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      COVID-19 and digital inequalities: Reciprocal impacts and mitigation strategies

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          Abstract

          With more than three billion people in isolation, the status of digital spaces is switching from an amenity to a necessity, as they become not only the main way to access information and services, but also one of the only remaining vectors for economic, educational, and leisure activities as well as for social interactions to take place. However, not all are equals in terms of access to networks or connected devices, or when it comes to the skills required to navigate computerized spaces optimally. Digital inequalities were already existing, yet the COVID-19 crisis is exacerbating them dramatically. On the one hand, the crisis will worsen digital inequalities within the population. On the other hand, digital inequalities represent a major risk factor of vulnerability for exposure to the virus itself, and for the non-sanitary consequences of the crisis. Therefore, this paper aims at exploring the reciprocal impacts of the COVID-19 crisis and digital inequalities, and to propose operative solutions to help fight the nefarious consequences of the crisis. We first describe how digital inequalities are a determinant of health. We then investigate how COVID-19 can potentiate digital inequalities, and how digital inequalities potentiate vulnerability to COVID-19. Finally, in order to contribute to the mitigation of this crisis, we propose a set of multi-layered strategies focusing on actionability that can be implemented at multiple structural levels, ranging from governmental to corporate and community levels.

          Highlights

          • The COVID-19 pandemic is increasing digital inequalities.

          • Reciprocally, digital inequalities are increasing the vulnerability to the COVID-19 virus and to the consequences of the crisis.

          • The impact of digital inequalities on COVID-19 vulnerability should be central in the governmental responses.

          • Actionability-focused mitigation strategies targeting the individuals and the messages are proposed.

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          Most cited references39

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          Is Open Access

          A nationwide survey of psychological distress among Chinese people in the COVID-19 epidemic: implications and policy recommendations

          The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) epidemic emerged in Wuhan, China, spread nationwide and then onto half a dozen other countries between December 2019 and early 2020. The implementation of unprecedented strict quarantine measures in China has kept a large number of people in isolation and affected many aspects of people’s lives. It has also triggered a wide variety of psychological problems, such as panic disorder, anxiety and depression. This study is the first nationwide large-scale survey of psychological distress in the general population of China during the COVID-19 epidemic.
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            Health literacy and public health: A systematic review and integration of definitions and models

            Background Health literacy concerns the knowledge and competences of persons to meet the complex demands of health in modern society. Although its importance is increasingly recognised, there is no consensus about the definition of health literacy or about its conceptual dimensions, which limits the possibilities for measurement and comparison. The aim of the study is to review definitions and models on health literacy to develop an integrated definition and conceptual model capturing the most comprehensive evidence-based dimensions of health literacy. Methods A systematic literature review was performed to identify definitions and conceptual frameworks of health literacy. A content analysis of the definitions and conceptual frameworks was carried out to identify the central dimensions of health literacy and develop an integrated model. Results The review resulted in 17 definitions of health literacy and 12 conceptual models. Based on the content analysis, an integrative conceptual model was developed containing 12 dimensions referring to the knowledge, motivation and competencies of accessing, understanding, appraising and applying health-related information within the healthcare, disease prevention and health promotion setting, respectively. Conclusions Based upon this review, a model is proposed integrating medical and public health views of health literacy. The model can serve as a basis for developing health literacy enhancing interventions and provide a conceptual basis for the development and validation of measurement tools, capturing the different dimensions of health literacy within the healthcare, disease prevention and health promotion settings.
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              Managing mental health challenges faced by healthcare workers during covid-19 pandemic

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                Comput Human Behav
                Comput Human Behav
                Computers in Human Behavior
                Published by Elsevier Ltd.
                0747-5632
                0747-5632
                11 May 2020
                11 May 2020
                : 106424
                Affiliations
                [a ]Faculty of Medicine, Université Laval, Quebec City, QC, Canada
                [b ]Faculty of Nursing, Université Laval, Quebec City, QC, Canada
                [c ]CERVO Brain Research Center, Quebec City, QC, Canada
                Author notes
                []Corresponding author.Faculty of Medicine, Pavillon Ferdinand-Vandry room 4889, 1050 Avenue de la Médecine, Université Laval, Quebec City, QC, G1V 0A6, Canada. matthieu.guitton@ 123456fmed.ulaval.ca
                Article
                S0747-5632(20)30177-1 106424
                10.1016/j.chb.2020.106424
                7213963
                32398890
                5223d14d-0a4b-4d3e-bec2-e6d107e6260f
                © 2020 Published by Elsevier Ltd.

                Since January 2020 Elsevier has created a COVID-19 resource centre with free information in English and Mandarin on the novel coronavirus COVID-19. The COVID-19 resource centre is hosted on Elsevier Connect, the company's public news and information website. Elsevier hereby grants permission to make all its COVID-19-related research that is available on the COVID-19 resource centre - including this research content - immediately available in PubMed Central and other publicly funded repositories, such as the WHO COVID database with rights for unrestricted research re-use and analyses in any form or by any means with acknowledgement of the original source. These permissions are granted for free by Elsevier for as long as the COVID-19 resource centre remains active.

                History
                : 6 April 2020
                : 4 May 2020
                : 9 May 2020
                Categories
                Article

                coronavirus,covid-19,digital inequalities,pandemic,vulnerable population

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