Abstract Objectives During periods such as the COVID-19 crisis, there is a need for responsive public health surveillance indicators related to the epidemic and to preventative measures such as lockdown. The automatic classification of the content of calls to emergency medical communication centers could provide relevant and responsive indicators. Methods We retrieved all 796,209 free-text call reports from the emergency medical communication center of the Gironde department, France, between 2018 and 2020. We trained a natural language processing neural network model with a mixed unsupervised/supervised method to classify all reasons for calls in 2020. Validation and parameter adjustment were performed using a sample of 20,000 manually-coded free-text reports. Results The number of daily calls for flu-like symptoms began to increase from February 21, 2020 and reached an unprecedented level by February 28, 2020 and peaked on March 14, 2020, 3 days before lockdown. It was strongly correlated with daily emergency room admissions, with a delay of 14 days. Calls for chest pain, stress, but also those mentioning dyspnea, ageusia and anosmia peaked 12 days later. Calls for malaises with loss of consciousness, non-voluntary injuries and alcohol intoxications sharply decreased, starting one month before lockdown. Discussion This example of the COVID-19 crisis shows how the availability of reliable and unbiased surveillance platforms can be useful for a timely and relevant monitoring of all events with public health consequences. The use of an automatic classification system using artificial intelligence makes it possible to free itself from the context that could influence a human coder, especially in a crisis situation. Conclusion The content of calls to emergency medical communication centers is an efficient epidemiological surveillance data source that provides insights into the societal upheavals induced by a health crisis.
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.
An aspect of the Covid-19 pandemic that merits attention is its effects on marriage and childbirth. Although the direct fertility effects of people getting the virus may be minor, the impact of delayed marriages due to the first preventive lockdown, such as that imposed in Pakistan from March 14 to May 8 2020, and the closure of marriage halls that lasted till September 14 may be non-negligible. These demographic consequences are of particular import to developing countries such as Pakistan where birth rates remain high, marriage is nearly universal, and almost all child-bearing takes place within marriage. Based on historic marriage patterns, we estimate that the delay in nuptiality during the first wave of coronavirus outbreak may affect about half of the marriages that were to take place during the year. In Pakistan, childbearing begins soon after marriage, and about 37% of Pakistani married women give birth to their first child within twelve months of marriage. A sizeable number out of these around 400,000 annual births that occur within twelve months of the marriage may consequently be delayed. Postponement of marriages due to the accompanying difficult economic situation and employment precariousness should accentuate this fertility effect. The net fertility impact of the Covid-19 outbreak would ultimately depend not only on the delay in marriages but also on the reproductive behavior of existing couples.; Un aspect de la pandémie de Covid-19 qui mérite une attention particulière concerne ses effets sur le mariage et la naissance des enfants. Les conséquences démographiques sont particulièrement importantes pour les pays en développement tels que le Pakistan. Dans ce pays, le taux de natalité est élevé, le mariage est presque universel et la procréation se fait exclusivement dans le cadre dumariage. Bien que les effets directs du virus sur la fertilité des personnes infectées puissent être moins importants, l'impact des mariages retardés en raison des mesures de confinement tecomme celles qui avaient cours au Pakistan du 14 mars au 8 mai 2020, et de la fermeture des salles de mariage qui a duré jusqu'au 14 septembre peut être sérieux. Sur la base des modèles de mariage historiques, nous estimons que le retard de la nuptialité pendant la première vague de la pandémie de coronavirus pourrait affecter environ la moitié des mariages qui devaient avoir lieu pendant l'année. Au Pakistan, la réproduction commence peu après le mariage et environ 37 % des femmes mariées pakistanaises donnent naissance à leur premier enfant dans les douze mois suivant leur mariage. Un nombre non négligeable des 400 000 naissances annuelles qui surviennent dans les douze mois suivant le mariage pourrait donc être retardé. Le report des mariages en raison d'une situation économique difficile et de la précarité de l'emploi devrait accentuer cet effet sur la fécondité. En fin, l'impact net de l'épidémie de Covid-19 sur la fécondité dépendrait en fin de compte non seulement du report des mariages, mais aussi du comportementdes couples existants en matière de reproduction.
The recent emergence of the SARS-CoV-2 in China has raised the spectre of a novel, potentially catastrophic pandemic in both scientific and lay communities throughout the world. In this particular context, people have been accused of being excessively pessimistic regarding the future consequences of this emerging health threat. However, consistent with previous research in social psychology, a large survey conducted in Europe in the early stage of the COVID-19 epidemic shows that the majority of respondents was actually overly optimistic about the risk of infection. https://psyarxiv.com/364qj/