Trinity Health and Education International Research Conference 2022 (THEConf 2022), Virtual Event, 8-10 March 2022 Background: The World Health Organisation (WHO) declared a global pandemic on the 11th of March 2020. The Irish government subsequently imposed the first national lockdown and stringent measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 between March-May 2020. Concerns were raised about whether women were fearful of accessing maternity services during the lockdown. Maternal perception of reduced fetal movements (RFM) in pregnancy is a common reason for self-referral to maternity services. International guidelines recommend that women perceiving RFM attend their maternity unit for fetal assessment. Objectives: We sought to determine the impact of the first global pandemic lock-down on attendances for reduced fetal movements (RFM) during pregnancy in a large urban maternity unit. Methods: All women with a singleton pregnancy, presenting to the emergency department (ED) of the National Maternity Hospital, Dublin with a primary presentation of perceived reduced fetal movements after 24 weeks’ gestation between 1st January 2020 and 30th April 2020 were included. Findings: Between January 1 and February 29, 2020 there were 2135 total attendances to the ED; 264 of these were for RFM (12.4%). From March 1- April 30, we observed a significant decline in the number of attendances to ED, totalling 1458; 231 of these were for RFM (15.8%). During the first lock-down period (March-April 2020) overall attendances to the ED decreased by 31.7%, however referrals for RFM increased by 27.4%. Conclusions: There was a significant decrease in the number of attendances to the ED during the first lockdown of the COVID-19 pandemic, however referrals for RFM increased.
Student Summer Research Awards, University College Dublin, Ireland, 28 September 2021 An abundance of literature is being published reporting the negative mental health sequelae of the COVID-19 pandemic. This surge in mental health problems will likely present to primary care over the coming months. Initiatives are being proposed nationally and internationally to tackle this problem. It is of utmost importance for general practitioners to have interventions in place which can improve care of these mental illnesses. This research aims to undertake a scoping review of the literature to examine interventions which could be implemented in general practice post COVID-19 to improve care of mental health disorders arising from the pandemic.
The Editorial Board have prepared a podcast describing their experiences over the past year of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Editorial Board describe how COVID-19 impacted their research and how the initial clinical response changed over the course of the year in terms of treatment, personal protective equipment (PPE), and policy changes. The podcast and transcript can be viewed below the abstract of the online version of the manuscript. Alternatively, the podcast and transcript can be downloaded here: https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.14402291
Publisher: Trinity College Dublin. COVID-19 Law and Human Rights Observatory
Despite the vaccine rollout, governments across the globe still grapple with containing the Covid infections, keeping hospitalisations down and preventing a surge in fatalities. Since last spring, a group of researchers and volunteers, led by Oxford University, have tracked the multiple government restrictions to citizens, businesses and society at large in almost every part of the world. Last week we have launched the UCD Covid Compared dashboard – in short UCD CoCo – to easily access the underlying data of these Covid policy responses and make the tremendous work of the Oxford team more accessible to everyone through simple colour-coded tables and graphs. Following the third lockdown and opening up of Ireland in April, the obvious question is how strict were Ireland’s rules compared to other EU countries? Out of 42 countries, Ireland had the 3rd most stringent restrictions since the beginning of the pandemic. Only Italy and the UK had enacted tougher rules since March 2020. Broken down by some key indicators, Ireland had closed workplaces and businesses much longer and tougher than any other European country. Similarly, on public transport restrictions Ireland is within the top 5 and for stay-at-home requirements and school closures within the top 10. Most noticeable is that Ireland’s rules on international travel were very lax throughout 2020 and were only tightened after the Christmas travel debacle.
All Covid-19 deaths, all nursing home and residential home deaths and deaths due to an adverse drug reaction must by law in Ireland be reported to the Coroner, the independent Judicial Officer of the State, in the District in which they occur. From 11th March 2020, when the first Covid-19 death occurred in Ireland, to 28th February 2021 there were 4,443 Covid-19 deaths nationally of which 230 (5%) were reported in Kildare with 163 (71%) of these deaths occurring in nursing and residential homes. The clinical epidemiology and documented excess mortality of the reported deaths are chronicled and analysed in this second report for three distinct periods of March to June 2020 (Period 1); July to December 2020 (Period 2); and January to February 2021 (Period 3) which also correspond with three “lockdown” periods, and for the consolidated “Covid-19 year” period from March 2020 to February 2021 (“the year”). These periods and annual figures are compared with the previous 5-year mortality figures noting that between 1st March 2015 and 28th February 2021 some 2,837 deaths were reported to the Coroner for the District of Kildare. The calculated excess number of deaths notified for March 2020 to February 2021 compared with 2015-2020 (5-yearly average of 567) was 300 (53%) of the 867 total deaths reported with a 169 (54%) excess in the 480 deaths in nursing and residential homes (5-yearly average of 311). Covid-19 deaths accounted for 77% of the total excess deaths and for 96% of the nursing and residential home excess deaths respectively. Following subtraction of the 66 non-natural cause deaths and 230 Covid-19 deaths from the total excess there remained an unexplained excess of 56 deaths due to natural causes in March 2020 to February 2021 compared with 2015-2021. Thus, the number of unattributed excess deaths actually fell marginally between July 2020 and February 2021 taking into account the figure of 62 in the first report for March to June 2020. Underlying medical conditions were recorded in all but two of those deaths related to Covid-19 and the average age of the deceased was 82.2 years with median age of 83 years and 58% were female (134) and 42% male (126). The numbers and percentages of Kildare Covid-19 cases out of the national cases were: 139 of 1,728 or 8% in Period 1; 26 of 575 or 5% in Period 2; 65 of 2,140 or 3% in Period 3; and 230 of 4,443 or 5% for the Covid-19 year. The excess total death percentage was 117%, 16%, 46% and 53% in the three periods and year respectively. In the nursing and residential home setting the corresponding numbers and percentages of Kildare cases out of the national cases were 113 of 985 or 11% (Period1); 9 of 175 or 4% (Period 2); 41of 668 or 6% (Period 3); and 163 of 1,828 or 9% for the Covid-19 year. The excess death percentages were 142%, 4% , 35% and 54% in the three periods and year respectively. Information analysed for this study allows Covid-19 public health policy and strategy to learn from mortality events and about the continuing challenges of the infection. The report is also set in the wider context of the Coroner Service and its role during the pandemic. The comments and observations are made on clinical epidemiology, co-morbidities, post mortem practices, bereavement, vaccination and the public health imperative for a centralized national mortality database and reformed death notification and certification systems for infectious disease surveillance. The tragic deaths in County Kildare of 230 individuals are best remembered and honoured by actions arising from that learning process to minimize the worst outcomes of any future similar infectious pandemic or if Covid-19 becomes a recurrent seasonal infection and some are recommended on foot of the findings and questions raised in this report. A legislative explanatory note is included at the end of the reference section. 2021-05-14 JG: .docx replaced with PDF at author's request
The 52nd ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education (SIGCSE '21), Online Event, 13-20 March 2021 Sense of belonging, or belongingness, describes how accepted one feels in their academic community and is an important factor in creating inclusive learning environments. Belongingness is influenced by many factors including: students' backgrounds and experiences; other people; environments (physical and virtual); academic discipline; external factors such as local, regional, and global issues; and time. 2020 has been dominated by several major events including the COVID-19 pandemic which dramatically impacted education. The Black Lives Matter movement has further raised global awareness of equality, diversity and inclusion not just in society, but in educational contexts. Climate change concerns, and politically-charged news are also increasingly affecting our students. We have been monitoring our undergraduate computing students' sense of belonging for over three years, providing us with a unique opportunity to gauge recent changes during the pandemic. Our results surprised us. We found statistically significant reductions in the belongingness of students identifying as men as well as those not identifying as being part of a minority. However, investigating intersectionality of self-identified gender and minority status revealed more complicated and nuanced trends, illustrating important shifts in the belongingness of our students that we are only beginning to understand.
Publisher: Association for Computational Linguistics
The 6th Workshop on Noisy User-generated Text (W-NUT 2020), Virtual Workshop,19 November 2020 In this paper, we describe our approach in the shared task: COVID-19 event extraction from Twitter. The objective of this task is to extract answers from COVID-related tweets to a set of predefined slot-filling questions. Our approach treats the event extraction task as a question answering task by leveraging the transformer-based T5 text-to-text model. According to the official evaluation scores returned, namely F1, our submitted run achieves competitive performance compared to other participating runs (Top 3). However, we argue that this evaluation may underestimate the actual performance of runs based on text-generation. Although some such runs may answer the slot questions well, they may not be an exact string match for the gold standard answers. To measure the extent of this underestimation, we adopt a simple exact-answer transformation method aiming at converting the well-answered predictions to exactly-matched predictions. The results show that after this transformation our run overall reaches the same level of performance as the best participating run and state-of-the-art F1 scores in three of five COVID-related events. Our code is publicly available to aid reproducibility
Editorial The emergence of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic in late 2019 and early 2020 presented new and urgent challenges to mental health services and legislators around the world. This special issue of the International Journal of Law and Psychiatry explores mental health law, mental capacity law, and medical and legal ethics in the context of COVID-19. Papers are drawn from India, Australia, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, Portugal, and the United States. Together, these articles demonstrate the complexity of psychiatric and legal issues prompted by COVID-19 in terms of providing mental health care, protecting rights, exercising decision-making capacity, and a range of other topics. While further work is needed in many of these areas, these papers provide a strong framework for addressing key issues and meeting the challenges that COVID-19 and, possibly, other outbreaks are likely to present in the future.
Department of Health Covid and Inequalities Webinar Series, Online, 23 September 2020 Invited speaker to Social Work in the Community first webinar on Covid and Inequality, Collaboration between Department of Health(NI) and University of Ulster.