There’s still a lot to learn about SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. But it has been remarkable and gratifying to watch researchers from around the world pull together and share their time, expertise, and hard-earned data in the urgent quest to control this devastating virus.
That collaborative spirit was on full display in a recent study that characterized the specific human cells that SARS-CoV-2 likely singles out for infection . This information can now be used to study precisely how each cell type interacts with the virus. It might ultimately help to explain why some people are more susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 than others, and how exactly to target the virus with drugs, immunotherapies, and vaccines to prevent or treat infections….
The discovery suggests that SARS-CoV-2 and potentially other coronaviruses that rely on ACE2 may take advantage of the immune system’s natural defenses. When the body responds to the infection by producing more interferon, that in turn results in production of more ACE2, enhancing the ability of the virus to attach more readily to lung cells. While much more work is needed, the finding indicates that any potential use of interferon as a treatment to fight COVID-19 will require careful monitoring to determine if and when it might help patients.
It’s clear that these new findings, from data that weren’t originally generated with COVID-19 in mind, contained several potentially important new leads. This is another demonstration of the value of basic science. We can also rest assured that, with the outpouring of effort from members of the scientific community around the globe to meet this new challenge, progress along these and many other fronts will continue at a remarkable pace.
Last month, Relevant Podcast listeners heard a familiar voice in their earbuds: founder Cameron Strang, returning to the show’s lineup—and to leadership at Relevant Media Group—six months after stepping away due to public criticism from former employees.
Though Relevant promised to be transparent with its efforts to address Strang’s alleged racial insensitivity and difficult leadership style, it did not bring up the process again until the April 10 update announcing his return as CEO.
In the meantime, the bimonthly Christian magazine had not sent out an issue to its 27,000 paid subscribers since Strang left in September, leaving fans to wonder about its future.
Strang told listeners that he’s “excited to be back” for a new era at Relevant as it prepares to revamp and expand its podcast offerings, transition to a yearly print publication, and relaunch its website, all under an advisory board newly enlisted to oversee leadership of the 10-person staff.
Relevant’s loyal followers, some of whom have been around for its entire 20-year history, are excited to hear Strang’s voice again. But as much as they hope to see the kind of progress the company has promised and prayed for, a few have questioned the lack of communication.
“When the print issues stopped coming, I was disappointed but figured the company was trying to figure out how to move forward. I suspected they had lost a lot of advertisers & revenue,” wrote Erin Bird, an Iowa pastor, in a Twitter thread responding to the April update. “I’ve patiently walked thru this w/ you, actually prayed for you guys (& those hurt), & was hoping to see a repentance from Cameron that would show the world how to truly apologize.”
Bird, who subscribed to Relevant for 17 years, echoed what other fans said: He likes Strang and Relevant, which makes it even more disappointing that their response has fallen short and ultimately led him to stop reading and tuning in.
“Hearing an update that shared nothing about seeking relational reconciliation broke my heart,” Bird told CT. “All I heard was how difficult this season has been to Cameron, but not how grieved he was about the hard season he put others through as their boss.”
Strang’s sabbatical was prompted by accounts of racial insensitivity and poor leadership that previous editors, including Andre Henry and Rebecca Marie Jo Flores, say they experienced while working with the small staff at Relevant’s office in Orlando, Florida. Within a week of their criticism making headlines in late September 2019, Strang issued an apology and took a leave of absence to “engage a process of healing, growth, and learning.”
The church is a high-risk setting for COVID-19 transmission. Church activities contain multiple factors that facilitate airborne COVID-19 spread (see table below). In addition, our congregants are at greater risk for serious complications from COVID-19. Therefore, churches should carefully consider when and how to resume in-person ministries and have a clear plan to do so. This plan should achieve the following:
Mitigate the risk of airborne COVID-19 transmission during church activities. Be able to dial up and dial down church activities as COVID-19 infection in the community waxes and wanes. Be able to rapidly identify contacts with an infected person and help trace them if necessary. Resume in-person church activities only when there is clear evidence of a declining and low level of infection in the community.
What will happen on college campuses in the fall? It's a big question for families, students and the schools themselves.
A lot of what happens depends on factors outside the control of individual schools: Will there be more testing? Contact tracing? Enough physical space for distancing? Will the coronavirus have a second wave? Will any given state allow campuses to reopen?
For all of these questions, it's really too early to know the answers. But one thing is clear: Life, and learning for the nation's 20 million students in higher education, will be different.
"I don't think there's any scenario under which it's business as usual on American college campuses in the fall," says Nicholas Christakis, a sociologist and physician at Yale University.
In many cases, it's because they're still trying to woo students. A survey of college presidents found their most pressing concern right now is summer and fall enrollment. Even elite schools, typically more stable when it comes to enrollment, have reportedly been tapping their waitlists.
In the midst of all this uncertainty, it's worth looking at some of the ideas out there. With the help of Joshua Kim and Edward J. Maloney, professors and authors of the book Learning Innovation and the Future of Higher Education, here are some potential scenarios for reopening colleges and universities…