Research Insights About Covid-19

We attempt to provide selected highlights in recent research findings

Last Update on 1 December 2020

June 2020

June 29 2020  (Journal of Medical Internet Research)

How to Fight an Infodemic: The Four Pillars of Infodemic Management

Gunther Eysenbach

According to the author, “infodemiology” is now acknowledged by public health organizations and the WHO as an important emerging scientific field and critical area of practice during a pandemic.

Claiming to be the first “infodemiologist” who originally coined the term almost two decades ago, Gunther Eysenbach posits four pillars of infodemic management: (1) information monitoring (infoveillance); (2) building eHealth Literacy and science literacy capacity; (3) encouraging knowledge refinement and quality improvement processes such as fact checking and peer-review; and (4) accurate and timely knowledge translation, minimizing distorting factors such as political or commercial influences (emphasis added by this reviewer).

Note: The  members of the Bibliometrics team whole-heartedly support these four pillars or aspirations – and the fourth pillar would appear to be one of the greatest challenges.

June 27 2020  (Journal of Religion and Health)

Community Calls: Lessons and Insights Gained from a Medical–Religious Community Engagement During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Panagis Galiatsatos, Kimberly Monson, MopeninuJesu Oluyinka, et al

This short article describes how an established medical–religious organisation was utilised as a resource of community calls during the COVID-19 pandemic. It was found to be feasible and valuable leading to discussions on reproducing it for more communities during quarantine and government-issued lockdowns. Medical–religious partnerships are said to be effective in drawing from prior health care-related successes to respond with community calls.

June 26 2020  (Journal of Medical Internet Research)

Framework for Managing the COVID-19 Infodemic: Methods and Results of an Online, Crowdsourced WHO Technical Consultation 

Viroj Tangcharoensathien,Neville Calleja, Tim Nguyen et al

A group of policy makers, public health professionals, researchers, students, and other concerned stakeholders was joined by representatives of the media, social media platforms, various private sector organizations, and civil society to suggest and discuss actions for all parts of society, and multiple related professional and scientific disciplines, methods, and technologies. A total of 594 ideas for actions were crowdsourced online during the discussions and consolidated into suggestions for an infodemic management framework.

Consolidation of these ideas into “six high level policy implications to consider” appears to have reduced the ideas to the banal. For example, the sixth policy implication is described as: “infodemic management approaches should be further developed to support preparedness and response, and to inform risk mitigation, and be enhanced through data science and sociobehavioral and other research”. Hardly orginal. It is suggested that a more detailed examination of the results will prove more beneficial than the distillation provided in this article.


June 25 2020  (Scientometrics)

Preliminary analysis of COVID-19 academic information patterns: a call for open science in the times of closed borders

J. Homolak, I. Kodvanj & D. Virag

The authors analyse how the scientific community responded to the pandemic by quantifying distribution and availability patterns of the academic information. They aim to assess the quality of the information flow and scientific collaboration. Publication rate and publication status, affiliation and author count per article, and submission-to-publication time were analysed. They report the generation of a large amount of scientific data, potential problems regarding the information overload, distribution  and scientific collaboration.  They advocate more efficient use of data, transparency and the adoption of the Open Science concept.


June 19, 2020 (BJRO)

Adaptability and responsiveness: keys to operational measures in a regional hospital radiology department during the current COVID-19 pandemic

Pratik Mukerjee, Tze Chwan Lim, Ashish Chawla et al.

The SARS-CoV2 outbreak resulted in an unexpected surge of infected patients. Here, the authors share the experience of the Radiology Department in handling this outbreak in two different hospitals in Singapore. They share their operational practices and the strict infection control measures implemented aimed at minimizing disease transmission and mitigating the potential impact of possible healthcare worker infection. The authors also enumerated some guidelines for planning future radiology departments.

June 18 2020 (Journal of Zhejiang University-SCIENCE B)

Understanding and reducing the fear of COVID-19

Kwan Hoong Ng & Ray Kemp

The COVID-19 disease resulted in a rapidly growing body of scientific and medical literature that is being published in order to aid clinicians and scientists around the world to fight this pandemic together. Concurrently, there has also been extensive public reports and stories in both traditional and social media which generate fear, panic, stigmatization, and instances of xenophobia. In times like this, effective health risk communication is paramount to reduce fear and panic. In this correspondence, the authors discuss the natural response of fear and panic during a pandemic, the adverse effects of it, and suggest practical ways to overcome them. They highlight the power of social media in information dissemination and emphasise on the importance of trustworthy resources. The authors also describe societal-level measures that are essential to break the circle of fear and panic.


June 13 2020  (Trends in Biotechnology)

Working Hard or Hardly Working? Regulatory Bottlenecks in Developing a COVID-19 Vaccine

Lisette Pregel, Damian C.Hine, Maria G.Oyola-Lozada et al

In this thoughtful article the authors conclude, among other things that if regulatory bottlenecks prevent solutions being brought to the public in time to reduce the impact of an epidemic, then we need to consider alternatives that deliver solutions at an earlier stage of an epidemic, in the geographical jurisdictions where the outbreak is occurring.

June 12 2020  (Science)

The impact of COVID-19 and strategies for mitigation and suppression in low- and middle-income countries

Patrick G. T. Walker, Charles Whittaker,Oliver J Watson

This detailed article combines data on demographics, patterns of contact, severity of disease, and countries’ health care capacity and quality to understand the impact of COVID-19 and inform strategies for its control. It is found that younger populations in lower income countries may experience reduced overall risk but limited health system capacity coupled with closer inter-generational contact largely negates this benefit. The paper finds that mitigation strategies that slow but do not interrupt transmission of COVID-19 will still lead the epidemic rapidly overwhelming local health systems, with substantial excess deaths in lower income countries due to the poorer health care available.


June 12 2020  (Science)

Moving academic research forward during COVID-19

N. S. Wigginton, R. M. Cunningham, R. H. Katz

This thoughtful article draws attention to the broad-scale disruption of research operations that has been caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. For example that it has led to an incalculable number of setbacks for researchers, many of which disproportionately affect early-career researchers and their career advancement. They note that the cancellation of long-running experiments, the loss of opportunities to collect critical data (e.g., in field and clinical studies), and lack of access to specialized major instrumentation, all have had significant detrimental effects upon research. Looking forward the authors make a plea for academic institutions, governments, and funding agencies to develop a more resilient, nimble, and equitable research system. They propose that governments should also incentivize stronger ties between public health agencies and academic research institutions to ensure that future decision-making at institutions and across communities is guided by the best available research.

June 12, 2020 (JAMA)

Health Care Policy After the COVID-19 Pandemic

Victor R. Fuchs

This Viewpoint discusses the necessity and prospects for health care reform in the wake of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, reviewing policy options to fund universal coverage, incentivize efficiencies, and reduce political opposition to change.


June 12, 2020 (JAMA)

COVID-19 Pandemic, Unemployment, and Civil Unrest: Underlying Deep Racial and Socioeconomic Divides

Sandro Galea, Salma M. Abdalla

This Viewpoint discusses the inequalities underlying the preferential spread of COVID-19 and of economic hardship in lower-income communities of color in the USA. It sees the national protests in support of the Black Lives Matter movement as a natural consequence of those inequities and an opportunity to change the systems that create them.


June 11 2020  (PNAS)

Identifying airborne transmission as the dominant route for the spread of COVID-19

Renyi Zhang, Yixin Li, Annie L. Zhang, et al

The authors describe the transmission pathways of COVID-19 by analyzing the trend and mitigation measures in three epicentres. They show that the airborne transmission route is highly virulent and dominant for the spread of COVID-19. Their analysis shows that the difference with and without mandated face covering represents the determinant in shaping the trends of the pandemic. This protective measure significantly reduces the number of infections. They also show that measures such as social distancing alone implemented in the United States are insufficient in protecting the public.



June 2020   (Current Research in Green and Sustainable Chemistry)

Tackling COVID-19 pandemic through nanocoatings: Confront and exactitude

Pradeep Kumar Rai,  Zeba Usmani. Vijay Kumar Thakur,  et al

The authors review the research and possible protection and care possibilities against COVID19. COVID19. Previous research findings suggest the usage of nanotechnology as an important avenue to develop antiviral drugs and materials to effectively minimize the acquired infection of COVID-19 in public places like hospitals, transport, schools, worship places, malls, etc. Antimicrobial nanocoatings at these places and development of targeted antiviral drugs through capped nanoparticles could likely be a major effective option to halt the spread of this disease.

June 10 2020  (Dialogues in Human Geography)

Charting COVID-19 futures: Mapping, anticipation, and navigation

Jeremy Brice

This short commentary examines “the navigational affordances of two COVID-19 charts”. In other words, how such charts assist the reader in visualising COVID-19 transmission and mortality rates over time within and between different states. 

However, the author states that “much remains unknown about the anticipatory and navigational practices in which COVID-19 charts are embedded, how particular charts circulate and gain traction among policymakers and publics, their role in mediating scientific and political controversy, and the geopolitical imaginaries which they articulate”.

The author optimistically concludes that “investigating such issues is a task for which human geography’s long critical engagement with cartography’s culture, politics, and practices leaves it uniquely well-equipped”.



June 10, 2020 (Dialogues in Human Geography)

Smart cities and a data-driven response to COVID-19

Philip James, Ronnie Das, Agata Jalosinska, Luke Smith

This commentary describes the rapid development of a COVID-19 data dashboard utilising existing Urban Observatory Internet of Things (IoT) data and analytics infrastructure. Existing data capture systems were rapidly repurposed to provide real-time insights into the impacts of lockdown policy on urban governance.

June 10, 2020 (JAMA)

Sustaining Rural Hospitals After COVID-19: The Case for Global Budgets

Jonathan E. Fried, David T. Liebers, Eric T. Roberts

This Viewpoint proposes that global budgets, or fixed payments for care of a population over a specific time, are well suited to address the financial instability wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic on rural hospitals. It proposes removing the link between volume and revenue to allow them to adapt to community needs.


June 2020  (International Journal of Surgery)

The socio-economic implications of the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19): A review

MariaNicola, Zaid Alsafi, Catrin Sohrabi

In this review, the authors summarise the socio-economic effects of COVID-19 on individual aspects of the world economy. Central banks globally commit to a ‘Whatever it takes’ approach in an attempt to save the global economy. As an example, Europe pledges a €1.7tn rescue package.

The road to economic recovery is predicted to be a long one, with a period of economic inactivity for many years to come.

June 9 2020  (Forensic Science, Medicine and Pathology)

Management of the dead during COVID-19 outbreak in Malaysia

Lay See Khoo, Ahmad Hafizam Hasmi, Mohamad Azaini Ibrahim  et al

This excellent paper thoughtfully shares Malaysia’s strategies for management of the deceased in different phases of the COVID-19 pandemic. The approach of the National Institute of Forensic Medicine (IPFN) Malaysia is described. It stresses that every opportunity and assistance must be given to suffering families and communities to mourn their loved ones. These steps include allowing next-of-kin the chance for a modified but safe religious or ritual last rites and a dignified temporary controlled burial for unidentified victims. In times of crisis and emergency, the dead can still be managed with the appropriate level of dignity and respect. As part of the core of the humanitarian forensic approach, everyone in the society must be treated without discrimination in relation to the measures put in place to address this COVID-19 pandemic, including the proper management of the dead, particularly the unidentified deceased, who should also be treated with dignity and respect.


June 5 2020  (European Heart Journal)

COVID-19 and the healthcare workers

Ankur Kalra, Erin D Michos, Kavitha M Chinnaiyan

“It was a war unlike any other. Family members picked sides; treasured cousins, childhood playmates, beloved uncles and grandfathers, and revered teachers faced off on the battlefield, preparing to slaughter each other. It was, after all, a war that would decide ‘dharma’—the inherent order of reality that is nurtured by right thought and action.”  Read on to find out how our health systems and workers can learn some lessons from this war.

June 4 2020   (Journal of the American Medical Directors Association)

A Structured Tool for Communication and Care Planning in the Era of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Swati Gaur, Naushira Pandya, Ghinwa Dumyati et al

The high rates of COVID-19 necessitates a simple albeit comprehensive tool that can be administered by wide range of Health Care Workers including physicians, Advanced Practice Professionals, nurses and social services where available. Between April 2 and April 17 , 2020, 18 residents at 2 community nursing homes in the United States had positive tests for COVID-19; of those 9 were symptomatic. Staff members (3 physicians, 2 Advanced Practice Professionals and 7 nurses) used the COVID-19 Communication and Care Planning Tool as part of the process of notifying residents and family members of test results and accompanying conversations about advance care planning. All conversations took place by telephone or videoconference. The communication tool was well-received by the team members who used it, particularly for remote advance care planning discussion. In the Appendix to this article the authors provide a more detailed check-list type questionnaire tool to help guide the discussion between a clinician and a resident and/or their family members about COVID-19 infections, including responding to symptoms and to end-of-life considerations. It is written for a conversation between a clinician and a family member(s) but may be readily adjusted for a conversation with the resident.


June 2020  (International Journal of Surgery)

The socio-economic implications of the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19): A review

Maria Nicola, Zaid Alsafi, Catrin Sohrabi et al

The authors research and sunmarise the social-economic impact on the individual aspects of the world economy.They focus on three sectors: Primary (agriculture, petrolrum and oil); secondary (manufacturing industry); tertiary (education, finance, healthcare, pharmaceutical, travel, tourism, aviation, sports, food, IT). They then highlight the social impacts. The authors conclude with some recommendations. Overall a very good review that provides insights into the social-economic impacts of Covid-19.

June 2020  (Asian Journal of Psychiatry)

Cognitive biases operating behind the rejection of government safety advisories during COVID19 Pandemic

Deblina Roy and Krittika Sinha

This short article aims to identify the psychological issues faced by the people in responding to official advice about COVID-19 and conceptualizes the reasons behind such issues.

June 2020  (Patient Education and Counseling)

Implications of the current COVID-19 pandemic for communication in healthcare

Sara Rubinelli, Kara Myers, Marcy Rosenbaum et al

The authors are senior representatives of EACH: the International Association for Communication in Healthcare, and ACH: the Academy of Communication in Healthcare. They briefly identify many, though not all, of the areas of communication in healthcare that are important and emphasize the need to address the changing interactions with patients and families; between teachers and learners; between the media and the public and within healthcare teams. 

They state that much work is needed specifically to address Covid19 related health disparities worldwide and that one major aspect to consider is the negative impact of misinformation. They make a plea for a comprehensive understanding of what is happening currently as well as its future implications, with the expectation that new findings may equip healthcare practice and education with strategies and tools to best respond.

C. Social Sciences, Humanities and Public Policy