Browsing by Subject "Covid-19"

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  • Kantele, Anu; Lääveri, Tinja; Kareinen, Lauri; Pakkanen, Sari H.; Blomgren, Karin; Mero, Sointu; Patjas, Anu; Virtanen, Jenni; Uusitalo, Ruut; Lappalainen, Maija; Järvinen, Asko; Kurkela, Satu; Jääskeläinen, Anne J.; Vapalahti, Olli; Sironen, Tarja (2021)
    Background: Exposure, risks and immunity of healthcare workers (HCWs), a vital resource during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, warrant special attention. Methods: HCWs at Helsinki University Hospital, Finland, filled in questionnaires and provided serum samples for SARS-CoV-2-specific antibody screening by Euroimmun IgG assay in March-April 2020. Positive/equivocal findings were confirmed by Abbott and microneutralization tests. Positivity by two of the three assays or RT-PCR indicated a Covid-19 case (CoV+). Results: The rate of CoV(+) was 3.3% (36/1095) and seropositivity 3.0% (33/1095). CoV(+) was associated with contact with a known Covid-19 case, and working on a Covid-19-dedicated ward or one with cases among staff. The rate in the Covid-19-dedicated ICU was negligible. Smoking and age Conclusion: Undiagnosed and asymptomatic cases among HCWs proved rare. An increased risk was associated with Covid-19-dedicated wards. Particularly high rates were seen for wards with liberal HCW-HCW contacts, highlighting the importance of social distancing also among HCWs.
  • Fadista, Joao; Kraven, Luke M.; Karjalainen, Juha; Andrews, Shea J.; Geller, Frank; Baillie, J. Kenneth; Wain, Louise; Jenkins, R. Gisli; Feenstra, Bjarke (2021)
    Background: Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a complex lung disease, characterized by progressive lung scarring. Severe COVID-19 is associated with substantial pneumonitis and has a number of shared major risk factors with IPF. This study aimed to determine the genetic correlation between IPF and severe COVID-19 and assess a potential causal role of genetically increased risk of IPF on COVID-19 severity. Methods: The genetic correlation between IPF and COVID-19 severity was estimated with linkage disequilib-rium (LD) score regression. We performed a Mendelian randomization (MR) study for IPF causality in COVID-19. Genetic variants associated with IPF susceptibility (P Findings: We detected a positive genetic correlation of IPF with COVID-19 severity (rg=0.31 [95% CI 0.04-0.57], P = 0.023). The MR estimates for severe COVID-19 did not reveal any genetic association (OR 1.05, [95% CI 0.92-1.20], P = 0.43). However, outlier analysis revealed that the IPF risk allele rs35705950 at MUC5B had a dif-ferent effect compared with the other variants. When rs35705950 was excluded, MR results provided evidence that genetically increased risk of IPF has a causal effect on COVID-19 severity (OR 1.21, [95% CI 1.06-1.38], P = 4.24 x 10(-3)). Furthermore, the IPF risk-allele at MUC5B showed an apparent protective effect against COVID-19 hospitalization only in older adults (OR 0.86, [95% CI 0.73-1.00], P = 2.99 x 10(-2)) . Interpretation: The strongest genetic determinant of IPF, rs35705950 at MUC5B, seems to confer protection against COVID-19, whereas the combined effect of all other IPF risk loci seem to confer risk of COVID-19 severity. The observed effect of rs35705950 could either be due to protective effects of mucin over-produc-tion on the airways or a consequence of selection bias due to (1) a patient group that is heavily enriched for the rs35705950 T undertaking strict self-isolation and/or (2) due to survival bias of the rs35705950 non-IPF risk allele carriers. Due to the diverse impact of IPF causal variants on SARS-CoV-2 infection, with a possible selection bias as an explanation, further investigation is needed to address this apparent paradox between variance at MUC5B and other IPF genetic risk factors. (C) 2021 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (
  • Wolff, Lili-Ann (2020)
    Humans have always lived in eras of more or less obvious crises and risks. When Ulrich Beck wrote about the risk society in 1986, he talked about risks as invisibility lacking spatial and temporal boundaries. The environmental risks of the modern society may often appear diffuse, even if, for example, the climate change dilemma has progressively become noticeable. However, this year, people on Earth have had to face a most obvious risk. The effects of Covid-19 have reached such proportions that the human world probably will never be the same again. However, the extent of jeopardies is not similar for all world inhabitants, neither are the tools to handle the risks. To face the threat and learn from it, humans need to change manners on many levels and in many social and physical areas. Some of the main questions to reflect on and discuss in this feature issue of Sustainability are: What will the most urgent role of sustainability education be now and in the future? What kind of teaching, learning and educational policies are most relevant? What issues are most crucial in sustainability education research?
  • Li, Tong; Zhang, Mingyang; Li, Yong; Lagerspetz, Eemil; Tarkoma, Sasu; Hui, Pan (2021)
    The outbreak of Covid-19 changed the world as well as human behavior. In this article, we study the impact of Covid-19 on smartphone usage. We gather smartphone usage records from a global data collection platform called Carat, including the usage of mobile users in North America from November 2019 to April 2020. We then conduct the first study on the differences in smartphone usage across the outbreak of Covid-19. We discover that Covid-19 leads to a decrease in users' smartphone engagement and network switches, but an increase in WiFi usage. Also, its outbreak causes new typical diurnal patterns of both memory usage and WiFi usage. Additionally, we investigate the correlations between smartphone usage and daily confirmed cases of Covid-19. The results reveal that memory usage, WiFi usage, and network switches of smartphones have significant correlations, whose absolute values of Pearson coefficients are greater than 0.8. Moreover, smartphone usage behavior has the strongest correlation with the Covid-19 cases occurring after it, which exhibits the potential of inferring outbreak status. By conducting extensive experiments, we demonstrate that for the inference of outbreak stages, both Macro-F1 and Micro-F1 can achieve over 0.8. Our findings explore the values of smartphone usage data for fighting against the epidemic.
  • Paananen, Jenny; Rannikko, Johanna; Harju, Maija; Pirhonen, Jari (2021)
    Objectives: The aim of this study is to examine the consequences of Covid-19-related isolation and social restrictions on the well-being of nursing home residents and their family members, and to analyze how distancing has affected the relationships of family members with residents and the nursing home staff. Design: The data consist of 41 thematic one-on-one interviews conducted during May–December 2020 with family members of nursing home residents. Convenience sampling was utilized by asking several nursing homes in different parts of Finland to relay a contact request from the researchers to the residents’ family members. The main themes of the interviews were lockdown and visiting restrictions. Subthemes included the frequency of visits, other means of interaction, changes in the relationships of family members with their loved ones and with nursing home staff, and the feelings aroused by the situation. The interviews were audio recorded and transcribed verbatim, resulting in 794 pages of data. Method: The qualitative study uses inductive content analysis. NVivo12 software facilitated the systematic coding of the data. Results: According to the family members, distancing aggravated the residents’ pre-existing conditions: they reported a sudden progression in memory disorders and significant deterioration in physical abilities, for example. Both residents and family members experienced anxiety, grief, and severe stress, and family members expressed concern that residents might die due to a lack of social contact and activity. Family members were also frustrated about not being able to touch their relatives or participate in their care, and therefore sometimes thought that their visits were useless. New forms of interaction with family members, introduced by the nursing homes, were appreciated. However, some family members perceived the interactional protocols as unfair and complained about insufficient information. Conclusions: The findings underline the need for nursing homes to implement a good interactional protocol. Overall, the results show that the measures taken to protect residents’ health during the Covid-19 outbreak were short-sighted in terms of the social dimension of well-being. It is therefore important to continue developing safe and humane solutions for interaction when social restrictions are in place. Tweetable abstract: Covid-19-related distancing has caused anxiety, grief, and severe stress for nursing home residents and their family members.
  • Jormanainen, Vesa; Soininen, Leena (IOS PRESS, 2021)
    In Finland, it is possible to quickly produce medical symptom selfassessment tools within the existing infrastructure. The Finnish Omaolo Covid-19 web-based symptom self-assessment tool (symptom checker) was launched on March 16, 2020 after a 6-day development period. By using the web-based Omaolo Covid-19 symptom checker during the second wave of the epidemic, some 1.72 million questionnaires were recorded, out of which 1.55 million from symptomatic persons. Some 15% of the responses (245,500) were directed to seek emergency medical care based on the online screening by respondent response profiles.
  • Patjas, M.; Vertanen-Greis, H.; Pietarinen, P.; Geneid, A. (2021)
    Purpose Due to the coronavirus disease of 2019 (COVID-19), teachers during the pandemic have had to adapt to online teaching at short notice. This study aims to investigate the voice symptoms and their environmental risk factors as well as the work ability associated with distance teaching and to compare these with symptoms in previous contact teaching. Methods We conducted a survey of 121 primary and secondary school teachers across Finland. The survey was advertised online through social media and the replies collected from voluntarily participating teachers. Results During distance teaching vocal symptoms appeared less often than in school with 71% teachers experiencing them in regular teaching and 44% in distance teaching, VHI result decreased from 7.88 in school teaching to 4.58 in distance teaching. Acoustic conditions were reported to be more suitable in distance teaching with 73% of teachers finding them adequate during distance teaching in comparison to 46% for those in regular teaching. Background noise was the most disturbing factor for a teacher's voice in the classroom and in distance teaching and this was even more conspicuous in the classroom. Also, subjectively experienced poor indoor air quality at school influenced the voice negatively. Further, voice problems were associated with increased subjective stress levels and reduced ability to work. Conclusion Distance teaching has affected teachers' voices in a positive way compared with regular teaching. This difference is likely to be due to better acoustics and indoor air quality in distance teaching conditions.
  • Ericsson, Emilia (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    31 december 2019 rapporterades en mängd olika fall av lunginflammation med okänd förklaringsgrund i staden Wuhan i Kina, som senare skulle få namnet Covid-19. WHO gick ut med att Covid-19 är en global pandemi 11 mars 2020. I denna magisteravhandling har syftet varit att undersöka vuxensocialarbetares erfarenheter och upplevelser om arbetshälsa under Covid-19 pandemin. Forskningen har använt blandade metoder och datainsamlingsmetoderna av internetenkät och semistrukturerade personliga intervjuer bland socialarbetare. Forskningsmaterialet analyserades med univariata analyser och med kvalitativ tematisk analys. Magisteravhandlingen utgår ifrån en blandad analys där o ena sidan det kvantitativa datat importeras till det kvalitativa datat och å andra sidan en abduktiv analys av materialet där teorin om den multidimensionella arbetshälsan (Baldschun, 2014) fungerade som inspiration. Det huvudsakliga forskningsmaterialet i denna forskning är det kvalitativa materialet från intervjuerna. Forskningsfrågorna i magisteravhandlingen var följande: 1. Hur förändrade Covid-19 pandemin vuxensocialarbete och vilken inverkan hade detta på arbetshälsan? 2. Hur beskriver vuxensocialarbetare sina upplevelser om sin arbetshälsa under Covid-19 pandemin? Socialarbetare som deltog i denna magisteravhandling upplevde att Covid-19 pandemin hade förändrat vuxensocialarbete på följande sätt. Under Covid-19 pandemin ökade distansarbete, flexibiliteten, digitala verktyg, digitala möten men fysiska möten med klienter var trots detta möjliga vid behov. Då socialarbetarna beskrev sina upplevelser av arbetshälsa under Covid-19 pandemin kunde sex olika dimensioner (Baldschun, 2014) urskiljas; affektiv, social, kognitiv, professionell, personlig och psykosomatisk dimension av arbetshälsan. Socialarbetare upplevde en ökad autonomi, känsla av ökad arbetseffektivitet och att ledarskapet litar mer på dem som experter vilket bidrar till att stärka arbetshälsan. Faktorer som bidrar till att sänka arbetshälsan bland socialarbetarna under Covid- 19 pandemin var bl.a. den psykiska belastningen, stora arbetsmängden, oro, mindre kontakt med kollegor, inställda kurser och arbetsplatsevenemang, mindre tillgängligt stöd från arbetsgemenskapen, sämre ergonomi, utmaningar i att återhämta sig från jobbet och Covid-19 pandemins restriktioners inverkan på fritidsaktiviteter och att träffa nära och kära. Det framkom en varierande syn på den kognitiva dimensionen av arbetshälsan eftersom alla är i behov av olika arbetsmiljöer för att koncentrera sig bäst, men för en del medförde Covid-19 pandemin en bättre koncentrationsförmåga, vilket stärker det kognitiva välmående.
  • Pasanen, Riikka Elina (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    Tutkielma tarkastelee kasvomaskikeskustelua Helsingin Sanomissa julkaistuissa mielipidekirjoituksissa vuonna 2020. Sen tavoitteena on selvittää, miten kansalaiset argumentoivat kasvomaskien ja niihin liittyvien politiikkatoimivaihtoehtojen puolesta ja niitä vastaan. Covid-19-pandemia on ajankohtainen ja tärkeä tutkimuskohde. Suun ja nenän alueen peittävät henkilökohtaiset suojaimet eli maskit ovat pandemian keskeisiä symboleja. Tutkimuksen teoreettinen viitekehys on Luc Boltanskin ja Laurent Thévenot’n kehittämä julkisen oikeuttamisen teoria ja siihen kuuluvat seitsemän oikeuttamisen maailmaa. Tutkimuksen aineisto koostuu 66 mielipidekirjoituksesta, joita on analysoitu laadullisen sisällönanalyysin keinoin. Analyysissa on selvitetty, mitä oikeuttamisen maailmoja ja argumentteja kansalaiset käyttävät esittäessään kannatusta ja kritiikkiä kasvomaskin käyttöä kohtaan sekä sitä, miten kirjoittajat tuovat esille Suomen maskisuosituksen ja mahdollisen maskipakon etuja ja haasteita oikeuttamisen maailmojen valossa. Helsingin Sanomien mielipidekirjoitukset ovat olleet pääosin maskien käytön kannalla jo ennen virallista maskisuositusta. Helsingin Sanomiin kirjoittaville mielipidekirjoitus on yhteiskunnallisen vaikuttamisen kanava, jonka kautta kirjoittajat yrittävät vaikuttaa päättäjiin. Päättäjille viestivät lehdessä aktiivisesti niin asiantuntijat, edustajat kuin yksilötkin. Analyysin perusteella asiantuntijat kirjoittivat aktiivisemmin kasvomaskeista päättäjille kuin yksityishenkilöt. Kansalaisille osoitetut kirjoitukset tulivat useimmiten toisilta kansalaisilta. Asiantuntijoiden ja yksityishenkilöiden repertuaareissa ovat osin eri oikeutusmaailmat. Aineiston perusteella moni kirjoittaja on kokenut elokuun puolessa välissä voimaan tulleen virallisen maskisuosituksen riittämättömäksi. Solidaarisuuden puutteen tai maskittomien itsekkyyden narratiivi johtaa kansalaisuuden maailman perusteluihin nojaavat kirjoittajat kritisoimaan suosituksia ja kannattamaan kansalaiset tasa-arvoistavaa maskipakkoa. Viranomaisten ristiriitainen viestintä ja muuttuvat linjaukset kasvomaskeista ovat luoneet poikkeustilanteessa otollisen areenan kansalaiskeskustelulle, johon myös asiantuntijat osallistuvat. Tämä poliittisen sosiologian alalle sijoittuva tapaustutkimus on siis myös demokratian toteutumisen tutkimusta ja maskin käyttöön liittyneiden politiikkatoimien vaikutusten arviointia. Kasvomaskeja yhteiskuntatieteellisestä näkökulmasta käsitteleviä tutkimuksia on julkaistu toistaiseksi hyvin vähän Suomessa ja maailmalla. Tämä tutkimus valottaa toistaiseksi erittäin vähän tutkittua aihetta ja lisää tietoa Covid-19-pandemian yhteiskunnallisista vaikutuksista tarjoten kiinnostavia lähtökohtia jatkotutkimukselle.
  • Lindholm, Fredrika Helena (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    Undersökningens syfte är att undersöka hur studerande som smittats av Covid-19 hanterar stigma och stigmatisering i sina berättelser om coronautbrottet i Vasa hösten 2020. Med andra ord intresserade jag mig för vad som händer då en tidigare neutral grupp, studeranden, blir förknippade med en smittsam sjukdom och den potentiella spridningen av den. Tidigare studier visar att det kan förekomma stigmatisering i samband med Covid-19 och för att tillföra något nytt på ett forskningsmässigt plan föll valet av den empiriska kontexten på Vasa. Som teoretisk referensram utgick jag ifrån Strongs (1990) teori om psykosociala epidemier och från Link och Phelans (2001) teori om stigma. Denna narrativa studie baserade sig på fem narrativa forskningsintervjuer med unga, svensktalande studerande, som varit bosatta i Vasa och blivit bekräftat smittade av Covid-19 under den aktuella tidsperioden (september-oktober 2020). Som analysmetod användes narrativ analys. I undersökningen visade det sig att, i stället för beskrivningar av upplevelser av stigmatisering, förekom det berättelser om hur man framgångsrikt hanterat situationen. Utöver detta blev det tydligt att informanterna avsade sig från potentiell skuld till ett riskfyllt beteende i sina berättelser. Det framträdande narrativet som betonar det egna beteendet som vanligt och enligt normerna sammanflätas med ett annat narrativt element som betonar insjuknandet och den lokala epidemin som en delad upplevelse i stället för en enskild och ensam olycka. Trots att informanternas coronaberättelser präglas av redogörelser kring samhörighet och ett gemensamt förhållningssätt till både coronahotet, insjuknandet och livet efter epidemin, är det tydligt att de som drabbades av coronasmitta under Vasaepidemin inte lyckats undvika stigmatisering från samhället utanför den egna gemenskapen.