IU in the News

A daily digest of media coverage about Indiana University

April 6, 2020
IU in the News is a daily review of the important news stories relating to Indiana University. It is not intended to be an all-inclusive gathering of news, and no editorial revisions are made to the content, which is presented as it was initially published or broadcast.

Big News

Free virtual COVID-19 training for health care workers offered by IUPUI-led program

This story has been covered by: Inside Indiana Business.

IU Making Headlines

The Bloomington Herald-Times

IU researcher working on COVID-19 vaccine for infants

John Patton was already working on a dual vaccine. The Indiana University virologist was trying to take the existing rotavirus vaccine and modify it to also protect against norovirus. Then, a new strain of coronavirus started infecting humans. He and his team quickly realized they could help. "We already knew, kind of, how to do this," he said. It will still be months before anything Patton and his team produce will be ready for widespread use. It's a frustrating reality, but once the vaccine is available, it could help prevent another COVID-19 pandemic. "Long term, we need a vaccine for children, so everyone is protected," Patton said. Before coming to IU, Patton spent nearly two decades working for the National Institutes of Health. The rotavirus vaccine was developed during that time. Through that experience, Patton said he learned a lot about how to design and engineer vaccines. At IU, he's been using his knowledge of rotavirus to create a vaccine that serves a dual purpose.

Related stories: Indiana Public Media

Big Ten Network

Indiana supercomputer fuels research across campus

Want to imagine what it would be like to operate at the same level as Indiana University's newest supercomputer Big Red 200? Let's have Brad Wheeler, Indiana's Vice President of Information Technology, put that in perspective. "Supercomputers are measured in the number of mathematical calculations per second they can do," Wheeler explains. "So, if you take every citizen in the state of Indiana and he or she did one mathematical calculation per second, 24 hours a day, 365 days, a year, it would take every citizen 28 years to do what this machine does in 1 second." ... he is quick to note that Big Red 200 isn't just supercharging research in what are traditionally considered the "hard sciences." "One of the things that's unique at Indiana University is when we have high performance computing gear, it's available to all the faculty and all the disciplines and all the graduate students and many undergrads who work with faculty," says Wheeler. "So, on that machine you'll see over 300 academic disciplines make use of it."

IU Voices in the News

The New York Times

What's the best material for a mask?

People who don't sew could try a paper origami mask made out of a vacuum bag, created by Jiangmei Wu, assistant professor of interior design at Indiana University. Ms. Wu, who is known for her breathtaking folded artwork, said she began designing a folded mask out of a medical and building material called Tyvek, as well as vacuum bags, after her brother in Hong Kong, where mask wearing is common, suggested it. The pattern is free online, as is a video demonstrating the folding process. In tests at Missouri University and University of Virginia, scientists found that vacuum bags removed between 60 percent and 87 percent of particles. "I wanted to create an alternative for people who don't sew," said Ms. Wu, who said she is talking to various groups to find other materials that will be effective in a folded mask. "Given the shortage of all kinds of materials, even vacuum bags might run out."

The Christian Science Monitor

How online learning may be more than a stopgap in the US

Jessica Calarco has been thinking a lot recently about the importance of school. This isn’t just because the sociology professor has been learning firsthand, like so many millions of other parents around the country, how life works without school. (For her, it involves new locks on the office door to keep her 5- and 2-year old from interrupting the Indiana University classes she is now teaching by Zoom.) No, for Professor Calarco, the new life of trying to get a preschooler to do worksheets while a toddler runs amok in the background has brought up a host of concerns about what this unprecedented moment in American education might mean long term -- particularly for disadvantaged students. Professor Calarco studies inequity in education. Recently, she published a paper on the difference in homework expectations for low-income families. ... "Homework-related inequalities become even more consequential now that schooling has basically all been pushed home," she says.

Related stories: The Chronicle of Higher Education

The Hill

Enlisting tech to fight coronavirus sparks surveillance fears

Some scientists and policymakers say that when it comes to battling a lethal pandemic, technological tracking is a no-brainer, especially when the alternative is economy-killing closures. "That's exactly what we need to be doing. Do we want to go into lockdown again?" said Aaron Carroll, a health expert at the Indiana University School of Medicine, who says preventing an endless resurgence of outbreaks will require a combination of widespread testing and contact tracing. 

The Indianapolis Star

Health experts are calling Indiana an emerging coronavirus hot spot. But how bad is it?

Coronavirus cases are rising quickly. Deaths are mounting. The percentage of positive tests is drawing attention. "At this juncture it's hard to say for sure exactly why we're now on the leading edge," said Brian Dixon, an associate professor of epidemiology at the Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. "We're certainly on the leading edge, not on the bleeding edge like New York."But just how bad is Indianapolis, and Indiana, compared to other places? It's not an easy question to answer. Simply put, the public does not have access to any set of comprehensive data. ... Gauging how cities and states perform in contrast to one another is a key part of what public health officials and epidemiologists do, said Thomas Duszynski, director of epidemiology education at the ... Fairbanks School of Public Health. "It is important to make comparisons," he said. "We want to make comparisons because that's how we measure where we're at."

The Indianapolis Star

Indiana sees 'alarming' spike in mental health, addiction issues amid coronavirus

According to market research firm Nielsen, national sales of alcoholic beverages spiked 55% in the week ending March 21 and sales of spirits jumped 75% compared to the same dates in 2019. Beer purchases were up by 66% and wine up 42% year-on-year. Ed Hirt, professor of psychological and brain sciences at Indiana University, isn't surprised by that number. "I mean people have to relax, have to be able to alleviate some of that stress and anxiety," he said. Alcohol "smooths the edges and helps us cope a little bit better. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? It kind of depends." ... Jon Agley, deputy director of research at Prevention Insights, an addiction research center based at the IU School of Public Health-Bloomington, said it can't yet be known whether the pandemic will lead to more people developing alcohol use disorders, but it's certainly possible. ... Agley said different outlets will suit some people better than others. But some healthy coping mechanisms include taking breaks from the news, staying physically health and making extra efforts to connect with others.

Indianapolis Business Journal

Virus could push state jobless numbers to historic level

Phil Powell, associate dean of academic programs and a clinical associate professor of business economics and public policy at Indiana University's Kelley School of Business at IUPUI, said Indiana's unemployment rate could rise to between 10% and 19%. The lower figure factors in the mitigating effects of federal stimulus packages for workers and businesses, while the higher figure does not. If the unemployment rate were to rise from February's 3.1% to 10%, Powell said, that would translate to a loss of 60,000 to 70,000 jobs in the Indianapolis metro area. Powell said his projection is based on his estimate that overall consumer spending has dropped 15% in recent weeks as people spend less on entertainment, gas, restaurant meals and "anything that requires leaving the house." He said he expects to see unemployment peak in six to eight weeks.

Fox 59

Coronavirus predicted to peak later, take more lives in Indiana

A national statistical model for tracking the fatal coronavirus across the United States has predicted Indiana will hit its patient peak on April 19th and record its 1160th and final death June 4th. Each day this week, as outbreak and fatality numbers reported by the Indiana State Department of Health have come back higher than expected, the margin of error predicted by the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation has been blown out of the water. ... "The reproduction ratio for this particular coronavirus is between two and four, meaning so for every one case, there's going to be two or four more cases from that one case of disease," said Tom Duszynski, Epidemiology Education Director at the Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health at IUPUI. "Models are not perfect by any stretch. They are designed to try and predict based on what is currently happening."

The Bloomington Herald-Times

IU expert: Trump approval jump unsurprising

Donald Trump's approval rating is higher than it has ever been during his presidency, according an average of polling data. That may come as a surprise to those critical of his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. But it shouldn't, according to one political scientist. "Political leaders tend to get a boost in public approval when there's a crisis, no matter what they're doing about the crisis," said Marjorie Hershey, professor emeritus at Indiana University. "It's been called a ‘rally ‘round the flag' response." In fact, the increase in Trump's approval rating is significantly less than what other presidents saw after a crisis. For instance, Real Clear Politics' average of polling data showed an increase of about 3.5 percentage points from March 21 to April 1 for Trump. President George W. Bush gained 31 percentage points following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, according Gallup's presidential job approval center. 

Indianapolis Business Journal

Sheila Kennedy: What lessons will we learn from the pandemic?

Written by Sheila Suess Kennedy, a professor of law and public policy at the Paul H. O'Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs at IUPUI. Living through the coronavirus pandemic reminds me -- painfully -- of the time I read an assigned schoolbook and thought, "This book taught me things I did not wish to know." It is becoming clear that, in addition to a global pandemic, we will experience a global economic meltdown. As state governments have (inconsistently) stepped up to compensate for the lack of federal leadership, restaurants and bars, gyms and cultural venues have been ordered to close; many will be unable to weather weeks with no income, and will never reopen, vastly changing both individual lives and America's social and cultural landscape. What lessons will we Americans learn from this current, grim reality?

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