Research Insights About Covid-19

We attempt to provide selected highlights in recent research findings

Last Update on 1 December 2020

April 2020

April 25, 2020  (Journal of Accounting and Public Policy)

Estimating the COVID-19 cash crunch: Global evidence and policy

AntonioDe Vito,  Juan-PedroGómez

The authors from Spain investigate how the COVID-19 health crisis could affect the liquidity of listed firms across 26 countries. They stress-test three liquidity ratios for each firm with full and partial operating flexibility in two scenarios corresponding to drops in sales of 50% and 75%, respectively. In the most adverse scenario, the average firm with partial operating flexibility would exhaust its cash holdings in two years when its current liabilities would increase, on average, by eight times. The authors  suggest that the average firm would have to resort to the debt market to prevent a liquidity crunch. Approximately 1/10th of all sample firms would become illiquid within six months.

Regarding two different fiscal policies, tax deferrals and bridge loans, that governments could implement to mitigate the liquidity risk, the analysis suggests bridge loans are more cost-effective “to prevent a massive cash crunch”.


April 22, 2020 (Science of The Total Environment)

COVID-19 outbreak: Migration, effects on society, global environment and prevention

Indranil Chakraborty, Prasenjit Maity

The authors provide a general summary of the global human health and economic impact of Covid-19 to 18 April 2020 largely drawing upon WHO and OECD data. They argue that one of the consequences of the pandemic has been the successful recovery of the environment “that should definitely set [a] positive impact on global climate change”. They conclude that “Whatever be [sic] the cause or origin, the occurrence of COVID-19 has emphasized [the need] to improve the mutually-affective connection between humans and nature”.


April 21, 2020 (The Lancet Psychiatry)

Suicide risk and prevention during the COVID-19 pandemic

David Gunnell,  LouisAppleby, Ella Arensman, et al

This is an important Comment in the Lancet by members of the International COVID-19 Suicide Prevention Research Collaboration.

They state that the Covid-19 pandemic will cause distress and leave many people vulnerable to mental health problems and suicidal behaviour. Mental health consequences are likely to be present for longer and peak later than the actual pandemic itslef. However, the authors comment that research evidence and the experience of national strategies provide a strong basis for suicide prevention. A series of actions are highlighted that the authors state need to be backed by vigilance and international collaboration. The views and recommendations are endorsed by the International Association of Suicide Prevention, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and the International Academy of Suicide Research


April 21, 2020 Royal Society of Medicine

Preparing for COVID-19’s aftermath: simple steps to address social determinants of health

Anant Jani

 A very short essay suggesting to take simple steps in areas we can control to optimise spend of limited resources for efficient recovery from COVID-19.

April 16, 2020 (PLOS ONE)

Mental health problems and social media exposure during COVID-19 outbreak

Junling Gao, Pinpin Zheng, Yingnan Jia, et al

This large cross-sectional on-line survey of Chinese citizens during the COVID-19 outbreak found a high prevalence of mental health problems positively associated with frequent Social Media Exposure (SME). The authors suggest that disinformation and false reports about the virus bombarded social media and stoked unfounded fears among many “netizens” (citizens using the internet). They argue that this exposure may confuse people and harm their mental health with many also expressing negative feelings, such as fear, worry, nervous, anxiety on social media…”which are contagious social network” (sic).

April 16, 2020 (Death Studies)

Coronavirus anxiety scale: A brief mental health screener for COVID-19 related anxiety

Sherman Lee

The author posits a Coronavirus Anxiety Scale (CAS), which is a brief mental health screener to identify probable cases of dysfunctional anxiety associated with the COVID-19 crisis. This 5-item scale, which was based on an online survey of 775 adults with anxiety over the coronavirus, demonstrated solid reliability and validity.  Elevated CAS scores were found to be associated with coronavirus diagnosis, impairment, alcohol/drug coping, negative religious coping, extreme hopelessness, suicidal ideation, as well as attitudes toward President Trump and towards Chinese products. 


April 15, 2020 (International Sociology)

COVID-19 infodemic: More retweets for science-based information on coronavirus than for false information

Cristina M Pulido, Beatriz Villarejo-Carballido, Gisela Redondo-Sama,  et al

This study aims at shedding new light on social media during an “infodemic” by analysing the type of tweets that circulated on Twitter around the COVID-19 outbreak for two days.  In order to understand how false and true information was shared, 1000 tweets are analyzed. Results show that false information is tweeted more, but retweeted less, than science-based evidence or fact-checking tweets. Science-based evidence and fact-checking tweets capture more engagement than mere facts themselves.

April 10, 2020  JAMA. 2020;323(18):1758-1759

King Lear Under COVID-19 Lockdown

Anoushka Sinha

Shakespeare inspired reflections of a pediatrics intern training in New York City on the Covid-19 pandemic. Reflecting on the tragdy of King Lear (rather than other works such as the Comedy of Errors).

April 10, 2020 (Journal of Air Transport Management)

Identification of critical airports for controlling global infectious disease outbreaks: Stress-tests focusing in Europe

Paraskevas Nikolaou, Loukas Dimitriou

The objective of this extensive and detailed paper was to highlight possible disease spreading in the European region and to advocate the enhancement of Europe's control measures in order to prevent a disease spreading inside the region. A detailed epidemiological model is integrated with airlines’ and land transport network, to simulate the epidemic spread of infectious diseases originated from distant locations.

The results provide convincing evidence on the effectiveness that the European airports' system offer in controlling the emergence of epidemics, but also on the time and extent that controlling measures should be taken in order to break the chain of infections in realistic cases.

In a scenario examining a disease outbreak starting from Asia, the study highlights the importance of the time in closure/control measures applied in large regions, since few days of delay may result in wide spread of viruses in the general population of a region. 

April 10, 2020  

Is the spread of COVID-19 across countries influenced by environmental, economic and social factors?

Hossain, M. A.

Why some countries and regions are more affected than some other countries and regions? The author employs simple statistical methods to investigate any relationship between the severity of the disease and the environmental, economic and social parameters. The preliminary results indicate that the number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 infection is higher in countries with lower yearly average temperatures, higher economic openness, and stronger political democracy.

April 9, 2020 (N Engl J Med)

Covid-19 — The Law and Limits of Quarantine

Wendy E. Parmet and Michael S. Sinha

This short “Perspective” article addresses some of the legislative challenges presented by the need for public health intervention to restrict the outbreak of COVID-19 in the USA.

April 6, 2020 (Lancet Child Adolesc Health)

School Closure and Management Practices During Coronavirus Outbreaks Including COVID-19: A Rapid Systematic Review

Russell M Viner, Simon J Russell, Helen Croker, et al

The authors searched three electronic databases to identify what is known about the effectiveness of school closures and other school social distancing practices during coronavirus outbreaks. They included 16 of 616 identified articles. School closures were deployed rapidly across mainland China and Hong Kong for COVID-19. However, the search identified no data on the relative contribution of school closures to transmission control. The authors conclude that “when considering school closures for COVID-19… combinations of social distancing measures should be considered. Other less disruptive social distancing interventions in schools require further consideration if restrictive social distancing policies are implemented for long periods”.

April  2020 (Progress in Disaster Science)

Governance, technology and citizen behavior in pandemic: Lessons from COVID-19 in East Asia

Rajib Shaw,  Yong-kyunKim, Jinling Hua

This paper analyses responses in China, Japan and South Korea to the Covid-19 pandemic form the perspective of governance, and provides some commonalities and lessons. While the countries follow different mechanisms of governance, it was found that certain decisions in respective countries made a difference, along with strong community solidarity and community behavior. The authors highlight extensive use of emerging technologies along with medical/health care treatment to make the responses more effective and reduce the risk of the spread of the disease.

C. Social Sciences, Humanities and Public Policy 

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