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Healthcare ; 10(9):1718, 2022.
Article in English | MDPI | ID: covidwho-2010016


We planned an infodemiological analysis to estimate the global impact of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) on threat appraisals. We accessed Google Trends using the search terms 'Anxiety';, 'Distress';, 'Fear';, 'Rumination';, 'Stress';and 'Worry';within the 'topic';domain, setting the geographical location to 'worldwide';, between July 2017 and July 2022. The weekly Google Trends score for the six search terms, thus, mirroring Web popularity and probable prevalence, was compared between the two search periods, 'pre-COVID';(between July 2017 and February 2020) and COVID (between March 2020 and July 2022), thus, reflecting the volume of searches before and during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The median weekly Google Trends score of all these search terms significantly increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, i.e., anxiety by 22%, distress by 13%, fear by 9%, rumination by 18%, stress by 13% and worry by 20%. With variable strength, the weekly Google Trends scores of each search term were found to be significantly associated (all p < 0.001). We can, hence, conclude that the enhanced burden of threat appraisals observed after SARS-CoV-2 spread leads the way to establish preventive, diagnostic and therapeutic measures in order to limit the unfavorable mental health consequences caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

EuropePMC; 2022.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-338498


Background: There is emerging evidence that headache may be a frequent common symptom in patients diagnosed with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), thus paving the way to further epidemiological studies to better evaluate this potential association. Methods: : We conducted an electronic search in Google Trends with the keyword “headache” (i.e., “mal di testa”, in Italian), with the geographical area set to “Italy” and the search period comprised between February 2020 and June 2022. The number of new weekly diagnoses of COVID-19 was also captured using the official statistics published by the Italian Ministry of Health. The potential association between Google searches for headache and new COVID-19 diagnoses was verified with Spearman’s correlation. Results: : The number of new COVID-19 diagnoses and Google searches for headache in Italy followed a similar trend, nearly overlapping, and yielding a significant correlation during the same week (r=0.56;95%CI, 0.42-0.67;p<0.001). An even better correlation was found when the number of new COVID-19 diagnoses was correlated with the Google searches for headache in the preceding week (r=0.60;95%CI, 0.47-0.70;p<0.001). Conclusion: Web interest and, therefore, burden of headache is significantly correlated with the number of newly diagnosed cases of COVID-19 in Italy. This evidence may hence lead the way to using an infodemiological analysis based on the symptom “headache” for timely predicting future trends of COVID-19 outbreaks.

EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-316668


Along with identification of clinical or laboratory predictors of unfavorable progression of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), it is also vital to recognize environmental and hospital indicators that may drive successful management of this illness, thus explaining the heterogeneity of death rates observed across different countries. We retrieved the date of the first diagnosed case and the crude death rate for COVID-19 for each of the European Union (EU) countries from the website of the John Hopkins University, which were then combined with environmental, hospital and clinical indicators extracted from the European Health Information Gateway of the World Health Organization. The COVID-19 death rate in EU countries (mean value 1.9±0.8%) was inversely associated with number of available general hospitals, physicians and nurses. Significant positive associations were also found with rate of acute care beds occupancy, as well as with rate of population aged over 65 years, overweight, and with cancer. Neither total health care expenditure, public-sector health expenditure, or the number of hospital and acute care beds influenced the death rate for COVID-19. These results suggest that some common healthcare system inadequacies such as low number of general hospitals, physicians and nurses, along with high acute care beds occupancy, may be significant drivers of nationwide COVID-19 mortality rates in EU countries.

The Journal of infection ; 2022.
Article in English | EuropePMC | ID: covidwho-1661274