In the Headlines

Blog posts about big news stories and issues (i.e. not local news)

Illinois Appears to be Making Progress in Flattening the Curve!

According to the chief analytics officer at Rush University Hospital, the stay-at-home order in Illinois appears to be working. He and others at Rush built a Covid-19 forecast model that they made for hospitals, but is available for the general public here. We need to continue to hunker down if we want the curve to flatten more so please continue to stay at home to protect yourself and the people in our community! #stayathome #flattenthecurve

A Job Out of This World!

I wrote a library blog about NASA on February 12, 2020. It was titled Help Wanted! Obviously the world has changed greatly since that day. For most people, going to the moon and beyond is not of national interest now. Nevertheless, I was curious to see how NASA was handling the applications. The application process opened on March 2, 2020 and closed on March 31, 2020. This undertaking of potential candidates has been more stringent than past employment postings. Education levels were extended and the time frame to apply was shortened. The good news is that over 12,000 candidates applied. NASA is expected to announce the new crop of space explorers in the near future. Here is some advice that current astronauts shared with potential astronauts.

Currently, life on Earth may look bleak, but the technology produced by scientist working on space projects has been impressive. Perhaps some of this future technology could help alleviate the problem of pandemics here on Earth.

Revisit “Public Health Preparedness: Whole Community Involvement” – One Book, One College Programming on World War Z

Back in 2014, Jeremy Hirst, Chief of Risk and Emergency Management at DuPage County Health Department held a discussion on public health preparedness for pandemics (such as SARS, H1N1, influenza ), widespread drug addiction, bioterrorism, etc., & how preparations involve the entire community. This discussion was part of our One Book, One College programming on World War Z.

He discussed topics such as surges hospitals could experience during epidemics/pandemics, stresses on laboratories doing testing, and assessing needs prior to emergencies. Watching this video leaves the viewer with questions regarding the current COVID-19 pandemic, such as: did the World Health Organization (WHO) sufficiently prepare countries once the virus was spreading in China? Did the United States federal government prepare its states enough? How are our local leaders dealing with the pandemic, trickling down to the community level? Read this Rolling Stone article on “Why the World Health Organization’s Response to COVID-19 Is Crucial to the Future of Public Health.”

We will continue sharing these World War Z themed discussions in the coming weeks, but also check out the full playlist of One Book: World War Z videos.

Regardless of the event, public health is a critical component to emergency preparedness planning. Jeremy Hirst, Chief of Risk and Emergency Management at DuPage County Health Department, discusses the work of his office in bringing together community groups and first responders to address public health risk. This event is part of the Library’s One Book program on World War Z.

Update – Keeping You and Your Food Safe

Last week, I posted a video of a doctor showing how to sanitize your groceries when you bring them home. Since then, there have been some articles supporting the need and some disputing it. So I wanted to update you. According to the USDA’s website, “We are not aware of any reports at this time of human illnesses that suggest COVID-19 can be transmitted by food or food packaging. However, it is always important to follow good hygiene practices (i.e., wash hands and surfaces often, separate raw meat from other foods, cook to the right temperature, and refrigerate foods promptly) when handling or preparing foods.” That said, some are still recommending sanitizing groceries if you or someone in your home is “at higher risk for severe illness“. Here is a Healthline article that may be helpful.

Merriam-Webster Adds “Covid-19” and More to Dictionary

In keeping up with the times, Merriam-Webster has made an unplanned update to their dictionary. Some of these changes are the addition of brand new terms like “Covid-19” and “social distancing”. Others were words they were planning on adding in the next update anyway, and some changes were to existing definitions. You can read all about it here.

Coronavirus in Wisconsin: Latest COVID-19 updates from across the ...

Revisit “How Plagues, Disease, and Outbreaks Have Changed History”: One Book, One College Programming on World War Z

Back in 2014, MVCC’s History faculty members Merri Fefles, Josh Fulton, Jim McIntyre, & Kristine VanBaren held a panel discussion on how plagues, disease, & outbreaks have changed history. This discussion was part of our One Book, One College programming on World War Z.

The various diseases they discussed were polio, the 1918 Spanish flu, the bubonic plague, & the HIV/AIDS crisis. The current COVID-19 pandemic has been compared to the 1918 Spanish flu, which is why we thought it timely to revisit this panel discussion.

We will continue sharing these World War Z themed discussions in the coming weeks, but also check out the full playlist of One Book: World War Z videos.

The fear of plagues and outbreaks has been part of literature and storytelling for many years. World War Z uses a zombie virus to end one civilization and bring about a new one. This panel of Moraine Valley Community College Historians considers the role of disease, plagues, and outbreaks throughout history. What major outbreaks have shaped history? How did they change the societies and cultures they affected? How have outbreaks & diseases impacted populations, living conditions, formations of communities, and migrations? How do historians view outbreaks and pandemics?

Keeping You and Your Food Safe from Covid-19

Hopefully we are all following the social distancing rules and staying home as much as possible. According to the National Institutes of Health’s webpage, “The virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is stable for several hours to days in aerosols and on surfaces…..scientists found that severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) was detectable in aerosols for up to three hours, up to four hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to two to three days on plastic and stainless steel.” So, when you need to get groceries or want to support your local restaurant by ordering takeout, do you know how to handle the food and packaging when you get back home? This video by an MD in Michigan details the procedures for sanitizing your groceries and keeping your takeout food safe. It’s been making the rounds on social media and news cites, but just in case you missed it, it’s well worth watching the entire 13+ minutes. (PS – it’s also a good idea to sanitize your mail before you touch it. I’ve been putting mine in quarantine for 3 days.) See my update to this blog post here.

Coronavirus Scams

The Coronavirus outbreak has resulted in an over-abundance of information. Stories are coming at us at a rapid pace, from all different directions. This makes it especially difficult to know what is accurate and what is false. Scammers are out there trying to take advantage of this vulnerability and of people’s fears.

Newsguard has identified 100+ websites from the US and many other countries that publish false information, and to make matters worse, these websites are getting a lot traction on social media.

There are three major types of misinformation that we need to aware of:

  • False claims about the origin of the disease
  • Downplaying the seriousness of the disease
  • Phony cures

To be on guard against misinformation, it is always a good idea to examine the source.

  • Who wrote the information? What can you find out about the source by googling them?
  • What is their motivation? Is their real goal to sell a product, or ads, or to drive internet traffic?
  • Do other sources agree with the information?
  • How current is the information? Currency is always important, but now, with information changing so rapidly, it’s more important than ever.

To help you even more, here are some reputable websites set up to help combat coronavirus scams and misinformation:

Mythbusters from the World Health Organization

FTC Coronavirus Scams

NIH Coronavirus Situation Summary

The MVCC Library is here to help as well. Use our Ask a Librarian page to contact us with whatever questions you might have.

Stay safe!

Invent a New Game

Last week we talked about how to find e-books and streaming videos about your favorite sports to fill the gap left by the live sports hiatus in the world. If you missed that post you can find it here.

But maybe you don’t just miss watching sports. Maybe it’s the playing sports with your friends and teammates that you crave. It’s hard to do that when stuck in your house. Well, people are finding ways. Check out this article from Com!cSands, Now That All Sports Are Canceled, People Are Coming Up With Their Own Hilarious Competitions To Satisfy Their Competitive Spirits. My favorites are Turtle Tic-Tac-Toe and Roomba Curling. You might be inspired to come up with a competition of your own. Though be aware–it seems like pets aren’t very good at games.

Games entertain us. They make us think. They help us stay connected. To learn more about games and the important role they play in our lives you can find ebooks here and articles here. Be ready to login with your MVCC username and password.

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