The COVID-19 pandemic and its countermeasures radically affected the energy sector. Within a matter of days, whole countries were into lockdown causing the largest energy impact of the last decades. This study explores the pandemic and its effects on the isolated power systems of Cape Verde, a small island-based developing state in Africa. Historical data from 2013 to 2021 is combined with ARIMA-based forecasting to estimate a COVID-free scenario. The results show how the country’s electricity demand suffered a 10% drop distributed among the islands proportionally to GDP per capita. The energy mix was unaffected, but the lower demand motivated 6% less emissions. The reliability of the system improved with respect previous years, but the transmission losses increased by 5% due to energy theft caused by the severe economic crisis suffered in the archipelago. In that sense, the impact on revenue and energy sector workers was quite limited. Furthermore, we also studied the effects of the pandemic in other energy related sectors such as water desalination and transport. The recovery started in the third quarter of 2020 as marked by the increased electricity demand, but also with the rapid growth of passengers and goods in the transport sector.
A widely used analytical model to quantitatively assess airborne infection risk is the Wells-Riley model which is limited to complete air mixing in a single zone. However, this assumption tends not to be feasible (or reality) for many situations. This study aimed to extend the Wells-Riley model so that the infection risk can be calculated in spaces where complete mixing is not present. Some more advanced ventilation concepts create either two horizontally divided air zones in spaces as displacement ventilation or the space may be divided into two vertical zones by downward plane jet as in protective-zone ventilation systems. This is done by evaluating the time-dependent distribution of infectious quanta in each zone and by solving the coupled system of differential equations based on the zonal quanta concentrations. This model introduces a novel approach by estimating the interzonal mixing factor based on previous experimental data for three types of ventilation systems: incomplete mixing ventilation, displacement ventilation, and protective zone ventilation. The modeling approach is applied to a room with one infected and one susceptible person present. The results show that using the Wells-Riley model based on the assumption of completely air mixing may considerably overestimate or underestimate the long-range airborne infection risk in rooms where air distribution is different than complete mixing, such as displacement ventilation, protected zone ventilation, warm air supplied from the ceiling, etc. Therefore, in spaces with non-uniform air distribution, a zonal modeling approach should be preferred in analytical models compared to the conventional single-zone Wells-Riley models when assessing long-range airborne transmission risk of infectious respiratory diseases.
Abstract Background The coronavirus nonstructural protein 5 (Nsp5) is a cysteine protease required for processing the viral polyprotein and is therefore crucial for viral replication. Nsp5 from several coronaviruses have also been found to cleave host proteins, disrupting molecular pathways involved in innate immunity. Nsp5 from the recently emerged SARS-CoV-2 virus interacts with and can cleave human proteins, which may be relevant to the pathogenesis of COVID-19. Based on the continuing global pandemic, and emerging understanding of coronavirus Nsp5-human protein interactions, we set out to predict what human proteins are cleaved by the coronavirus Nsp5 protease using a bioinformatics approach. Results Using a previously developed neural network trained on coronavirus Nsp5 cleavage sites (NetCorona), we made predictions of Nsp5 cleavage sites in all human proteins. Structures of human proteins in the Protein Data Bank containing a predicted Nsp5 cleavage site were then examined, generating a list of 92 human proteins with a highly predicted and accessible cleavage site. Of those, 48 are expected to be found in the same cellular compartment as Nsp5. Analysis of this targeted list of proteins revealed molecular pathways susceptible to Nsp5 cleavage and therefore relevant to coronavirus infection, including pathways involved in mRNA processing, cytokine response, cytoskeleton organization, and apoptosis. Conclusions This study combines predictions of Nsp5 cleavage sites in human proteins with protein structure information and protein network analysis. We predicted cleavage sites in proteins recently shown to be cleaved in vitro by SARS-CoV-2 Nsp5, and we discuss how other potentially cleaved proteins may be relevant to coronavirus mediated immune dysregulation. The data presented here will assist in the design of more targeted experiments, to determine the role of coronavirus Nsp5 cleavage of host proteins, which is relevant to understanding the molecular pathology of coronavirus infection.
SummaryBackgroundCOVID-19 booster vaccine uptake rates are behind the rate of primary vaccination in many countries. Governments and non-governmental institutions rely on a range of interventions aiming to increase booster uptake. Yet, little is known how experts and the general public evaluate these interventions.MethodsWe applied a novel crowdsourcing approach to provide rapid insights on the most promising interventions to promote uptake of COVID-19 booster vaccines. In the first phase (December 2021), international experts (n = 78 from 17 countries) proposed 46 unique interventions. To reduce noise and potential bias, in the second phase (January 2022), experts (n = 307 from 34 countries) and representative general population samples from the UK (n = 299) and the US (n = 300) rated the proposed interventions on several evaluation criteria, including effectiveness and acceptability, on a 5-point Likert-type scale.FindingsSanctions were evaluated as potentially most effective but least accepted. Evaluations by expert and general population samples were considerably aligned. Interventions that received the most positive evaluations regarding both effectiveness and acceptability across evaluation groups were: a day off work after getting vaccinated, financial incentives, tax benefits, promotional campaigns, and mobile vaccination teams.InterpretationThe results provide useful insights to help governmental and non-governmental institutions in their decisions about which interventions to implement. Additionally, the applied crowdsourcing method may be used in future studies to retrieve rapid insights on the comparative evaluation of (health) policies.FundingThis study received funding from the Austrian Science Fund (SFB F63) and the University of Vienna.
In concert with arts-based therapists, many practitioners of the Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music (GIM) have shifted to providing sessions via telehealth in adapting to the COVID-19 pandemic. This new format offers a wealth of potential advantages as well as potential drawbacks, given the highly intersubjective, creative, and intuitive nature of in-depth arts-based therapies. This research explores client experiences of shifting from receiving GIM sessions in person to telehealth as well as similarities and differences in their experiences between the two session formats. Thematic analysis of semi-structured interviews with twoparticipants revealed that telehealth GIM sessions were experienced as beneficial but initially less effective than in person, that the therapeutic relationship with their therapist was developed in person and supported their transition to online sessions, and that the new fusion of settings–virtual and at-home–presented a new set of advantages and drawbacks to their sessions. Finally, their experiences of telehealth GIM sessions improved as they gained familiarity with the telehealth format.
Modeling complex chemical reaction networks has inspired a considerable body of research and a variety of approaches to modeling nonlinear pathways are being developed. Here, a general methodology is formulated to convert an arbitrary reaction network into its equivalent electrical analog. The topological equivalence of the electrical analog is mathematically established for unimolecular reactions using Kirchhoff's laws. The modular approach is generalized to bimolecular and nonlinear autocatalytic reactions. It is then applied to simulate the dynamics of nonlinear autocatalytic networks without making simplifying assumptions, such as use of the quasi-steady state/Bodenstein approximation or the absence of nonlinear steps in the intermediates. This is among the few papers that quantify the dynamics of a nonlinear chemical reaction network by generating and simulating an electrical network analog. As a realistic biological application, the early phase of the spread of COVID-19 is modeled as an autocatalytic process and the predicted dynamics are in good agreement with experimental data. The rate-limiting step of viral transmission is identified, leading to novel mechanistic insights.
Understanding predictors of adherence to governmental measures to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 is fundamental to guide health communication. This study examined whether political stringency and infection rates during the first wave of the pandemic were associated with higher education students' adherence to COVID-19 government measures in the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Norway, Iceland, and Sweden) and the United Kingdom. Both individual- and country-level data were used in present study. An international cross-sectional subsample (n = 10,345) of higher-education students was conducted in May–June 2020 to collect individual-level information on socio-demographics, study information, living arrangements, health behaviors, stress, and COVID-19-related concerns, including adherence to government measures. Country-level data on political stringency from the Oxford COVID-19 Government Response Tracker and national infection rates were added to individual-level data. Multiple linear regression analyses stratified by country were conducted. Around 66% of students reported adhering to government measures, with the highest adherence in the UK (73%) followed by Iceland (72%), Denmark (69%), Norway (67%), Finland (64%) and Sweden (49%). Main predictors for higher adherence were older age, being female and being worried about getting infected with COVID-19 (individual-level), an increase in number of days since lockdown, political stringency, and information about COVID-19 mortality rates (country-level). However, incidence rate was an inconsistent predictor, which may be explained by imperfect data quality during the onset of the pandemic. We conclude that shorter lockdown periods and political stringency are associated with adherence to government measures among higher education students at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Publisher: International Association for Music and Medicine
The Covid-19 pandemic has caused elevated levels of stress, anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress. Health care staff daily deal with varying degrees of agitation and anxiety which requires perseverance and a high degree of motivation and concentration. This study aimed to meet such diverse challenges by supporting citizens and staff through Covid-19 vaccine procedures in Spring 2021 using background music. A curated playlist was developed in collaboration with health care staff and medical staff. Observation data was collected on three days with music and on three days without music with a total of 699 citizens and 39 employees participating. Analysis of data indicated how background music in connection with vaccination may have a positive effect on citizens and staff, especially in terms of citizen experience of waiting time, of mood, of sound environment in the vaccination hall, as well as staff experience of contact with citizens and of cooperation with colleagues. Implementing curated playlists requires professional expertise to maximize potential benefits, as background music also can have negative effects. The involvement of staff is essential in addressing ethical aspect, as they need to be fully informed about background music and its appropriate usage.
Publisher: Det Kgl. Bibliotek/Royal Danish Library
The paper considers risk communication in Denmark during the COVID19 pandemic. It investigates the expression hold afstand (‘keep distance’) as it is used by a regional transportation company. Considering both grammar, semantics and pragmatics, it points out that where- as the grammar and semantics of the expression are somewhat ambiguous, the actual use of it suggests that its meaning gets settled for all practical purposes relative to the context of use. The paper argues that the ambiguity of the expression affords an openness considering appropriate interpretations of it. As such, hold afstand appears to be a well-chosen expression in a situation in which the transport company has to balance the silver lining of guiding anxious passengers while simultaneously mobilising potentially resisting passengers through a certain space for interpretation.
BACKGROUND: Previous studies have reported Blood type O to confer a lower risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection, while secretor status and other blood groups have been suspected to have a similar effect as well.STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: To determine whether any other blood groups influence testing positive for SARS-CoV-2, COVID-19 severity, or prolonged COVID-19, we used a large cohort of 650,156 Danish blood donors with varying available data for secretor status and blood groups ABO, Rh, Colton, Duffy, Diego, Dombrock, Kell, Kidd, Knops, Lewis, Lutheran, MNS, P1PK, Vel and Yt. Of these, 36,068 tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 whereas 614,088 tested negative between 2020-02-17 and 2021-08-04. Associations between infection and blood groups were assessed using logistic regression models with sex and age as covariates.RESULTS: The Lewis blood group antigen Lea displayed strongly reduced SARS-CoV-2 susceptibility OR 0.85 CI[0.79-0.93] p<0.001. Compared to blood type O the blood types B, A and AB were found more susceptible towards infection with ORs 1.1 CI[1.06-1.14] p<0.001, 1.17 CI[1.14-1.2] p<0.001 and 1.2 CI[1.14-1.26] p<0.001, respectively. No susceptibility associations were found for the other 13 blood groups investigated. There was no association between any blood groups and COVID-19 hospitalization or long COVID-19. No Secretor status associations were found.DISCUSSION: This study uncovers a new association to reduced SARS-CoV-2 susceptibility for Lewis type Lea and confirms the previous link to blood group O. The new association to Lea could be explained by a link between mucosal microbiome and SARS-CoV-2. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.