News


LEAH SKYPECK
Since March 2020, healthcare providers have been on the forefront of the COVID-19 pandemic, adapting to new information and treatment options in order to achieve optimal patient outcomes. Vermont health professionals are no exception, and our local physicians, physician assistants, nurses and EMS staff have been working together to treat COVID-19 patients while continuing to study best practices and optimize patient care. One of these health professionals is Leah Skypeck, a physician assistant in the intensive care unit at the Rutland Regional Medical Center. She joined us (virtually) for an...

THREE MIDDLEBURY COLLEGE students — Matt Brockley, Jenny Pushner and Carter Lombardi — created a video that graphically shows how the coronavirus attacks, how the human body defends itself, vaccines’ role, and why face coverings and social distancing work to defeat the coronavirus. This slide shows the coronavirus, left, preparing to attack to a lung cell.
The coronavirus, also known as SARS-CoV-2, has drastically altered the way we live our day to day lives. Including social distancing, entering a quarantine that affected much of the nation last spring, and the hazards to our health, the uncertainty of this virus has been the source of much stress and anxiety. Hopefully by sharing a bit of knowledge we gained in our biochem studies we, students at Middlebury College, can begin to demystify the science behind the virus and how it might be overcome with a vaccine. But first, let us explain what COVID is and how the coronavirus infects our bodies...
Americans have been suffering the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic for more than nine months, though the severity of these effects varies across racial and ethnic groups. In the United States, both nationally and within Vermont, the systemic racism that people from racial and ethnic minority communities face poses serious health consequences. Within these groups, the inequities presented as a consequence of systemic racism range from implicit bias among healthcare providers to economic gaps that force racial and ethnic minorities to continue working in-person despite the risk of contracting...

PAOLA MEZA
In a difficult time like this it is important for Vermont residents to understand the healthcare resources that are available, especially for treating COVID-19. During the pandemic the well-being of Vermont residents has been a top priority for officials and institutions on federal, state and local levels. However, even with the incredible response that Vermont has made to provide more-than-adequate healthcare and preventative services, these resources are ineffective if they’re not being used. It should be clear how all Vermont residents, regardless of insurance status, can get the support...
There are many populations throughout the United States and the world that are disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. One of these groups is individuals living on the 326 Native American reservations in the United States, comprised of the 574 recognized Native Nations. Many factors contribute to the disproportionate COVID burden on reservations, including limited access to healthcare caused by historic governmental neglect. While there are not any Native American reservations in Vermont because the Native Nations that were here ended up in Canadian reservations, this is an...

BRUCE NEWBURY
I sat down with Bruce Newbury (virtually) to discuss the COVID-19 pandemic with a focus on dining. Newbury produces a radio show on dining, “Dining Out,” that is broadcast around New England, and he produces a podcast called “Wine and Food Dude.” When visiting Vermont for work from his home in Rhode Island, he makes the Waybury Inn in East Middlebury his home base. He features the Waybury in his radio show, where he discusses food with the owners, chefs, and staff who work at the inn. The pandemic has affected the dining and lodging industries to an enormous extent, and Newbury and I talked...

PAM BERENBAUM
As part of or research into COVID-19 this fall, I sat down with Pam Berenbaum, director of the Global Health Program at Middlebury College, for a Zoom interview. I asked Professor Berenbaum about her perspective on a wide variety of questions about a COVID-19 vaccine, ranging from who should get vaccinated first to what it will take to achieve herd immunity. As a global health expert, she was able to provide uniquely informed responses about the development and distribution process of a potential COVID-19 vaccine. To start, a key player in vaccine development and distribution is the COVAX...

DR. DEV MAJUMDAR
Across the country, researchers are shifting their focus to study SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. I recently spoke to a researcher right in our backyard who made this shift. “Because the whole school shut down during the quarantine, I was left with a lot of curiosity and time to work on this,” said Dr. Dev Majumdar, Assistant Professor of Surgery at the University of Vermont’s Larner College of Medicine. Although not a virologist, Dr. Majumdar is an RNA biologist with an interest in immunology. SARS-CoV-2 is an RNA virus, meaning its genetic information is stored in the nucleic...

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
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. Here are some facts demonstrating that rurality does not protect against COVID-19: • Rural communities are no longer spared. A New York Times analysis in late October found that...
More than 1.8 million people have died due to COVID-19 all around the world. Although there is no question that the causative agent of this disease, the SARS-CoV-2 virus, is largely responsible for driving the loss of our loved-ones during the pandemic, the dysfunction of our health care systems has also contributed to this devastatingly high death toll.  Concerns about the costs of medical visits and a lack of health insurance coverage has led many to avoid getting tested or seeking treatment until their situation is dire.  As the incidence of COVID-19 continues to rise, we need to consider...

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Addison County Independent