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Category: Health

COVID-19 Precautions Have Cut The Spread Of Other Illnesses In Schools. What Can That Teach Us Going Forward?

Wisconsin Public Radio

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services has reported zero deaths from the seasonal flu among kids since October, and a massive reduction in flu cases. University of Wisconsin-Madison pediatric infectious disease specialist Dr. Greg Demuri said respiratory syncytial virus, a common illness in infants and toddlers that’s one of the leading causes of hospitalizations in children, has all but disappeared this year.

Your Single-Cloth Mask Doesn’t Cut It. Here’s What Can Help.

Slate

Noted: I opted for a design created by engineers at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. Called the “Badger Seal” after the school’s mascot, the design uses materials that are easy to order: vinyl tubing, cord locks, rubber twist ties, and elastic string. The instructional videos were easy to follow; while I didn’t time myself, I’d estimate it took about 20 minutes total to snip all the various pieces of tubing and ties, and put them together.

U.S. States Throw Open Vaccine Eligibility Before May 1 Goal

Bloomberg

Quoted: And opening eligibility doesn’t necessarily mean administration is going efficiently, said Ajay Sethi, an associate professor of population health sciences at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in Madison. In some cases, states are reaching the limits of vaccine acceptance.

For those still waiting to get it, he said, just knowing they’re eligible can make an emotional difference. “Sometimes people feel better standing in line than not having any line at all,” Sethi said Thursday. “Once a few states do it, other states decide to do it as well, especially if leaders are finding that they don’t want to hit the wall, they want to keep the momentum, they might as well open up the eligibility criteria.”

Hair Loss Is A Surprisingly Common Side Effect Of the Pandemic—Here Are 13 Possible Reasons Why It Might Be Happening

Parade

Quoted: “Telogen effluvium is commonly triggered by stress, and COVID-19 has definitely contributed to a lot of stress these days,” says Apple Bodemer, MD, Assistant Professor at the University of Wisconsin Department of Dermatology. “I am seeing a significant increase in this type of hair loss.”

Pfizer, Moderna, J&J? Most in Wisconsin won’t be given a choice of COVID-19 vaccine — and doctors say that’s OK

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Quoted: The clinical trials for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine were done later, when the virus may have been more widespread, and in different countries with different populations, said Ajay Sethi, an epidemiologist and an associate professor of population health sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Graham said the same.

“People should not shun the J&J vaccine,” she said.

Here’s where Wisconsin’s neighboring states are on vaccine eligibility and how they compare to us

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Quoted: Wisconsin’s slightly later move to Phase 1C doesn’t mean the state’s rollout is sluggish, though. It’s likely an indicator that demand has been high in Wisconsin among currently eligible groups, said Ajay Sethi, an epidemiologist and professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

“Some of the states have been opening up eligibility criteria earlier because I think in some ways they’ve hit a little bit of a wall,” Sethi said.

Warmer weather, looser restrictions draw students to gather outdoors

Badger Herald

Students are ready to take advantage of the warm spring weather and the CDC verified gathering outside as the notably safer option, but the risk of increasing COVID-19 cases is largely dependent on how students chose to gather. University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health Professor Oguzhan Alagoz spoke on students gathering outdoors. “Yes, people are going to spend more time outdoors, which is great. But are they going to wear masks or are they going to let their guard down?” Alagoz said. “And that’s where I think it’s a big unknown.”

Spring break: UC Davis offers $75 to students not to travel

AP

Texas A&M University opted for a three-day weekend instead of a whole week off. The University of Alabama and the University of Wisconsin-Madison also did away with spring break but are giving students a day off later in the semester. University of Mississippi also canceled spring break but will end the semester a week early.

Updated: All grades in Madison public schools will have in-person option before May

The Capital Times

Dr. Greg DeMuri, with the UW-Madison Department of Pediatrics, said some recent studies indicate three feet of distance is “likely as safe as six feet,” though six feet is still preferable when possible. He noted that guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control suggested six feet distancing “when feasible,” which gives “some flexibility.”

UW Pharmacy students assisting local pharmacies in vaccination efforts

NBC-15

Pharmacy Professor at the school, Mary Hayney, oversees the student vaccination effort.“Pharmacy students are ready to volunteer,” Hayney said. “For example, many of them, unlike other healthcare providers, or licensed healthcare providers, they don’t have patient care responsibilities. So, they’re available and ready to help.”

Another side effect from COVID-19: hair loss

Wisconsin State Journal

Dr. Apple Bodemer said she started seeing more cases of hair loss last summer, with an increase in the fall as COVID-19 surged in Dane County. “Prior to COVID-19, I was seeing two to four hair loss patients per month,” Bodemer said in a statement. “Recently, I have been seeing up to five or six a day.”

A year changed some of what we knew about COVID and who it affects most. But heartbreak was the constant.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Quoted: People who live to be 75 to 79 in Wisconsin, on average are expected to live another 13 years, according to state data. That average includes people who are quite ill with health conditions, noted Pat Remington, an epidemiologist from the University of Wisconsin- Madison.

“It is amazing how long people can live with multiple chronic conditions,” Remington said. “Everyone thinks that is when people die, but at 77 they are just likely to live to 90 on average.”

Spring-break partying falls victim to COVID-19 crisis

ABC News

Texas A&M University opted for a three-day weekend instead of a whole week off. The University of Alabama and the University of Wisconsin-Madison also did away with spring break but are giving students a day off later in the semester.

Forget what you think happiness is

The Wall Street Journal

Noted: Psychologist Richard Davidson, founder and director of the Center for Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, believes the brain can be trained, and that exercises including short meditation practices will become routine, like running and weight lifting. Emotional well-being will be as important as physical well-being in the coming years, according to Dr. Davidson.

As Republicans welcome maskless crowd, Democrats say those following COVID-19 precautions are essentially shut out of government process

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Quoted: “Indoor settings with prolonged exposure present the greatest risk for transmission, hence why universal masking is particularly important — even if the individuals are immunized,” said Jim Conway, an infectious diseases expert at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Global Health Institute.

Wisconsin launches vaccine registry with just 1 county, more sites to come

Associated Press

In other pandemic-related developments Wednesday: UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank said in taped remarks for the Wisconsin Counties Association’s annual Legislative Exchange meeting that a normal fall semester hinges on the pace of vaccinations for faculty, staff and students. She said the university is an authorized vaccinator and hopes to vaccinate all faculty and staff by the end of the spring semester. 

UW-Madison Pharmacy students help with COVID-19 vaccine distribution

Daily Cardinal

The UW-Madison Pharmacy school designed courses to train younger students how to vaccinate to accelerate COVID-19 vaccine distribution efforts. The School of Pharmacy class, Comprehensive Immunization Delivery — which includes training on vaccine administration — is now available for first-year PharmD students.

More UW students volunteering to vaccinate than shots available

WKOW-TV 27

“It has been a little bit frustrating,” Hoernke said. “We’ve been needing to even cancel volunteers because they’re not getting enough vaccines. (Pharmacies) have had to cancel appointments for their patients to come get their first vaccine… For once, I’ve coordinated something that has more volunteers than we need.”

UW-Madison professor Tracey Holloway wants to educate moms on climate change through work with Science Moms

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

As a scientist, Tracey Holloway has spent a lot of time thinking about how climate change is going to affect the world.

As a mother of two young boys, she spends a lot of time thinking about what the world will be like when her youngest son — now only 10 months — turns 30.

“It always seemed like 2050 was so far into the future, but now my baby’s going to be 30 in 2050, and that’s not that far away,” she said.

Holloway, a professor at the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has been studying air quality and pollution for nearly 20 years. Now, she’s teaming up with other women scientists to help make understanding climate change accessible, forming a group called Science Moms.

With pandemic’s increased risk of stress, loneliness, UW encourages employees to take time off for well-being

Badger Herald

The University of Wisconsin released a statement Feb. 9 encouraging employees to take time off for well-being. The statement said employees were deferring time off because the pandemic prevented them from traveling, spending time with family and friends, or getting away from managing pandemic-related issues. UW Chief Human Resources Officer Mark Walters said employees are also busy triaging issues caused by the pandemic to help keep the campus safe.

‘This is Powerful’: Mourning the National Loss Endured This Year

Spectrum News

Quoted: Omar Poler wants people to recognize that and to remember the people who lost their battle with COVID-19.

‘We never take the time to stop and reflect on the loss we’re all experiencing,’” “A friend said to me, ‘We never take the time to stop and reflect on the loss we’re all experiencing,’” Poler said. “At the same time, a newspaper article came out that said no collective mourning had emerged within the United States.”

Poler is UW-Madison’s Indigenous education coordinator. He wanted to change the way America looks at coronavirus-related deaths. He wanted people to spend a moment grieving.

“What we do is I spend some time before Thursday trying to learn about specific people,” Poler said. “I look through obituaries and try to come up with a way to remember them.”

How 3 ‘Determined’ Green Bay women are giving a voice to anguish, resilience of Alzheimer’s families with film 10 years in making

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Noted: “Determined” tells the story of three women participating in the Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer’s Prevention, or WRAP, the world’s largest family history study of Alzheimer’s disease. The University of Wisconsin-Madison research group that began in 2001 is made up of primarily middle-aged adults with a deceased or living parent with Alzheimer’s, a factor that makes them 2½ times more likely to get the disease than those without a family history.

What Are Antioxidants, and How Much of Them Should You Be Eating?

SELF

Quoted: Then there are antioxidants that aren’t exactly considered essential nutrients, but still have effects on cells and tissues, Bradley Bolling, Ph.D., an assistant professor of food science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, tells SELF. You can find these in plant, animal, and other dietary sources.

Many of these non-essential antioxidants are being studied for their potential effects on optimizing health, preventing chronic disease, promoting longevity, and reducing inflammation, says Dr. Bolling. “There are varying grades of evidence for the effectiveness of these non-nutritive antioxidants,” he says.

Vaccine lotteries and personal appeals: The medically vulnerable find their priority status slipping away

Washington Post

Noted: Jonathan L. Temte, associate dean for public health and community engagement at the University of Wisconsin and a liaison to to the covid-19 work group that helped the CDC advisory panel issue its guidelines, called the result a “free-for-all.” The decisions could become even more torturous when a third vaccine made by Johnson & Johnson — which is expected to gain regulatory approval this weekend — joins the mix, though with only a trickle of supply at first.

Tension is growing in the Wisconsin State Capitol as some Republican lawmakers refuse to wear face masks

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Quoted: “Indoor settings with prolonged exposure present the greatest risk for transmission, hence why universal masking is particularly important – even if the individuals are immunized,” said Jim Conway, an infectious diseases expert at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Global Health Institute.

Patrick Remington, former epidemiologist for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and director of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s preventive medicine residency program, said if lawmakers who choose to go maskless are vaccinated against COVID-19, then the risk is lower.

“One obvious question for people not wearing masks is whether they have been vaccinated. If they have, then it seems to be a reasonable thing to do,” Remington said. “That is, the vaccine provides sufficient protection to significantly reduce the risk of becoming sick or getting others sick.”