MI Universities Receive COVID Tracking Funds for Other Infectious Diseases / Social Media Service

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MI Universities Receive COVID Tracking Funds for Other Infectious Diseases / Social Media Service

Dr. Teena Chopra, co-director of Wayne State University’s Detroit-based Center for Emerging and Infectious Diseases, said the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of upping the ante on researching and preparing for this and future pandemics.

She noted genomic sequencing can help with faster tracking of the transmission of COVID, controlling outbreaks in communities, detecting new variants and developing vaccines.

“We weren’t able to rapidly respond to a pandemic because we didn’t have mechanisms for testing and contact tracing and outbreak investigation and control,” Zervos contended. “If it’s COVID, or if it’s a new strain of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, it’s critical to have the public health infrastructure in place.”

Dr. Marcus Zervos, who also co-directs WSU’s Center, said the collaboration between universities is important. He emphasized efforts to understand the spread and reach of viruses such as COVID require national and international cooperation.

Story Highlights

  • Four universities are receiving a total of $18.5 million for the work.

  • “The work under the grant involves looking at emerging infections, not only SARS-CoV 2 which causes COVID, but also other multi-drug-resistant organisms that have plagued the city of Detroit for years and now are even worse after the pandemic,” Chopra explained.

Data showed in Detroit and other cities, the Black and Latino communities have been hit harder by COVID than white communities. The Center also is aiming to reduce disparities, by collaborating with the state, Detroit Health Department and community groups to find ways to benefit community health.

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get more stories like this via email Half of Texas residents say COVID-19 has caused them financial hardship, and Hispanic families faced the most severe consequences, according to a new survey by the Episcopal Health Foundation.

Brian Sasser, chief communications officer for the Foundation, said the report highlighted how the pandemic is affecting Texans differently depending on household income, race and other factors. “Fifty-nine percent of Hispanics in Texas experienced financial hardship,” Sasser reported. “And in fact, Hispanics who were not born in the U.S., that number jumps to 71%.”

The November survey was conducted before the Omicron variant hit the U.S. It also showed 56% of parents who have children ages 12 to 17 would support some sort of mandate at their school requiring proof of vaccination for both students and staff. And nearly half said they would support vaccination mandates for non-essential businesses, including restaurants and theaters. Sasser pointed out the survey found those who earned less than $66,000 per year, which is 62% of Texas families, were much more likely to say they have suffered financially because of COVID-19.

Sasser noted the public health crisis hit those with the least resources the hardest. “They may not have time to take off to get a vaccine because they’re worried about side effects that would take them out of work,” Sasser observed. “They don’t get sick leave, so they can’t just not go to work and still make a living.”

Texans 65 and older who said they were in poor health or suffer from chronic health conditions or a disability expressed the most concern about COVID-19. “If you’re an hourly worker, or you can’t work from home or live in a crowded apartment complex or something similar to that, you’re just affected differently than others,” Sasser contended.