Italy was hit harshly by the Covid-19 pandemic, registering more than 35,000 Covid-19 deaths between February and July 2020. During this first wave of the epidemic, the virus spread unequally across the country, with northern regions witnessing more cases and deaths. We investigate demographic and socio-economic factors contributing to the diverse regional impact of the virus during the first wave. Using generalized additive mixed models, we find that Covid-19 mortality at regional level is negatively associated with the degree of intergenerational co-residence, number of intensive care unit beds per capita, and delay in the outbreak of the epidemic. Conversely, we do not find strong associations for several variables highlighted in recent literature, such as population density or the share of the population who are older or have at least one chronic disease. Our results underscore the importance of context-specific analysis for the study of a pandemic.
This paper examines the empirical relationship between individuals’ cognitive and non-cognitive abilities and COVID-19 compliance behaviors using cross-country data from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE). We find that both cognitive and non-cognitive skills predict responsible health behaviors during the COVID-19 crisis. Episodic memory is the most important cognitive skill, while conscientiousness and neuroticism are the most significant personality traits. There is also some evidence of a role for an internal locus of control in compliance. usc Refereed/Peer-reviewed
International audience; Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 caused by SARS-CoV-2, the question of the origin of this virus has been a highly debated issue. Debates have been, and are still, very disputed and often violent between the two main hypotheses: a natural origin through the “spillover” model or a laboratory-leak origin. Tenants of these two options are building arguments often based on the discrepancies of the other theory. The main problem is that it is the initial question of the origin itself which is biased. Charles Darwin demonstrated in 1859 that all species are appearing through a process of evolution, adaptation and selection. There is no determined origin to any animal or plant species, simply an evolutionary and selective process in which chance and environment play a key role. The very same is true for viruses. There is no determined origin to viruses, simply also an evolutionary and selective process in which chance and environment play a key role. However, in the case of viruses the process is slightly more complex because the “environment” is another living organism. Pandemic viruses already circulate in humans prior to the emergence of a disease. They are simply not capable of triggering an epidemic yet. They must evolve in-host, i.e. in-humans, for that. The evolutionary process which gave rise to SARS-CoV-2 is still ongoing with regular emergence of novel variants more adapted than the previous ones. The real relevant question is how these viruses can emerge as pandemic viruses and what the society can do to prevent the future emergence of pandemic viruses.
Abstract Fast, sensitive, high-throughput detection of coronavirus antigens at physiologically relevant levels is essential for population screening that could prevent epidemics such as the current COVID-19 global pandemic. Optical methods based on surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) spectroscopy are promising for this purpose because they ensure quick detection of even single biological molecules in a sample. For achieving such a high sensitivity, it is crucial to design SERS-active systems concentrating incident radiation into small sample volumes. Here, metal-dielectric cavities have been obtained through interaction of protein sulfhydryl groups with a SERS-active silver surface. The concentration of light in these cavities allows the differential detection of spike glycoprotein and nucleocapsid protein of SARS-COV-2, which are its key antigens, at physiologically relevant concentrations. The cavity Q-factor can be increased by additionally covering the dielectric protein film with a silver shell to form an ultrathin cavity, which provides an at least tenfold enhancement of the detection signal. The results could be used to design high-throughput systems for specific and sensitive detection of viral antigens and quick diagnosis of viral infections.
Abstract The global lockdowns brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic forced an immediate change in the way people moved about;namely, travel was slowed from a turbulent river to a trickle In-person meetings, often involving long-distance flights, were either canceled, postponed, or shifted over to virtual modes People who were unfamiliar with online meetings quickly became acquainted with them
International audience; In honour of the International Year of Sound and for the 1 year memorial of the Notre-Dame cathedral fire, a team of researchers and sound engineers created a virtual reconstruction of a concert in the cathedral, using close-mic recordings made on 24-April-2013 of a performance of La Vierge by Jules Massenet. This reconstruction was carried out during the period of strict COVID-19 confinement. With 83 musicians, 6 singers and a 160person choir spatially distributed throughout the cathedral, the original performance offered a spatial composition highlighting the complex acoustics and interactions between source and listener positions. Individual tracks were convolved with spatial room impulse responses, created from a calibrated geometrical acoustic simulation. Several listening positions were binaurally rendered, along with an artistic mix created by a sound engineer, offering a unique 3d-audio experience approaching the reality of the moment in the past. Distributed on-line, the website presenting this virtual reconstruction has been visited from users around the world. A listener opinion survey was included on the website. This paper presents an overview of the source material, the production workflow, and the challenges of realising such a production during confinement. Finally, an overview of visitor statistics and survey results is presented, providing insight into the reception of the virtual recreation and the interest towards future productions.
International audience; Background: In the absence of a treatment still considered universally effective, and of a vaccine validated by the health authorities, we wanted to know which Catholic saint the European Christian community turned to in the event of infection with Covid-19 to request a miraculous healing. Methodology: An online survey was carried out on a sample of 1158 adults using social media tools. Results: All results are presented in this research, with a few saints in the majority, and some dictated by the symptomatology of the Covid-19 infection or the personalities of certain « doctor guru ». Conclusion: This medico-anthropological study is revealing the psychology of Western patients vis-à-vis the magic-religious means used in the fight against diseases, particularly in the epidemic/pandemic context.
Pandemic disease is not merely a biological reality but also a cognitive and socially constructed phenomenon which intensely mobilizes a multiplicity of political frames. Far-right political entrepreneurs are, despite their remoteness from actual decision-making processes, active stakeholders in the current crisis. Existential threats to societies breed a sense of urgency and heightened cultural warfare that is a hotbed for extremism. Our study seeks to map, compare and contrast the symbolic responses to the Coronavirus crisis articulated by various far-right actors in two established democracies in the transatlantic area: The United States and France. We aim to shed light on how entrenched far-right mythologies and tropes—which appear increasingly transatlantic—are channeled into a new synthesis as part of an “alternative” political epistemology. Infused with the mythos of resistance and insurgency, resolutely anti-systemic, this alternative epistemology can better be described, following Michael Barkun, as a form of “stigmatized knowledge”. Our study will employ a Critical Discourse Analysis framework to bring into focus, in the response of the Euro-American far-right to the COVID-19 crisis, the ideological semiotics of the current “infodemic”.
International audience; This paper presents the Multilingual COVID-19 Analysis Method (CMTA) for detecting and observing the spread of misinformation about this disease within texts. CMTA proposes a data science (DS) pipeline that applies machine learning models for processing, classifying (Dense-CNN) and analyzing (MBERT) multilingual (micro)-texts. DS pipeline data preparation tasks extract features from multilingual textual data and categorize it into specific information classes (i.e., 'false', 'partly false', 'misleading'). The CMTA pipeline has been experimented with multilingual micro-texts (tweets), showing misinformation spread across different languages. To assess the performance of CMTA and put it in perspective, we performed a comparative analysis of CMTA with eight monolingual models used for detecting misinformation. The comparison shows that CMTA has surpassed various monolingual models and suggests that it can be used as a general method for detecting misinformation in multilingual micro-texts. CMTA experimental results show misinformation trends about COVID-19 in different languages during the first pandemic months.
Abstract This article analyzes the audio diaries of a Tibetan physician, originally from Amdo (Qinghai Province, China), now living in New York City. Dr. Kunchog Tseten describes his experiences during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, in spring and summer 2020, when Queens, New York—the location where he lives and works—was the “epicenter of the epicenter” of the novel coronavirus outbreak in the United States. The collaborative research project of which this diary is a part combines innovative methodological approaches to qualitative, ethnographic study during this era of social distancing with an attunement to the relationship between language, culture, and health care. Dr. Kunchog’s diary and our analysis of its contents illustrate the ways that Tibetan medicine and Tibetan cultural practices, including those emergent from Buddhism, have helped members of the Himalayan and Tibetan communities in New York City navigate this unprecedented moment with care and compassion.