UW Health’s Emergency Education Center has continued to train front line responders for all medical emergencies over the last year, including COVID-19.
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.”
’We understand the eagerness of many students to get vaccinated and we share that eagerness,’ UW says.
As part of the coverage, we interviewed Dr. William Hartman with UW Health about vaccine safety and who should get the shots.
“Making sure, given the disproportionate impact, that those communities do actually get prioritized and receive the vaccine is really critical to protect them, because they clearly are at higher risk,” said UW Health’s Chief Diversity Officer Shiva Bidar-Sielaff.
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.”
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.”
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.”
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. The University of Mississippi, which canceled spring break, said it will end the semester a week early.
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.
The gravity of the pandemic hit Maria Hanson much earlier than most everyone else in Dane County. Hanson happened to be working the night shift in UW Hospital’s emergency room on Jan. 30 when a patient walked in and asked to be tested for the coronavirus.
19.4% of Dane County residents have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
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.
UW Health reported Thursday on its efforts to keep vaccine equity top of mind when prioritizing COVID-19 shots in the 65 and older population.
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.
Starting Monday, one visitor generally will be allowed for adult patients at UnityPoint Health—Meriter, UW Health and SSM Health hospitals and clinics. Two primary support people will be allowed for each pediatric patient.
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.
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.
“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.”
Quoted: “Most mutations that occur do not cause the virus to be more infectious or deadly, but some variants have mutations that are more concerning,” said Ajay Sethi, an associate professor at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.
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.
As health guidelines continue to persist, students struggle to form strong, lasting relationships.
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.
The Centers for Disease Control approved a mask fitter designed by engineers at UW-Madison to combat the spread of COVID-19 last week.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
UW Health is recognizing the efforts of medical staff who have run nearly 200,000 COVID-19 tests since March 19, 2020.
UW Health on Thursday moved back 4,000 COVID-19 vaccine appointments set for next week because of inadequate supply, as the state prepared to make educators and other groups eligible for shots Monday — adding some 700,000 residents to about 1.6 million eligible now.
The Badgers, who have been ranked No. 1 throughout the season, announced the season has been put on pause for two weeks because of multiple exposures to COVID-19.
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.”
The University of Wisconsin – Madison’s University Health Services has a team of about 100 contact tracers, roughly double that of last semester, according to registered nurse Carlotta Soeder.
Noted: According to the announcement, the clinics will collaborate with AMI Expeditionary Healthcare, the University of Wisconsin System, local public health departments and other local partners.
Perhaps not since 9/11 – when droves of young people followed the career footsteps of first responders, soldiers, and firefighters – have current events shaped the area of work people pursue, says Mary McSweeney, assistant dean for admissions at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s School of Medicine and Public Health.
In September, Wisconsin had one of the highest per capita rates of COVID-19 in the country. The University of Wisconsin–Madison was at the center of concern: Hundreds of students tested positive when campus opened in late August. Some students on campus gathered in large groups without masks despite university restrictions, according to the Badger Herald, a student newspaper. At the peak of the outbreak in early September, 911 students and staff tested positive in a single week.
Quoted: Benjamin Baird, a sleep researcher at the University of Wisconsin–Madison who wasn’t involved in this study, told Scientific American the findings “challenge our ideas about what sleep is.” SciAm has more: Sleep has classically been defined as unresponsiveness to external environmental stimuli—and that feature is still typically part of the definition today, Baird explains. “This work pushes us to think carefully—rethink, maybe—about some of those fundamental definitions about the nature of sleep itself, and what’s possible in sleep.”
The first month of UW-Madison’s semester last fall saw nearly 1,900 on-campus student COVID-19 cases, two dorm quarantines, at least one hospitalization and a public rebuke by Dane County’s top leader.
Dr. Aurora Pop-Vicas is working to crack the case. She explained she’s seen similar outcomes with other respiratory viruses, but Covid presents unique challenges.“We are increasingly aware of how common this is because covid-19 is on the forefront of our efforts,” Pop-Vicas, UW-Madison school of medicine and public health infectious disease assistant professor said.
“What we need to do is modify the vaccines to specifically target the variant that is causing trouble and the good news there is the ability to modify the vaccines is a little bit easier,” Dr. Jeff Pothoff, UW-Health’s chief quality officer said.
“One of the things pediatricians will commonly tell you is that kids are not just little adults,” said Dr. Matt Anderson, a Senior Medical Director for UW Health. “They have different things going on in their bodies that need to be studied.”
As we approach a full year of this pandemic and attempt to survive sub-zero Wisconsin winter, many of us are tired; physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I teach at UW-Madison and the beginning of the semester is always an intense energetic marathon for me so I find myself having to be extra mindful about resting. So this month’s piece isn’t about food, but about rest as a political practice of resistance.
Quoted: These findings “challenge our ideas about what sleep is,” says Benjamin Baird, a postdoctoral researcher who studies dreams at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and was not involved in this study. Sleep has classically been defined as unresponsiveness to external environmental stimuli—and that feature is still typically part of the definition today, Baird explains. “This work pushes us to think carefully—rethink, maybe—about some of those fundamental definitions about the nature of sleep itself, and what’s possible in sleep.”
Quoted: “This work challenges the foundational definitions of sleep,” says cognitive neuroscientist Benjamin Baird of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, who studies sleep and dreams but was not part of the study. Traditionally, he says, sleep has been defined as a state in which the brain is disconnected and unaware of the outside world.
Quoted: “That would be a really interesting future direction of this methodology,” Benjamin Baird tells Inverse. Baird is a cognitive neuroscientist at the University of Wisconsin, Madison who studies lucid dreams, but was not involved in this study. He also has lucid dreams himself.
Like so many great scientific discoveries, Tom Brock started the research that would go on to revolutionize the field of biology — and pave the road to the development of the gold-standard COVID-19 tests used to fight a pandemic — with a question.
To bring surgical and cloth masks up to par with N95s and KN95s, you can opt for a mask brace, which is an even better solution than double masking, says David Rothamer, a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who has conducted work evaluating mask braces.”It’s kind of interesting that it’s taken awhile for mask fitters or braces to have more visibility,” Rothamer tells Popular Mechanics. “The whole double masking thing is really trying to do the same thing as a mask fitter or a brace, but in a more indirect way. My main concern with double masking is that it’s going to depend on the combination of the two masks.”
“At some point we’re just going to have to start to realize that old COVID probably isn’t going to be around as much,” said Jeff Pothof, UW Health’s chief quality officer. “As some of these strains are more contagious, they’ll become the dominant strains.”
“If they have the opportunity to be vaccinated somewhere else, we would definitely embrace them doing so, and then just ask that they let us know,” said Matt Anderson, UW Health’s Senior Medical Director for Primary Care.
Yoshihiro Kawaoka, DVM, PhD, Professor, University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine and University of Tokyo
The Milwaukee Public Health Department, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Gundersen Health System are also processing virus samples. Together, the four labs are sequencing an estimated 400 to 600 samples per week, Bateman said, adding he would like to see capacity increase.
Dr. Sheryl Henderson is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Infectious diseases at UW-Madsion’s School of Public Health. She encourages all people get vaccinated when it’s their turn but also understands why some people of color may be hesitant.
Dehdashti is one of many students who were immediately interested in the global health major when it was first offered this past fall. According to Susan Paskewitz, director of undergraduate global health programs in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, the foundational class for the major immediately filled up, meeting its 150 student capacity.
A new college program at the University of Wisconsin is challenging curiosity and preparing students for the future; aimed at giving young students exposure and pushing them to their potential during the coronavirus pandemic.
Quoted: Two researchers at UW-Madison began sequencing SARS-CoV-2 samples in February 2020. Virology professor Tom Friedrich and pathology professor Madison Dave O’Connor have a background in HIV research, and began sequencing SARS-CoV-2 samples from around Dane County as soon as local spread began.
“The sort of architecture of how the virus looks at the genetic level is a little different,” O’Connor said. “But the basic principles are the same as for HIV, and flu and other viruses.”
Quoted: When studying the impact of mask mandates, it’s important to consider whether people follow them and if they’re enforced, said Ajay Sethi, an epidemiologist and associate professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He said it can be difficult to assess mandates individually when they’re issued with other public health guidelines, but he believes the Kansas study offered compelling data on the matter.
“You could argue that with or without a mandate, people might wear a mask because that’s what they do and the mandate is just confirming what they do,” he said. “At the end of the day, an entire county had fewer cases.”
Meanwhile, UW Health early this week canceled more than 2,400 vaccination appointments set for this week after it received about half the vaccine supply expected from the state, said Dr. Matt Anderson, senior medical director of primary care. The appointments have been rescheduled for the next couple of weeks, he said.
The CDC put out a new recommendation Wednesday, encouraging the use of mask fitters. This may be a new term to many people, but a team of UW Madison engineers and researchers, cited in the CDC’S guidance, have been encouraging the public to use them for months.
Quoted: Those data show that “it’s mask fit that really matters, and there are bunch of different ways to improve mask fit,” says David Rothamer, a mechanical engineer at the University of Wisconsin–Madison College of Engineering.
Noted: A 2012 study led by Leslie Seltzer at the University of Wisconsin, for instance, found that phone calls can approximate in-person interactions in reducing cortisol (the stress hormone) and stimulating oxytocin (a neuropeptide associated with bonding and affection).