AbstractWhen the COVID-19 pandemic was declared in March 2020, the lives of families all over the world were disrupted. Many adults found themselves working from home while their children were unable to go to school. To better understand the potential impact of these educational disruptions, it is important to establish what learning looked like during the first school shutdown in the spring of 2020, particularly for the youngest learners who may feel the longest lasting impacts from this pandemic. Therefore, the purpose of the current descriptive study was to gather information on how kindergarten teaching and learning occurred during this time, what the biggest barriers were, and what concerns educators had regarding returning in person to the classroom setting. The sample for the current study was 2569 kindergarten educators (97.6% female; 74.2% teachers, 25.8% early childhood educators) in Ontario, Canada. Participants completed a questionnaire consisting of both quantitative scales and qualitative open-ended questions. Educators reported that parents most often contacted them regarding technological issues or how to effectively support their child. The largest barrier to learning was the ability of both parents and educators to balance work, home life, and online learning/teaching. With regards to returning to school, educators were most concerned about the lack of ability of kindergarten aged children to do tasks independently and to follow safety protocols. Our findings highlight unique challenges associated with teaching kindergarten during the pandemic, contributing to our understanding of the learning that occurred in Ontario during the first COVID-19 shutdown.
Ever since the liberation of trade policies in India, Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) has been crucial in the growth of the economy, both at the macro as well as sector level. The association between FDI and economic growth is an area of interest globally. The investment decisions are affected by several national and international events that add to the volatility of the number of inflows. COVID-19 pandemic severely impacted the intensity of FDI inflows. But the strong resilience by our government manifested in crucial policy reforms and proactive decision-making minimized the impact. This article examines the potential impact of FDI on crucial macroeconomic variables using the Computable General Equilibrium (CGE) Model. Introducing the policy shock of $90 billion into the model, an increase of 5.68% per annum in GDP is estimated. Findings indicate that the impact of FDI shall be favourable to a large number of sectors mainly metals, construction, motor vehicle, computers, and electronics in terms of increased output, exports, and employment opportunities. The study offers logical implications for the policymakers to continue strengthening their moves to attract FDI.
Professionalism is vital for high quality healthcare and fundamental to health profession education. It is however complex, hard to define and can be challenging to teach, learn about and assess. We describe the development and use of an innovative visual tool, using a tangram analogy, to introduce and explore core professionalism concepts, which are often troublesome for both learners and educators. These include the hidden curriculum, capability, professional identity and the difference between unprofessionalism and high professional standards. Understanding these concepts can help individuals to see professionalism differently, encourage faculty to design professionalism programmes which focus on professional excellence, support assessors to feel more confident in identifying and addressing underperformance and facilitate learners to appreciate the complexity and uncertainty inherent in professionalism and to become more alert to the hidden curriculum and its potential impact. We have used the tangram model to educate for professionalism in multiple contexts with learners and educators. Participants regularly report that it leads to a deeper understanding and important new insights around professionalism and helps them identify ways of changing their practice. We believe this approach has relevance across the health professions and suggest ways it could be further developed to explore wider professionalism issues such as reflective practice, resilience and teamworking.
This study was conducted to assess the potential impact of applying a new groundnut planting density on welfare of smallholder farmers in northern Ghana. We used data from on-farm experiments, focus group discussions, and a household survey. We followed three steps in our analysis. First, we conducted cost-benefit analysis in which we showed the economic advantage of the new technology over the farmers’ practice. Second, we predicted adoption rates along timeline using the Adoption and Diffusion Outcome Prediction Tool (ADOPT). Third, using the results of the first and the second steps, we estimated the potential impact of the technology on poverty at household level using a combination of methods such as economic surplus model and econometric model. The cost-benefit analysis shows that increasing plant density increases farmers’ financial returns i.e., the benefit-cost-ratio increases from 1.05 under farmers’ practice to 1.87 under the best plant density option, which is 22 plants/sqm. The adoption prediction analysis shows that the maximum adoption rate for the best practice will be 62% which will take about nine years to reach. At the maximum adoption rate the incidence of extreme poverty will be reduced by about 3.6% if farmers have access to the international groundnut market and by about 2% if they do not have. The intervention will also reduce poverty gap and poverty severity. The results suggest that policy actions which can improve farmers’ access to the international market will enhance farmers’ welfare more than the situation in which farmers have access to domestic markets only. Furthermore, promoting a more integrated groundnut value-chain can broaden the demand base of the produce resulting in higher and sustainable impact of the technology on the welfare of groundnut producers and beyond.
Somatic mutations are one of the most important factors in tumorigenesis and are the focus of most cancer-sequencing efforts. The co-occurrence of multiple mutations in one tumor has gained increasing attention as a means of identifying cooperating mutations or pathways that contribute to cancer. Using multi-omics, phenotypical, and clinical data from 29,559 cancer subjects and 1747 cancer cell lines covering 78 distinct cancer types, we show that co-mutations are associated with prognosis, drug sensitivity, and disparities in sex, age, and race. Some co-mutation combinations displayed stronger effects than their corresponding single mutations. For example, co-mutation TP53:KRAS in pancreatic adenocarcinoma is significantly associated with disease specific survival (hazard ratio = 2.87, adjusted p-value = 0.0003) and its prognostic predictive power is greater than either TP53 or KRAS as individually mutated genes. Functional analyses revealed that co-mutations with higher prognostic values have higher potential impact and cause greater dysregulation of gene expression. Furthermore, many of the prognostically significant co-mutations caused gains or losses of binding sequences of RNA binding proteins or micro RNAs with known cancer associations. Thus, detailed analyses of co-mutations can identify mechanisms that cooperate in tumorigenesis.
The emergence of new variants of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is a major concern given their potential impact on the transmissibility and pathogenicity of the virus as well as the efficacy of therapeutic interventions. Here, we predict the mutability of all positions in SARS-CoV-2 protein domains to forecast the appearance of unseen variants. Using sequence data from other coronaviruses, preexisting to SARS-CoV-2, we build statistical models that not only capture amino acid conservation but also more complex patterns resulting from epistasis. We show that these models are notably superior to conservation profiles in estimating the already observable SARS-CoV-2 variability. In the receptor binding domain of the spike protein, we observe that the predicted mutability correlates well with experimental measures of protein stability and that both are reliable mutability predictors (receiver operating characteristic areas under the curve ∼0.8). Most interestingly, we observe an increasing agreement between our model and the observed variability as more data become available over time, proving the anticipatory capacity of our model. When combined with data concerning the immune response, our approach identifies positions where current variants of concern are highly overrepresented. These results could assist studies on viral evolution and future viral outbreaks and, in particular, guide the exploration and anticipation of potentially harmful future SARS-CoV-2 variants.
The COVID-19 pandemic caused widespread disruption to many individuals' lifestyles. Social distancing restrictions implemented during this global pandemic may bring potential impact on physical activity habits of the general population. However, running is one of the most popular forms of physical activity worldwide and one in which it could be maintained even during most COVID-19 restrictions. We aimed to determine the impact of COVID-19 restrictions on runners' training habits through analyzing the training records obtained from their GPS enabled wearable trackers. Retrospective and prospective data were collected from an online database (https://wetrac.ucalgary.ca). Runners' training habits, including frequency, intensity and duration of training, weekly mileage and running locations were analyzed and compared 9 months before and after the start of COVID-19 restrictions in March 2020. We found that runners ran 3 km per week more (p = 0.05, Cohen's d = 0.12) after the start of COVID-19 restrictions, and added 0.3 training sessions per week (p = 0.03, Cohen's d = 0.14). Moreover, runners ran an additional 0.4 sessions outdoors (p < 0.01, Cohen's d = 0.21) but there was no significant change in the intensity or duration of training sessions. Our findings suggested that runners adopted slightly different training regimen as a result of COVID-19 restrictions. Our results described the collective changes, irrespective of differences in response measures adopted by various countries or cities during the COVID-19 pandemic.