Daily Archives: October 26, 2021

Long Road to Recovery

After the rapid rollout of COVID-19 vaccines, life has returned to a semblance of normalcy. For COVID long-haulers, however, their lives have veered away from their original tracks. While some people have recovered from the illness within weeks, long-haulers are still grappling with the harsh reality of “chronic COVID-19,” even months after the symptom onset….

COVID-19 in 2021: Hope is Rising

More than 3,000. More than 12,000. More than 700,000. More than 4.55 million. These numbers have been growing like an eternally ticking clock except instead of marking the passage of time, they mark each life that was lost to COVID-19 in St. Louis, in Missouri, in the United States and worldwide. The virus does not discriminate,…

Next Stop: Epidemic: The Role of Public Metro Systems in Spreading Communicable Diseases

One of my favorite benefits of going to Washington University in St. Louis is receiving a complimentary U-Pass that allows me to travel throughout St. Louis. However, when I invited a friend to ride with me, they expressed concern about taking public transit during the height of a pandemic. It made logical sense: multiple individuals from across the city touching the same handles and seats would likely spread an illness to the next unlucky passenger.   Although the pandemic is slowly burning out, ridership on public transportation has likewise made a return throughout the United States [2]. As more and more people are making their way onto trains, busses and subways, could I be stepping onto a human petri dish that is spreading the next outbreak, epidemic or even pandemic?   Obviously, this concern is not a new one prompted by COVID. Epidemiologists and public health experts have paid particular attention to pathogens spread by public transit, such as the bacterial genus Staphylococcus (Staph). Staph thrives on human skin and can therefore spread on high-touch surfaces. Additionally, it is well known for having multiple antibiotic resistant strains. This can have profound effects on individuals with bacterial infections since antibiotic resistant infections cost America 4.6 billion dollars in 2017, with Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus…

Synthetic DNA: A Game-Changer in the Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has underlined the necessity of scientific research and development more than ever. One such biotechnology that has been recently developed and has become of great importance to us during the pandemic is synthetic DNA. The term “synthetic biology” was originally conceived by geneticist Waclaw Szybalski in 1970 and refers to the design and construction of…

The Disproportionate Impacts of COVID-19 on Black and African American Communities in St. Louis

The “Delmar Divide,” a recognizable term for many of us, refers to “Delmar Boulevard as a socioeconomic and racial dividing line in St. Louis, Missouri” [10]. Crossing from north of Delmar Boulevard to the south reveals significant socioeconomic and racial segregations where the population goes from over 98% African American to over 70% white, the median income increases by…

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