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Pandemic

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Matter of Fact with Soledad O'Brien

Elisabeth Reynolds, executive director of the MIT Task Force on the Work of the Future, speaks with Soledad O’Brien about how to ensure workers aren’t left behind in the transition to a more digital workforce. “If we can find pathways to the middle where we do see growth and demand for workers - construction, healthcare, the trades, manufacturing, places where we are seeing opportunities - that move can really be a new lifeline for people,” says Reynolds. 

Los Angeles Times

Writing for The Los Angeles Times, Profs. Sinan Aral and Dean Eckles explore how “proactively emphasizing the vaccine acceptance of others — including our community leaders, public figures and even our neighbors — can help boost vaccination rates to the level needed to end the pandemic."

Bloomberg

Bloomberg reporter Ashlee Vancee spotlights the work of alumnus Youyang Gu SB ’15, MEng’19, who developed a forecasting model for Covid-19 last spring that was widely considered to be one of the most accurate models of the pandemic’s trajectory. “The novel, sophisticated twist of Gu’s model came from his use of machine learning algorithms to hone his figures,” writes Vancee.

Forbes

Graduate student Carmelo Ignaccolo speaks with Forbes contributor Rebecca Ann Hughes about his decision to move back to his hometown in Sicily during the Covid-19 pandemic and his work helping a local organization map networks of remote working hubs, as part of an effort to help support the local economy. “It was a nice idea of combining work but also local support for communities which have been left behind, especially in southern Italy,” says Ignaccolo.

The Washington Post

Washington Post reporter Christopher Ingraham spotlights a study co-authored by research affiliate Christos Makridis that finds communities with higher levels of interconnectedness and communal trust experienced less severe Covid-19 outbreaks in 2020. Makridis and his co-authors found “when individuals have a greater concern for others, they are more willing to follow hygienic practices and social distancing.”

KUOW

Second-year student Darren Lim speaks with KUOW about his work developing a website aimed at making it easier for Washington state residents to book appointment for Covid-19 vaccines. The website “shows which providers in Washington state have vaccines available, and then allows you to click through to their websites to make an appointment.”

Stat

Writing for STAT, Prof. Emeritus Jeffrey Harris explores how community health centers “can play a crucial role in reducing the burden of the Covid-19 epidemic in the difficult winter months to come. They can serve as critical safety valves at a time when acute care hospitals and emergency rooms are saturated with patients.”

New York Times

Writing for The New York Times, Prof. Amy Finkelstein examines the difficulties posed by trying to reduce waste in health care spending. “If something becomes more expensive, people will buy less of it,” writes Finkelstein. “And the empirical evidence is overwhelming: When patients have to pay more, they use less medical care. The problem is they use less of all types of care.”

Forbes

Writing for Forbes, Joseph Coughlin, director of the MIT AgeLab, examines the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the development of new technologies that enable older adults to connect with their communities. “The pandemic has served as a propellant accelerating the adoption of devices and related services perhaps a decade faster than might have otherwise occurred.

HuffPost

A new study co-authored by MIT researchers examines the carbon emissions associated with video conferencing, reports Rachel Moss for HuffPost. The researchers found “just one hour of video conferencing or streaming emits 150-1,000 grams of carbon dioxide.”

TechCrunch

A new study co-authored by MIT researchers quantifies the carbon costs of working from home, reports Devin Coldewey for TechCrunch. “In order to build a sustainable digital world, it is imperative to carefully assess the environmental footprints of the Internet and identify the individual and collective actions that most affect its growth,” the researchers explain.

The New Yorker

Writing for The New Yorker, Sheelah Kolhatkar spotlights Biobot Analytics, an MIT startup that is studying sewage for the purpose of tracking diseases and the spread of Covid-19. “It’s about our health and well-being in general,” says Biobot co-founder and president Newsha Ghaeli. “It’s about understanding nutrition disparities in communities, understanding stress levels, pervasive infectious diseases like influenza or Zika virus.”

Fast Company

Writing for Fast Company, Prof. Ramesh Raskar explores how to help improve distribution of the Covid-19 vaccine. Raskar and his co-author write that, “We must apply modern techniques like data analytics, user research, and usability testing to learn about the vaccine and immunization process from the perspective of different Americans, all while preserving privacy and people’s right to remain anonymous.” 

Stat

Writing for STAT, Prof. Kevin Esvelt explores how we can stop the spread of the B-117, a variant of SARS-CoV-2. Going forward, Esvelt and his co-author argue that “over the next few years we must build a genomic monitoring system to detect evolutionary changes in viral, bacterial, and other pathogens that could require new measures to protect public health, and that could detect new pandemic pathogens of any provenance early enough to intervene.”

New York Times

Graduate student Carmelo Ignaccolo speaks with New York Times reporter Emma Bubola about how young professionals are returning to Italy during the Covid-19 pandemic. Bubola spotlights Ignaccolo's efforts to help an organization map and identify small rural towns in Italy in which it would be possible to facilitate remote-working opportunities as a tool to revamp local economies.