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A key message coming through about COVID-19 is that older folks face much greater danger. But what might that suggest to the young about their own risk? It's called a "social comparison frame" and it's something health communicators have to worry about—or should. Cabral Bigman is a communication professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who specializes in communication about risk and inequality related to health. She spoke with News Bureau social sciences editor Craig Chamberlain.
Healthcare workers are likely to be in contact with many COVID-19 patients every day. Being in contact with more people with the disease means that, in theory, they will be exposed to higher doses of the coronavirus over time. Does that mean they are at greater risk of contracting the disease, as reports from some countries suggest?
In a recent editorial, the Editor-in-Chief, Dr. James J James states that there are currently two potential public health crises in the US. The first, COVID-19, we are all too aware of and are currently in the throes of attempting to control it through containment and mitigation. We are currently focusing on extreme containment measures, which cannot work as the transmission has already occurred nationwide. Data from South Korea and Italy indicate such measures may not even be necessary or very effective.
A locally informed simulation model may help hospital administrators better prepare for capacity strain during the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 Hospital Impact Model for Epidemics, or CHIME, includes a user-friendly interface so that hospital leaders can, at any time, independently estimate the time until their hospitals' capacities would likely be exceeded. The model also predicts the intensity of the surge, including need for ward and intensive care unit (ICU) beds and ventilators, and the duration of time that each hospital would experience a demand in excess of capacity, enabling users to plan for upcoming equipment and clinical staffing demands. A brief research report is published in Annals of Internal Medicine.
The avian influenza virus subtype H16N3 is currently detectable in many countries. To examine the potential threat to humans of H16N3, researchers recently performed an extensive avian influenza surveillance in major wild bird gatherings across China from 2017-2019. The findings are published in Transboundary and Emerging Diseases.

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