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      Public responses to the novel 2019 coronavirus (2019‐nCoV) in Japan: Mental health consequences and target populations

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          Abstract

          In December 2019, cases of life‐threatening pneumonia were reported in Wuhan, China. A novel coronavirus (2019‐nCoV) was identified as the source of infection. The number of reported cases has rapidly increased in Wuhan as well as other Chinese cities. The virus has also been identified in other parts of the world. On 30 January 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared this disease a ‘public health emergency of international concern.’ As of 3 February 2020, the Chinese government had reported 17 205 confirmed cases in Mainland China, and the WHO had reported 146 confirmed cases in 23 countries outside China.1 The virus has not been contained within Wuhan, and other major cities in China are likely to experience localized outbreaks. Foreign cities with close transport links to China could also become outbreak epicenters without careful public health interventions.2 In Japan, economic impacts and social disruptions have been reported. Several Japanese individuals who were on Japanese‐government‐chartered airplanes from Wuhan to Japan were reported as coronavirus‐positive. Also, human‐to‐human transmission was confirmed in Nara Prefecture on 28 January 2020. Since then, the public has shown anxiety‐related behaviors and there has been a significant shortage of masks and antiseptics in drug stores.3 The economic impact has been substantial. Stock prices have dropped in China and Japan, and other parts of the world are also showing some synchronous decline. As of 3 February 2020, no one had died directly from coronavirus infection in Japan. Tragically, however, a 37‐year‐old government worker who had been in charge of isolated returnees died from apparent suicide.4 This is not the first time that the Japanese people have experienced imperceptible‐agent emergencies – often dubbed as ‘CBRNE’ (i.e., chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and high‐yield explosives). Japan has endured two atomic bombings in 1945, the sarin gas attacks in 1995, the H1N1 influenza pandemic in 2009, and the Fukushima nuclear accident in 2011: all of which carried fear and risk associated with unseen agents. All of these events provoked social disruption.5, 6 Overwhelming and sensational news headlines and images added anxiety and fear to these situations and fostered rumors and hyped information as individuals filled in the absence of information with rumors. The affected people were subject to societal rejection, discrimination, and stigmatization. Fukushima survivors tend to attribute physical changes to the event (regardless of actual exposure) and have decreased perceived health, which is associated with decreased life expectancy.7, 8 Fear of the unknown raises anxiety levels in healthy individuals as well as those with preexisting mental health conditions. For example, studies of the 2001 anthrax letter attacks in the USA showed long‐term mental health adversities as well as lowered health perception of the infected employees and responders.9 Public fear manifests as discrimination, stigmatization, and scapegoating of specific populations, authorities, and scientists.10 As we write this letter, the coronavirus emergency is rapidly evolving. Nonetheless, we can more or less predict expected mental/physical health consequences and the most vulnerable populations. First, peoples' emotional responses will likely include extreme fear and uncertainty. Moreover, negative societal behaviors will be often driven by fear and distorted perceptions of risk. These experiences might evolve to include a broad range of public mental health concerns, including distress reactions (insomnia, anger, extreme fear of illness even in those not exposed), health risk behaviors (increased use of alcohol and tobacco, social isolation), mental health disorders (post‐traumatic stress disorder, anxiety disorders, depression, somatization), and lowered perceived health. It is essential for mental health professionals to provide necessary support to those exposed and to those who deliver care. Second, particular effort must be directed to vulnerable populations, which include: (i) the infected and ill patients, their families, and colleagues; (ii) Chinese individuals and communities; (iii) individuals with pre‐existing mental/physical conditions; and, last but not least, (iv) health‐care and aid workers, especially nurses and physicians working directly with ill or quarantined persons. If nothing else, the death of the government quarantine worker must remind us to recognize the extent of psychological stress associated with imperceptible agent emergencies and to give paramount weight to the integrity and rights of vulnerable populations. Disclosure statement The authors declare no conflicts of interest. Supporting information File S1 Online health information sources for the novel coronavirus (2019‐nCoV). Click here for additional data file.

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          Nowcasting and forecasting the potential domestic and international spread of the 2019-nCoV outbreak originating in Wuhan, China: a modelling study

          Summary Background Since Dec 31, 2019, the Chinese city of Wuhan has reported an outbreak of atypical pneumonia caused by the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). Cases have been exported to other Chinese cities, as well as internationally, threatening to trigger a global outbreak. Here, we provide an estimate of the size of the epidemic in Wuhan on the basis of the number of cases exported from Wuhan to cities outside mainland China and forecast the extent of the domestic and global public health risks of epidemics, accounting for social and non-pharmaceutical prevention interventions. Methods We used data from Dec 31, 2019, to Jan 28, 2020, on the number of cases exported from Wuhan internationally (known days of symptom onset from Dec 25, 2019, to Jan 19, 2020) to infer the number of infections in Wuhan from Dec 1, 2019, to Jan 25, 2020. Cases exported domestically were then estimated. We forecasted the national and global spread of 2019-nCoV, accounting for the effect of the metropolitan-wide quarantine of Wuhan and surrounding cities, which began Jan 23–24, 2020. We used data on monthly flight bookings from the Official Aviation Guide and data on human mobility across more than 300 prefecture-level cities in mainland China from the Tencent database. Data on confirmed cases were obtained from the reports published by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Serial interval estimates were based on previous studies of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV). A susceptible-exposed-infectious-recovered metapopulation model was used to simulate the epidemics across all major cities in China. The basic reproductive number was estimated using Markov Chain Monte Carlo methods and presented using the resulting posterior mean and 95% credibile interval (CrI). Findings In our baseline scenario, we estimated that the basic reproductive number for 2019-nCoV was 2·68 (95% CrI 2·47–2·86) and that 75 815 individuals (95% CrI 37 304–130 330) have been infected in Wuhan as of Jan 25, 2020. The epidemic doubling time was 6·4 days (95% CrI 5·8–7·1). We estimated that in the baseline scenario, Chongqing, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen had imported 461 (95% CrI 227–805), 113 (57–193), 98 (49–168), 111 (56–191), and 80 (40–139) infections from Wuhan, respectively. If the transmissibility of 2019-nCoV were similar everywhere domestically and over time, we inferred that epidemics are already growing exponentially in multiple major cities of China with a lag time behind the Wuhan outbreak of about 1–2 weeks. Interpretation Given that 2019-nCoV is no longer contained within Wuhan, other major Chinese cities are probably sustaining localised outbreaks. Large cities overseas with close transport links to China could also become outbreak epicentres, unless substantial public health interventions at both the population and personal levels are implemented immediately. Independent self-sustaining outbreaks in major cities globally could become inevitable because of substantial exportation of presymptomatic cases and in the absence of large-scale public health interventions. Preparedness plans and mitigation interventions should be readied for quick deployment globally. Funding Health and Medical Research Fund (Hong Kong, China).
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            Health effects of radiation and other health problems in the aftermath of nuclear accidents, with an emphasis on Fukushima.

            437 nuclear power plants are in operation at present around the world to meet increasing energy demands. Unfortunately, five major nuclear accidents have occurred in the past--ie, at Kyshtym (Russia [then USSR], 1957), Windscale Piles (UK, 1957), Three Mile Island (USA, 1979), Chernobyl (Ukraine [then USSR], 1986), and Fukushima (Japan, 2011). The effects of these accidents on individuals and societies are diverse and enduring. Accumulated evidence about radiation health effects on atomic bomb survivors and other radiation-exposed people has formed the basis for national and international regulations about radiation protection. However, past experiences suggest that common issues were not necessarily physical health problems directly attributable to radiation exposure, but rather psychological and social effects. Additionally, evacuation and long-term displacement created severe health-care problems for the most vulnerable people, such as hospital inpatients and elderly people.
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              Self-Perceptions of Health: A Prospective Analysis of Mortality, Control, and Health

              A growing number of studies show that self-perceptions of health are an important predictor of mortality. The present study was designed to extend this research by examining the relation between health perceptions and a range of other outcome measures besides mortality, including control beliefs and morbidity. The results show that older adults who rated their health as "bad/poor" and "fair" were more than twice as likely to die within three to three-and-a-half years following the initial survey than those who perceived their health as "excellent." However, although health perceptions assessed in 1991/92 were related to health perceptions four years later, they did not predict morbidity. Health perceptions also predicted perceived control and use of control-enhancing strategies in dealing with age-related challenges, as assessed in 1995. These findings contribute to our understanding of the benefits of positive health perceptions by showing that they are connected to an adaptive psychological profile including perceptions of control and use of control-enhancing strategies that are linked to health and well-being.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                jshigemura.psy@gmail.com
                Journal
                Psychiatry Clin Neurosci
                Psychiatry Clin. Neurosci
                10.1111/(ISSN)1440-1819
                PCN
                Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences
                John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd (Melbourne )
                1323-1316
                1440-1819
                23 February 2020
                April 2020
                : 74
                : 4 ( doiID: 10.1111/pcn.v74.4 )
                : 281-282
                Affiliations
                [ 1 ] Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine National Defense Medical College Tokorozawa Japan
                [ 2 ] Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress, Department of Psychiatry Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences Bethesda USA
                [ 3 ] Musashino University Creating Happiness Incubation Musashino University Tokyo Japan
                Author notes
                Author information
                https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7907-5034
                Article
                PCN12988
                10.1111/pcn.12988
                7168047
                32034840
                50190ab4-8f40-4580-906e-98b480b269dc
                © 2020 The Authors. Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences © 2020 Japanese Society of Psychiatry and Neurology

                This article is being made freely available through PubMed Central as part of the COVID-19 public health emergency response. It can be used for unrestricted research re-use and analysis in any form or by any means with acknowledgement of the original source, for the duration of the public health emergency.

                History
                : 07 February 2020
                : 07 February 2020
                Page count
                Figures: 0, Tables: 0, Pages: 2, Words: 1097
                Categories
                Letter to the Editor
                Letters to the Editor
                Custom metadata
                2.0
                April 2020
                Converter:WILEY_ML3GV2_TO_JATSPMC version:5.8.0 mode:remove_FC converted:15.04.2020

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