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Covid-19

Just how accurate are rapid antigen tests? Two testing experts explain the latest data

As of May 2022, the U.S. is experiencing another uptick in the number of COVID-19 cases. High rates of infection in Europe and Asia, along with the continued emergence of new sub-variants, such as omicron BA.4 and BA.5, raise concerns that another surge could be on the way. Even though demand for COVID-19 tests greatly […]

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Covid-19

Countries with lower-than-expected vaccination rates show unusually negative attitudes to vaccines on Twitter

The Research Brief is a short take about interesting academic work. The big idea In countries with lower-than-expected COVID-19 vaccination rates, mentions of side effects and negative emotions dominated overall social media discourses on COVID-19 vaccines, according to our new research published in the journal Vaccines. Our team wanted to understand whether the tone of […]

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Covid-19

COVID-19 official counts can miss mild cases – here’s how serosurveys that analyze blood for signs of past infection can help

It’s an eye-catching statistic: 58% of the whole population and 75% of kids in the U.S. had been infected by the coronavirus by the end of February 2022. That’s a pretty big jump from the official case count that hovered around a quarter of Americans having been diagnosed with COVID-19. A report from the U.S. […]

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Covid-19

Will new vaccines be better at fighting coronavirus variants? 5 questions answered

The first three coronavirus vaccines earned Emergency Use Authorization more than a year ago. To date, no other vaccines have been put into use in the U.S – but that will soon change. More than 40 vaccines are undergoing clinical trials in the U.S., employing a number of different approaches to protecting people from the […]

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Covid-19

Wastewater monitoring took off during the COVID-19 pandemic – and here’s how it could help head off future outbreaks

A community’s sewage holds clues about its COVID-19 burden. Over the course of the pandemic, wastewater surveillance has become an increasingly popular way to try to understand local infection trends. Microbiologists Susan De Long and Carol Wilusz met and became wastewater aficionados in April 2020 when a grassroots group of wastewater treatment plant operators asked […]

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Covid-19

I’m a Black sociologist, and a mom – by listening to other Black mothers, I’ve learned about their pandemic struggles and strengths

I spent the 2020 spring break week setting up to teach my college courses online while helping to care for my 14-month-old grandchild, whose daycare had closed. At the same time, I couldn’t help thinking, being the sociologist I am, of the devastating consequences of COVID-19 I saw for women like me, Black mothers, whom […]

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Covid-19

Staring at an image of yourself on Zoom has serious consequences for mental health – especially for women

In the past few years, people across the world have spent more time on video chat programs like Zoom and FaceTime than ever before. These applications mimic in-person encounters by allowing users to see the people they are communicating with. But unlike in-person communications, these programs often also show users a video of themselves. Instead […]

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Covid-19

Pandemic decision-making is difficult and exhausting – here’s the psychology that explains why

You want to sit down for an indoor dinner with friends. A couple of years ago, this was a simple enough activity that required minimal planning. However, that is not the case in today’s world. Many people now face a stream of further considerations about benefits and risks. Will I enjoy the experience? What are […]

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Covid-19

Why we can’t ‘boost’ our way out of the COVID-19 pandemic for the long term

With yet another COVID-19 booster available for vulnerable populations in the U.S., many people find themselves wondering what the end game will be. The mRNA vaccines currently used in the U.S. against COVID-19 have been highly successful at preventing hospitalization and death. The Commonwealth Fund recently reported that in the U.S. alone, the vaccines have […]

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Covid-19

Do you need a second booster shot? An epidemiologist scoured the latest research and has some answers

In late March 2022, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized a second booster shot of COVID-19 vaccines for vulnerable populations in the U.S., a move that was soon after endorsed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. People ages 50 years and older and certain immunocompromised individuals who are at higher risk for […]