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      Reflections on trust and COVID-19: do politics, medicine and the environment need each other?


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          This short article is centred on how trust can be a valuable resource for developing cognate responses to the COVID-19 pandemic in the medical and social sciences. Politics and medicine can learn from each other. Governments need to persuade individuals to adapt their behaviours, and such persuasion will be all the more convincing in that it is nested in social networks. Trust in government requires consistent (benevolent, performative and joined-up) explanations. The distinction between hard medical and soft social science blurs when patients/citizens are required to be active participants in combatting a pandemic virus.

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          Most cited references 16

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          Indirect effects of COVID-19 on the environment

          This research aims to show the positive and negative indirect effects of COVID-19 on the environment, particularly in the most affected countries such as China, USA, Italy, and Spain. Our research shows that there is a significant association between contingency measures and improvement in air quality, clean beaches and environmental noise reduction. On the other hand, there are also negative secondary aspects such as the reduction in recycling and the increase in waste, further endangering the contamination of physical spaces (water and land), in addition to air. Global economic activity is expected to return in the coming months in most countries (even if slowly), so decreasing GHG concentrations during a short period is not a sustainable way to clean up our environment.
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            Demographic and attitudinal determinants of protective behaviours during a pandemic: A review

            Purpose. A new strain of H1N1 influenza, also known as swine flu was confirmed in the UK in May 2009 and has spread to over 100 countries around the world causing the World Health Organization to declare a global flu pandemic. The primary objectives of this review are to identify the key demographic and attitudinal determinants of three types of protective behaviour during a pandemic: preventive, avoidant, and management of illness behaviours, in order to describe conceptual frameworks in which to better understand these behaviours and to inform future communications and interventions in the current outbreak of swine flu and subsequent influenza pandemics. Methods. Web of Science and PubMed databases were searched for references to papers on severe acute respiratory syndrome, avian influenza/flu, H5N1, swine influenza/flu, H1N1, and pandemics. Forward searching of the identified references was also carried out. In addition, references were gleaned from an expert panel of the Behaviour and Communications sub‐group of the UK Scientific Pandemic Influenza Advisory Group. Papers were included if they reported associations between demographic factors, attitudes, and a behavioural measure (reported, intended, or actual behaviour). Results. Twenty‐six papers were identified that met the study inclusion criteria. The studies were of variable quality and most lacked an explicit theoretical framework. Most were cross‐sectional in design and therefore not predictive over time. The research shows that there are demographic differences in behaviour: being older, female and more educated, or non‐White, is associated with a higher chance of adopting the behaviours. There is evidence that greater levels of perceived susceptibility to and perceived severity of the diseases and greater belief in the effectiveness of recommended behaviours to protect against the disease are important predictors of behaviour. There is also evidence that greater levels of state anxiety and greater trust in authorities are associated with behaviour. Conclusions. The findings from this review can be broadly explained by theories of health behaviour. However, theoretically driven prospective studies are required to further clarify the relationship between demographic factors, attitudes, and behaviour. The findings suggest that intervention studies and communication strategies should focus on particular demographic groups and on raising levels of perceived threat of the pandemic disease and belief in the effectiveness of measures designed to protect against it.
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              Alarming trends in US domestic violence during the COVID-19 pandemic

              The COVID-19 pandemic caused by the acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has caused significant destruction worldwide. In the United States (US) as of April 18, 2020 there were 690,714 reported cases and 35,443 deaths [1]. In order to curb the spread of SARS-CoV-2 quarantines, social isolation, travel restrictions and stay-at-home orders have been adopted [2,3]. While many states in the US implement stay-at-home orders differently, in most cases individuals are expected to stay indoors except for essential activities (e.g., obtaining food, medication, medical treatment) or for work in essential businesses (e.g., health care, essential infrastructure operations). Although these measures can be effective to control the spread of disease, they have a profound impact on society leading to social, financial and psychological repercussions. Isolation may expose or worsen vulnerabilities due to a lack of established social support systems. The temporary shutdown of non-essential businesses has led to unemployed and economic strain [4]. Quarantine conditions are associated with alcohol abuse, depression, and post-traumatic stress symptoms [5]. Stay-at-home orders may cause a catastrophic milieu for individuals whose lives are plagued by domestic violence (DV). DV usually occurs in a domestic space when one individual holds power over another. DV is a broad term and typically includes intimate partner violence (IPV) (e.g., usually occurs between current or former intimate partners and includes stalking, psychological, sexual and physical violence) elder abuse (e.g., involves negligent or intentional acts which cause harm) and child abuse (e.g., includes neglect, physical harm, sexual violence, and emotional harm) [6]. However, for the purpose of report we will primarily refer to DV as it pertains to IPV. Forms of DV such as IPV are unfortunately quite common. According to the CDC, approximately 1 in 4 women and 1 in 10 men report experiencing some form of IPV each year [7]. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic trends regarding DV are already starting to emerge on a global scale. Reports from local police near the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in China's Hubei province, indicate that DV tripled during February 2020 compared to February 2019 [8]. Also, according to the United Nations entity UN Women, DV reports in France have increased 30% since they initiated a March 17 lockdown. DV calls in Argentina have increased 25% since their March 20 lockdown [9]. The organization also reports a 30% increase in helpline calls in Cyprus and 33% increase in Singapore [9]. However, in the US, the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on DV is just beginning to be realized via anecdotal reports since there is limited data available to assess how DV has changed following implementation of stay-at-home orders. Data from US police departments provide some early insight into the effect COVID-19 has had on DV in some regions. For instance, in Portland, Oregon public schools closed March 16, 2020 and on March 23 came stay-at-home orders [10]. Following these events, the Portland Police Bureau recorded a 22% increase in arrests related to DV compared to prior weeks [11]. In San Antonio, Texas schools closed March 20, 2020 and stay-at-home orders came March 24 [12]. The San Antonio Police Department subsequently noted they received an 18% increase in calls pertaining to family violence in March 2020 compared to March 2019 [13]. In Jefferson County Alabama, the Sheriff's Office reported a 27% increase in DV calls during March 2020 compared to March 2019 [14]. In New York City schools closed March 16, 2020 and stay-at-home orders started on March 22, 2020 [15]. During the month of March, the New York City Police Department responded to a 10% increase in DV reports compared to March 2019 [16] [Fig. 1A & B]. Fig. 1 (A). Percent increase in US domestic violence in the locations studied in 2020. (B). Percent increase in US domestic violence in the locations studied 2020. Fig. 1 Reports of shootings in Philadelphia have increased since the state enacted its stay-at-home orders on April 01, 2020 [17]. According to data published by the City of Philadelphia, the number of shooting victims has increased approximately 7% during the period of April 01, 2020 to April 15, 2020 compared to the same time last year [18]. This cursory analysis illustrates that stay-at-home orders may create a worst-case scenario for individuals suffering from DV and demonstrates a need for further research. With the apparent rise in DV reports, there is a need for more current and standardized modalities of reporting actionable DV data. First responders, physicians and other healthcare personal need to be made aware of the potential for increased DV during the COVID-19 pandemic so they can respond appropriately. Steps could also be taken on an administrative level to make IPV screening tools more readily available in clinical settings and media outlets should be utilized to raise awareness. Social media should also be leveraged while stay-at-home orders are in place to reach a wider audience and provide support. Overall, it is vital that health care providers do not lose sight of the increased potential for violence while fighting this global pandemic since they may be the first point of contact for survivors. Funding None. Declaration of competing interest Authors declare no competing interests.

                Author and article information

                UCL Open Environ
                UCL Open Environment
                UCL Open Environ
                UCL Press (UK )
                27 August 2020
                : 2
                [1 ]Department of Government and International Studies, Hong Kong Baptist University, Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong
                [2 ]Preventive and Occupational Medicine, University Hospital of Clermont-Ferrand (CHU), Clermont-Ferrand, France
                [3 ]Department of Sport, Physical Education and Health, Hong Kong Baptist University, Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong
                Author notes
                *Corresponding author: Email: alistaircole@
                © 2020 The Authors.

                This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) 4.0, which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

                Page count
                References: 14, Pages: 5
                The corresponding author acknowledges and is grateful for the financial support of the Hong Kong Baptist University, Research Committee, Initiation Grant – Faculty Niche Research Areas (IG-FNRA) 2019/20.
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