Economic shutdown to fight coronavirus provides researchers from Caltech and the Chinese Academy of Sciences unique opportunity to study impact of reduced emissions and the complex interplay that produces “hazy” days in northern China
The viral before-and-after images of improved air quality around the world resulting from the COVID-19 lockdown may not hold true for all parts of the world. According to a new study published on June 17 in the journal Science, although there was a dramatic reduction in pollution emission during the lockdown, other factors involving complex atmospheric chemistry and meteorological variations actually led to a deterioration in air quality in northern China during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Researchers from Caltech and the Chinese Academy of Sciences reviewed satellite and ground-based observations of the region and conducted state-of-the-science atmospheric model simulations. They focused on the roughly three weeks between January 23 to February 13 when China locked down its cities in an effort to slow the spread of infection.
“The halted human activities during the COVID-19 pandemic in China provided us a unique experiment to assess the efficiency of air-pollution mitigation,” says Yuan Wang, a research scientist at Caltech and the corresponding author of the Science paper.
New Tool Offered to Help Understand the Underlying Risk Factors for Covid-19 That Lead to Higher Incidence and Mortality
Emory University launches national dashboard to help visualize and target COVID-19 disparities
The impact of COVID-19 has not been evenly distributed across the country. Some communities—particularly those with a large minority population—suffer high infection rates, hospitalizations, and deaths. To reveal the relationships between underlying social determinants, health conditions, and health outcomes, researchers at Emory University have developed the COVID-19 Health Equity Dashboard.
“We see this as an evolving resource for a variety of audiences, including policy makers, public health practitioners, researchers, and maybe even clinicians,” Emory research team leader, Shivani A. Patel, PhD, MPF explains.
Filling in the Blanks: National Research Needs to Guide Decisions about Reopening Schools in the United States
“There is an urgent need to understand the evidence that would support how students could safely return to school.” – The Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security
Most elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools across the United States have been closed since March in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Schools that are able to do so have replaced classroom education with remote learning, using a range of tools and approaches. As of the publication of this report, governors from most US states have recommended or ordered that schools remain closed for the remainder of this academic year, affecting more than 50 million public school students. While a few schools may reopen before the end of the current school year, most schools, students, and their families in the United States are now facing uncertainty about whether or how schools will resume for in-class learning in the fall.
A host of guidance documents related to COVID-19 mitigation strategies for schools have recently been issued by various government and nongovernment organizations at the national and international levels. And a number of countries in Europe and Asia are now implementing a variety of approaches for returning K-12 schoolchildren to school. This report includes a summary and detailed Appendix on a selection of country approaches to school reopening. It is important to track these efforts and the implementation of the various guidances closely. Still, it will be difficult to tease out lessons learned absent rigorous study, since many adults will be returning to work, and physical distancing restrictions will be eased contemporaneously with schools reopening.
Researchers at Rutgers University find Spanish autocompletes are more likely to yield harmful, negative results
“Little attention has been paid to the ways computer search algorithms present unequal access to health information across languages,” according to lead author Vivek Singh, an assistant professor at Rutgers-New Brunswick’s School of Communication and Information.
His team found that online autocomplete results for coronavirus related information are more likely to yield misleading results if the user types in Spanish than in English.
This difference may harm Spanish speakers by connecting them with misinformation about basic precautions or the disease itself.
“The autocomplete function, while convenient, may contribute to bias that has the potential to lead to health inequality experienced by marginalized and racial minority groups by providing different results for similar inquiries,” said Pamela Valera, an assistant professor at the Rutgers School of Public Health and affiliated faculty member at School of Social Work.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres launches a COVID-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan
We are facing a global health crisis unlike any in the 75-year history of the United Nations — one that is killing people, spreading human suffering, and upending people’s lives. But this is much more than a health crisis. It is a human, economic and social crisis. The coronavirus disease (COVID-19), which has been characterized as a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO), is attacking societies at their core. The UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) is a pioneer of sustainable development and the home of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), where each goal finds its space and where all stakeholders can do their part to leave no one behind.
Researchers at the University of Arkansas track behaviors in the age of COVID-19
To learn from the COVID-19 pandemic, Azat Sadyrov, a research assistant at the Behavioral Business Research Lab within the Sam M. Walton College of Business, is teaming up with Samantha Robinson,teaching assistant professor in the Department of Mathematical Sciences within the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, to study the behavior of people and how the coronavirus has altered that behavior.
“The fight against the spread of the virus is not only intended to reduce the total number of cases,but also to slow down their rate of increase,” said Sadyrov, a junior majoring in economics at Fulbright College. “Individual behavior is critical to controlling the spread of the virus. How much people listen to recommendations is just as important as actions by governments, if not more.”
UC Berkeley team publishes new study showing that a global catastrophe was averted by the implementation of emergency public health measures in 6 key countries
Emergency health measures implemented in China, France, Iran, Italy, South Korea, and the US have “significantly and substantially slowed” the spread of the novel coronavirus, according to UC Berkley research team lead author Solomon Hsiang. Their study was published June 8 in the journal Nature. The findings come as leaders worldwide struggle to balance the enormous and highly visible economic costs of emergency health measures against their public health benefits, which are difficult to see.
Van Andel Institute for Education is helping teachers and students keep curiosity and a love of learning alive amid COVID-19 related K-12 school closures by providing open access to at-home learning resources and a relevant Blue Apple™ project.
The Institute has launched a free, virtual version of “Prevent the Spread,” a project where students learn about their unique power to stop the spread of the coronavirus. The virtual project, which is geared toward students in grades 3-8, can be found here.
“Teachers are making heroic efforts to adjust to distance learning on the fly,” said VAI Chief Education Officer Terra Tarango. “They want to continue with authentic, meaningful learning experiences, and we want to help them do that.”
Western Michigan University research supports effectiveness of telehealth
Using technology to provide real-time communication between patients to health care providers could be a cost-effective solution to increase the quality of services and number of trained professionals in underserved areas, recent research shows.
Delivering health care, information or education at a distance using video conferencing, telephone calls or remote patient monitoring is especially relevant given the outbreak of COVID-19 and concerns about in-person contact.
Dr. Stephanie Peterson, chair and professor for WMU’s Department of Psychology, is the principal investigator of the lab responsible for publishing the study which investigated the effectiveness of delivering behavior skills training via telehealth to evaluate function of severe problem behavior.
“Telehealth is effective over miles and miles, and it’s exciting because you can increase accessibility to services to those who can actually benefit from it. For example, if you think about those who live in the rural areas of Michigan, or even the upper peninsula, telehealth allows you set up a virtual clinic to act as a station of experts who can help people access state-of-the-art interventions.”
Researchers at Princeton University report results of a study on asymptomatic transmission which may guide public health experts in planning quarantines, testing, and contact tracing.
The Princeton study was published May 8 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The study examined the pros and cons of silent transmission on the pathogen’s long-term survival. Does transmission without symptoms enable the pathogen to infect greater numbers of people? Or does the lack of symptoms eventually lessen transmission and reduce the pathogen’s long-term survival?
The answer could inform how public health experts plan control measures such as quarantines, testing and contact tracing.
“An asymptomatic stage for various reasons could provide certain benefits to the pathogen,” said Bryan Grenfell, Princeton’s Kathryn Briger and Sarah Fenton Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Public Affairs, Woodrow Wilson School. “With the COVID-19 crisis, the importance of this asymptomatic phase has become extremely relevant