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The Washington Post

Writing for The Washington Post, Prof. Kevin Esvelt argues that research aimed at creating pandemic-causing viruses should be considered a matter of international security. “Natural pandemics may be inevitable. Synthetic ones, constructed with full knowledge of society’s vulnerabilities, are not,” writes Esvelt. “Let’s not learn to make pandemics until we can reliably defend against them.”

Boston Globe

Writing for The Boston Globe, Visiting Prof. Susan J. Blumenthal and research scientist David Kong underscore the need to reimagine America’s public health infrastructure. “A new multidisciplinary academic field of public health technology should be established to integrate diverse expertise in public health, technology, engineering, data analytics, and design to help build the products, programs, and systems necessary to modernize the nation’s public health infrastructure and ready it for 21st-century challenges and opportunities,” they write.

ABC News

Prof. Lydia Bourouiba speaks with ABC News about how schools can use ventilation and masks to help reduce the spread of Covid-19. “If we're not wearing a mask, that contamination is building up, particularly when we're in a classroom for hours," says Bourouiba. "But there are simple measures when we bring in fresh air from the outside that are very effective."

CBS Boston

A new tabletop device developed by researchers from MIT and other institutions can identify Covid-19 variants in a person’s saliva, reports CBS Boston. “We tried to limit the number of user steps to make sure it was as easy as possible,” explains graduate student Devora Najjar.

Fast Company

Fast Company reporter Elizabeth Segran writes that a new study by MIT Prof. Jackson Lu finds that mask wearing is more prevalent in communities in the U.S. with higher levels of collectivism. “It’s important to understand how culture fundamentally shapes how people respond not only to this pandemic, but to future crises as well,” says Lu.

U.S. News & World Report

A new study co-authored by MIT Prof. Jackson Lu finds that a community’s level of collectivism influences whether someone is willing to wear a mask, reports Cara Murez for U.S. News & World Report. “The role of collectivism could be studied in other crises, such as wildfires or hurricanes,” notes Murez, adding that the researchers “felt it would be important to study whether the pandemic itself has affected the sense of collectivism or individualism.”

United Press International (UPI)

UPI reporter Brian P. Dunleavy writes that a new study by MIT researchers finds that business closures and stay-at-home orders intended to stop the spread of Covid-19 helped reduce deaths caused by air pollution by an estimated 95,000 globally in 2020. “The air pollution declines that we calculated are primarily due to reduced economic activity during the COVID-19 lockdown,” writes Dunleavy.

GBH

Prof. Evan Lieberman speaks with Craig LeMoult of GBH about his new study, which finds there are mixed reactions when people are informed of the racial disparities in Covid-19 outcomes in the U.S. “We are so interconnected as a society - economically, socially, politically,” says Lieberman, “and [it’s important] to remind everyone that we are all potential vectors for this epidemic so it really behooves all of us to cooperate and to be able to end this pandemic as soon as possible.”

The Washington Post

Professor Martin Bazant and Professor John Bush have developed a new safety guideline to limit the risk of airborne Covid-19 transmission in different indoor settings. “For airborne transmission, social distancing in indoor spaces is not enough, and may provide a false sense of security,” says Bazant. “Efficient mask use is the most effective safety measure, followed by room ventilation, then filtration,” adds Bush.

CNN

CNN reporter Maggie Fox writes that MIT researchers have developed a new formula for calculating the risk of airborne Covid-19 transmission in indoor settings. "To minimize risk of infection, one should avoid spending extended periods in highly populated areas. One is safer in rooms with large volume and high ventilation rates," write Profs. Martin Bazant and John Bush.
 

National Public Radio (NPR)

Prof. Evan Lieberman speaks with NPR’s Michael Martin about how the pandemic’s racial disparities have affected people’s public policy views. “I think it's important for us to keep reminding one another how interconnected we are, how our shared fate exists together depending on the actions we take and don't take, and perhaps that we have a common purpose beyond, you know, national borders and obligations towards one another,” says Lieberman.

Gizmodo

Gizmodo reporter Andrew Liszewski spotlights MIT startup OPT Industries, which has created a new type of Covid-19 nasal swab “that’s faster at absorbing samples, and better at releasing it for analysis.”

Popular Science

MIT researchers have created a new filter from tree branches that could provide an inexpensive, biodegradable, low-tech option for water purification, writes Shaena Montanari for Popular Science. “We hope that our work empowers such people to further develop and commercialize xylem water filters tailored to local needs to benefit communities around the world,” says Prof. Rohit Karnik.

WHDH 7

7 News reporter Byron Barnett spotlights how MIT researchers are developing new face masks aimed at stopping the spread of Covid-19. Prof. Giovanni Traverso is creating reusable masks with pop-put disposable filters, and Prof. Michael Strano is developing a mask that could “destroy the virus, using a nine-volt battery to heat the mask and kill the virus before the wearer breathes it in.”

United Press International (UPI)

UPI reporter Brooks Hays writes that MIT researchers have created a new water filter from tree branches that can remove bacteria. “The filter takes advantage of the natural sieving abilities of xylem -- thin, interconnected membranes found in the sapwood branches of pine, ginkgo and other nonflowering trees,” writes Hays.