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Aging Ment Health ; : 1-7, 2021 May 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1221407


Objectives: This study aimed at estimating the pre-pandemic and pandemic prevalence of loneliness and investigating the association of loneliness with social disconnectedness during social distancing strategies in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic period.Methods: We used data from the ELSI COVID-19 initiative with participants from the Brazilian Longitudinal Study of Aging (ELSI-Brazil), which comprised 4,431 participants aged 50 years and over. Loneliness (hardly ever/some of the time/often) was assessed by the question "In the past 30 days, how often did you feel alone/lonely?". Social disconnectedness included information on social contacts through virtual talking (i.e. telephone, Skype, WhatsApp, or social media) and outside-home meetings with people living in another household. Covariates included sociodemographic and health related characteristics. Multinomial logistic regression models were used to estimate odds ratios (OR) with their 95% confidence interval (CI).Results: The overall prevalence of loneliness during the pandemic was 23.9% (95% CI 20.7-27.5); lower than in the pre-pandemic period (32.8%; 95% CI 28.6-37.4). In the pandemic period, 20.1% (95% CI 16.9-23.6) reported some of the time feeling lonely and 3.9% (95% CI 3.1-4.8) reported often feeling lonely. In the fully adjusted model, virtual talking disconnectedness (OR=1.67; 95% CI 1.09-2.56) was positively associated with some of the time feeling lonely and outside-home disconnectedness (OR=0.33; 95% CI 0.18-0.60) was negatively associated with often feeling lonely.Conclusion: Individuals with virtual talking disconnectedness and without outside-home disconnectedness are at higher risk of loneliness during the time of COVID-19 pandemic. Stimulating virtual talking connectedness might have the potential to diminish loneliness despite steep outside-home disconnectedness.

Cities Health ; 2020.
Article in English | ELSEVIER | ID: covidwho-759870


Latin America is the most unequal and urbanized region of the world. The physical and social environments of Latin American cities, the lack of public health and health-care infrastructure, and pronounced social and health inequities make these cities especially vulnerable to COVID-19. It is too soon to know the true impact of the pandemic and how it will compare to the many ongoing health and environmental challenges facing Latin American cities. In this commentary, we highlight a few key lessons with major implications not only for COVID-19 but for urban health and health inequities, that are beginning to emerge.

J Urban Health ; 97(3): 348-357, 2020 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-116781


The informal settlements of the Global South are the least prepared for the pandemic of COVID-19 since basic needs such as water, toilets, sewers, drainage, waste collection, and secure and adequate housing are already in short supply or non-existent. Further, space constraints, violence, and overcrowding in slums make physical distancing and self-quarantine impractical, and the rapid spread of an infection highly likely. Residents of informal settlements are also economically vulnerable during any COVID-19 responses. Any responses to COVID-19 that do not recognize these realities will further jeopardize the survival of large segments of the urban population globally. Most top-down strategies to arrest an infectious disease will likely ignore the often-robust social groups and knowledge that already exist in many slums. Here, we offer a set of practice and policy suggestions that aim to (1) dampen the spread of COVID-19 based on the latest available science, (2) improve the likelihood of medical care for the urban poor whether or not they get infected, and (3) provide economic, social, and physical improvements and protections to the urban poor, including migrants, slum communities, and their residents, that can improve their long-term well-being. Immediate measures to protect residents of urban informal settlements, the homeless, those living in precarious settlements, and the entire population from COVID-19 include the following: (1) institute informal settlements/slum emergency planning committees in every urban informal settlement; (2) apply an immediate moratorium on evictions; (3) provide an immediate guarantee of payments to the poor; (4) immediately train and deploy community health workers; (5) immediately meet Sphere Humanitarian standards for water, sanitation, and hygiene; (6) provide immediate food assistance; (7) develop and implement a solid waste collection strategy; and (8) implement immediately a plan for mobility and health care. Lessons have been learned from earlier pandemics such as HIV and epidemics such as Ebola. They can be applied here. At the same time, the opportunity exists for public health, public administration, international aid, NGOs, and community groups to innovate beyond disaster response and move toward long-term plans.

Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , Poverty Areas , Urban Population , Betacoronavirus , COVID-19 , Health Services Accessibility/organization & administration , Housing/standards , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , Sanitation/methods , Urban Health , Vulnerable Populations