IU in the News

A daily digest of media coverage about Indiana University

July 22, 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.

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The Conversation

Random testing in Indiana shows COVID-19 is 6 times deadlier than flu

Written by Nir Menachemi, professor of health policy and management, IUPUI. Since day one of the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. has not had enough tests. Faced with this shortage, medical professionals used what tests they had on people with the worst symptoms or whose occupations put them at high risk for infection. People who were less sick or asymptomatic did not get tested. Because of this, many infected people in the U.S. have not been tested, and much of the information public health officials have about the spread and deadliness of the virus does not provide a complete picture.Short of testing every person in the U.S., the best way to get accurate data on who and how many people have been infected with the coronavirus is to test randomly.


Is COVID-19 spreading among Burmese refugees? Here's why it's hard to know

One of the biggest barriers to providing accurate information about COVID-19 is that not all Burmese refugees are fluent in English. This means some struggle to make sense of the pandemic through traditional media. Also, in Indianapolis there are multiple dialects of Chin languages, with Hakha-Chin the most common. And concepts like social distancing, which were new for most Americans in March, can be lost in translation. The Chin Languages Research Project, based out of Indiana University, has been working to translate COVID-19 documents into Hakha-Chin. Peng Hlei Thang, a recent IU grad, has been working with the project for several years. "Well we try to make it as simple as possible, for socially distancing we simply said, 'Stay six feet away.' Contact tracing -- it's hard to translate those kinds of terms, so it's been challenging.” Thang says. "We just try as best as we could to make it understandable for our audience.”

Scientific American

Contact tracing, a key way to slow COVID-19, is badly underused by the U.S.

Making contact-tracing programs successful means more than just boots on the ground. Tracers are trained to help people think through who they might have been in contact with. Though numerous phone apps now aid in identifying potential contacts, "technology can’t solve the problem of convincing someone they should pick up the phone when a contact tracer calls," says Mary Gray, a social scientist at Microsoft Research, who also has affiliations with Harvard University and Indiana University Bloomington. "It is the reason we are failing -- because we keep searching for something else we can buy or put into place. We have not conceded how deeply human this process is."

The Indianapolis Star

Indiana monuments: How Hoosiers have memorialized leaders with racist pasts

In the wake of the social and racial justice movement that is sweeping the nation, communities across the country are reckoning with the way deep-seated racism has been memorialized. And these conversations hit close to home. Here in Indianapolis, a Confederate memorial has been removed from a public park, and leaders of a local high school are addressing their racist mascot and team name. As these memorials are being reevaluated and in some cases removed, Rasul Mowatt, a professor of American studies at Indiana University's Bloomington campus, said there are a handful of things residents have to reckon with or consider. Decolonization, he said, leads us to question why we're holding on to remnants of a colonial perspective. We have to take into consideration public memory and forgetfulness. Just because history has been written one way or we remember parts of it, he said, doesn't mean that's how those events actually unfolded. "Sometimes people confuse public memory with history," he said, adding that it's important to consider the way we frame certain things, how we remember them and the aspects we choose to forget.

The Indianapolis Star

Fireworks put harmful particles in the air that can make it more difficult to breathe

Indianapolis' large downtown fireworks display might have been canceled this year, but in many Indy neighborhoods and other local cities, the show went on -- and the fireworks went off. The sky over places such as Carmel, Lebanon, Noblesville, Cicero and Moorseville filled with colorful bursts of light. And also, in some cases, smoke, which can make it harder to breathe, especially for individuals with asthma and other respiratory conditions. ... The mix of warm and humid air this year are also responsible for the increased levels of particulate matter seen during the holiday. "The main peak occurs around 10 at night on July 4, and then continues on as particulates slowly get scrubbed out of the air," said Gabriel Filippelli, director of the Center for Urban Health at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. "Last year that peak was more obvious because the air quality was better. This year air quality, starting probably at the beginning of July, has been getting a little bit worse, because the heat has increased and that's made some of the particulate matter a little bit worse."

The Indianapolis Star

Black-led philanthropies are best-positioned to serve their neighbors, but need support

Giving and identity often go hand-in-hand. A study published last year by the Women's Philanthropy Institute at the IUPUI Lilly Family School of Philanthropy noted that a donor's race has no significant effect on the amount given to charity. Communities of color are underrepresented in formal volunteering but are likely to be giving their time and engaging in philanthropy in more informal ways. ... Una Osili, a professor and associate dean at the School of Philanthropy, said the current national discourse is calling for the root causes of deep-seated inequities to be addressed, and Black-led philanthropies are well-positioned to do just that. “One of the benefits of working with some of the Black-led organizations, whether they're Black giving circles or other organizations on the ground," Osili said, “is that they have been working on these issues for a longer time and understand and have roots in the community and can be a part of the solution to these problems."

The Indianapolis Star

Coronavirus testing delays are frustrating people and thwarting contact tracing efforts

If days or weeks elapse between testing and the result, some of the infected person’s close contacts may already have gone on to develop the disease and potentially spread it to others. "If we don’t decrease that turnaround time between testing and results, contact tracing becomes much less effective, which allows for potential spread of disease," said Thomas Duszynski, director of epidemiology education at the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis Fairbanks School of Public Health. "The impact is simply going to be we’re going to see more cases."


The next global turf war? The moon

The global consensus about space neutrality is eroding -- fast. Until recently, the moon was widely considered a global commons across humanity akin to the open seas or Antarctica, not meant to be owned (or exploited) by any single nation or entity. But on April 6, the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump released an executive order refuting that idea and suggesting a desire to pave the path for lunar dominance by American industries. His decision continues four decades of U.S. presidents scaling back their commitment to a neutral space, including, most recently, the 2015 U.S. Space Act that gave American companies the right to strip asteroids for profit. ... Such measures fly directly in the face of the long-standing "Moon Treaty" established by the European Union, which 18 nations have signed, among them Mexico and Australia. The United States, China and Russia have all held out from adding their signatures, each likely believing they stand too much to gain if they can quickly capitalize on being among the stars ... "There is a bit of a first-mover advantage," says Scott Schackelford, a business law professor at Indiana University who studies space policy.

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