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Politico

Researchers at MIT and elsewhere developed an artificial intelligence predictive model that can be used to detect which strains of Covid-19 could become dominant and lead to a new wave of illness, reports Ruth Reader, Carmen Paun, Daniel Payne and Eric Schumaker for Politico. The model, “found three strong predictors of a dominant variant: the number of infections a strain causes in its first week relative to the number of times it appears in sequencing, the number of mutations in the spike protein, and the number of weeks since the current dominant variant began circulating,” they note.

USA Today

Prof. Carlo Ratti writes for USA Today about whether San Francisco is caught in a “doom loop,” a term that describes, “the city’s apparently unbreakable spiral of empty offices and unaffordable housing.” Ratti notes that “today’s crisis in the Bay Area could make room for new ideas to take hold faster than in other places. If the city seizes its moment, learning from its venture capital (VC) sector, San Francisco could also seize the future.”

The Boston Globe

Michal Caspi Tal, a principal research scientist in the department of biological engineering, speaks with Boston Globe reporter Kay Lazar about her research aimed at better understanding why some people develop chronic illness after infection with Lyme disease and Covid-19. “Long Covid and chronic Lyme share so many features that it’s uncanny,” said Tal. “This is a solvable problem. This is not rocket science. This just needs to be looked at with fresh eyes.”

Curiosity Podcast

Institute Prof. Bob Langer speaks with Curiosity podcast hosts Immad Akhynd and Raj Suri about his work in the field of biotechnology, delving into how he has co-founded 40 companies. “I wanted to get out and do some good in the world,” says Langer. “That's where patents come in and that's where companies come in. And I think the challenge of the company is very different because you have what I call a platform technology.”

The Seattle Times

Researchers from MIT have found that since the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been a decrease in the number of interactions between people from different socioeconomic backgrounds, reports Danny Westneat for The Seattle Times. “It’s creating an urban fabric that is actually more brittle, in the sense that we are less exposed to other people,” says research scientist Esteban Moro. “We don’t get to know other people in the city … to know other people’s needs. If we don’t see them around the city, that will be impossible.”

The Boston Globe

Writing for The Boston Globe, Prof. Carlo Ratti emphasizes that in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic “urban areas need to fundamentally reweave their fabric to thrive in the era of flexible work: That means ending homogeneous zoning, promoting mixed-use developments, converting some offices into housing, and giving more space to arts and culture. We should recognize that the fundamental attraction of urban areas is the pleasure they provide to their residents — and that the affordability of housing needs to be seriously tackled.”

Bloomberg

Researchers from MIT have found that, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, people are less likely to explore economically different parts of their home cities, reports Immanual John Milton for Bloomberg. “Fewer people are visiting attractions like museums, restaurants or parks that are outside their immediate mobility radius, and they’re spending less time among residents at different socioeconomic levels,” writes Milton.

The Boston Globe

MIT researchers have found that interactions between people from different economic backgrounds have dropped significantly since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, reports David Scharfenberg for The Boston Globe. Scharfenberg notes the “the phenomenon could hurt low-income people in direct ways – they’ll lose connections to better-off people – and indirect ways.”

Fortune

A study by Prof. David Autor and his colleagues have found that the pandemic narrowed the wage gap between America’s highest and lowest paid workers, reports Geoff Colvin for Fortune. The study also found “wages of the least educated workers increased more than the wage of the most educated workers, reducing the college wage premium,” writes Colvin.

Boston.com

Using an artificial intelligence system, researchers at MIT and elsewhere have developed a new Covid-19 vaccine that could be effective against current and future strains, reports Gwen Egan for Boston.com. “The vaccine differs from others currently on the market due to the portion of the virus being targeted,” writes Egan.  

The Boston Globe

Boston Globe reporter Hiawatha Bray writes that MIT researchers have used an AI system to identify a potential new Covid-19 vaccine that may be effective against both current and future variants of the virus. “The new vaccine targets a portion of the COVID virus that is much less prone to evolve,” writes Bray. “That could potentially make it effective against many different versions of the virus, eliminating the need for routine booster shots.”

Bloomberg

Bloomberg reporters Alex Tanzi and Mackenzie Hawkins spotlight a paper by graduate student Evan J. Soltas and his colleague Gopi Shah Goda discussing Covid-19’s impact on the labor market. The researchers “found that workers who miss a full week because of COVID are about 7 percentage points less likely to be employed a year later,” writes Tanzi and Hawkins.

TechCrunch

MIT researchers have developed a new approach to vaccines that uses “a machine learning twist [that] could put an end to boosters and seasonal variant shots,” reports Devin Coldewey for TechCrunch.

The Wall Street Journal

New research by Prof. David Autor explores how the wage gap narrowed during the Covid-19 pandemic, reports Justin Lahart for The Wall Street Journal. Lahart writes that the findings suggest that “even as the pandemic fades, competition for low-wage workers will be more intense than before the pandemic. That could lead to further reductions in income inequality, raise labor costs at firms that employ low-wage workers, and reshape the U.S. business landscape.”