Conversations about COVID-19

Pitt Public Health brings together a variety of experts to have a conversation about different aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic and address questions from seminar attendees. The goal of the seminar series is to provide our school community, alumni, and the public with credible information about the virus and the associated health impacts. 

View past sessions below and stay tuned for future sessions. 

Recent Session Summaries & Recordings

Biden coronavirus task force appointee Michael Osterholm discusses "The COVID Pandemic: The Evolving Reality" (video)

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In a special IDM Seminar, Michael T. Osterholm answers questions regarding the epidemiology of SARS-CoV-2 infection, public health strategies to reduce transmission, and thoughts on how the world will likely look one year from now. Osterholm was recently appointed to President-elect Biden's coronavirus task force and directs the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.  

Disinformation & Misinformation: Politics, Pandemics & Public Health

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In the final fall session of Conversations about COVID-19 seminar series, Jaime Sidani and Michael Colaresi join BCHS doctoral student Beth Hoffman to discuss ways that public health can address dis/misinformation in the era of COVID-19, with a particular focus on implications for COVID-19 vaccine acceptance.  

CDC NIOSH's Response to PPE Challenges During COVID-19

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As part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)'s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory (NPPTL) has responded ot the unique personal protective equipment (PPE) challenges that have arisen during COVID-19. This presentation, with Maryann D'Alessandro, PhD, and John Powers, both of the NPPTL, provides an overview of their response to COVID-19 and effort... 

Pennsylvania State Response to COVID-19

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Wendy Braund, COVID-19 response director, Pennsylvania Department of Health, leads a conversation about the Pennsylvania Department of Health response to COVID-19, addressing the current situation and containment and mitigation efforts.   

COVID-19 & Health Disparities

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As part of the Conversations about COVID-19 seminar series, EPI doctoral candidate Chantele Mitchell Miland , and Pitt's director of health sciences diversity, equity, and inclusion, Mario Browne (BCHS '05), discuss COVID-19 and health disparities.  

Conversations about COVID-19

 

COVID-19 News Headlines

Hershey explains what ‘social distancing’ actually means 

Hershey explains what ‘social distancing’ actually means

TRIB LIVE - “The goal (of social distancing) is to stop or slow the spread of infectious disease,” said HPM’s Tina Hershey. Doing so, she said, slows the spread while other public health measures have time to work. “In restricting your own movements, you are going to reduce your individual risk, bu... (03/12/2020)

Mertz of Allegheny County Health Department answers questions about coronavirus preparations (video) 

Mertz of Allegheny County Health Department answers questions about coronavirus preparations (video)

WTAE - “We expect to detect cases in Pennsylvania during the coming weeks,” said Kristen Mertz, medical epidemiologist with the Allegheny County Health Department and adjunct faculty at Pitt Public Health. She’s most concerned about outbreaks at long-term health care facilities as well as other pla... (03/03/2020)

Should schools close during a coronavirus outbreak? The answer isn’t obvious  

Should schools close during a coronavirus outbreak? The answer isn’t obvious

BALTIMORE SUN - Pitt researchers used data from the 2009 H1N1 outbreak to model how long schools should close in the case of a pandemic. “What we found was the optimal timing is 8 weeks from a disease transmission” standpoint, said HPM's Tina Batra Hershey, JD, MPH. Opening schools too soon might l... (03/04/2020)

UPMC Health Plan removes barriers to coronavirus testing 

UPMC Health Plan removes barriers to coronavirus testing

To ensure patients and members receive timely diagnosis and treatment, UPMC Health Plan will waive any applicable deductibles, copayments or other cost-sharing for COVID-19 testing when ordered by a member’s treating medical provider. Members with symptoms or suspected exposure to COVID-19 should i... (03/12/2020)

Did a woman get coronavirus twice? Burke is skeptical. 

Did a woman get coronavirus twice? Burke is skeptical.

WIRED - News reports detailing the case raised the possibility that people may not be developing immunity to the new coronavirus, even after they’ve recovered. But Donald Burke, dean emeritus and international infectious disease specialist, says there’s not enough data to support that conclusion. “... (02/28/2020)

Burke concerned that true number of U.S. coronavirus cases is far above official tally 

Burke concerned that true number of U.S. coronavirus cases is far above official tally

LOS ANGELES TIMES - Donald S. Burke, an EPI disease modeler, says that assumptions about the coronavirus’ ability to jump from person to person is especially conservative. The analysis assumed that each infected person will pass the virus along to 2.1 to 2.5 others over the course of their infectio... (03/10/2020)

FRED informs obvious strategies to fight the coronavirus 

FRED informs obvious strategies to fight the coronavirus

A study of workers in Allegheny County, Pa., entitled “Policies to Reduce Influenza in the Workplace: Impact Assessments Using an Agent-Based Model,” published in 2013 in the American Journal of Public Health, was specifically cited in today's New York Times editorial arguing for mandatory sick lea... (03/04/2020)

Wenzel on the pandemic and EOH response 

Wenzel on the pandemic and EOH response

"I'm anxious, like many of us. Uncertainty is having a big impact on our society. So the virus itself, the medical responses to it, whether overwhelmed or not, and then the psycho-socioeconomic impact, in some variation of percentages, are likely to have longterm impact on our society as we know it... (03/13/2020)
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