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1.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-21250922

ABSTRACT

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.

2.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-20229237

ABSTRACT

ObjectiveThe aim of this was to assess the short-term impact of the pandemic on non-COVID-19 patients living in a one-million inhabitants area in Northern Italy (Bologna Metropolitan Area-BMA), analyzing time trends of Emergency Department (ED) visits, hospitalizations and mortality. MethodsWe conducted a retrospective observational study using data extracted from BMA healthcare informative systems. Weekly trends of ED visits, hospitalizations, in- and out-of-hospital, all-cause and cause-specific mortality between December 1st, 2019 to May 31st, 2020, were compared with those of the same period of the previous year, using Joinpoint regression models and incidence rate ratios. ResultsNon-COVID-19 ED visits and hospitalizations showed a stable trend until the first Italian case of COVID-19 has been recorded, on February 19th, 2020, when they dropped simultaneously. The reduction of ED visits was observed in all age groups and across all severity and diagnosis groups. In the lockdown period a significant increase was found in overall out-of-hospital mortality (43.2%) and cause-specific out-of-hospital mortality related to neoplasms (76.7%), endocrine, nutritional and metabolic (79.5%) as well as cardiovascular (32.7%) diseases. ConclusionsThe pandemic caused a sudden drop of ED visits and hospitalizations of non-COVID-19 patients during the lockdown period, and a concurrent increase in out-of-hospital mortality mainly driven by deaths for neoplasms, cardiovascular and endocrine diseases. The findings of this study might be useful to understand both the population reaction and the healthcare system response at the early phases of the pandemic in terms of reduced demand of care and systems capability in intercepting it.

3.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-20066183

ABSTRACT

BackgroundIn the early phases of a new pandemic, identifying the most relevant evidence and quantifying which studies are shared the most can help researchers and policy makers. The aim of this study is to describe and quantify the impact of early scientific production in response to COVID-19 pandemic. MethodsThe study consisted of: 1) review of the scientific literature produced in the first 30 days since the first COVID-19 paper was published; 2) analysis of papers metrics with the construction of a "Computed-Impact-Score" (CIS) that represents a unifying score over heterogeneous bibliometric indicators. In this study we use metrics and alternative metrics collected into five separate categories. On top of those categories we compute the CIS. Highest CIS papers are further analyzed. Results239 papers have been included in the study. The mean of citations, mentions and social media interactions resulted in 1.63, 10 and 1250, respectively. The paper with highest CIS resulted "Clinical features of patients[...]" by Chaolin Huang et al., which rated first also in citations and mentions. This is the first paper describing patients affected by the new disease and reporting data that are clearly of great interest to both the scientific community and the general population. ConclusionsThe early response of scientific literature during an epidemic does not follow a pre-established pattern. Being able to monitor how communications spread from the scientific world toward the general population using both traditional and alternative metric measures is essential, especially in the early stages of a pandemic.

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