Top 10: June 14

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By Christian Hoffmann &
Bernd S. Kamps

14 June

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Health Care Workers

Heath C, Sommerfield A, von Ungern-Sternberg BS. Resilience strategies to manage psychological distress amongst healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic: a narrative review. Anaesthesia. 2020 Jun 13. PubMed: Full-text:

This article summarises the available management strategies to increase resilience in healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. According to the authors, some of the strategies require substantial lead time and will potentially challenge negotiations with organisational stakeholders. This might require increasing the number of or reallocation of support staff; reallocating how revenue is distributed throughout the organisation; ensuring physicians feel valued and heard; and changing reimbursement and compensation models. However, in the current crisis, some strategies can be implemented quickly and easily such as: mindfulness interventions; Battle Buddies (a rapidly-deployable psychological resilience intervention based on the “Battle Buddy” system of the US army); and staff feedback sessions.


Kiser SB, Bernaci RE. When the Dust Settles: Preventing a Mental Health Crisis in COVID-19 Clinicians. Annals Int Med 2020, June 9. Full-text:

Touching article about an emergency room physician who took her own life, after spending weeks caring for COVID-19 patients in New York City. Considering the profound effects of the crisis on clinicians’ mental health, leaders must protect their clinicians by carefully considering appropriate time off in scheduling and ensuring that colleagues, superiors, and trainees use this time.



Muto K, Yamamoto I, Nahasu M, et al. Japanese citizens’ behavioral changes and preparedness against COVID-19: An online survey during the early phase of the pandemic. PLOS ONE, 11 Jun 2020. Full-text:

20% – young male trolls. This cross-sectional study investigated how and from when Japanese citizens changed their precautionary behavior under circumstances in which the government simply requested their cooperation. For the 11,332 participants, the most important event influencing precautionary actions (frequent hand washing, social distancing etc) was the infection aboard the Diamond Princess. However, about 20% of the participants were reluctant to implement proper prevention measures. Typical characteristics were male, younger (under 30 years old), unmarried, from lower-income households, a drinking or smoking habit, and a higher extraversion score.


Garbe L, Rau R, Toppe T. Influence of perceived threat of Covid-19 and HEXACO personality traits on toilet paper stockpiling. PLOS 2020, June 12. Full-text:

Probably the most burning issue in the current health crisis: Who hoards toilet paper? This article wins our new award for the best introduction (“empirical studies on the psychological underpinnings of toilet paper stockpiling are still scarce”). In an online survey across 22 countries among the 996 (!) respondents, those who felt more threatened and who had a predisposition towards emotionality and high conscientiousness, stockpiled more toilet paper. But of course, many open questions remain, and according to the authors, “experimental studies would be required in order to explicitly test the directionality implied in (their) investigation of indirect effects”.


Psychological impact

Dubey S, Biswas P, Ghosh R, et al. Psychosocial impact of COVID-19. Diabetes Metab Syndr. 2020 May 27;14(5):779-788. PubMed: Full-text:

Apart from its physical burden on patients and health-care services, COVID-19 has enormous psychosocial impact. This comprehensive article reviews “coronaphobia”, a plethora of psychiatric manifestations across the different strata of society. But why is this in a diabetes journal?


Lockdown effects

Drake TM, Docherty AB, Weiser TG, et al. The effects of physical distancing on population mobility during the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK. Lancet 2020, June 12. Full-text:

This work used Google mobility data to map spatial and temporal changes in mobility across the UK in six areas during lockdown: residential areas; supermarkets, grocery shops, and pharmacies; workplaces; retail and recreational areas; transit stations (subway, bus, and train stations); and parks. The authors saw a 63% overall reduction in movement, with retail and recreational areas (decreased by 85%; not surprising given restrictions imposed on this sector) and transit stations (decreased by 75%) showing the largest reductions. Good news: “park use initially decreased but has now increased to levels seen before the lockdown restrictions, perhaps because of good weather or people adapting their exercise requirements”.


Warburton E, Raniolo G. Domestic Abuse during COVID-19: What about the boys? Psychiatry Research. Volume 291, September 2020, 113155. Full-text:

Harsh criticism on a previous article, summarizing that, during the COVID-19 pandemic, domestic abuse experienced by men is of ‘lower severity’. The authors want to steer the domestic abuse conversation away from a gender divide and open up the discussion to promote zero tolerance of domestic abuse towards both men and women. They propose that “domestic abuse towards men, although less frequent, is of equal severity to the domestic abuse suffered by women”. Best conclusion of the day: “Abuse is abuse.”


Blume C, Schmidt MH, Cajochen. Effects of the COVID-19 lockdown on human sleep and rest-activity rhythms. Current Biology 2020, June 10. Full-text:

Yesterday we learned that US students slept better during lockdown. In Europe, however, things went differently. According to this study on 435 (!) people in 3 countries, the lockdown led to an improved individual sleep-wake timing and overall, yes, more sleep. At the same time, however, many people suffered a decrease in sleep quality in this exceptional situation. Well. Data from other continents pending.


Other issues

Muller JJ, Nathan DG. COVID-19, nuclear war, and global warming: lessons for our vulnerable world. Lancet June 12, 2020. Full-text:

Prize for the most megalomaniac paper title of the day. According to the authors of this Lancet letter, the origins and solutions of all three threats “are remarkably similar”: “First, each threat must be recognised. Second, political leaders must respect truth and defer to expertise. Third, the threats are global and require global cooperation. Fourth, we all have to focus on our collective survival, and that includes care for the least privileged”. Well then, if that’s the case, let’s get to work!


McManus S, D’Ardenne J, Wessely S. Covid Conspiracies: Misleading Evidence Can Be More Damaging Than No Evidence at All. Psychol Med, June 2020. Full-text:

Well-written commentary on the myriad of articles publishing on the incredible number of people believing in conspiracy theories. Many of these studies suffer from serious methodological problems and severely overestimate the prevalence of conspiracy thinking, trying to attract media attention. Headlines like “One fifth of English people blamed Jews or Muslims for COVID-19” are nonsense and dangerous. See paper title, maybe “can be” should be “are”.