study of Islamabad, Pakistan, various test cases are run where the UAVs paths are optimized using four key algorithms, greedy, intra-route, inter-route, and tabu, to save time and reduce carbon emissions associated with alternate transportation methods. Four cases with 30, 50, 100, and 500 patients are investigated for delivering the self-testing kits to the patients. The results show that the Tabu algorithm provides the best-optimized paths covering 31.85, 51.35, 85, and 349.15 km distance for different numbers of patients. In addition, the algorithms optimize the number of UAVs to be used in each case and address the studied cases patients with 5, 8, 14, and 71 UAVs, respectively. The current study provides the first step towards the practical handling of COVID-19 and other pandemics in developing countries, where the risks of spreading the infections can be minimized by reducing person-to-person contact. Furthermore, the reduced carbon footprints of these UAVs are an added advantage for developing countries that struggle to control such emissions. The proposed system is equally applicable to both developed and developing countries and can help reduce the spread of COVID-19 through minimizing the person-to-person contact, thus helping the transformation of healthcare to smart healthcare. Full article
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31 pages, 42616 KiB  
Article
The Impact of COVID-19 Lockdowns on Air Quality—A Global Review
by Abdullah Addas and Ahmad Maghrabi
Sustainability 2021, 13(18), 10212; https://doi.org/10.3390/su131810212 - 13 Sep 2021
Cited by 22 | Viewed by 5594
Abstract
The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has emerged as a serious public health threat and has had a tremendous impact on all spheres of the environment. The air quality across the world improved because of COVID-19 lockdowns. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, large [...] Read more.
The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has emerged as a serious public health threat and has had a tremendous impact on all spheres of the environment. The air quality across the world improved because of COVID-19 lockdowns. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, large numbers of studies have been carried out on the impact of lockdowns on air quality around the world, but no studies have been carried out on the systematic review on the impact of lockdowns on air quality. This study aims to systematically assess the bibliographic review on the impact of lockdowns on air quality around the globe. A total of 237 studies were identified after rigorous review, and 144 studies met the criteria for the review. The literature was surveyed from Scopus, Google Scholar, PubMed, Web of Science, and the Google search engine. The results reveal that (i) most of the studies were carried out on Asia (about 65%), followed by Europe (18%), North America (6%), South America (5%), and Africa (3%); (ii) in the case of countries, the highest number of studies was performed on India (29%), followed by China (23%), the U.S. (5%), the UK (4%), and Italy; (iii) more than 60% of the studies included NO2 for study, followed by PM2.5 (about 50%), PM10, SO2, and CO; (iv) most of the studies were published by Science of the Total Environment (29%), followed by Aerosol and Air Quality Research (23%), Air Quality, Atmosphere & Health (9%), and Environmental Pollution (5%); (v) the studies reveal that there were significant improvements in air quality during lockdowns in comparison with previous time periods. Thus, this diversified study conducted on the impact of lockdowns on air quality will surely assist in identifying any gaps, as it outlines the insights of the current scientific research. Full article
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17 pages, 1484 KiB  
Article
Impact of COVID-19 Social Distancing Policies on Traffic Congestion, Mobility, and NO2 Pollution
by Alyse K. Winchester, Ryan A. Peterson, Ellison Carter and Mary D. Sammel
Sustainability 2021, 13(13), 7275; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13137275 - 29 Jun 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2179
Abstract
Lockdowns implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic were utilized to evaluate the associations between “social distancing policies” (SDPs), traffic congestion, mobility, and NO2 air pollution. Spatiotemporal linear mixed models were used on city-day data from 22 US cities to estimate the associations between [...] Read more.
Lockdowns implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic were utilized to evaluate the associations between “social distancing policies” (SDPs), traffic congestion, mobility, and NO2 air pollution. Spatiotemporal linear mixed models were used on city-day data from 22 US cities to estimate the associations between SDPs, traffic congestion and mobility. Autoregressive integrated moving average models with Fourier terms were then used on historical data to forecast expected 2020 NO2. Time series models were subsequently employed to measure how much reductions in local traffic congestion were associated with lower-than-forecasted 2020 NO2. Finally, the equity of NO2 pollution was assessed with community-level sociodemographics. When cities’ most stringent SDPs were implemented, they observed a 23.47 (95% CI: 18.82–28.12) percent reduction in average daily congestion and a 13.48 (95% CI: 10.36–16.59) percent decrease in average daily mobility compared to unrestricted days. For each standard deviation (8.38%) reduction in local daily congestion, average daily NO2 decreased by 1.37 (95% CI: 1.24–1.51) parts per billion relative to its forecasted value. Citizenship, education, and race were associated with elevated absolute NO2 pollution levels but were not detectibly associated with reductions in 2020 NO2 relative to its forecasted value. This illustrates the immediate behavioral and environmental impacts of local SDPs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Full article
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17 pages, 8364 KiB  
Article
Monitoring the Impact of COVID-19 Lockdown on the Production of Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) Pollutants Using Satellite Imagery: A Case Study of South Asia
by Farhad Hassan, Muhammad Umar Chaudhry, Muhammad Yasir, Muhammad Nabeel Asghar and Samuel Asumadu Sarkodie
Sustainability 2021, 13(13), 7184; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13137184 - 26 Jun 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2869
Abstract
Among the numerous anthropogenic pollutants, nitrogen dioxide (NO2) is one of the leading contaminants mainly released by burning fossil fuels in industrial and transport sectors. This study evaluates the impact of COVID-19 lockdown on the growing trend of NO2 emissions [...] Read more.
Among the numerous anthropogenic pollutants, nitrogen dioxide (NO2) is one of the leading contaminants mainly released by burning fossil fuels in industrial and transport sectors. This study evaluates the impact of COVID-19 lockdown on the growing trend of NO2 emissions in South Asia. Satellite imagery data of Sentinel-5 Precursor with Tropomi instrument was employed in this study. The analysis was performed using time series data from February–May 2019 and February–May 2020. The time frame from February–May 2020 was further divided into two sub-time-frames, i.e., from 1 February–20 March (pre-lockdown) and from 21 March–May 2020 (lockdown). Results show the concentration of NO2 pollutants over the region declined by 6.41% from February–May 2019 to February–May 2020. Interestingly, an increasing trend of NO2 concentration by 6.58% occurred during the pre-lockdown phase in 2020 (1 February–20 March) compared to 2019 (February–May). However, the concentration of NO2 pollutants reduced considerably by 21.10% during the lockdown phase (21 March–10 May) compared to the pre-lockdown phase in 2020. Furthermore, the country-specific detailed analysis demonstrates the significant impact of COVID-19-attributed lockdown on NO2 concentration in South Asia. Full article
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10 pages, 722 KiB  
Article
Rapid Adaptation and Remote Delivery of Undergraduate Research Training during the COVID-19 Pandemic
by Joanna Yang Yowler, Kit Knier, Zachary WareJoncas, Shawna L. Ehlers, Stephen C. Ekker, Fabiola Guasp Reyes, Bruce F. Horazdovsky, Glenda Mueller, Adriana Morales Gomez, Amit Sood, Caroline R. Sussman, Linda M. Scholl, Karen M. Weavers and Chris Pierret
Sustainability 2021, 13(11), 6133; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13116133 - 29 May 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2793
Abstract
When COVID-19 caused worldwide cancellations of summer research immersion programs in 2020, Mayo Clinic rallied to create an alternate virtual experience called Summer Foundations in Research (SFIR). SFIR was designed not only to ensure the continuance of science pathways training for undergraduate scientists [...] Read more.
When COVID-19 caused worldwide cancellations of summer research immersion programs in 2020, Mayo Clinic rallied to create an alternate virtual experience called Summer Foundations in Research (SFIR). SFIR was designed not only to ensure the continuance of science pathways training for undergraduate scientists but also to support undergraduate mental wellbeing, given the known pandemic stressors. A total of 170 participants took part in the program and were surveyed pre-post for outcomes in biomedical research career knowledge, biomedical research career interest, research skills confidence, and three dimensions of mental wellbeing. Knowledge of and interest in careers involving biomedical research rose significantly following participation in SFIR. The participants’ mean research skills confidence also rose between 0.08 and 1.32 points on a 7-point scale across 12 items from the Clinical Research Appraisal Inventory. Success in science pathways support was accompanied by positive shifts in participant mental wellbeing. Measurable decreases in stress (Perceived Stress Scale, p < 0.0001) accompanied gains in resilience (Brief Resilience Scale, p < 0.0001) and life satisfaction (Satisfaction with Life Scale, p = 0.0005). Collectively, the data suggest that core objectives of traditional in-person summer research programming can be accomplished virtually and that these programs can simultaneously impact student wellbeing. This theoretical framework is particularly salient during COVID-19, but the increased accessibility of virtual programs such as SFIR can continue to bolster science education pathways long after the pandemic is gone. Full article
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17 pages, 5286 KiB  
Article
Multidimensional Conditions of the First Wave of the COVID-19 Epidemic in the Trans-Industrial Region. An Example of the Silesian Voivodeship in Poland
by Robert Krzysztofik, Iwona Kantor-Pietraga and Tomasz Spórna
Sustainability 2021, 13(8), 4109; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13084109 - 7 Apr 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2415
Abstract
The successive phases of the global COVID-19 pandemic show some differences from the first wave in 2020. The most important of these is some experience in responding to its spread and in applying vaccines. However, new, more aggressive variants of COVID-19 mean that [...] Read more.
The successive phases of the global COVID-19 pandemic show some differences from the first wave in 2020. The most important of these is some experience in responding to its spread and in applying vaccines. However, new, more aggressive variants of COVID-19 mean that the pandemic is often taking on the nature of the one experienced by societies a year ago. So, the knowledge about the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic is still up-to-date—significantly where the essential determinants of its spread have not changed. The article presents the Silesian Voivodeship case in Southern Poland, distinguished by different geographical conditions compared to the entire country. The authors showed the relationship between the spread of the COVID-19 epidemic and the characteristic attributes of the analysed area (post-)mining functions or urban shrinkage. The article conducted a dependence study using the Pearson correlation coefficient and the signs table method. In turn, the authors used thematic cartography to present the results of the analysis. It turned out that two attributes, namely (post-)mining and urban shrinkage, are essential in spreading the epidemic with the region analysed. This conclusion may be essential in implementing national and regional policies related to reducing the COVID-19 pandemic. However, a limitation in the scope of the presented applications is the fact that mining regions, such as the Silesian (Śląskie) Voivodeship, are currently less numerous in the world than, for example, those that develop based on services. Full article
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