COVID-19

The COVID-19 epidemic challenges all of us, both personally and professionally. While it has energized many of us by spotlighting our role as public health professionals, there is an enormous amount of work to be done. The professional challenges include fighting the epidemic itself as well as anticipating and preventing the secondary health effects that follow from anxiety, social isolation, and economic recession. The personal challenges, as we all know, are wide-ranging even in the short term. Nevertheless, the professional contributions being made by our students, staff, faculty, and alumni are extraordinary. Keep up the good work, and above all keep up the recommended risk-reduction practices that help us all stay safe. 

coronavirus.pitt.edu     COVID-19 announcements     COVID-19 news

Our Experts address COVID-19

The Struggle to Mandate COVID-19 Vaccines for Health Care Workers

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CNN - EPI's Wendy King said people indicated they were receptive to the vaccine if they were familiar with its science. Educators, overall, displayed the least hesitancy; workers in construction, mining and oil/gas extraction showed the greatest. Half of those who were hesitant cited possible side effects—a fear that could be eased by education, King said. A third among the hesitant group gave other reasons: They didn't believe they needed th  

Challenges we face against the next public health crisis? Gary-Webb says preparation is key

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PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE - "Preparation is key. There has been disinvestment in our public health infrastructure over the past decade including systems for data collection and dissemination, workforce development, and coordination which prohibited an efficient or effective response to this COVID-19 crisis," said EPI's TIffany Gary-Webb. "Further, the delays in tracking and mitigating the impact of the pandemic in Black, brown, and other vulnerabl... 

Nachega among experts looking at 'Shocking imbalance' of COVID-19 vaccine distribution, underscoring inequity

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HEALIO - IDM and EPI's Jean Nachega and colleagues published a perspective in The New England Journal of Medicine that said concerns about access to COVID-19 vaccines in Africa resemble concerns regarding access to ART for HIV in the mid-1990s and early 2000s, when it was more accessible in high-income countries than African countries – “a disparity that resulted in many preventable deaths in these high-burden settings,” they wrote.  

A fun, rewarding way to give back and make the public healthier

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EPI's Nancy Glynn (EPI '94) is the PittCoVax volunteer coordinator and has volunteered herself with students and staff from Pitt Public Health. "I was thrilled to work side-by-side with an awesome, energetic group of faculty, staff, and students," said Glynn. She also talked about building community and the importance of the vaccine.   

CDC Limits Review of Vaccinated But Infected. Harrison Among Those to Express Concern

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BLOOMBERG - Clinical trials weren’t designed to study how the vaccines perform in specific subgroups and people with certain medical conditions weren’t included, said EPI and IDM's Lee Harrison, also with Pitt Medicine.   

Special Report: Dementia wards in PA were ravaged during the pandemic. Nace explains.

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US NEWS/POST-GAZETTE - Sixy-seven percent of big outbreaks were in personal care and assisted living homes with dementia units. Just keeping infections from dementia wards has been daunting, said David Nace (EPI '95), chief medical officer for UPMC Senior Communities and co-lead of the state's regional collaborative that responds to outbreaks in long-term care homes in Western Pennsylvania.   

Althouse: Why Number Needed to Treat Can be Misleading for Vaccines

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MEDSCAPE - Andrew Althouse (EPI '13) authored a piece discussing how the "number needed to treat" (NNT) concept is misleading when applied blindly to vaccine trials for COVID-19.   

King discusses vaccine hesitancy paper and looking at hesitance by occupation

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KDKA AM - "Our hope as public health professionals is that overtime, people that are vaccine hesitant now will be willing to take the vaccine [in the future]," said EPI's Wendy King, lead author on a recent paper looking at vaccine hesitancy by occupation.   

Newman: Remote Research and Clinical Trial Integrity During and After the Coronavirus Pandemic

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JAMA NETWORK - EPI Chair Anne Newman is co-author on a recent publication evaluating the affect of remote research needs through coronavirus mitigation efforts on clinical trials, finding that reducing unnecessary participant travel may be beneficial but that other factors can compromise the validity and integrity of certain trials and that deciding to conduct future trials remotely should be considered carefully.   

Gary-Webb on vaccine inequity between Black and White Allegheny County residents

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WESA - Gary-Webb agrees that the mass vaccination sites were an important and effective way to quickly inoculate a large number of people. But now that nearly half of Allegheny County’s population has received at least one dose of the vaccine, she said it is time to shift efforts to clinics that target specific populations. This is due not only to vaccine hesitancy concerns, but also to the fact that some people who are still unvaccinated face m... 

Dean's Day 2021 EPI departmental award recipients

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Darien Beall (EPI '21) won the master's level award and Mary Schiff (EPI 22) won the doctoral level award. Taylor Robinson (EPI '22) and Yu-Husan Lai (EPI '22) won the new Department of Epidemiology Health Disparity Research Award.   

Award recipients for 2021's CPHP Translation and Cartier Ulrich Award

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In conjunction with Dean's Day, Praveen Kumar (HPM '21) and Alexander Sundermann (EPI '22) received the Center for Public Health Practice Award for Translation and Application of Research to Public Health Policy and Practice. In addition, Darien Beall (EPI '21) and Stephanie Christian (BCHS '23) were awarded with the Catherine Cartier Ulrich Memorial Award for Service to the Underserved.   

Black COVID-19 Equity Coalition report shows disparity in vaccine rollout in Allegheny County

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Though they've been working since long before vaccines were available - for 57 weeks - the Black COVID-19 Equity Coaltion recently released a report on equity in vaccine distribution in Allegheny County. "This particular report...is focused on data related to vaccine distribution, understanding the disparities in distribution so far and making recommendations on what we can do, not only on data infrastructure issues but how we can use data to un... 

Harrison explains need for COVID vaccine boosters (video)

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WPXI - "We will definitely need boosters," said EPI's Lee Harrison, who is also faculty at Pitt Medicine. Because of "the efficacy over time against standard straings of COVID-19 and then also what's going to happen with all of these variants that have been circulating globally," we'll need additional vaccine doses. "I think it will be more like the annual flu shot. And there's even some discussion about trying to combine the COVID vaccine with ... 

Sundermann and Harrison describe genomic surveillance and ending the COVID-19 pandemic

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THE CONVERSATION - Knowing the genome sequence helps researchers understand how the virus is mutating into variants and how it's traveling from person to person. Alexander Sundermann (IDM '14, EPI '22), EPI and IDM's Lee Harrison, and Pitt Medicine's Vaughn Cooper explain genomic surveillance - what it is and why we need more of it to track coronavirus variants and help end the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Burke: First COVID-19 vaccine shot just as effective as the second

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PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE - Two of the three COVID-19 vaccines being administered to curb the spread of the disease require two shots for full protection, but some experts say one shot may be enough, at least for now. "As soon as I saw the reports on the Moderna and Pfizer applications for emergency use authorization, I saw both had striking effectiveness," said EPI's Donald Burke.   

COVID-19: Allegheny County reports 3 confirmed cases of UK coronavirus variant

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KDKA/CBS NEWS – Lee Harrison of Pitt Medicine and EPI said the current safety efforts are enough for now. “What we know about the UK strain is that it’s definitely more transmissible,” said Harrison. “It spreads more rapidly than other strains. We also know the current vaccines are quite effective against it.” He said symptoms of the variant and original strains aren’t much different. But washing hands, social distancing, and double masking are ... 

BIG STAKES, BIG STATS: Making sense of COVID-19 trials

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PITTWIRE — When we hear about clinical trials, we might picture doctors and patients partnering to test new therapies. What we might not think about are the many others who make those studies happen. Take Maria Mori Brooks, professor of epidemiology and biostatistics, who makes sense of the numbers generated by multicenter research collaborations. As co-director of the Epidemiology Data Center, she helps design and optimize data collection and m... 

Health officials say the coronavirus will likely become endemic in the next several years. What does that mean? Burke explains.

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USA TODAY - The CDC defines endemic as the “constant presence and/or usual prevalence” of a disease within a population. An endemic disease spreads at a baseline level every year without causing major disruption to people's lives, said EPI's Donald Burke. “Things that are endemic are present for long periods of time without interruption, continuously circulating in the population," like the common cold, he said. “Epidemic means something that co... 

The NFL’s testing program could help other scientists.

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NEW YORK TIMES - The NFL didn’t just play football this season, it conducted an enormous coronavirus testing program. Now scientists who try to predict how viruses travel through communities are eager to see the data to fine-tune their models. EPI's Donald Burke said the data could help him understand how long infected people have been in the community spreading the virus. The NFL’s data, including more than 700 positive cases over six months, “... 

COVID-19 Events

Recent Announcements

Pitt moves to guarded posture May 20 

Pitt moves to guarded posture May 20

Guarded posture still includes wearing masks and physically distancing with most non-instructional activities to remain remote. Classes that are desisnated as "web based" will remain fully remote. Instructors should communicate with students about beginning in-person meetings for other classes.  (05/18/2021)
View announcements

Share stories about your COVID-19 work

If you are doing COVID-19-related work and would like the school to share your story online, in social media, and other venues, send a short paragraph to phcomm@pitt.edu describing what you are doing or visit publichealth.pitt.edu/share-news

Research coordination

The Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) is coordinating research from Pitt and UPMC to plan and efficiently implement studies related to COVID-19 by managing resources, expertise, tools, and lab capabilities. Visit the COVID-19 research page for details.