WTAE - HPM’s Mark Roberts said, “We don’t really know how many people have been sick, or have gotten infected and not gotten sick. Since there can be asymptomatic carriers, we need to ramp up testing to determine which counties can reopen. He’ll be looking closely at states that have eased stay-at-home restrictions to see what impact, if any, a limited reopening has.
NPR - Pitt Med's Derek Angus (BCHS '92) says the problem is that our system rewards tribalism, with insufficient motivation for effective collaboration. He's leading a fast-track remap trial for COVID-19, part of an international effort involving hundreds of investigators. He has lots of opinions about which drugs might work best, but he'd rather focus on a trial design that can be as modular as possible and let as many people in as possible.
Graduating master's student in IDM's community practice track Rajeev Salunke (IDM '20) has been accepted into the internal medicine residency program at the University of Connecticut. Hear directly from Rajeev about his background, his experiences at Pitt Public Health, and his aspirations for the future.
BUSINESS INSIDER - By the time global health groups agreed on a testing strategy for Ebola, the epidemic had waned and there weren’t enough people to test. HPM’s Walid Gellad, director of Pitt’s Center for Pharmaceutical Policy and Prescribing, said it’s a legitimate worry that the torrent of studies will compete for the same pool of patients, making it harder to find enough people to test all the drugs.
SCIENCE - IDM's Douglas Reed, who is developing and testing COVID-19 vaccines in monkey studies, says the number of animals was too small to yield statistically significant results. His team also has a manuscript in preparation that raises concerns about the way the Sinovac team grew the stock of novel coronavirus used to challenge the animals: It may have caused changes that make it less reflective of the ones that infect humans.
NEW YORK TIMES - EPI’s Donald Burke said, “Even with these corrections, it’s still on the high side — this is higher than I would have expected.” He added that, whatever the precise scale of the initial outbreak, that same dynamic will accelerate once measures to mitigate the spread are relaxed without other public health measures in place. “When you take away social distancing, everything will go right through the roof.”
POST-GAZETTE - By counting probable cases and deaths, not just confirmed ones, “the overall sensitivity of the surveillance system is enhanced,” said EPI’s Catherine Haggerty. She interviews people who have had contact with COVID-19 patients to determine if they should be considered probable cases. “By casting a wider net you catch more cases. And it gives us a greater understanding of the full impact” of the disease on the community.
90.5 WESA – EOH’s James Fabisiak said the rising ozone levels in this report stood out to him since they had fallen in previous reports. Ozone doesn’t come from a single source, and it’s aggravated by higher temperatures. “Therefore, climate change becomes a particular—at least, good—candidate as for why you might be seeing that particular change.”
PITTSBURGH BUSINESS TIMES – While high numbers have made state-level contact tracing impossible, Allegheny County has managed it by bringing in Pitt health science students and faculty to assist, including EPI’s Catherine Haggerty. “We identify potentially exposed persons within the community so that we can reduce community spread,” she said. “I think that’s played a role in the success of managing and combatting COVID-19” in the region.
Three students from the Department of Health Policy and Management, Brandon Trumbull (HPM ’19), Karl Gibson (HPM ’19), and Emily Joseph (HPM ’20), participated in the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Health Administration Case Competition in February 2019.
The Cleveland Clinic held its 6 th MBA/MHA Case Competition in April 2019. Teams of graduate students submitted cases about growth strategy recommendations for the Cleveland Clinic + Oscar Health product in mid-February, hoping to earn a spot amongst the top 16 teams
Nolan Cianci (HPM ’21), Mara Menk (HPM ’22), and Devin Strynkowski (HPM ’21), coached by MPH program director and HPM faculty member Elizabeth Van Nostrand, placed 2 nd in the Penn State University Health Care Management Case Competition
THE PITTSBURGH STUDY - Center for Health Equity Director Noble Maseru asks, "What can we Pittsburghers do to achieve an inclusive and socially equitable city? in the first case, we can express our preference for behavior that reflects our views on social justice in the ballot box - so vote!"
PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE - “A good first step is to check the CDC website before you travel because things are rapidly changing,” advised EPI’s Catherine Haggerty. “There is evidence that the virus can be viable for hours or days on surfaces, so wash your hands often and avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. If you wipe down the steering wheel, it is just an extra precaution that can help protect you.”
PBS NEWSHOUR - EPI’s Wilbert Van Panhuis tells California high school student reporter Madi Marks how he's collecting data on the coronavirus to combat it's spread. He talks about his personal transition from working with sick individuals in past epidemics to improving health conditions for whole populations. His work with big-data disease modeling allows his team to better plan and respond to emergency situations like the current pandemic.
WTAE - HPM’s Mark Roberts said a drop in coronavirus cases means that people are following social distancing guidelines. He thinks President Trump's plan is “reasonable,” but he added, “What we need to do is understand the impact of the decisions we’re making on the disease and on the economy.”
CNN – The scramble for successful treatments is disjointed and chaotic, according to Pitt Med's Derek Angus (BCHS '92). There are two million people who already have this disease. If even one in 10 has been able to participate in a trial, we could have gone through 100 different drugs by now and known definitively which ones worked or not. The disorder is global, and there aren’t enough tests right now to practice effective public health.
VICE MEDIA – Emerson Boggs (IDM PhD candidate) says, “I’m a virologist, so I probably spend more time than average looking at outbreaks. I started off as a fervent commenter, and then I wanted the ability to intervene because the science stuff got bad pretty quickly.” The subreddit is also rapidly outpacing traditional outbreak reporting. The ability to communicate back and forth easily has helped a lot of people.
WASHINGTON POST - “It’s a cacophony—it’s not an orchestra. There’s no conductor,” said Pitt Med and HPM faculty's Derek Angus (BCHS '92), who is leading a covid-19 trial to test multiple therapies. “My heart aches over the complete chaos in the response.” The lack of coordination puts the world at risk of ending up with a raft of inconclusive and conflicting studies and little idea of what interventions work for the next wave of illness.
SCIENCE – Dozens of research teams are racing to develop animal models that can help find effective COVID-19 vaccines and treatments. IDM’s Douglas Reed is staging experiments in air chambers that attempt to infect monkeys through this route, which both might increase pathogenicity and offer clues about transmission risks. He explains, “We’re trying to get enough virus into them to get some kind of disease.”