Editor's Choice Award for article «COVID-19: The forgotten priorities of the pandemic»

COVID-19: The forgotten priorities of the pandemic

24.06.2020 – The article “COVID-19: The forgotten priorities of the pandemic”, written by ISPM PhD student Cristina Mesa Vieira and Professors Oscar Franco and Thomas Abel jointly with Professor Carlos Gomez (Javeriana University, Colombia), has been awarded the Editor's Choice for the June Edition of Maturitas (Vol. 136).

As the pandemic spreads to all countries around the globe, reaching over 9 million persons infected, the article gains relevance as it highlights the effect of Covid-19 on the overall wellbeing of the population. In the paper, the authors describe some implications of social distancing that can be detrimental to people’s mental health, especially of those who do not have an extensive support network. Therefore, the term spatial distancing denotes better the intention of the preventive measure. The pandemic carries a particularly high burden to persons living in low- and middle-income countries, where public health authorities struggle to balance measures to contain the pandemic and their consequences on the economy and its social hardship. Vulnerable populations, such as indigenous, migrants, homeless, the elderly and healthcare workers are at higher risk and are often neglected and have limited healthcare access. For instance, the increasing rates of Covid-19 in Peru, Brazil and the Amazon region in Colombia show the rapid spread of the disease and complications within these communities. Furthermore, the authors explain how miss-information contributes on spreading prejudice and fear that may impair the overall wellbeing of the population. This ISPM paper was among the first to stress the importance of social and psychological determinants and consequences of the current pandemic. Addressing those, ISPM’s Social Environment research group is currently conducting a survey among University students on their health and wellbeing during the Covid-19 crisis. This study is part of an international project involving universities from more than 20 countries.