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1.
Complexity ; 2022, 2022.
Article in English | ProQuest Central | ID: covidwho-1832689

ABSTRACT

During the COVID-19 epidemic, draconian countermeasures forbidding nonessential human activities have been adopted in several countries worldwide, providing an unprecedented setup for testing and quantifying the current impact of humankind on climate and for driving potential sustainability policies in the postpandemic era from a perspective of complex systems. In this study, we consider heterogeneous sources of environmental and human activity observables, considered as components of a complex socioenvironmental system, and apply information theory, network science, and Bayesian inference to analyze their structural relations and nonlinear dynamics between January 2019 and August 2020 in northern Italy, i.e., before, during, and after the national lockdown. The topological structure of a complex system strongly impacts its collective behavior;therefore, mapping this structure is essential to fully understand the functions of the system as a whole and its fragility to unexpected disruptions or shocks. To this aim, we unravel the causal relationships between the 16 environmental conditions and human activity variables, mapping the backbone of the complex interplay between intervening physical observables—such as NO2 emissions, energy consumption, intervening climate variables, and different flavors of human mobility flows—to a causal network model. To identify a tipping point during the period of observation, denoting the presence of a regime shift between distinct network states (i.e., before and during the shock), we introduce a novel information-theoretic method based on statistical divergence widely used in statistical physics. We find that despite a measurable decrease in NO2 concentration, due to an overall decrease in human activities, locking down a region as a climate change mitigation is an insufficient remedy to reduce emissions. Our results provide a functional characterization of socioenvironmental interdependent systems, and our analytical framework can be used, more generally, to characterize environmental changes and their interdependencies using statistical physics.

2.
PLoS Comput Biol ; 18(2): e1009760, 2022 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1690826

ABSTRACT

The dynamics of a spreading disease and individual behavioral changes are entangled processes that have to be addressed together in order to effectively manage an outbreak. Here, we relate individual risk perception to the adoption of a specific set of control measures, as obtained from an extensive large-scale survey performed via Facebook-involving more than 500,000 respondents from 64 countries-showing that there is a "one-to-one" relationship between perceived epidemic risk and compliance with a set of mitigation rules. We then develop a mathematical model for the spreading of a disease-sharing epidemiological features with COVID-19-that explicitly takes into account non-compliant individual behaviors and evaluates the impact of a population fraction of infectious risk-deniers on the epidemic dynamics. Our modeling study grounds on a wide set of structures, including both synthetic and more than 180 real-world contact patterns, to evaluate, in realistic scenarios, how network features typical of human interaction patterns impact the spread of a disease. In both synthetic and real contact patterns we find that epidemic spreading is hindered for decreasing population fractions of risk-denier individuals. From empirical contact patterns we demonstrate that connectivity heterogeneity and group structure significantly affect the peak of hospitalized population: higher modularity and heterogeneity of social contacts are linked to lower peaks at a fixed fraction of risk-denier individuals while, at the same time, such features increase the relative impact on hospitalizations with respect to the case where everyone correctly perceive the risks.


Subject(s)
Disease Outbreaks , Perception , Risk , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , Contact Tracing/methods , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification
4.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-296955

ABSTRACT

The infection caused by SARS-CoV-2, responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic, is characterized by an infectious period with either asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic phases, leading to a rapid surge of mild and severe cases putting national health systems under serious stress. To avoid their collapse, and in the absence of pharmacological treatments, during the early pandemic phase countries worldwide were forced to adopt strategies, from elimination to mitigation, based on non-pharmacological interventions which, in turn, overloaded social, educational and economic systems. To date, the heterogeneity and incompleteness of data sources does not allow to quantify the multifaceted impact of the pandemic at country level and, consequently, to compare the effectiveness of country responses. Here, we tackle this challenge from a complex systems perspective, proposing a model to evaluate the impact of systemic failures in response to the pandemic shock. We use health, behavioral and economic indicators for 44 countries to build a shock index quantifying responses in terms of robustness and resilience, highlighting the crucial advantage of proactive policy and decision making styles over reactive ones.

5.
JMIR Infodemiology ; 1(1): e30979, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1450773

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: An infodemic is an overflow of information of varying quality that surges across digital and physical environments during an acute public health event. It leads to confusion, risk-taking, and behaviors that can harm health and lead to erosion of trust in health authorities and public health responses. Owing to the global scale and high stakes of the health emergency, responding to the infodemic related to the pandemic is particularly urgent. Building on diverse research disciplines and expanding the discipline of infodemiology, more evidence-based interventions are needed to design infodemic management interventions and tools and implement them by health emergency responders. OBJECTIVE: The World Health Organization organized the first global infodemiology conference, entirely online, during June and July 2020, with a follow-up process from August to October 2020, to review current multidisciplinary evidence, interventions, and practices that can be applied to the COVID-19 infodemic response. This resulted in the creation of a public health research agenda for managing infodemics. METHODS: As part of the conference, a structured expert judgment synthesis method was used to formulate a public health research agenda. A total of 110 participants represented diverse scientific disciplines from over 35 countries and global public health implementing partners. The conference used a laddered discussion sprint methodology by rotating participant teams, and a managed follow-up process was used to assemble a research agenda based on the discussion and structured expert feedback. This resulted in a five-workstream frame of the research agenda for infodemic management and 166 suggested research questions. The participants then ranked the questions for feasibility and expected public health impact. The expert consensus was summarized in a public health research agenda that included a list of priority research questions. RESULTS: The public health research agenda for infodemic management has five workstreams: (1) measuring and continuously monitoring the impact of infodemics during health emergencies; (2) detecting signals and understanding the spread and risk of infodemics; (3) responding and deploying interventions that mitigate and protect against infodemics and their harmful effects; (4) evaluating infodemic interventions and strengthening the resilience of individuals and communities to infodemics; and (5) promoting the development, adaptation, and application of interventions and toolkits for infodemic management. Each workstream identifies research questions and highlights 49 high priority research questions. CONCLUSIONS: Public health authorities need to develop, validate, implement, and adapt tools and interventions for managing infodemics in acute public health events in ways that are appropriate for their countries and contexts. Infodemiology provides a scientific foundation to make this possible. This research agenda proposes a structured framework for targeted investment for the scientific community, policy makers, implementing organizations, and other stakeholders to consider.

6.
Soc Sci Med ; 285: 114215, 2021 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1331234

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: As COVID-19 spreads worldwide, an infodemic - i.e., an over-abundance of information, reliable or not - spreads across the physical and the digital worlds, triggering behavioral responses which cause public health concern. METHODS: We study 200 million interactions captured from Twitter during the early stage of the pandemic, from January to April 2020, to understand its socio-informational structure on a global scale. FINDINGS: The COVID-19 global communication network is characterized by knowledge groups, hierarchically organized in sub-groups with well-defined geo-political and ideological characteristics. Communication is mostly segregated within groups and driven by a small number of subjects: 0.1% of users account for up to 45% and 10% of activities and news shared, respectively, centralizing the information flow. INTERPRETATION: Contradicting the idea that digital social media favor active participation and co-creation of online content, our results imply that public health policy strategies to counter the effects of the infodemic must not only focus on information content, but also on the social articulation of its diffusion mechanisms, as a given community tends to be relatively impermeable to news generated by non-aligned sources.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Social Media , Humans , Pandemics , Public Health , SARS-CoV-2
7.
Bull World Health Organ ; 99(7): 529-535, 2021 Jul 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1305610

ABSTRACT

With hindsight, the main weakness behind the ineffective response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic in some countries has been the failure to understand, and take account of, the multilayered systemic interdependencies that spread the effects of the pandemic across social, technological, economic and health-care dimensions. For example, to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, all people were required to rapidly adjust to social distancing and travel restrictions. Such a complex behavioural response entails adaptation to achieve a full recovery from the systemic shock. To capitalize on the positive effects of disruption to the status quo, much more complex socioeconomic modelling needs to be considered when designing and evaluating possible public health interventions that have major behavioural implications. We provide a simple example of how this reasoning may highlight generally unacknowledged connections and interdependencies and guide the construction of scenarios that can inform policy decisions to enhance the resilience of society and tackle existing societal challenges.


Avec le recul, le principal motif d'inefficacité dans la lutte contre la pandémie de maladie à coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) dans certains pays trouve son origine dans l'incapacité à comprendre les interdépendances systémiques à de multiples niveaux et à en tenir compte. Ces dernières répercutent les effets de la pandémie sur plusieurs dimensions: sociale, technologique, économique et sanitaire. Pour tenter de contenir la pandémie de COVID-19, la population a notamment été contrainte de se conformer rapidement aux mesures de distanciation physique et aux restrictions de voyage. Un changement de comportement aussi abrupt requiert un temps d'adaptation afin de se remettre totalement d'un tel choc structurel. Si l'on souhaite profiter de l'impact positif qu'exerce ce bouleversement de situation, des modèles socio-économiques bien plus complexes doivent être envisagés au moment de concevoir et d'évaluer les interventions de santé publique potentielles ayant des conséquences majeures sur le comportement. Dans le présent document, nous citons un exemple simple qui montre comment ce raisonnement pourrait mettre en lumière des connexions et interdépendances souvent méconnues, mais aussi guider l'élaboration de scénarios qui serviront à étayer les décisions politiques, accroître la résilience de la société et aborder les enjeux sociétaux actuels.


En retrospectiva, el principal punto débil de la ineficacia de la respuesta a la pandemia de la enfermedad por coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) en algunos países ha sido la incapacidad de comprender y tener en cuenta las interdependencias sistémicas de varios niveles que difundieron los efectos de la pandemia en las dimensiones social, tecnológica, económica y sanitaria. Por ejemplo, para responder a la pandemia de la COVID-19, todas las personas tuvieron que adaptarse rápidamente al distanciamiento social y a las restricciones de movilidad. Una respuesta conductual tan compleja conlleva la adaptación para lograr una recuperación total del choque sistémico. Para aprovechar los efectos positivos de la alteración del statu quo, es necesario tener en cuenta una modelización socioeconómica mucho más compleja a la hora de diseñar y evaluar posibles intervenciones de salud pública que tengan importantes implicaciones conductuales. Aportamos un ejemplo sencillo de cómo este razonamiento puede poner de manifiesto conexiones e interdependencias generalmente no reconocidas y guiar la construcción de escenarios que puedan informar las decisiones políticas para mejorar la resiliencia de la sociedad y abordar los retos sociales existentes.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/psychology , Health Policy , Pandemics/prevention & control , Cost-Benefit Analysis , Humans , Public Health , Risk Assessment
8.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 2478, 2021 04 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1241948

ABSTRACT

Percolation is an emblematic model to assess the robustness of interconnected systems when some of their components are corrupted. It is usually investigated in simple scenarios, such as the removal of the system's units in random order, or sequentially ordered by specific topological descriptors. However, in the vast majority of empirical applications, it is required to dismantle the network following more sophisticated protocols, for instance, by combining topological properties and non-topological node metadata. We propose a novel mathematical framework to fill this gap: networks are enriched with features and their nodes are removed according to the importance in the feature space. We consider features of different nature, from ones related to the network construction to ones related to dynamical processes such as epidemic spreading. Our framework not only provides a natural generalization of percolation but, more importantly, offers an accurate way to test the robustness of networks in realistic scenarios.

9.
Adv Exp Med Biol ; 1318: 825-837, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1222749

ABSTRACT

Pandemics are enormous threats to the world that impact all aspects of our lives, especially the global economy. The COVID-19 pandemic has emerged since December 2019 and has affected the global economy in many ways. As the world becomes more interconnected, the economic impacts of the pandemic become more serious. In addition to increased health expenditures and reduced labor force, the pandemic has hit the supply and demand chain massively and caused trouble for manufacturers who have to fire some of their employees or delay their economic activities to prevent more loss. With the closure of manufacturers and companies and reduced travel rates, usage of oil after the beginning of the pandemic has decreased significantly that was unprecedented in the last 30 years. The mining industry is a critical sector in several developing countries, and the COVID-19 pandemic has hit this industry too. Also, world stock markets declined as investors started to become concerned about the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The tourism industry and airlines have also experienced an enormous loss too. The GDP has reduced, and this pandemic will cost the world more than 2 trillion at the end of 2020.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pandemics , Humans , Industry , Pandemics/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2 , Travel
10.
Netw Syst Med ; 3(1): 130-141, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-949512

ABSTRACT

Introduction: We introduce in this study CovMulNet19, a comprehensive COVID-19 network containing all available known interactions involving SARS-CoV-2 proteins, interacting-human proteins, diseases and symptoms that are related to these human proteins, and compounds that can potentially target them. Materials and Methods: Extensive network analysis methods, based on a bootstrap approach, allow us to prioritize a list of diseases that display a high similarity to COVID-19 and a list of drugs that could potentially be beneficial to treat patients. As a key feature of CovMulNet19, the inclusion of symptoms allows a deeper characterization of the disease pathology, representing a useful proxy for COVID-19-related molecular processes. Results: We recapitulate many of the known symptoms of the disease and we find the most similar diseases to COVID-19 reflect conditions that are risk factors in patients. In particular, the comparison between CovMulNet19 and randomized networks recovers many of the known associated comorbidities that are important risk factors for COVID-19 patients, through identified similarities with intestinal, hepatic, and neurological diseases as well as with respiratory conditions, in line with reported comorbidities. Conclusion: CovMulNet19 can be suitably used for network medicine analysis, as a valuable tool for exploring drug repurposing while accounting for the intervening multidimensional factors, from molecular interactions to symptoms.

11.
Nat Hum Behav ; 4(12): 1285-1293, 2020 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-894397

ABSTRACT

During COVID-19, governments and the public are fighting not only a pandemic but also a co-evolving infodemic-the rapid and far-reaching spread of information of questionable quality. We analysed more than 100 million Twitter messages posted worldwide during the early stages of epidemic spread across countries (from 22 January to 10 March 2020) and classified the reliability of the news being circulated. We developed an Infodemic Risk Index to capture the magnitude of exposure to unreliable news across countries. We found that measurable waves of potentially unreliable information preceded the rise of COVID-19 infections, exposing entire countries to falsehoods that pose a serious threat to public health. As infections started to rise, reliable information quickly became more dominant, and Twitter content shifted towards more credible informational sources. Infodemic early-warning signals provide important cues for misinformation mitigation by means of adequate communication strategies.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Consumer Health Information/statistics & numerical data , Mass Media/statistics & numerical data , Social Media/statistics & numerical data , Social Networking , Humans , Models, Theoretical , Risk Assessment
12.
J Med Internet Res ; 22(6): e19659, 2020 06 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-607410

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: An infodemic is an overabundance of information-some accurate and some not-that occurs during an epidemic. In a similar manner to an epidemic, it spreads between humans via digital and physical information systems. It makes it hard for people to find trustworthy sources and reliable guidance when they need it. OBJECTIVE: A World Health Organization (WHO) technical consultation on responding to the infodemic related to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic was held, entirely online, to crowdsource suggested actions for a framework for infodemic management. METHODS: 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. RESULTS: The analysis team distilled the suggestions into a set of 50 proposed actions for a framework for managing infodemics in health emergencies. The consultation revealed six policy implications to consider. First, interventions and messages must be based on science and evidence, and must reach citizens and enable them to make informed decisions on how to protect themselves and their communities in a health emergency. Second, knowledge should be translated into actionable behavior-change messages, presented in ways that are understood by and accessible to all individuals in all parts of all societies. Third, governments should reach out to key communities to ensure their concerns and information needs are understood, tailoring advice and messages to address the audiences they represent. Fourth, to strengthen the analysis and amplification of information impact, strategic partnerships should be formed across all sectors, including but not limited to the social media and technology sectors, academia, and civil society. Fifth, health authorities should ensure that these actions are informed by reliable information that helps them understand the circulating narratives and changes in the flow of information, questions, and misinformation in communities. Sixth, following experiences to date in responding to the COVID-19 infodemic and the lessons from other disease outbreaks, 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. CONCLUSIONS: The first version of this framework proposes five action areas in which WHO Member States and actors within society can apply, according to their mandate, an infodemic management approach adapted to national contexts and practices. Responses to the COVID-19 pandemic and the related infodemic require swift, regular, systematic, and coordinated action from multiple sectors of society and government. It remains crucial that we promote trusted information and fight misinformation, thereby helping save lives.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus , Coronavirus Infections , Crowdsourcing , Health Education/methods , Health Education/standards , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral , Social Media/organization & administration , Social Media/standards , World Health Organization , Betacoronavirus/pathogenicity , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Coronavirus Infections/transmission , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Disease Outbreaks , Health Education/organization & administration , Humans , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/transmission , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Public Health/methods , Public Health/standards , SARS-CoV-2 , Social Media/supply & distribution
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