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Assessing the situation of micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises in the emerging markets of Egypt under COVID-19 implications
Nourhan Ahmed Saad, Sonja Mlaker Kač, Sara El Gazzar, 2023, original scientific article

Abstract: Micro, Small, and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) play a vital role in emerging economies, thus this research aims at assessing the current situation of Egyptian MSMEs under COVID-19 pandemic and identifying the role of Egyptian MSMEs in economic growth and development. This research adopted qualitative design; 24 semi-structured interviews were conducted with different eco-system stakeholders and MSMEs’ managers using content analysis to analyse collected data based on NVivo software. The findings revealed the importance of MSMEs sector in the emerging markets as well as global ones. Additionally, MSMEs play a significant role in enhancing country’s economic growth and development, particularly in GDP, job opportunities, domestic products/services, national income, sub-contractor, and individual/society welfare. Furthermore, the findings identify the main challenges that face Egyptian MSMEs under COVID-19 implications through analysing the four main strategic factors and concluded by policy recommendations that could be implemented by MSMEs’ owners to take full advantage in the Egyptian context and their contribution on country’s economic growth.
Keywords: MSMEs sector, COVID-19, economic growth, egyptian context, policy action
Published in DKUM: 17.07.2024; Views: 45; Downloads: 2
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Complexity of the COVID‑19 pandemic in Maringá
Andre S. Sunahara, Arthur A. B. Pessa, Matjaž Perc, Haroldo V. Ribeiro, 2023, original scientific article

Abstract: While extensive literature exists on the COVID-19 pandemic at regional and national levels, understanding its dynamics and consequences at the city level remains limited. This study investigates the pandemic in Maringá, a medium-sized city in Brazil’s South Region, using data obtained by actively monitoring the disease from March 2020 to June 2022. Despite prompt and robust interventions, COVID-19 cases increased exponentially during the early spread of COVID-19, with a reproduction number lower than that observed during the initial outbreak in Wuhan. Our research demonstrates the remarkable impact of non-pharmaceutical interventions on both mobility and pandemic indicators, particularly during the onset and the most severe phases of the emergency. However, our results suggest that the city’s measures were primarily reactive rather than proactive. Maringá faced six waves of cases, with the third and fourth waves being the deadliest, responsible for over two-thirds of all deaths and overwhelming the local healthcare system. Excess mortality during this period exceeded deaths attributed to COVID-19, indicating that the burdened healthcare system may have contributed to increased mortality from other causes. By the end of the fourth wave, nearly three-quarters of the city’s population had received two vaccine doses, signifcantly decreasing deaths despite the surge caused by the Omicron variant. Finally, we compare these fndings with the national context and other similarly sized cities, highlighting substantial heterogeneities in the spread and impact of the disease.
Keywords: complex system, correlation, epidemics, COVID-19
Published in DKUM: 17.07.2024; Views: 45; Downloads: 2
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Disaggregated data on age and sex for the first 250 days of the COVID-19 pandemic in Bucharest, Romania
Marian-Gabriel Hâncean, Maria Cristina Ghiţǎ, Matjaž Perc, Jürgen Lerner, Iulian Oană, Bianca-Elena Mihǎilǎ, Adelina Alexandra Stoica, David-Andrei Bunaciu, 2022, original scientific article

Abstract: Experts worldwide have constantly been calling for high-quality open-access epidemiological data, given the fast-evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic. Disaggregated high-level granularity records are still scant despite being essential to corroborate the effectiveness of virus containment measures and even vaccination strategies. We provide a complete dataset containing disaggregated epidemiological information about all the COVID-19 patients officially reported during the first 250 days of the COVID-19 pandemic in Bucharest (Romania). We give the sex, age, and the COVID-19 infection confirmation date for 46.440 individual cases, between March 7th and November 11th, 2020. Additionally, we provide context-wise information such as the stringency levels of the measures taken by the Romanian authorities. We procured the data from the local public health authorities and systemized it to respond to the urgent international need of comparing observational data collected from various populations. Our dataset may help understand COVID-19 transmission in highly dense urban communities, perform virus spreading simulations, ascertain the effects of non-pharmaceutical interventions, and craft better vaccination strategies.
Keywords: disaggregated data, age, sex, COVID-19, pandemic, Romania
Published in DKUM: 15.07.2024; Views: 41; Downloads: 2
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Occupations and their impact on the spreading of COVID-19 in urban communities
Marian-Gabriel Hâncean, Jürgen Lerner, Matjaž Perc, Iulian Oană, David-Andrei Bunaciu, Adelina Alexandra Stoica, Maria Cristina Ghiţǎ, 2022, original scientific article

Abstract: The current pandemic has disproportionally afected the workforce. To improve our understanding of the role that occupations play in the transmission of COVID-19, we analyse real-world network data that were collected in Bucharest between August 1st and October 31st 2020. The data record sex, age, and occupation of 6895 patients and the 13,272 people they have interacted with, thus providing a social network from an urban setting through which COVID-19 has spread. Quite remarkably, we fnd that medical occupations have no signifcant efect on the spread of the virus. Instead, we fnd common transmission chains to start with infected individuals who hold jobs in the private sector and are connected with non-active alters, such as spouses, siblings, or elderly relatives. We use relational hyperevent models to assess the most likely homophily and network efects in the community transmission. We detect homophily with respect to age and anti-homophily with respect to sex and employability. We note that, although additional data would be welcomed to perform more in-depth network analyses, our fndings may help public authorities better target under-performing vaccination campaigns.
Keywords: occupation, urban community, spreading of disease, covid-19
Published in DKUM: 15.07.2024; Views: 26; Downloads: 2
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Turkey’s transition to face-to-face schooling during the COVID-19 pandemic
Mahmut Özer, H. Eren Suna, Matjaž Perc, Sadri Şensoy, Sevil Uygun İli̇khan, 2022, original scientific article

Abstract: Background/aim: The COVID-19 pandemic majorly disrupted conventional schooling and many countries maintained educational services through distance education. The duration of school closures in Turkey was longer than most OECD countries, thus Turkey prioritized school reopenings in the 2021-2022 academic year to mitigate possible negative outcomes of closures. Here we study the compatibility of implications for school reopenings in Turkey with these practices and assess the first semester of face-to-face schooling. Materials and methods: We have used document analysis to present and compare the practices in Turkey with international practices. We also used a comparative approach to assess the coherence between policies in Turkey and international suggestions. Results: We find that vaccination rates of teachers and education staff are quite high in Turkey. Other practices, mandatory face masks, class-based closures and quarantine policies, are also in agreement with international practices. These steps are supported with frequent cleaning and ventilation of school environments, as well as with social distancing measures in schools. Conclusion: Consequently, the rate of daily closed classrooms has been kept below 1%, and the patterns of closures and openings are in general agreement with the changes of positive cases in the Turkish society. The net rate of closed classrooms decreased with the decline of quarantine days in Turkey. We hope that these insights will inform about school openings and contribute to best practices for faceto-face schooling.
Keywords: school system, school reopening, face-to-face education, COVID-19, educational equality, vaccination
Published in DKUM: 11.07.2024; Views: 34; Downloads: 2
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The protective role of resilience in the development of social media addiction in tertiary students and psychometric properties of the Slovenian Bergen Social Media Addiction Scale (BSMAS)
Mark Žmavc, Andrej Šorgo, Branko Gabrovec, Nuša Crnkovič, Katarina Cesar, Špela Selak, 2022, original scientific article

Abstract: With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, social media became one of the most utilized sources of information relating to the disease. With the increased reliance on social media, the risk of excessive use and the development of social media addiction emerges. The aim of the present study was to explore the psychometric properties of the Slovenian version of the Bergen Social Media Addiction Scale, and to explore how psychological resilience affects social media addiction symptoms directly and indirectly through symptoms of depression, anxiety and mental distress. A large online cross-sectional study was conducted in March 2021 among Slovenian tertiary students (N = 4868). The results showed the high reliability, unidimensionality and criterion validity of the Slovenian Bergen Social Media Addiction Scale. The proposed structural model fit the data well and showed a significant direct positive effect of depression and stress on social media addiction. Moreover, the majority of the negative effects of psychological resilience on social media addiction (87.2%) were indirect, through depression and stress symptoms, whereas resilience had a significantly smaller impact on social media addiction by reducing anxiety symptoms. The overall prevalence of social media addiction symptoms was 4.6%, with females exhibiting higher proportions than men. Additionally, female social media users reported a complete absence of social media addiction symptoms less often compared to males. Future research should further explore the mechanisms behind social media addiction, in order to gain a better understanding of the apparently different risk levels for both genders.
Keywords: social media addiction, behavioral addictions, resilience, validation, Bergen Social Media Addiction Scale (BSMAS), COVID-19
Published in DKUM: 09.07.2024; Views: 64; Downloads: 2
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Uporaba digitalnih tehnologij s strani managerjev v času pandemije in po njej
Nik Pek, 2024, undergraduate thesis

Abstract: Diplomsko delo obravnava uporabo digitalnih tehnologij managerjev v času pandemije covida-19 ter njihovo uporabo in uveljavitev v delovnem procesu, tudi po koncu epidemije. Digitalne tehnologije prispevajo k prilagodljivosti zaposlenih, saj omogočajo delo od doma oziroma delo na daljavo, hkrati pa ohranjajo produktivnost. Ta prilagodljivost je bila še posebej ključna med epidemijo, ko so bili fizični stiki omejeni. Podjetjem omogoča hitro prilagajanje spreminjajočim se razmeram, hkrati pa delavcem omogoča, da uskladijo svoje obveznosti z zahtevami osebnega življenja. Povečujeta se njihovo zadovoljstvo pri delu in predanost. Ključna digitalna orodja, ki so bila med pandemijo še posebej dragocena, vključujejo orodja za podporo sestankov in videoklice platforme za sodelovanje pri izmenjavi dokumentov in vodenja projektov ter napredna komunikacijska orodja, kot so aplikacije za komuniciranje in virtualni delovni prostori. Poleg tega je ključnega pomena upoštevati varnostne posledice uporabe tehnologij glede na porast transakcij in komunikacij, ki povečujejo tveganje kibernetskih groženj in kršitev varnosti podatkov. Zato je ključnega pomena, da vodje in zaposleni pridobijo znanja in spretnosti za uporabo digitalnih orodij, podjetja pa morajo izvajati inovativne varnostne ukrepe za zaščito podatkov in delovne sile. V diplomskem delu smo raziskovali, kako je uvedba orodij vplivala na učinkovitost delovnih postopkov in zadovoljstvo zaposlenih v podjetjih med izbruhom covida-19. Poleg tega smo proučili pristope, ki jih uporabljajo organizacije pri uvajanju tehnologij v svoje dejavnosti, in izzive, s katerimi so se pri tem srečale. Na koncu so podana priporočila za izkoriščanje potenciala vseh tehnologij na delovnih mestih za povečanje prilagodljivosti, produktivnosti in zadovoljstva zaposlenih, ne glede na zdravstvene ali druge izredne razmere.
Keywords: digitalne tehnologije, vodenje na daljavo, covid-19, sprememba poteka dela, uporaba digitalnih tehnologij v prihodnje, management, vodenje.
Published in DKUM: 09.07.2024; Views: 66; Downloads: 8
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Has the COVID-19 pandemic affected mathematics achievement? : a case study of university students in social sciences
Anja Žnidaršič, Alenka Brezavšček, Gregor Rus, Janja Jerebic, 2022, original scientific article

Abstract: This study examines the effects of COVID-19-related measures on the mathematics achievement of university students in social sciences in Slovenia. Our particular concern was to compare two student populations (pre-pandemic and pandemic) in terms of factors affecting student performance in mathematics courses. Data were collected over nine consecutive academic years (from 2013–2014 to 2020–2021) and analyzed using two-stage structural equation modelling (SEM). The analyses confirmed that the conceptual model developed before the pandemic was applicable during the pandemic period. For both populations (pre-pandemic and pandemic), mathematics confidence, perceived level of math anxiety, background knowledge from secondary school, and self-engagement in mathematics courses at university were confirmed as factors influencing mathematics achievement. Moreover, both populations perceived the effects of the factors in the same way, and the magnitude of the effects is comparable. The rather high values of determination coefficient for mathematics achievement (greater than 0.66 for both student populations) indicate that the variables “Perceived Level of Math Anxiety” and “Self-Engagement in Mathematics Course at University” together explain a significant proportion of the total variance before and during the pandemic. Consequently, the results of our case study indicated that pandemic measures did not have a significant impact on our students’ mathematics achievement. Although a more in-depth study of a broader sample of academic courses would be needed to confirm our findings, our experience indicates that mathematics courses at the tertiary level of education can be successfully delivered online.
Keywords: COVID-19, mathematics achievement, university students, social sciences, pre-pandemic population, pandemic population, comparison, multi-group structural equation modeling (MG-SEM)
Published in DKUM: 09.07.2024; Views: 43; Downloads: 2
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Differences in treating patients with palpitations at the primary healthcare level using telemedical device Savvy before and during the COVID-19 pandemic
Staša Vodička, Erika Zelko, 2022, original scientific article

Abstract: Background: Palpitations are one of most common reasons why a patient visits a general practitioner (GP) and is referred to a cardiologist. Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has been associated with new-onset arrhythmias, which are difficult to diagnose at the primary healthcare level during pandemic-related lockdown periods. Methods: A total of 151 patients with a complaint of heart rhythm disorder were included from before and during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as after the start of vaccination, in this cohort retrospective study. We used a telemedical device-namely, a personal electrocardiographic (ECG) sensor called Savvy-to investigate heart rhythm in patients. The primary outcome of the study was to evaluate the number of actual heart rhythm disorder patients and any differences that infection with or vaccination for COVID-19 had on patients handled in a primary healthcare setting. Results: We found a heart rhythm disorder in 8.6% of patients before the COVID-19 pandemic and in 15.2-17.9% of patients during the COVID-19 pandemic, where the difference was statistically significant (p = 0.002). During the COVID-19 pandemic, we found a heart rhythm disorder in almost 50% of patients that had tested positive for the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2 virus) more than one month ago. After the vaccinations started, we also found a heart rhythm disorder in almost 50% of non-vaccinated patients. Conclusions: Using a telemedical approach or remote consultation is a useful method, at the primary healthcare level, for diagnosing and treating patients with palpitations during times of lockdown.
Keywords: COVID-19 infection, COVID-19 vaccination, cardiac arrhythmia, primary healthcare level, referrals, telemedicine
Published in DKUM: 08.07.2024; Views: 34; Downloads: 3
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How did general practices organize care during the COVID-19 pandemic : the protocol of the cross-sectional PRICOV-19 study in 38 countries
Esther Van Poel, Piet Van den Bussche, Zalika Klemenc-Ketiš, Sara Willems, 2022, original scientific article

Abstract: Background: General practitioners (GPs) play a crucial role in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic as the first point of contact for possibly infected patients and are responsible for short and long-term follow-up care of the majority of COVID-19 patients. Nonetheless, they experience many barriers to fulfilling this role. The PRICOV-19 study investigates how GP practices in 38 countries are organized during the COVID-19 pandemic to guarantee safe, effective, patient-centered, and equitable care. Also, the shift in roles and tasks and the wellbeing of staff members is researched. Finally, PRICOV-19 aims to study the association with practice- and health care system characteristics. It is expected that both characteristics of the GP practice and health care system features are associated with how GP practices can cope with these challenges. This paper describes the protocol of the study. Methods: Using a cross-sectional design, data are collected through an online questionnaire sent to GP practices in 37 European countries and Israel. The questionnaire is developed in multiple phases, including a pilot study in Belgium. The final version includes 53 items divided into six sections: patient flow (including appointments, triage, and management for routine care); infection prevention; information processing; communication; collaboration and self-care; and practice and participant characteristics. In the countries where data collection is already finished, between 13 and 636 GP practices per country participated in the study. Questionnaire data are linked with OECD and HSMR data regarding national policy responses to the pandemic and analyzed using multilevel models considering the system- and practice-level. Discussion: To the best of our knowledge, the PRICOV-19 study is the largest and most comprehensive study that examines how GP practices function during the COVID-19 pandemic. Its results can significantly contribute to better preparedness of primary health care systems across Europe for future major outbreaks of infectious diseases.
Keywords: family medicine, primary health care, COVID-19
Published in DKUM: 05.07.2024; Views: 83; Downloads: 7
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