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  1. May 2021
    1. The US has backed India and South Africa's bid to temporarily lift patent protection for COVID-19 vaccines. The support for an IP waiver by the WTO has left pharma companies dismayed and health activists asking for more.
    2. Access to COVID vaccine patents is not the same as access to vaccines
    1. 30-04-21

    2. Choe, Hyeryun, and Michael Farzan. ‘How SARS-CoV-2 First Adapted in Humans’. Science 372, no. 6541 (30 April 2021): 466–67. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.abi4711.

    3. DOI: 10.1126/science.abi4711
    4. Viruses need entry proteins to penetrate the cells where they will replicate. The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) version is called the spike or S protein. The S protein, also the target of the current vaccines, is quickly adapting to its new human hosts. It took its first major step in this direction early in 2020, when its amino acid 614 (of 1297) changed from an aspartic acid (D) to a glycine (G). Viruses bearing this D614G mutation transmit among humans more rapidly and now form the majority in circulation
    5. How SARS-CoV-2 first adapted in humans
    1. 13-04-21

    2. Page, Michael Le. ‘India Sees Record Surges in Cases Due to Coronavirus Variants’. New Scientist. Accessed 2 May 2021. https://www.newscientist.com/article/2274286-india-sees-record-surges-in-cases-due-to-coronavirus-variants/.

    3. Coronavirus cases are surging in many countries, with the highest number of new cases now being reported in Asia. India alone reported 161,736 new cases on 12 April. In the Indian city of Surat, parts of gas furnaces used for cremations melted after being used non-stop. Meanwhile, millions have been gathering for festivals across the country.
    4. India sees record surges in cases due to coronavirus variants
    1. Padma, T. V. ‘India’s COVID-Vaccine Woes — by the Numbers’. Nature 592, no. 7855 (15 April 2021): 500–501. https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-021-00996-y.

    2. 15-04-21

    3. doi: https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-021-00996-y
    4. India, one of the world’s biggest suppliers of vaccines, is facing a COVID-19 vaccine crunch, partly due to an explosion of cases linked to new variants. This spells trouble for many countries relying on Indian-made vaccines supplied through the COVAX initiative for equitable access to vaccines, led by bodies including the World Health Organization.
    5. India’s COVID-vaccine woes — by the numbers
  2. Apr 2021
    1. 14-04-21

    2. Lodder, Gerine M. A., Sjoerd van Halem, Anne Bülow, M. A. van Scheppingen, Joshua Weller, and Anne K. Reitz. ‘Daily Fluctuations in Occupation with and Worry about COVID-19’. PsyArXiv, 14 April 2021. https://doi.org/10.31234/osf.io/nf3ja.

    3. 10.31234/osf.io/nf3ja
    4. In the first week after the first COVID-19 patient was reported in the Netherlands, we conducted a pre-registered momentary assessment study (7 surveys per day, 50 participants, 7 days) to study the dynamic relationship between individuals’ occupation with and worries about COVID-19 in daily life, and the moderating role of neuroticism in this relationship. At the group level, higher scores on occupation and worry co-occurred, and occupation predicted worry one hour later, but not vice versa. There were substantial individual differences in the magnitudes and directions of the effects. For instance, occupation with COVID-19 was related to increases in worry for some, but decreases in worry for others. Neuroticism did not predict any of these individual differences in the links between worry and occupation. This study suggests that it is important to go beyond group-level analyses and to account for individual differences in responses to COVID-19.
    5. Daily Fluctuations in Occupation with and Worry about COVID-19
    1. The European Union continues to export more vaccines than it administers, in data highlighting the risk of a backlash against the bloc’s governments amid setbacks that keep threatening to delay its own rollout.
    2. EU Vaccine Exports Outstrip Number of Shots Given Its Own People
    1. 16-04-21

    2. Betsch, Cornelia, and Philipp Sprengholz. ‘The Human Factor between Airborne Pollen Concentrations and COVID-19 Disease Dynamics’. PsyArXiv, 16 April 2021. https://doi.org/10.31234/osf.io/hw9gf.

    3. 10.31234/osf.io/hw9gf
    4. In their seminal paper, Damialis and colleagues (2021, PNAS) report that, in early 2020, higher airborne pollen concentrations were related to higher COVID-19 infection rates. As a mechanism, the authors propose that “pollen exposure weakens the immunity … by diminishing the antiviral interferon response.” Although they assume an effect for the whole population, they speculate that it could be stronger for those with allergies. As a limitation, they acknowledge that they did not account for the countries’ testing strategies. As allergic people may be more likely to show symptoms that may be mistaken for those of COVID-19 (runny nose, headache, increased temperature), we explored whether people with allergies were more prone to get a rapid SARS-CoV-2 antigen test. Moreover, we assessed whether the test result was more likely to be positive among those with allergies.
    5. The human factor between airborne pollen concentrations and COVID-19 disease dynamics
    1. 16-04-21

    2. Loose, Tianna, and Alejandro Vásquez-Echeverría. ‘Psychosocial Impacts of COVID-19 among University Students in Uruguay’. PsyArXiv, 15 April 2021. https://doi.org/10.31234/osf.io/w9rde.

    3. 10.31234/osf.io/w9rde
    4. The novel coronavirus has taken a catastrophic toll worldwide on physical and mental health. We focused on the psychosocial impact among students in Uruguay, a country relatively protected from the pandemic. Our study had three main aims : 1) describe in detail the impact among university students, 2) identify relationships between different dimensions and 3) highlight the factors determinant of mental distress. We designed a multi-dimensional questionnaire to investigate the perceived impact on the lives of students. The questionnaire was administered to 144 undergraduates in Uruguay online while the university was closed. 38-66% of students indicated increases in signs of anxiety, depression or sleep disturbances. Independently of other related factors, increases in substance use, impairments in social relationships, negative impacts of school closures, and personal economic worries explained 41% of variance in psychological distress. Findings are discussed in terms of policies for public health and future directions for research on mental health.
    5. Psychosocial Impacts of COVID-19 among University Students in Uruguay
    1. 14-04-21

    2. Iimura, Shuhei. ‘Sensory-Processing Sensitivity and COVID-19 Stress in Adolescents: The Mediating Role of Resilience’. PsyArXiv, 14 April 2021. https://doi.org/10.31234/osf.io/2u6wq.

    3. 10.31234/osf.io/2u6wq
    4. Psychologists worldwide are becoming increasingly concerned about the negative impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on adolescents’ mental health. However, compared to studies involving adults, research on adolescents is limited. To further understand adolescents’ mental health during the pandemic, the present study examined whether resilience, as a protective factor, buffers the relationship between the personality trait of environmental sensitivity and COVID-19-related distress. A total of 141 adolescents (53.7% women, Mage = 18.91 years, SDage = 0.82 years) living in urban Japan completed an online cross-sectional survey in October 2020. The results showed that sensitivity was positively, though weakly, correlated with COVID-19 stress and negatively correlated with resilience. Resilience was negatively correlated with COVID-19 stress. Mediation analysis showed that resilience buffered the negative relationship between sensitivity and COVID-19 stress, and its indirect effect was statistically significant, albeit close to zero. These results suggest that higher sensitivity is not necessarily a vulnerability factor, if resilience can be enhanced.
    5. Sensory-Processing Sensitivity and COVID-19 Stress in Adolescents: The Mediating Role of Resilience
    1. 15-04-21

    2. ReconfigBehSci. ‘RT @kareem_carr: PSA: When You Say "there Were 6 Cases in 6.8 Million Doses Therefore We Can Expect about 1 in a Million Incidents Going Fo…’. Tweet. @SciBeh (blog), 15 April 2021. https://twitter.com/SciBeh/status/1382620714633732097.

    3. PSA: When you say "there were 6 cases in 6.8 million doses therefore we can expect about 1 in a million incidents going forward", you're doing a bad statistical estimation in your head and statisticians (like me) can give you a million reasons how this can go wrong.
    1. 31-03-21

    2. Smart Cities Dive. ‘Few Mayors Expect to Keep COVID-Inspired Changes to Public Spaces, Survey Finds’. Accessed 17 April 2021. https://www.smartcitiesdive.com/news/few-mayors-expect-to-keep-covid-inspired-changes-to-public-spaces-survey-f/597582/?mc_cid=1c26278a4e&mc_eid=d5b42264a8.

    3. Mayors expect their residents to spend more time outdoors after being inspired to do so amid the coronavirus pandemic, but few leaders are looking to incorporate pandemic-fueled changes to those spaces into long-term plans, according to a survey report of 130 mayors from 38 states released Wednesday. Three out of four respondents to the Menino Survey of Mayors from Boston University said they expect residents to spend more time outside at open spaces compared to before the pandemic, and around two-thirds said they think residents will spend more time biking and walking. Despite that trend, just over a third of mayors said they do not expect to see changes made to outdoor spaces during the pandemic — like expanded outdoor dining and infrastructure — last long-term due to budgetary constraints. But planning parks and open space with an equity lens is expected to endure, with 52% saying they believe the quality of parks vary across neighborhoods.
    4. Few mayors expect to keep COVID-inspired changes to public spaces, survey finds
    1. 16-04-21

    2. Elsey, James, and Merel Kindt. ‘Knowing When to Trust Your Gut: The Perceived Trustworthiness of Fear Varies with Domain Expertise’. PsyArXiv, 16 April 2021. https://doi.org/10.31234/osf.io/682su.

    3. 10.31234/osf.io/682su
    4. Previous research suggests that people with specific fears may use their subjective experience of anxiety to infer the presence of danger – a process known as ex-consequentia reasoning. While existing research validates the presence of ex-consequentia reasoning among fearful individuals, there are contextual factors that may moderate such emotional inferences. One would expect that even fearful people can acknowledge a difference in the trustworthiness of the intuitive thoughts and feelings of a fearful person relative to an expert in a fear-relevant situation. We investigated whether the expertise of characters described in vignettes about fear of heights and spiders modulated the extent to which fearful and non-fearful participants believed it was appropriate for the character to infer the presence of danger from their emotional reactions. Bayesian ordinal regression and a multiverse analytic approach were used to ensure inferences were not sensitive to particular analytic choices. Consistent with our expectations, fearful and non-fearful participants were more likely to agree that an expert character should listen to their intuitive thoughts and feelings about a situation than a fearful character. Tentatively, we suggest that people’s metacognitive awareness about the relative validity of fear-related thoughts and feelings might be leveraged to help reduce ex-consequentia reasoning.
    5. Knowing when to trust your gut: The perceived trustworthiness of fear varies with domain expertise
    1. 16-04-21

    2. Brown, Chris R. H. ‘The Influence of COVID-19-Specific Health Risk Beliefs on the Motivation to Quit Smoking’. PsyArXiv, 16 April 2021. https://doi.org/10.31234/osf.io/3csuh.

    3. 10.31234/osf.io/3csuh
    4. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, some smokers have experienced increased motivation to quit smoking, due to the higher risk of severe COVID-19 infection. However, this is not found across all smokers, and the motivation to quit appears dependent upon factors such as fear of COVID-19 and perceived risk from COVID-19. In the current investigation, specific COVID-19 risk beliefs were measured to isolate which beliefs predicted the motivation to quit smoking, these being the perceived severity of COVID-19 and perceived probability of COVID-19 infection. UK based smokers (N = 243) completed an online survey between September and October 2020, in which they reported their current motivation to quit smoking, fear of COVID-19, and their beliefs about how severe COVID-19 infection would be and how probable COVID-19 infection was. The only significant predictor of the motivation to quit smoking was the perceived probability of COVID-19 infection. This positive relationship remained when controlling for the general perceived probability and severity of other smoking related health conditions, suggesting a COVID-19-specific effect. Further, fear of COVID-19 only indirectly related to an increase in motivation to quit, when mediated through perceived probability of COVID-19 infection. The result places the perceived probability of COVID-19 infection as a central predictor of motivation to quit during the pandemic. Based on this evidence, messaging to smokers aiming to facilitate smoking cessation during the pandemic should focus on the highly contagious nature of the virus, to increase the motivation to quit.
    5. The influence of COVID-19-specific health risk beliefs on the motivation to quit smoking
    1. 27-04-21

    2. Engzell, Per, Arun Frey, and Mark D. Verhagen. ‘Learning Loss Due to School Closures during the COVID-19 Pandemic’. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 118, no. 17 (27 April 2021). https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2022376118.

    3. Suspension of face-to-face instruction in schools during the COVID-19 pandemic has led to concerns about consequences for students’ learning. So far, data to study this question have been limited. Here we evaluate the effect of school closures on primary school performance using exceptionally rich data from The Netherlands (n ≈ 350,000). We use the fact that national examinations took place before and after lockdown and compare progress during this period to the same period in the 3 previous years. The Netherlands underwent only a relatively short lockdown (8 wk) and features an equitable system of school funding and the world’s highest rate of broadband access. Still, our results reveal a learning loss of about 3 percentile points or 0.08 standard deviations. The effect is equivalent to one-fifth of a school year, the same period that schools remained closed. Losses are up to 60% larger among students from less-educated homes, confirming worries about the uneven toll of the pandemic on children and families. Investigating mechanisms, we find that most of the effect reflects the cumulative impact of knowledge learned rather than transitory influences on the day of testing. Results remain robust when balancing on the estimated propensity of treatment and using maximum-entropy weights or with fixed-effects specifications that compare students within the same school and family. The findings imply that students made little or no progress while learning from home and suggest losses even larger in countries with weaker infrastructure or longer school closures.
    4. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2022376118
    5. Learning loss due to school closures during the COVID-19 pandemic
    1. Cobey, Sarah, Daniel B. Larremore, Yonatan H. Grad, and Marc Lipsitch. ‘Concerns about SARS-CoV-2 Evolution Should Not Hold Back Efforts to Expand Vaccination’. Nature Reviews Immunology, 1 April 2021, 1–6. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41577-021-00544-9.

    2. 01-04-21

    3. When vaccines are in limited supply, expanding the number of people who receive some vaccine, such as by halving doses or increasing the interval between doses, can reduce disease and mortality compared with concentrating available vaccine doses in a subset of the population. A corollary of such dose-sparing strategies is that the vaccinated individuals may have less protective immunity. Concerns have been raised that expanding the fraction of the population with partial immunity to SARS-CoV-2 could increase selection for vaccine-escape variants, ultimately undermining vaccine effectiveness. We argue that, although this is possible, preliminary evidence instead suggests such strategies should slow the rate of viral escape from vaccine or naturally induced immunity. As long as vaccination provides some protection against escape variants, the corresponding reduction in prevalence and incidence should reduce the rate at which new variants are generated and the speed of adaptation. Because there is little evidence of efficient immune selection of SARS-CoV-2 during typical infections, these population-level effects are likely to dominate vaccine-induced evolution.
    4. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41577-021-00544-9
    5. Concerns about SARS-CoV-2 evolution should not hold back efforts to expand vaccination
    1. 07-04-21

    2. Quillien, Tadeg, and Michael Barlev. ‘Causal Judgment in the Wild: Evidence from the 2020 US Presidential Election’. PsyArXiv, 7 April 2021. https://doi.org/10.31234/osf.io/7w9re.

    3. 10.31234/osf.io/7w9re
    4. A given event has many causes, but people intuitively view some causes as more important than others. Models of causal judgment have been evaluated in controlled laboratory experiments, but they have yet to be tested in complex real-world settings. Here, we provide such a test, in the context of the 2020 U.S. presidential election. Across tens of thousands of simulations of possible election outcomes, we computed, for each state, an adjusted measure of the correlation between a Biden victory in that state and a Biden election victory. These effect size measures accurately predicted the extent to which U.S. participants (N=207, pre-registered) viewed victory in a given state as having caused Biden to win the presidency. This supports the theory that people intuitively select as causes of an outcome the factors with the largest average causal effect on that outcome across possible counterfactual worlds.
    5. Causal judgment in the wild: evidence from the 2020 US presidential election
    1. Adam Finn. ‘There Are Some News Outlets & Politicians Incorrectly Reporting and Criticising Respectively MHRA for Advising against Use of OxAZ in under 30s. Neither MHRA nor EMA Have Done This. JCVI Have Expressed a Preference for Alternative Vaccines for Healthy under 30s in the UK Context’. Tweet. @adamhfinn (blog), 8 April 2021. https://twitter.com/adamhfinn/status/1380031766703058944.

    2. 08-04-21

    3. There are some news outlets & politicians incorrectly reporting and criticising respectively MHRA for advising against use of OxAZ in under 30s. Neither MHRA nor EMA have done this. JCVI have expressed a preference for alternative vaccines for healthy under 30s in the UK context
    1. 07-04-2021

    2. ReconfigBehSci. ‘RT @EricTopol: A New US Vaccination Record for a Wednesday Reporting 2.9 Million Now 1 in 3 Americans Have at Least 1 Dose’. Tweet. @SciBeh (blog), 7 April 2021. https://twitter.com/SciBeh/status/1380076622167093248.

    3. A new US vaccination record for a Wednesday reporting 2.9 million Now 1 in 3 Americans have at least 1 dose
    1. Compliance with behavioral measures


    2. Chambon, Monique, Jonas Dalege, Lourens Waldorp, Han van der Maas, Denny Borsboom, and Frenk van Harreveld. ‘A Complex Systems Perspective on Compliance with Behavioral Measures during the COVID-19 Pandemic in the Netherlands: How Psychological Networks Can Inform Interventions.’ PsyArXiv, 31 March 2021. https://doi.org/10.31234/osf.io/fmu9w.

    3. 10.31234/osf.io/fmu9w
    4. Health care agencies around the world recommended behavioral measures regarding hygiene and physical distancing to manage the COVID-19 pandemic. The current research sheds light on the interplay of psychological factors related to compliance and well-being during the pandemic. We do so by presenting a complex psychological network based on a large-scale survey (N = 6093). In total, participants were invited five times to complete this survey over a period of approximately 10 weeks (April 23th – June 30th 2020). The third and fifth wave included interventions aimed at influencing the psychological networks. We found that 1) compliance and well-being during the pandemic seemed connected through negative emotions and therefore were related factors and 2) trust in authorities influenced support for behavioral measures, which is in turn associated with compliance during the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, the network structure was used to design multiple interventions, aimed at psychological variables varying in their relative importance for the network. The interventions significantly affected the variables the intervention was aimed at as well as other variables in the networks. The effects of interventions on variables related to the aim of the interventions were partially explained by the network structure. The results suggest that the network structure can be an important source of information for designing effective interventions aimed at influencing the public’s psychological systems in relation to pandemics.
    5. A complex systems perspective on compliance with behavioral measures during the COVID-19 pandemic in the Netherlands: How psychological networks can inform interventions.
    1. 31-03-21

    2. Massaccesi, Claudia, Emilio Chiappini, Riccardo Paracampo, and Sebastian Korb. ‘Large Gatherings? No, Thank You. Devaluation of Crowded Social Scenes during the COVID-19 Pandemic’. PsyArXiv, 31 March 2021. https://doi.org/10.31234/osf.io/a65tm.

    3. 10.31234/osf.io/a65tm
    4. In most European countries, the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic (spring 2020) led to the imposition of physical distancing rules, resulting in a drastic and sudden reduction of real-life social interactions. Even people not directly affected by the virus itself were impacted in their physical and/or mental health, as well as in their financial security, by governmental lockdown measures. We investigated if the combination of these events had changed people’s appraisal of social scenes by testing 241 participants recruited mainly in Italy, Austria, and Germany in an online, pre-registered study conducted about 50 days after the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak in Europe. Images depicting individuals alone, in small groups (up to four people) and in large groups (more than seven people) were rated in terms of valence, arousal, and perceived physical distance. Pre-pandemic normative ratings were obtained from a validated database (Kurdi et al., 2017). Several self-report measures were also taken, and condensed into four factors through factor analysis. All images were rated as more arousing compared to the pre-pandemic period, and the greater the decrease in real-life physical interactions reported by participants, the higher the ratings of arousal. As expected, only images depicting large gatherings of people were rated less positively during, compared to before, the pandemic. These ratings of valence were however moderated by a factor that included participants’ number of days in isolation, relationship closeness, and perceived COVID-19 threat. Higher scores on this factor were associated with more positive ratings of images of individuals alone and in small groups, suggesting an increased appreciation of safer social situations, such as intimate and small-group contacts. The same factor was inversely related to the perceived physical distance between individuals in images of small and large groups, suggesting an impact of lockdown measures and contagion-related worries on the representation of interpersonal space. These findings point to rapid and compelling psychological and social consequences of the lockdown measures imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic on the perception of social groups. Further studies should assess the long-term impact of such events as typical everyday life is restored.
    5. Large gatherings? No, thank you. Devaluation of crowded social scenes during the COVID-19 pandemic
    1. 30-03-21

    2. Kai Kupferschmidt. ‘According to @PEI_Germany about 2,7 Million People Have Now Been Vaccinated with AstraZenaca Vaccine in Germany. Amongst These: 31 Cerebral Venous Thromboses (29 Women) 19 of These Also with Thrombocytopenia Reported 9 Deaths Clearly Germany Has to Change Recommendations for Now’. Tweet. @kakape (blog), 30 March 2021. https://twitter.com/kakape/status/1376859903030071301.

    3. According to @PEI_Germany about 2,7 million people have now been vaccinated with AstraZenaca vaccine in Germany. Amongst these: 31 cerebral venous thromboses (29 women) 19 of these also with thrombocytopenia reported 9 deaths Clearly Germany has to change recommendations for now
    4. 30-03-21

    5. Kai Kupferschmidt. ‘According to @PEI_Germany about 2,7 Million People Have Now Been Vaccinated with AstraZenaca Vaccine in Germany. Amongst These: 31 Cerebral Venous Thromboses (29 Women) 19 of These Also with Thrombocytopenia Reported 9 Deaths Clearly Germany Has to Change Recommendations for Now’. Tweet. @kakape (blog), 30 March 2021. https://twitter.com/kakape/status/1376859903030071301.

    6. According to @PEI_Germany about 2,7 million people have now been vaccinated with AstraZenaca vaccine in Germany. Amongst these: 31 cerebral venous thromboses (29 women) 19 of these also with thrombocytopenia reported 9 deaths Clearly Germany has to change recommendations for now
  3. Mar 2021
    1. ReconfigBehSci. ‘RT @ashishkjha: Over Past Week We Got 11.4 Million Doses into Arms 5.6 Million Were 1st Doses 5.8 Million Were 2nd Doses That’s a Proble…’. Tweet. @SciBeh (blog), 1 March 2021. https://twitter.com/SciBeh/status/1366421544495382533.