Covid-19

Mulyadi/Unsplash

  I think back to a year ago. There was an entire household with multiple generations living together and they were too sick to come to the clinic for COVID-19 testing. Three of our nurses selflessly volunteered to go to them. They put on personal protective equipment and went in and
tested everyone there. That single act of love and dedication will always define medicine for me.

Hakan Nural/Unsplash

The COVID-19 pandemic has been with us for almost a year. In that year businesses have closed and people have lost jobs. Wearing masks and keeping social distance have caused deep divisions among us. 

  There are scare stories and myths on social media and other places about the vaccines and many people believe these myths. Fear has always been a powerful tool and has long been used to cause division. Fear is being used now and it isn't always easy to know what to believe.

©Lisa Johnson

In years past, folks at the start of the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon had to shout to be heard above the baying of the sled dogs.

That is, until the dogs were given the command to move.

Then they fell utterly silent as they threw their weight into the traces ... and the crowds took over with whooping and cheering and yes, cowbell. 

This year will be a lot different.

Arne/Ivy Vainio. Used with permission.

That means we need to continue to wear masks, keep our social distance, wash our hands frequently, avoid public gatherings and sanitize frequently touched surfaces.

Is this a sacrifice?

Not compared to losing an elder. Ivy and I go to her grandmother’s house and we stand outside the window and we wave and we can talk on the phone. I can see the sadness and longing in Ivy’s eyes and in her grandmother’s. I can see the distance that pane of glass puts between them.

CDC/Unsplash

Katie Albert is St. Louis County's public health planner overseeing COVID-19 vaccination efforts.

She joins us this morning for a wide-ranging conversation about the County's progress through the first three phases of the highest priority groups for the vaccine, the need for volunteers, and how we find out who's next in line for the shots.

Jernej Furman [via Flickr]

Dr. Mary Owen talks with KUMD's Lisa Johnson about the first rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine. With a death rate in the native American population that is higher than the white population in the U.S., the challenges faced by the Indian Health Service (IHS) include how to distribute the vaccine efficiently, but also how to foster the community's trust in its effectiveness and safety.  

Giniw Collective/Facebook

Earlier this month, twelve of the 17-members of the  MPCA's Environmental Justice Advisory Group resigned after the agency approved a key water quality permit for the Line 3 oil pipeline replacement project.

Cameron Venti/Unsplash

Lee Stuart, CHUM's executive director, is locked down at home with COVID-19.

And yesterday, she had to send out an email saying that CHUM had had its first positive confirmed COVID-19 case in the shelter.

But when you talk with her, she's (perhaps) surprisingly upbeat.

SJ Objio/Unsplash

For the first time since the start of the pandemic, Minnesota is showing up as a hotspot.

For the first time since the start of the pandemic, we're hearing about hospitals being overwhelmed with patients and no beds available.

CDC/Unsplash

Back when a pandemic like COVID-19 was more of a theoretical construct, the federal government was running scenarios; "war-gaming," if you will, to work out the best way to respond.

It wasn't just trying to figure out how many ventilators and hospital rooms and PPE would be required, either.

Matthew Henry/Burst

Efforts to remedy one of the banes of 2020 fell victim to another one in Minnesota this month.

Public health workers, driving marked vehicles and wearing vests and identification, were tasked by the CDC and the Minnesota Department of Health to conduct Community Assessment for Public Health Emergency Response (CASPER) surveys this month.

University of Minnesota Duluth/Dept. of Theatre

In the COVID-19 pandemic era performing artists have been challenged to discover new ways to share their gifts with their audiences.  Some solutions, like streaming on social media, did not even exist two decades ago. 

Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University (JHU)

Dr. Catherine McCarty has been our guide through the thickets of COVID-19 since March.

She's an epidemiologist and Associate Dean for Research with the University of Minnesota Medical School, Duluth campus.

The idea of "herd immunity" is being floated again,  masks are not political - or shouldn't be, the new saliva-testing facility is good news for Minnesotans, and there's some encouraging news about a new use for an old medication (inexpensive and readily available) in fighting the coronavirus.

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