Arizona

How The University Of Arizona Is Handling COVID-19 On Campus : NPR

NPR’s Lulu Garcia-Navarro speaks with mathematical biologist Joanna Masel of the University of Arizona about how the university is testing and tracing students for COVID-19.



LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

Colleges and universities are opening up and sometimes quickly shutting down as the coronavirus takes hold on campus. So what is a school to do? The University of Arizona has a couple of innovations. One involves an app. And the other is a bit less polite. Joanna Masel is a mathematical biologist at the university. And she joins us now. Welcome to the program.

JOANNA MASEL: Thank you.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: You helped develop the COVID Watch app there. How does it work?

MASEL: So you download it. And if all goes well, that’s it. You just activate it. And you never hear from it again. But all – in the background, it’s listening to little anonymous pings to find out who’s near you

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How the University of Arizona used No. 2 to solve its No. 1 problem: The coronavirus

The University of Arizona made a bold claim this week: It stopped a coronavirus outbreak before it started.

Universities around the U.S. have struggled with outbreaks as they attempt to start the fall semester. But at the Likins Hall dorm, just across the street from the University of Arizona’s recreation center, two students were found to have contracted the coronavirus — and they were asymptomatic.

The university said it pulled this off by combining more common forms of coronavirus mitigation, swab testing and contact tracing, with a more exotic one: analyzing sewage.

The university had implemented a campus-wide initiative to conduct what’s known as wastewater-based epidemiology. This effort, which involves analyzing sewage samples for traces of the coronavirus, gave the university a way to quickly and repeatedly look for traces of the virus in discrete groups of people — in this case, dorms — as part of an early warning

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Parents, Teachers, Doctors Clash Over Reopening Arizona Schools

ARIZONA — As virtual learning has started in school districts across the state, parents, educators, doctors and the government all disagree on the best way to move forward for the sake of Arizona’s students. Parents have rallied for schools to reopen while educators and doctors have said the government has not provided clear enough guidelines to do so.

Gov. Doug Ducey and the Arizona Department of Health Services released guidelines for reopening schools earlier this month. In them, they mandated that all Arizona school districts must open one school for in-person learning on Aug. 17 for students with no other place to go.

But a group of educators and physicians argue that the guidelines don’t go nearly far enough to protect students from the spread of the coronavirus. The Committee to Protect Medicare hosted a webinar Monday to discuss the issue. The group, made up of Arizona physicians and education

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U.S. Cases Increase 0.9%; California, Arizona Slow: Virus Update

(Bloomberg) —

California and Arizona reported positive trends on new cases after battling a surge in infections last month. New Jersey, concerned about recent violations of social-distancing rules among young revelers, reduced crowd limits for indoor parties.

Eli Lilly & Co. will begin testing its Covid-19 antibody drug in nursing homes, a treatment with potential to protect vulnerable groups that vaccines may not cover. Global coronavirus cases surpassed 18 million, with the pandemic now adding a million infections every four days.

Iran’s virus death toll may have been almost three times larger than official counts, the BBC reported, while Hong Kong said it had the fewest number of new cases since July 22.

Key Developments

Global Tracker: Global cases top 18 million; deaths pass 689,000Fauci says face shields good idea for teachers back in schoolsU.K. reviewing Covid-fighting options including London lockdownFacing fierce new waves, virus hunters turn to sewage and

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Why are Arizona casinos still open despite experts saying they’re high-risk during COVID-19 spike?

Plexiglas is placed around slot machines, gaming tables, and other areas at the Lone Butte Casino in Chandler on May 14, 2020. Casinos under the Gila River Indian Community were planning to reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic with new safety measures on May 15, 2020.
Plexiglas is placed around slot machines, gaming tables, and other areas at the Lone Butte Casino in Chandler on May 14, 2020. Casinos under the Gila River Indian Community were planning to reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic with new safety measures on May 15, 2020.

Movie theaters across Arizona are empty.

Gyms have locked their doors.

And restaurants are filled with taped-off tables, welcoming half of the customers they would usually see for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

But casinos, which operate on tribal land in Arizona, are open for business, despite health experts warning that customers are engaging in a high-stakes gamble: risking their health along with their money.

Casinos are the only business designated as high-risk by Arizona’s health department that remain unrestricted amid the recent COVID-19 spike in the state.

But some public health experts say they shouldn’t be. Dr. Shad Marvasti, director of public health at the

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How an Arizona couple helped fuel a Wayfair sex trafficking conspiracy theory

A screencap from Maddie and Justin Thompson's 40-minute Instagram Live video posted on July 10. The couple reveals that they bought a desk that cost at least $17,000 from Wayfair to see whether they would receive "grooming calls" from the company amid a viral conspiracy theory that the website is used to traffic children.
A screencap from Maddie and Justin Thompson’s 40-minute Instagram Live video posted on July 10. The couple reveals that they bought a desk that cost at least $17,000 from Wayfair to see whether they would receive “grooming calls” from the company amid a viral conspiracy theory that the website is used to traffic children.

PHOENIX — Last weekend, an unsubstantiated conspiracy theory that online furnishings retailer Wayfair is trafficking children through listings of products with inflated prices and human names erupted on social media.

An Arizona couple helped fuel the rumor by posting on Instagram that they had purchased a $17,000 desk from Wayfair and would share their experience with their followers.

The theory that pillows and cabinets being sold at wayfair.com for thousands of dollars is somehow evidence of a child trafficking scheme has been debunked by independent fact-checking publication Snopes. It gained traction through a July 9 Reddit

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The state most resistant to wearing masks for coronavirus protection? Arizona, study says

PHOENIX — Arizona is the most resistant state in the country when it comes to wearing masks, according to a recent study examining anti-mask activity online. 

The analysis conducted by Survival At Home, a survival and preparedness website, with direct access to what Twitter calls “tweet geospatial metadata,” or the location information that’s built into tweets and the profiles that post them. Survival At Home frequently posts this kind of ranked analysis using trends software on Twitter metadata.

Compiling over 150,000 geotagged Twitter posts that referenced popular hashtags like “#nomask,” “#burnyourmask,” “iwillnotcomply” and others, Survival At Home was able to produce a map of the hotspots for anti-mask sentiment.

“As you can see, there are pockets of anti-mask activity all across the US, however the upper northeast (outside of Maine) is the most pro-mask region,” said Ryan Taylor, a publicist for the marketing and brand firm Fresh Marketing. 

Taylor added

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These Arizona teachers shared a classroom for summer school. All 3 contracted COVID-19. 1 died.

Kids begged to go to Mrs. Byrd’s classroom to do art projects. 

Every year, Mrs. Byrd taught folklórico dance to her first-grade students. 

And though she had once retired, Mrs. Byrd loved teaching so much, she couldn’t help but return to the classroom, her husband, Jesse Byrd, said. 

Now she’s gone. Kimberley Chavez Lopez Byrd died June 26 after testing positive for COVID-19.

She taught first grade in the Hayden-Winkelman Unified School District in a small eastern Arizona community. Before she tested positive, Byrd and two other teachers taught a summer school class virtually from the same classroom. All three teachers came down with the virus.

Byrd, 61, was admitted to a hospital and put on a ventilator for more than a dozen days, her condition slowly deteriorating, before she died. Now, the community is grieving for a teacher her colleagues say was ingrained in the fabric of their school

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