COVID-19

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Small Business Administration is re-opening an aid program for small businesses hurt by the coronavirus pandemic. The Paycheck Protection Program will re-open the week of Jan. 11 for new borrowers and certain existing PPP borrowers. To promote access to capital, initially only community financial institutions will be able to make First Draw PPP Loans on Monday, Jan. 11, and Second Draw PPP Loans on Wednesday, Jan. 13. The PPP will open to all participating lenders shortly thereafter. Updated PPP guidance outlining program changes to enhance its effectiveness and...
This is part of the package of COVID-related stories produced by Middlebury College students in Professor Lindsay Repka's biochem class during the fall of 2020. Read the rest here. A COVID-19 vaccine is likely the most efficient way to fight the coronavirus pandemic and return to normalcy. However, vaccines typically require years of development before wide distribution. The fastest vaccine development prior to Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine was that for mumps, which took four years. The typical vaccine takes about a decade or longer (12 to 14 years). Researchers expedited development of a COVID-...

MIDDLEBURY COLLEGE STUDENT Megan Job is shown at a Black Lives Matter protest in New York City this past summer. Job, left, and the others are wearing masks, which studies showed likely reduced the spread of coronavirus at BLM protests this past summer. Photo by Karen Yi courtesy of Gothamist/WNYC
This is part of the package of COVID-related stories produced by Middlebury College students in Professor Lindsay Repka's biochem class during the fall of 2020. Read the rest here. MYTH: Rurality protects communities from COVID-19 In the beginning of the pandemic, it was suggested that living in a rural area could protect people from COVID-19. Most of the initial COVID-19 hotspots were in cities like New York City. It was thought that since populations are less concentrated in rural communities, it should be easier to physically distance there. However, rural locations have also seen surges...
The killing of Osama Bin Laden and family members included one setback — the credibility of vaccinators. As one of the thousands who served in the World Health Organization’s smallpox eradication campaign decades ago, I experienced over and over the resistance, especially of rural women, to vaccination. So, my heart sank when I considered how this ruse would limit subsequent vaccination campaigns, including those against polio. While my short-lived work in public health was long ago, today’s resistance to a COVID-19 vaccination is strikingly familiar. Mistrust of the national government was a...
Middlebury College students in Prof. Lindsay Repka’s fall Biochem class took an in-depth look at the science of coronavirus and the disease it causes, COVID-19. In their studies they saw how this pandemic reaches beyond the proteins, RNA and other building blocks of life to affect people in so many aspects of their everyday lives. They reached out to experts and regular people in Addison County to understand the broad reaching implications of COVID-19 and put together a package of more than a dozen scientific explainers, reports on scientists’ strategies for neutralizing the virus, and...
BRANDON/MIDDLEBURY — The first cases of COVID-19 have been reported in two Rutland Northeast Supervisory Union schools and at Middlebury Union Middle School. RNeSU Superintendent Jeanne Collins, herself recovering from the coronavirus at home in quarantine, confirmed those cases on Dec. 18 and sent out an email and a Facebook post to parents and staff. Separately, MUMS Interim Principal Andrew Conforti on Dec. 24 sent out an email to Addison Central School District families telling them that a member of the school community has tested positive. In RNeSU, the positive cases came just two days...
Coronavirus, pandemic, COVID-19, masks — we hear these terms every day. In a time when our nation is divided socially, economically and politically, this pandemic is a collective experience from which no one is immune. And yet, we are facing the challenge and making progress toward a day when these terms are part of history, not part of our daily lives. “I feel with the proper precautions, that this is manageable,” a member of the Addison County community said in response to a recent online survey. “I don’t mind changing my habits to be able to survive this pandemic and keep both myself and...
To understand how COVID-19 impacts our lives, we must first address the basics of the virus that causes it — what it is, what it looks like, how it attacks our bodies, and how our immune system fights back. The novel coronavirus, also known as SARS-CoV-2, is the specific virus that causes the disease COVID-19, which was first identified in late 2019. The name “coronavirus” refers to the virus’s structure: It has spikes that protrude off its surface, making it look like a crown. There are many different types of coronavirus, including the common cold and SARS-CoV, a similar coronavirus that...

Photo by Daniel Schludi/Unsplash
In a survey our biochemistry class distributed, we asked Addison County residents to share their concerns about COVID-19 vaccines. Interestingly, 57% of the 349 respondents indicated that a vaccine would not be effective at ending the pandemic because not enough people will get the vaccine. When asked whether or not they would get the vaccine, 58% of the respondents said yes, 32% were not sure, and 10% said they would not get a vaccine. Are numbers like these sufficient to end the pandemic, if applied on a global scale? When an individual is vaccinated and becomes immune to a virus, the virus...
COVID-19 can spread in many different ways. It can transmit from person to person both directly and indirectly. It can also transmit from animals to humans and from humans to animals. SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) was likely first transmitted to humans either directly or indirectly from Rhinolophus horseshoe bats. Research has shown that a virus present in these bats shares close genetic similarity with SARS-CoV-2. Regardless of the exact origins, we know that an ancestral virus evolved over time into SARS-CoV-2, a virus capable of infecting human hosts. From the initial spread...

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Addison County Independent