Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 51

Search results for: COVID-19 pandemic

51 COVID-19 Pandemic Influence on Toddlers and Preschoolers’ Screen Time

Authors: Juliana da Silva Cardoso, Cláudia Correia, Rita Gomes, Carolina Fraga, Inês Cascais, Sara Monteiro, Beatriz Teixeira, Sandra Ribeiro, Carolina Andrade, Cláudia Oliveira, Diana Gonzaga, Catarina Prior, Inês Vaz Matos

Abstract:

The average daily screen time (ST) has been increasing in children, even at young ages. This seems to be associated with a higher incidence of neurodevelopmental disorders, and as the time of exposure increases, the greater is the functional impact. This study aims to compare the daily ST of toddlers and preschoolers previously and during the COVID-19 pandemic. A questionnaire was applied by telephone to parents/caregivers of children between 1 and 5 years old, followed up at four primary care units belonging to the Group of Primary Health Care Centers of Western Porto, Portugal. A total of 520 children were included: 52.9% male, mean age 39.4 ± 13.9 months. The mean age of first exposure to screens was 13.9 ± 8.0 months, and most of the children were exposed to more than one screen daily. Considering the WHO recommendations, before the COVID-19 pandemic, 385 (74.0%) and 408 (78.5%) children had excessive ST during the week and the weekend, respectively; during the lockdown, these values increased to 495 (95.2%) and 482 (92.7%). Maternal education and both the child's median age and the median age of first exposure to screens had a statistically significant association with excessive ST, with OR 0.2 (p = 0.03, CI 95% 0.07-0.86), OR 1.1 (p = 0.01, 95% CI 1.05-1.14) and OR 0.9 (p = 0.05, 95% CI 0. 87-0.98), respectively. Most children in this sample had a higher than recommended ST, which increased with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. These results are worrisome and point to the need for urgent intervention.

Keywords: COVID-19 pandemic, preschoolers, screen time, toddlers

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50 Online Teaching Methods and Student Satisfaction during a Pandemic

Authors: Anita Kéri

Abstract:

With the outbreak of the global pandemic of COVID-19, online education characterizes today’s higher education. For some higher education institutions (HEIs), the shift from classroom education to online solutions was swift and smooth, and students are continuously asked about their experience regarding online education. Therefore, there is a growing emphasis on student satisfaction with online education, a field that had emerged previously, but has become the center of higher education and research interest today. The aim of the current paper is to give a brief overview of the tools used in the online education of marketing-related classes at the examined university and to investigate student satisfaction with the applied teaching methodologies with the tool of a questionnaire. Results show that students are most satisfied with their teachers’ competences and preparedness, while they are least satisfied with online class quality, where it seems that further steps are needed to be taken.

Keywords: Online teaching, pandemic, satisfaction, students.

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49 Conspiracy Theory in Discussions of the Coronavirus Pandemic in the Gulf Region

Authors: Rasha Salameh

Abstract:

In light of the tense relationship between Saudi Arabia and Iran, this research paper sheds some light on Saudi-owned television network, Al-Arabiya’s reporting of the Coronavirus in the Gulf region. Particularly because most of the cases in the beginning were coming from Iran, some programs of this Saudi channel embraced a conspiracy theory. Hate speech has been used in the talking and discussions about the topic. The results of these discussions will be detailed in this paper in percentages with regard to the research sample, which includes five programs on the Al-Arabiya channel: ‘DNA’, ‘Marraya’ (Mirrors), ‘Panorama’, ‘Tafaolcom’ (Your Interaction) and ‘Diplomatic Street’, in the period between January 19, that is, the date of the first case in Iran, and April 10, 2020. The research shows the use of a conspiracy theory in the programs, in addition to some professional violations. The surveyed sample also shows that the matter receded due to the Arab Gulf states' preoccupation with the successively increasing cases that have appeared there since the start of the pandemic. The results indicate that hate speech was present in the sample at a rate of 98.1%, and that most of the programs that dealt with the Iranian issue under the Coronavirus pandemic on Al Arabiya used the conspiracy theory at a rate of 75.5%.

Keywords: Al-Arabiya, Iran, COVID-19, hate speech, conspiracy theory, politicization of the pandemic

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48 Patient Perspectives on Telehealth during the Pandemic in the United States

Authors: Manal Sultan Alhussein, Xiang Michelle Liu

Abstract:

Telehealth is an advanced technology using digital information and telecommunication facilities that provide access to health services from a distance. It slows the transmission factor of COVID-19, especially for elderly patients and patients with chronic diseases during the pandemic. Therefore, understanding patient perspectives on telehealth services and the factors impacting their option of telehealth service will shed light on the measures that healthcare providers can take to improve the quality of telehealth services. This study aimed to evaluate perceptions of telehealth services among different patient groups and explore various aspects of telehealth utilization in the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic. An online survey distributed via social media platforms was used to collect research data. In addition to the descriptive statistics, both correlation and regression analyses were conducted to test research hypotheses. The empirical results highlighted that the factors such as accessibility to telehealth services and the type of specialty clinics that the patients required play important roles in the effectiveness of telehealth services they received. However, the results found that patients’ waiting time to receive telehealth services and their annual income did not significantly influence their desire to select receiving healthcare services via telehealth. The limitations of the study and future research directions are discussed.

Keywords: Telehealth, patient satisfaction, pandemic, healthcare, remote patient monitor.

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47 Impact on Course Registration and SGPA of the Students of BSc in EEE Programme due to Online Teaching during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Authors: Muhibul Haque Bhuyan

Abstract:

Most educational institutions were compelled to switch over to the online mode of teaching, learning, and assessment due to the lockdown when the corona pandemic started around the globe in the early part of the year 2020. However, they faced a unique set of challenges in delivering knowledge and skills to their students as well as formulating a proper assessment policy. This paper investigates whether there is an impact on the student Semester Grade Point Average (SGPA) due to the online mode of teaching and learning assessment at the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering (EEE) of Southeast University (SEU). Details of student assessments are discussed. Then students’ grades were analyzed to find out the impact on SGPA based on the z-test by finding the standard deviation (). It also pointed out the challenges associated with the online classes and assessment strategies to be adopted during the online assessment. The student admission, course advising, and registration statistics were also presented in several tables and analyzed based on the change in percentage to observe the impact on it due to the pandemic. In summary, it was observed that the students’ SGPAs are not affected but student course advising and registration were affected slightly by the pandemic. Finally, the paper provides some recommendations to improve the online teaching, learning, assessment, and evaluation system.

Keywords: electrical and electronic engineering students, impact on course grading and SGPA, online assessment, online teaching, student registration, semester result

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46 Molecular Dynamics Study on Laninamivir Inhibiting Neuraminidases of H5N1 and pH1N1 Influenza a Viruses

Authors: A. Meeprasert, W. Khuntawee, S. Hannongbua, T. Rungrotmongkol

Abstract:

Viral influenza A subtypes H5N1 and pandemic H1N1 (pH1N1) have worldwide emerged and transmitted. The most common anti-influenza drug for treatment of both seasonal and pandemic influenza viruses is oseltamivir that nowadays becomes resistance to influenza neuraminidase. The novel long-acting drug, laninamivir, was discovered for treatment of the patients infected with influenza B and influenza A viruses. In the present study, laninamivir complexed with wild-type strain of both H5N1 and pH1N1 viruses were comparatively determined the structures and drug-target interactions by means of molecular dynamics (MD) simulations. The results show that the hydrogen bonding interactions formed between laninamivir and its binding residues are likely similar for the two systems. Additionally, the presence of intermolecular interactions from laninamivir to the residues in the binding pocket is established through their side chains in accordance with hydrogen bond interactions.

Keywords: Laninamivir, neuraminidase, H5N1, pandemic H1N1, wild-type, MD simulation

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45 The Psychological Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Non-Healthcare Migrant Workers in a Construction Company in Saudi Arabia

Authors: Viviane Nascimento, Dania Mehmod

Abstract:

Introduction: The Coronavirus (COVID-19) disease was firstly reported in Asia at the end of 2019 and became a pandemic at the beginning of 2020. It resulted in a significant impact over the global economy and the health care systems around the world. The immediate measure adopted worldwide to contain the virus was mainly the lockdown and curfews. This certainly had an important impact on expats workers due to the financial insecurity, culture barrier and distance from the family. Saudi Arabia has one of the largest flows of foreign workers in the world and expats are the majority of the workforce. The aim of this essay was assessing the psychological impact of COVID-19 in non-health care expats living in Saudi Arabia. Methods: The study was conducted in a construction company in Riyadh with non-health care employees. The cross-sectional study protocol was approved by the company's executive management. Employees who verbally agreed to participate in the study were asked to anonymously answer a questionnaire validated for behavioral research (DASS-21). In addition, a second questionnaire was created to assess feelings and emotions. Results: More than a third of participants screened positive for one or more psychological symptoms (depression, anxiety and stress) on the DASS-21 scale. Moreover, it was observed an increase on negative feelings on the additional questionnaire. Conclusion: This study reveals an increase on negative feelings and psychological symptoms among non-health care migrant workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. In light of this, it is crucial to understand the emotional effects caused by the pandemic on migrant workers in order to create supportive and informative strategies minimizing the emotional impact on this vulnerable group.

Keywords: COVID-19 pandemic, Saudi Arabia, psychological effects, migrant workers.

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44 Portfolio Management for Construction Company during Covid-19 Using AHP Technique

Authors: Sareh Rajabi, Salwa Bheiry

Abstract:

In general, Covid-19 created many financial and non-financial damages to the economy and community. Level and severity of covid-19 as pandemic case varies over the region and due to different types of the projects. Covid-19 virus emerged as one of the most imperative risk management factors word-wide recently. Therefore, as part of portfolio management assessment, it is essential to evaluate severity of such risk on the project and program in portfolio management level to avoid any risky portfolio. Covid-19 appeared very effectively in South America, part of Europe and Middle East. Such pandemic infection affected the whole universe, due to lock down, interruption in supply chain management, health and safety requirements, transportations and commercial impacts. Therefore, this research proposes Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP) to analyze and assess such pandemic case like Covid-19 and its impacts on the construction projects. The AHP technique uses four sub-criteria: Health and safety, commercial risk, completion risk and contractual risk to evaluate the project and program. The result will provide the decision makers with information which project has higher or lower risk in case of Covid-19 and pandemic scenario. Therefore, the decision makers can have most feasible solution based on effective weighted criteria for project selection within their portfolio to match with the organization’s strategies.

Keywords: Portfolio management, risk management, COVID-19, analytical hierarchy process technique.

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43 Urban Resilience: Relation between COVID-19 and Urban Environment in Amman City

Authors: Layla Mujahed

Abstract:

COVID-19 is an exam for all the city’s systems. It shows many gaps in the systems such as healthcare, economic, social, and environment. This pandemic is paving for a new era, an era of technology and it has changed people’s lives, such as physical, and emotional changes, and converting communication into digitalized. The effect of COVID-19 has covered all urban city parts. COVID-19 will not be the last pandemic our cities will face. For that, more researches focus on enhancing the quality of the urban environment. This pandemic encourages a rethinking of the environment’s role, especially in cities. Cities are trying to provide the best suitable strategies and regulations to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and an example of that is Amman city. Amman has a high increment in the number of COVID-19 infected people, while it has controlled the situation for months. For that, this paper studies the relation between COVID-19 and urban environmental studies cases about cities around the world, and learns from their models to face COVID-19. In Amman, people’s behavior has changed towards public transportation and public green spaces. N­ew governmental regulations focus on increasing people’s mental awareness, supporting local businesses, and enhancing neighborhood planning that can help Amman to face any future pandemics.

Keywords: COVID-19, urban environment, urban planning, urban resilience.

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42 Exploring the Perspective of Service Quality in mHealth Services during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Authors: Wan-I Lee, Nelio Mendoza Figueredo

Abstract:

The impact of COVID-19 has a significant effect on all sectors of society globally. Health information technology (HIT) has become an effective health strategy in this age of distancing. In this regard, Mobile Health (mHealth) plays a critical role in managing patient and provider workflows during the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, the users' perception of service quality about mHealth services plays a significant role in shaping confidence and subsequent behaviors regarding the mHealth users' intention of use. This study's objective was to explore levels of user attributes analyzed by a qualitative method of how health practitioners and patients are satisfied or dissatisfied with using mHealth services; and analyzed the users' intention in the context of Taiwan during the COVID-19 pandemic. This research explores the experienced usability of a mHealth services during the Covid-19 pandemic. This study uses qualitative methods that include in-depth and semi-structured interviews that investigate participants' perceptions and experiences and the meanings they attribute to them. The five cases consisted of health practitioners, clinic staff, and patients' experiences using mHealth services. This study encourages participants to discuss issues related to the research question by asking open-ended questions, usually in one-to-one interviews. The findings show the positive and negative attributes of mHealth service quality. Hence, the significant importance of patients' and health practitioners' issues on several dimensions of perceived service quality is system quality, information quality, and interaction quality. A concept map for perceptions regards to emergency uses' intention of mHealth services process is depicted. The findings revealed that users pay more attention to "Medical care", "ease of use" and "utilitarian benefits" and have less importance for "Admissions and Convenience" and "Social influence". To improve mHealth services, the mHealth providers and health practitioners should better manage users' experiences to enhance mHealth services. This research contributes to the understanding of service quality issues in mHealth services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Keywords: COVID-19, mobile health, mHealth, service quality, use intention.

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41 Controlled Vocabularies and Information Retrieval: 1918 Pandemic’s Scientific Literature as an Example

Authors: M. Garcia-Alsina, J. Cobarsí

Abstract:

The role of controlled vocabularies in information retrieval is broadly recognized as a relevant feature. Besides, there is a standing demand that editors and databases should consider the effective introduction of controlled vocabularies in their procedures to index scientific literature. That is especially important because information retrieval is pointed out as a significant point to drive systematic literature review. Hence, a first question emerges: Are the controlled vocabularies at this moment considered? On the other hand, subject searching in the catalogs is complex mainly due to the dichotomy between keywords from authors versus keywords based on controlled vocabularies. Finally, there is some demand to unify the terminology related to health to make easier the medical history exploitation and research. Considering these features, this paper focuses on controlled vocabularies related to the health field and their role for storing, classifying, and retrieving relevant literature. The objective is knowing which role plays the controlled vocabularies related to the health field to index and retrieve research literature in data bases such as Web of Science (WoS) and Scopus. So, this exploratory research is grounded over two research questions: 1) Which are the terms considered in specific controlled vocabularies of the health field; and 2) How papers are indexed in relevant databases to be easily retrieved, considering keywords vs specific health’ controlled vocabularies? This research takes as fieldwork the controlled vocabularies related to health and the scientific interest for 1918 flu pandemic, also known equivocally as ‘Spanish flu’. This interest has been fostered by the emergence in the early 21st of epidemics of pneumonic diseases caused by virus. Searches about and with controlled vocabularies on WoS and Scopus databases are conducted. First results of this work in progress are surprising. There are different controlled vocabularies for the health field, into which the terms collected and preferred related to ‘1918 pandemic’ are identified. To summarize, ‘Spanish influenza epidemic’ or ‘Spanish flu’ are collected as not preferred terms. The preferred terms are: ‘influenza’ or ‘influenza pandemic, 1918-1919’. Although the controlled vocabularies are clear in their election, most of the literature about ‘1918 pandemic’ is retrievable either by ‘Spanish’ or by ‘1918’ disjunct, and the dominant word to retrieve literature is ‘Spanish’ rather than ‘1918’. This is surprising considering the existence of suitable controlled vocabularies related to health topics, and the modern guidelines of World Health Organization concerning naming of diseases that point out to other preferred terms. A first conclusion is the failure of using controlled vocabularies for a field such as health, and in consequence for WoS and Scopus. This research opens further research questions about which is the role that controlled vocabularies play in the instructions to authors that journals deliver to documents’ authors.

Keywords: Controlled vocabularies, indexing, 1918 influenza, information retrieval, keywords, 1918 pandemic, scientific databases.

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40 Stochastic Impact Analysis of COVID-19 on Karachi Stock Exchange

Authors: Syeda Maria Ali Shah, Asif Mansoor, Talat Sharafat Rehmani, Safia Mirza

Abstract:

The stock market of any country acts as a predictor of the economy. The spread of the COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted the global financial markets. Besides, it has also critically affected the economy of Pakistan. In this study, we consider the role of the Karachi Stock Exchange (KSE) with regard to the Pakistan Stock Exchange and quantify the impact on macroeconomic variables in presence of COVID-19. The suitable macroeconomic variables are used to quantify the impact of COVID-19 by developing the stochastic model. The sufficiency of the computed model is attained by means of available techniques in the literature. The estimated equations are used to forecast the impact of pandemic on macroeconomic variables. The constructed model can help the policymakers take counteractive measures for restricting the influence of viruses on the Karachi Stock Market.

Keywords: COVID-19, Karachi Stock Market, macroeconomic variables, stochastic model, forecasting.

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39 Fighting COVID-19: Lessons and Experience from the World’s Largest Economies

Authors: Xiaowen Zhang, Wanda Luen-Wun Siu

Abstract:

The paper reviews the insights gained in combating COVID-19 in the US, Japan, and China. After evaluation and investigation, we found that China’s and Japan’s experience of fighting COVID-19 is commendable. The Chinese government and the Japanese administration have implemented highly effective governance and public health course of action to fight COVID-19. Government-led epidemic control with a staunch belief in science can roll out effective pandemic control strategies. In contrast, the US failed to react to COVID-19 effectively. The relaxed public health measures of ending shutdowns prematurely were not working. When the US keeps business open after the spring shutdown, COVID-19 cases are soaring. Such experiences inform us effective governance and a mandatory and stricter approach can better curb a pandemic than milder measures in handling a public health emergency. And China and Japan, where collectivistic culture reins, can better maneuver a public health crisis with collective efforts.

Keywords: COVID-19, China, Japan, US.

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38 Investigating Technical and Pedagogical Considerations in Producing Screen Recorded Videos

Authors: M. Nikafrooz, J. Darsareh

Abstract:

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, its impacts on education all over the world, and the problems arising from the use of traditional methods in education during the pandemic, it was necessary to apply alternative solutions to achieve educational goals. In this regard, electronic content production through screen recording became popular among many teachers. However, the production of screen-recorded videos requires special technical and pedagogical considerations. The purpose of this study was to extract and present the technical and pedagogical considerations for producing screen-recorded videos to provide a useful and comprehensive guideline for e-content producers. This study was applied research, the design was descriptive, and data collection has been done using qualitative method. In order to collect the data, 524 previously produced screen-recorded videos were evaluated by using an open-ended questionnaire. After collecting the data, they were categorized, and finally, 83 items as technical and pedagogical considerations in the form of 5 domains were determined. By applying such considerations, it is expected to decrease producing and editing time, increase the technical and pedagogical quality, and finally facilitate and enhance the processes of teaching and learning.

Keywords: E-learning, e-content, screen recorded-videos, screen recording software, technical and pedagogical considerations.

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37 Strategic Investment in Infrastructure Development to Facilitate Economic Growth in the United States

Authors: Arkaprabha Bhattacharyya, Makarand Hastak

Abstract:

The COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented in terms of its global reach and economic impacts. Historically, investment in infrastructure development projects has been touted to boost the economic growth of a nation. The State and Local governments responsible for delivering infrastructure assets work under tight budgets. Therefore, it is important to understand which infrastructure projects have the highest potential of boosting economic growth in the post-pandemic era. This paper presents relationships between infrastructure projects and economic growth. Statistical relationships between investment in different types of infrastructure projects (transit, water and wastewater, highways, power, manufacturing etc.) and indicators of economic growth are presented using historic data between 2002 and 2020 from the U.S. Census Bureau and U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). The outcome of the paper is the comparison of statistical correlations between investment in different types of infrastructure projects and indicators of economic growth. The comparison of the statistical correlations is useful in ranking the types of infrastructure projects based on their ability to influence economic prosperity. Therefore, investment in the infrastructures with the higher rank will have a better chance of boosting the economic growth. Once, the ranks are derived, they can be used by the decision-makers in infrastructure investment related decision-making process.

Keywords: Economic growth, infrastructure development, infrastructure projects, strategic investment.

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36 Affective (and Effective) Teaching and Learning in Higher Education: Getting Social Again

Authors: Laura Zizka, Gaby Probst

Abstract:

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the way Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) have given their courses. From emergency remote where all students and faculty were immediately confined to home teaching and learning, the continuing evolving sanitary situation obliged HEIs to adopt other methods of teaching and learning from blended courses that included both synchronous and asynchronous courses and activities to HyFlex models where some students were on campus while others followed the course simultaneously online. Each semester brought new challenges for HEIs and, subsequently, additional emotional reactions. This paper investigates the affective side of teaching and learning in various online modalities and its toll on students and faculty members over the past three semesters. The findings confirm that students and faculty who have more self-efficacy, flexibility, and resilience reported positive emotions and embraced the opportunities that these past semesters have offered. While HEIs have begun a new semester in an attempt to return to ‘normal’ face-to-face courses, this paper posits that there are lessons to be learned from these past three semesters. The opportunities that arose from the challenge of the pandemic should be considered when moving forward by focusing on a greater emphasis on the affective aspect of teaching and learning in HEIs worldwide. 

Keywords: affective teaching and learning, engagement, interaction, motivation, social presence

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35 Artificial Intelligence-Based Chest X-Ray Test of COVID-19 Patients

Authors: Dhurgham Al-Karawi, Nisreen Polus, Shakir Al-Zaidi, Sabah Jassim

Abstract:

The management of COVID-19 patients based on chest imaging is emerging as an essential tool for evaluating the spread of the pandemic which has gripped the global community. It has already been used to monitor the situation of COVID-19 patients who have issues in respiratory status. There has been increase to use chest imaging for medical triage of patients who are showing moderate-severe clinical COVID-19 features, this is due to the fast dispersal of the pandemic to all continents and communities. This article demonstrates the development of machine learning techniques for the test of COVID-19 patients using Chest X-Ray (CXR) images in nearly real-time, to distinguish the COVID-19 infection with a significantly high level of accuracy. The testing performance has covered a combination of different datasets of CXR images of positive COVID-19 patients, patients with viral and bacterial infections, also, people with a clear chest. The proposed AI scheme successfully distinguishes CXR scans of COVID-19 infected patients from CXR scans of viral and bacterial based pneumonia as well as normal cases with an average accuracy of 94.43%, sensitivity 95%, and specificity 93.86%. Predicted decisions would be supported by visual evidence to help clinicians speed up the initial assessment process of new suspected cases, especially in a resource-constrained environment.

Keywords: COVID-19, chest x-ray scan, artificial intelligence, texture analysis, local binary pattern transform, Gabor filter.

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34 Social Influences on Americans' Mask-Wearing Behavior during COVID-19

Authors: Ruoya Huang, Ruoxian Huang, Edgar Huang

Abstract:

Based on a convenience sample of 2,092 participants from across all 50 states of the United States, a survey was conducted to explore Americans’ mask-wearing behaviors during COVID-19 according to their political convictions, religious beliefs, and ethnic cultures from late July to early September, 2020. The purpose of the study is to provide evidential support for government policymaking so as to drive up more effective public policies by taking into consideration the variance in these social factors. It was found that the respondents’ party affiliation or preference, religious belief, and ethnicity, in addition to their health condition, gender, level of concern of contracting COVID-19, all affected their mask-wearing habits both in March, the initial coronavirus outbreak stage, and in August, when mask-wearing had been made mandatory by state governments. The study concludes that pandemic awareness campaigns must be run among all citizens, especially among African Americans, Muslims, and Republicans, who have the lowest rates of wearing masks, in order to protect themselves and others. It is recommended that complementary cognitive bias awareness programs should be implemented in non-Black and non-Muslim communities to eliminate social concerns that deter them from wearing masks.

Keywords: COVID-19 pandemic, ethnicity, mask-wearing, policymaking implications, political affiliations, religious beliefs, United States.

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33 Financial Technology: The Key to Achieving Financial Inclusion in Developing Countries Post COVID-19 from an East African Perspective

Authors: Yosia Mulumba, Klaus Schmidt

Abstract:

Financial Inclusion is considered a key pillar for development in most countries around the world. Access to affordable financial services in a country’s economy can be a driver to overcome poverty and reduce income inequalities, and thus increase economic growth. Nevertheless, the number of financially excluded populations in developing countries continues to be very high. This paper explores the role of Financial Technology (Fintech) as a key driver for achieving financial inclusion in developing countries post the COVID-19 pandemic with an emphasis on four East African countries: Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and Rwanda. The research paper is inspired by the positive disruption caused by the pandemic, which has compelled societies in East Africa to adapt and embrace the use of financial technology innovations, specifically Mobile Money Services (MMS), to access financial services. MMS has been further migrated and integrated with other financial technology innovations such as Mobile Banking, Micro Savings, and Loans, and Insurance, to mention but a few. These innovations have been adopted across key sectors such as commerce, health care, or agriculture. The research paper will highlight the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) that are behind MMS, along with numerous innovative products and services being offered to the customers. It will also highlight the regulatory framework under which these innovations are being governed to ensure the safety of the customers' funds.

Keywords: Financial inclusion, financial technology, regulatory framework, mobile money services.

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32 The Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Acute Urology Admissions in a Busy District General Hospital in the UK

Authors: D. Bheenick, M. Young, M. Elmussareh, A. Ali

Abstract:

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has had unprecedented effects on the healthcare system in the UK. The pandemic has impacted every service within secondary care, including urology. Our objective is to determine how COVID-19 has influenced acute urology admissions in a busy district general hospital in the UK. To conduct the study, retrospective data of patients presenting acutely to the urology department were collected between January 13 to March 22, 2020 (pre-lockdown period) and March 23 to May 31, 2020 (lockdown period). The nature of referrals, types of admission encountered, and management required in accordance with the new set of protocols established during the lockdown period were analysed and compared to the same data prior to UK lockdown. Included in the study were 1092 patients. The results show that an overall reduction of 32.5% was seen in the total number of admissions. A marked decrease was seen in non-urological pathology as compared to other categories. Urolithiasis showed the highest proportional increase. Treatment varied proportionately to the diagnosis, with conservative management accounting for the most likely treatment during lockdown. However, the proportion of patients requiring interventions during the lockdown period increased overall. No comparative differences were observed during the two periods in terms of source of referral, length of stay and patient age. The results of the study concluded that the admission rate showed a decrease, with no significant difference in the nature and timing of presentation. Our department was able to continue providing effective management to patients presenting acutely during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Keywords: COVID-19, lockdown, admissions, urology

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31 The COVID-19 Pandemic: Lessons Learned in Promoting Student Internationalisation

Authors: David Cobham

Abstract:

In higher education, a great degree of importance is placed on the internationalisation of the student experience. This is seen as a valuable contributor to elements such as building confidence, broadening knowledge, creating networks, and connections and enhancing employability for current students who will become the next generation of managers in technology and business. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected all areas of people’s lives. The limitations of travel coupled with the fears and concerns generated by the health risks have dramatically reduced the opportunity for students to engage with this agenda. Institutions of higher education have been required to rethink fundamental aspects of their business model from recruitment and enrolment, through learning approaches, assessment methods and the pathway to employment. This paper presents a case study which focuses on student mobility and how the physical experience of being in another country either to study, to work, to volunteer or to gain cultural and social enhancement has of necessity been replaced by alternative approaches. It considers trans-national education as an alternative to physical study overseas, virtual mobility and internships as an alternative to international work experience and adopting collaborative on-line projects as an alternative to in-person encounters. The paper concludes that although these elements have been adopted to address the current situation, the lessons learnt and the feedback gained suggests that they have contributed successfully in new and sometimes unexpected ways, and that they will persist beyond the present to become part of the "new normal" for the future. That being the case, senior leaders of institutions of higher education will be required to revisit their international plans and to rewrite their international strategies to take account of and build upon these changes.

Keywords: Trans-national education, internationalisation, higher education management, virtual mobility.

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30 The Loess Regression Relationship Between Age and BMI for both Sydney World Masters Games Athletes and the Australian National Population

Authors: Joe Walsh, Mike Climstein, Ian Timothy Heazlewood, Stephen Burke, Jyrki Kettunen, Kent Adams, Mark DeBeliso

Abstract:

Thousands of masters athletes participate quadrennially in the World Masters Games (WMG), yet this cohort of athletes remains proportionately under-investigated. Due to a growing global obesity pandemic in context of benefits of physical activity across the lifespan, the BMI trends for this unique population was of particular interest. The nexus between health, physical activity and aging is complex and has raised much interest in recent times due to the realization that a multifaceted approach is necessary in order to counteract the obesity pandemic. By investigating age based trends within a population adhering to competitive sport at older ages, further insight might be gleaned to assist in understanding one of many factors influencing this relationship.BMI was derived using data gathered on a total of 6,071 masters athletes (51.9% male, 48.1% female) aged 25 to 91 years ( =51.5, s =±9.7), competing at the Sydney World Masters Games (2009). Using linear and loess regression it was demonstrated that the usual tendency for prevalence of higher BMI increasing with age was reversed in the sample. This trend in reversal was repeated for both male and female only sub-sets of the sample participants, indicating the possibility of improved prevalence of BMI with increasing age for both the sample as a whole and these individual sub-groups.This evidence of improved classification in one index of health (reduced BMI) for masters athletes (when compared to the general population) implies there are either improved levels of this index of health with aging due to adherence to sport or possibly the reduced BMI is advantageous and contributes to this cohort adhering (or being attracted) to masters sport at older ages.

Keywords: Aging, masters athlete, Quetelet Index, sport

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29 Sustainable Engineering Paradigm Shift in Digital Architecture, Engineering and Construction Ecology within Metaverse

Authors: Kwok Tak Kit

Abstract:

In the post COVID 19 pandemic, the demand for virtual world and digital economy accelerated and became more popular and the term Metaverse is now a hot topic in different sectors in the community and society. Digital technology development in augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and networks has become more mature in recent years, the racing of the application of Metaverse in different aspects is more vigorous. Metaverse in digital architectural, engineering and construction being one of the major players in future should not be overlooked. More understanding of Metaverse which includes the Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) industry is crucial and this is important for stakeholders in the AEC industry to start early development to match with the quick development, expansion and global trend of Metaverse.

Keywords: Metaverse, internet of things, smart city, NFTs, digital economy, blockchain.

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28 Multi-Criteria Nautical Ports Capacity and Services Planning

Authors: N. Perko, N. Kavran, M. Bukljaš, I. Berbić

Abstract:

This paper is a result of implemented research on proposed introduced methodology for nautical ports capacity planning by introducing a multi-criteria approach of defined criteria in the Adriatic Sea region. The purpose was analyzing the determinants - characteristics of infrastructure and services of nautical ports capacity allocated, especially nowadays due to COVID-19 pandemic, as crucial for successful operation of nautical ports. Giving the importance of the defined priorities for short-term and long-term planning is essential not only in terms of the development of nautical tourism, but also in terms of developing the maritime system, but unfortunately this is not always carried out. Evaluation of the use of resources should follow from a detailed analysis of all aspects of resources bearing in mind that nautical tourism used resources in a sustainable manner and generates effects in the tourism and maritime sectors. Consequently, identified multiplier effect of nautical tourism, which should be defined and quantified in detail, should be one of the major competitive products on the Croatian Adriatic and the Mediterranean. Research of nautical tourism is necessary to quantify the effects and required planning system development. In the future, the greatest threat to long-term sustainable development of nautical tourism can be its further uncontrolled or unlimited and undirected development, especially under pressure markedly higher demand than supply for new moorings in the Mediterranean. Results of this implemented research are applicable to nautical ports management and decision makers of maritime transport system development. This paper will present implemented research and obtained result - developed methodology for nautical port capacity planning - Port Capacity Planning Multi-criteria decision-making. A proposed methodological approach of multi-criteria capacity planning includes four criteria (spatial - transport, cost - infrastructure, ecological and organizational criteria, and additional services). The importance of the criteria and sub-criteria is evaluated and carried out the basis for a sensitivity analysis of the importance of the criteria and sub-criteria. Based on the analysis of the identified and quantified importance of certain criteria and sub-criteria as well as sensitivity analysis and analysis of changes of the quantified importance scientific and applicable results will be presented. These obtained results have practical applicability by management of nautical ports in the planning of increasing capacity and further development and for the adaptation of existing nautical ports. The obtained research is applicable and replicable in other seas and results are especially important and useful in this COVID-19 pandemic challenging maritime development framework.

Keywords: Adriatic Sea, capacity, infrastructures, maritime system, methodology, nautical ports, nautical tourism, service.

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27 Rapid Detection System of Airborne Pathogens

Authors: Shigenori Togashi, Kei Takenaka

Abstract:

We developed new processes which can collect and detect rapidly airborne pathogens such as the avian flu virus for the pandemic prevention. The fluorescence antibody technique is known as one of high-sensitive detection methods for viruses, but this needs up to a few hours to bind sufficient fluorescence dyes to viruses for detection. In this paper, we developed a mist-labeling can detect substitution viruses in a short time to improve the binding rate of fluorescent dyes and substitution viruses by the micro reaction process. Moreover, we developed the rapid detection system with the above “mist labeling”. The detection system set with a sampling bag collecting patient’s breath and a cartridge can detect automatically pathogens within 10 minutes.

Keywords: Viruses, Sampler, Mist, Detection, Fluorescent dyes, Microreaction.

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26 Implementing a Mobility Platform to Connect Hubs in Rural Areas

Authors: E. Neidhardt

Abstract:

Mobility, for many people, is an important factor in the satisfaction of daily needs and many people are dependent on public transport. In rural areas with a low population density, it is difficult to provide public transportation with sufficient coverage and frequency. Therefore, the available public transport is unattractive. As a result, people use their own car, which is not desirable from a sustainable point of view and not possible for children and elderly people. Sometimes people organize themselves and volunteer transport services are created. These services are similar to demand-oriented taxis. However, these transport services are usually independent from each other and from the available line-based public transport, limiting both their usability and sustainability. We have developed a platform to improve usability and sustainability by connecting the different demand-oriented transport offerings with the line-based public transport. The system was implemented and tested in a rural area in Germany, but the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic limited real live operation.

Keywords: demand-oriented, HubChain, living lab, public transport

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25 Investigating Real Ship Accidents with Descriptive Analysis in Turkey

Authors: İsmail Karaca, Ömer Söner

Abstract:

The use of advanced methods has been increasing day by day in the maritime sector, which is one of the sectors least affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. It is aimed to minimize accidents, especially by using advanced methods in the investigation of marine accidents. This research aimed to conduct an exploratory statistical analysis of particular ship accidents in the Transport Safety Investigation Center of Turkey database. 46 ship accidents, which occurred between 2010-2018, have been selected from the database. In addition to the availability of a reliable and comprehensive database, taking advantage of the robust statistical models for investigation is critical to improving the safety of ships. Thus, descriptive analysis has been used in the research to identify causes and conditional factors related to different types of ship accidents. The research outcomes underline the fact that environmental factors and day and night ratio have great influence on ship safety.

Keywords: Descriptive analysis, maritime industry, maritime safety, marine accident analysis.

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24 Investigation of Tbilisi City Atmospheric Air Pollution with PM in Usual and Emergency Situations Using the Observational and Numerical Modeling Data

Authors: N. Gigauri, V. Kukhalashvili, V. Sesadze, A. Surmava, L. Intskirveli

Abstract:

Pollution of the Tbilisi atmospheric air with PM2.5 and PM10 in usual and pandemic situations by using the data of 5 stationary observation points is investigated. The values of the statistical characteristic parameters of PM in the atmosphere of Tbilisi are analyzed and trend graphs are constructed. By means of analysis of pollution levels in the quarantine and usual periods the proportion of vehicle traffic in pollution of city is estimated. Experimental measurements of PM2.5, PM10 in the atmosphere have been carried out in different districts of the city and map of the distribution of their concentrations were constructed. It is shown that maximum pollution values are recorded in the city center and along major motorways. It is shown that the average monthly concentrations vary in the range of 0.6-1.6 Maximum Permissible Concentration (MPC). Average daily values of concentration vary at 2-4 days intervals. The distribution of PM10 generated as a result of traffic is numerical modeled. The modeling results are compared with the observation data.

Keywords: Air pollution, numerical modeling, PM2.5, PM10.

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23 Barriers and Drivers towards the Use of Childhood Vaccination Services by Undocumented Migrant Caregivers in Sabah, Malaysia: A Qualitative Analysis

Authors: Michal Christina Steven, Mohd. Yusof Hj Ibrahim, Haryati Abdul Karim, Prabakaran Dhanaraj, Kelly Alexius Mansin

Abstract:

After 27 years, Malaysia reported polio cases in 2019 involving the children of the undocumented migrants living in Sabah. These undocumented migrants present a significant challenge in achieving the elimination of vaccine-preventable diseases (VPD). Due to the recent polio outbreak among the undocumented migrant children in Sabah, an in-depth interview was conducted among the caregivers of undocumented migrant children to identify the barriers and drivers towards vaccinating their children. Financial barriers, legal citizenship status, language barrier, the COVID-19 pandemic, and physical barriers have been the barriers to access vaccination services by undocumented migrants. Five significant drivers for undocumented migrants to vaccinate their children are social influence, fear of disease, parental trust in healthcare providers, good support, and vaccine availability. Necessary action should be taken immediately to address the problems of vaccinating the children of undocumented migrants to prevent the re-emergence of VPD.

Keywords: Malaysia, polio, Sabah, undocumented migrants.

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22 Possibilities for Testing User Experience and User Interface Design on Mobile Devices

Authors: J. Berčík, A. Mravcová, J. Gálová, K. Neomániová

Abstract:

In an era when everything is increasingly digital, consumers are always looking for new options in solutions to their everyday needs. In this context, mobile apps are developing at an exponential pace. One of the fastest growing segments of mobile technologies is, obviously, e-commerce. It can be predicted that mobile commerce will record nearly three times the global growth of e-commerce across all platforms, which indicates its importance in the given segment. The current coronavirus pandemic is also changing many of the existing paradigms both socially, economically, and technologically, which has a major impact on changing consumer behavior and the emphasis on simplification and clarity of mobile solutions. This is the area that User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI) designers deal with. Their task is to design a sufficiently attractive and interesting solution that will be available on all mobile devices and at the same time will be easy enough for the customer/visitor to get to the destination or to get the necessary information in a few clicks. The basis for changes in UX design can now be obtained not only through online analytical tools, but also through neuromarketing, especially in the case of mobile devices. The paper highlights possibilities for testing UX design applications on mobile devices using a special platform that combines a stationary eye camera (eye tracking) and facial analysis (facial coding).

Keywords: Emotions, mobile design, user experience, visual attention.

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