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Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-21250922


INTRODUCTIONDuring the first phase of COVID-19 pandemic, Italian medical students transitioned from in-person to remote learning. This study was carried out to early assess students sources of information, perceived risk of infection, knowledge and preventive practices in order to resume academic activity. The impact of training and volunteer work was also assessed. METHODSA cross-sectional online survey was conducted in May 2020 among medical students enrolled in the School of Medicine and Surgery, Bologna University. RESULTSThe analysis included 537 responses. On average students used seven sources of information on COVID-19. Scientific journals were considered the most trustworthy but they ranked only 6th in the frequency of use. Perceived risk of infection was higher for academic activities, especially in the hospital than daily living activities. Less than 50% of students reported being trained on biological risk and use of PPE. Training received was significantly associated with both perceived risk of infection and confidence in the use of PPE. Students engaged in volunteer work had higher confidence in PPE usage. DISCUSSIONAccessible scientific information and students engagement in spreading correct knowledge play an important role in challenging misinformation during the pandemic crisis. Students showed suboptimal knowledge about PPE use, calling for additional training. We found a moderate-high perceived risk of infection that could be mitigated with specific educational programs and by promoting voluntary work. Students engagement in public health emergencies (PHE) could potentially be beneficial for their training and as well as for the healthcare system.

Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-20097964


The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) spatial distribution in Italy is inhomogeneous, because of its ways of spreading from the initial hotspots. The impact of COVID-19 on mortality has been described at the regional level, while less is known about mortality in demographic subgroups within municipalities. We aimed to describe the excess mortality (EM) due to COVID-19 in the three most affected Italian regions, by estimating EM in subgroups defined by gender and age classes within each municipality from February 23 to March 31, 2020. EM varied widely among municipalities even within the same region; it was similar between genders for the [≥]75 age group, while in the other age groups it was higher in males. Thus, nearby municipalities may show a different mortality burden despite being under common regional health policies, possibly as a result of policies adopted both at the regional and at the municipality level.