Global Impact

Economy

Environment

Ethics

Equity, Diversity, Inclusion

Politics

Public Health


Economy

Global socioeconomic implications of the COVID-19 pandemic

Bottom Line: The COVID-19 pandemic has had a detrimental effect on several aspects of human life. Measures taken to control this pandemic have led to a decrease in workforce across all economic sectors and has caused many jobs to be lost. Worldwide, the socioeconomic effects from this pandemic have sparked a fear of impending economic […]

Marked increase in market uncertainty due to COVID-19

Bottom Line: The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a marked increase in market uncertainty. Reference: Baker, S.R. et al. COVID-Induced Economic Uncertainty. National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper Series, No. 26983 (2020). DOI: 10.3386/w26983 Date Published: April 2020 Synopsis: Many aspects surrounding COVID-19 are extremely uncertain. These include the long-term capacity of healthcare systems, when […]

The Global Macroeconomic Impacts of COVID-19: Seven Scenarios

Bottom Line: COVID-19 will have massive economic effects on labour supply, commerce, and GDP. Reference: McKibbin, W.J. & Fernando, R. The Global Macroeconomic Impacts of COVID-19: Seven Scenarios. CAMA Working Paper No. 19/2020 (2020). https://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3547729 Date Published: 4 March 2020 Synopsis: This article produces a predictive economic model for the COVID-19 pandemic by using historical […]


Environment

Impact of climate and public health interventions on the COVID-19 pandemic

Bottom Line: Epidemic growth is associated with humidity and the degree of public health measures including social distancing, school closures, and restrictions on mass gatherings. Reference: Jüni, P. et al. Impact of climate and public health interventions on the COVID-19 pandemic: A prospective cohort study. CMAJ (2020). https://doi.org/10.1503/cmaj.200920 Date Published: 25 May 2020 Synopsis: The decline […]

The effect of COVID-19 on air pollution

Bottom Line: Early data demonstrates a marked reduction in air pollution, specifically NO2 and CO2, both produced by burning fossil fuels. It is estimated that even if the observed figures were underestimated, there would be at minimum a 6% reduction in pollution related illness over two months, preventing the death of roughly 100,000 pollution-related deaths […]

What is the impact of COVID-19 on global air and water quality?

Bottom Line: The reduction of economic and leisure activities resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic has improved global air and water quality, but has also increased the production of medical wastes. Reference: Saadat, S. et al. Environmental perspective of COVID-19. Science of The Total Environment (2020). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.138870 Date Published: 22 April 2020 Synopsis: As a result of […]

Climate Variability and COVID-19

Bottom Line: The current study estimates an approximate 60-70% reduction in the transmission of COVID-19 during the summer months due to lower spread in warmer weather. These estimations are rough as spread relies heavily on other factors such as population density, the effectiveness of preventative measures, and climate conditions.  Reference: Spiridonov, V. et al. Climate […]


Ethics

For a comprehensive resource bank focused on the ethics around COVID-19, you can also visit The COVID-19 Ethics Resource Hub ! This is a resource bank created by U of T medical students for medical students, health professionals, and the public to learn more about ethical issues in the COVID-19 pandemic. These include: resource allocation and scarcity, health equity, research ethics and vaccine development, moral distress of health care providers, and more. References span across various media including academic journal articles, news articles, magazine pieces, op-eds, and podcasts.

CPR in the Covid-19 Era — An Ethical Framework

Bottom Line: With an increasing number of COVID-19 cases, the typical assumptions regarding the provision of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) are challenged. This article summarizes the underlying issues and proposes an ethical framework with recommendations for crisis standards of patient care. Reference: Kramer, D.B., Lo, B. & Dickert, N.W. CPR in the Covid-19 Era—An Ethical Framework. New […]

The Equitable Distribution of COVID-19 Therapeutics and Vaccines

Bottom Line: Future relief from COVID-19 should be provided in a equitable manner through the collaboration of world powers. Reference: Bollyky, T.J., Gostin, L.O. & Hamburg, M.A. The Equitable Distribution of COVID-19 Therapeutics and Vaccines. JAMA (2020). DOI: 10.1001/jama.2020.6641 Date: 7 May 2020 Synopsis: Currently, there are several vaccine candidates for COVID-19 in trials and […]

Facing Covid-19 in Italy: Ethics, Logistics, and Therapeutics on the Epidemic’s Front Line

Bottom Line: In Italy, resource scarcity in hospitals resulted in an ethical dilemma of deciding which patient gets access to the limited number of ventilators. The article discusses important process–related principles when approaching resource scarcity and highlights the importance of transparency and inclusivity in patient care. Reference: Rosenbaum, L. Facing Covid-19 in Italy—ethics, logistics, and […]

Hydroxychloroquine: A Potential Ethical Dilemma for Rheumatologists during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Bottom Line: Chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine are two antimalarial drugs commonly used in  the treatment of rheumatic diseases. However, these medications have recently attracted media attention with the idea that these drugs may play a role in the management of COVID-19. This creates an ethical dilemma involving resource scarcity and resource allocation away from routine rheumatology […]

The ethics and science behind the COVID-19 social distancing interventions

Bottom Line: The scientific and ethical basis for quarantine and social distancing are multifaceted, and their effectiveness depends on the credibility of  public health authorities, as well as the transparency of political leaders and institutions. Reference: Lewnard, J.A. & Nathan, C.L. Scientific and ethical basis for social-distancing interventions against COVID-19. The Lancet. Infectious diseases (2020). https://doi.org/10.1016/S1473-3099(20)30190-0 Date […]

Allocation of scarce medical resources during the COVID-19 pandemic

Bottom Line: In a time of resource scarcity, the following six recommendations should be used to develop guidelines that can lead to optimal and equal treatment of individuals at risk: maximizing benefits, PPE priority to frontline workers, random selection, prioritization of populations at risk, prioritization of participants in clinical trials, and fair allocation of resources […]

What are the guiding principles being discussed regarding prioritization of limited resources to younger patients?

Bottom Line: Principles guiding prioritization of limited resources to younger patients during the COVID-19 pandemic are discussed.  Reference: Archard, D. & Caplan, A. Is it wrong to prioritize younger patients with covid-19? BMJ (2020). https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.m1509 Date Published:  22 April 2020  Synopsis: The principles guiding resource reallocation have been recently brought to public attention by the […]


Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

Women in Asia and the Pacific are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19

Bottom Line : United Nations surveys demonstrate women in Asia and the Pacific are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. Reference: UN Women. Surveys show that COVID-19 has gendered effects in Asia and the Pacific. [Internet]. 2020 April 29. Available from: https://data.unwomen.org/resources/surveys-show-covid-19-has-gendered-effects-asia-and-pacific Note: this is not a peer-reviewed article. Date Published: 29 April 2020 Synopsis: Two weeks […]

Are school closures due to COVID-19 putting the learning of children from lower income households at risk?

Bottom Line: Widespread school closures places the health and learning needs of children in lower income households at risk. Reference: Lancker, W.V. & Parolin, Z. COVID-19, school closures, and child poverty: a social crisis in the making. Lancet Public Health (2020). https://doi.org/10.1016/S2468-2667(20)30084-0 Date Published: 7 April 2020 Synopsis: The implementation of school closures across approximately […]

COVID-19: Are control measures inclusive and equitable?

Bottom Line: Failure to respect the needs of vulnerable groups will seriously undermine response efforts to minimize the spread of COVID-19. Reference: Berger, Z.D. et al. Covid-19: control measures must be equitable and inclusive. BMJ (2020). https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.m1141  Date Published: 20 March 2020 Synopsis: The risks of COVID-19 disproportionately affect those from vulnerable populations (i.e. those […]


Political Impact

COVID-19 and Job Losses Will Test the US Health Insurance Safety Net

Bottom Line: The Affordable Care Act and Medicaid expansions are a safety net providing Americans with health insurance following the widespread loss of employment-based health insurance during the current economic crisis. Reference: Levitt L. COVID-19 and Massive Job Losses Will Test the US Health Insurance Safety Net. JAMA Health Forum. American Medical Association (2020). https://jamanetwork.com/channels/health-forum/fullarticle/2766729 […]


Public Health

COVID-19 and vaccination program planning

Bottom Line: The groundwork for public acceptance of a COVID-19 vaccine must be proactively started before a vaccine becomes available to maximize vaccination rates and ensure herd immunity.    Reference: DeRoo, S.S., Pudalov, N.J. & Fu, L.Y. Planning for a COVID-19 Vaccination Program. JAMA (2020). DOI: 10.1001/jama.2020.8711 Date Published: 18 May 2020 Synopsis: A long-term solution to […]

The UK’s public health response to COVID-19

Bottom Line: The UK was slower to react to the COVID-19 pandemic compared to other first world nations, resulting in 505.8 deaths per million population, higher than both the global and American averages. Reference: Scally, G., Jacobson, B. & Abbasi, K. The UK’s public health response to covid-19. BMJ (2020). https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.m1932  Date Published: 15 May […]

Using social and behavioural science to support COVID-19 pandemic response

Bottom Line: The COVID-19 pandemic represents a global health crisis that requires large-scale behavioural changes and places psychological burden on individuals. Insights from social and behavioral sciences can help in understanding and aligning public health responses in order to manage several aspects of this pandemic such as navigating threats and fear during a pandemic, social […]

Post-traumatic stress and psychological distress amongst healthcare workers during COVID-19 pandemic

Bottom Line: During an epidemic, healthcare workers have greater levels of both acute or post-traumatic stress and psychological distress. Effective intervention measures have been shown to help mitigate the psychological distress experienced by healthcare workers that are caring for affected patients in an emerging disease outbreak. Reference: Kisely, S. et al. Occurrence, prevention, and management […]

Lack of basic infection control and prevention measures in low-income countries

Bottom Line: Low-income countries lack basic infection control and prevention measures such as proper hand hygiene, as well as access to and proper use of personal protective equipment. Reference: Roder-DeWan, S. Health system quality in the time of COVID-19. The Lancet Global Health (2020). https://doi.org/10.1016/S2214-109X(20)30223-0 Date Published: 6 May 2020 Synopsis: The quality of the existing health […]

What is the role of TeleHealth in COVID-19?

Bottom Line: Telemedicine can play an important role in helping health systems respond to increased demand during the COVID-19 pandemic. Reference: Hollander, J.E. & Carr, B.G. Virtually perfect? Telemedicine for COVID-19. New England Journal of Medicine (2020). DOI: 10.1056/NEJMp2003539 Date Published: 30 April 2020 Synopsis: Telemedicine may be an effective method for responding to the COVID-19 crisis. […]

What is the role of shelter hospitals in the current COVID-19 Pandemic?

Bottom Line: Fangcang shelter hospitals can be a strong component of the national response for handling the current COVID-19 pandemic as well as for any future epidemics and public health emergencies. Reference: Chen, S. et al. Fangcang shelter hospitals: a novel concept for responding to public health emergencies. The Lancet (2020). https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30744-3 Date Published: 2 April 2020 […]

Impact of mass testing facilities and resolution of COVID-19 pandemic

Bottom Line: Mass testing facilities for COVID-19 could expedite the resolution of the COVID-19 pandemic. Reference: Peto, J. Covid-19 mass testing facilities could end the epidemic rapidly. BMJ (2020). https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.m1163  Date Published: 22 March 2020 Synopsis: There is an urgent need to establish the capacity to perform weekly SARS-CoV-2 testing for the entire UK population. This, […]

What is the interplay between COVID-19, cardiovascular disease and healthcare systems?

Bottom Line: It is imperative to consider the interplay between COVID-19, cardiovascular disease, and the various stakeholders including patients, healthcare workers and healthcare systems to improve the health of at-risk and infected patients. Reference: Driggin, E. et al. Cardiovascular considerations for patients, health care workers, and health systems during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Journal […]