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Pittsburgh researcher says potential vaccines are being undermined by misinformation

The state of COVID-19 vaccine research is currently in a Catch-22 dilemma, according to Dr. William Klimstra, an associate professor in the Immunology Department at the University of Pittsburgh, who is currently working on a potential vaccine. The dilemma is this: The reason the development of a vaccine takes so long is that scientists have to be careful the vaccine does no harm in animals first and then in humans, before it even begins to test whether it’s effective. But at the same time, many Americans are not convinced that a vaccine would be safe and have said they wouldn’t take it even if it was developed. “We’re in an environment right now where longstanding accepted truths are being challenged through social media,” Klimstra said. "It’s very difficult to fight that kind of stuff."

Worry, joy, ambivalence, relief, dread: Pittsburgh-area residents describe the first days of life in ‘yellow’

Allegheny County moved from phase red, which required everyone to adhere to a strict “stay at home” order, to phase yellow. Now some nonessential activities and businesses could open.

The number of coronavirus cases had fallen over time but there were still dozens of new cases each week. It was unclear how many people would risk venturing out into public and whether those that did would adhere to social distancing guidelines.

Four environmental issues in the Pittsburgh region to keep your eyes on in the age of COVID-19

COVID-19 cost jobs, closed businesses and limited travel. But the economic ruin has also led to record low levels of pollution and huge reductions in climate change emissions globally.

Some of the changes, such as remote work, could have lasting benefits for the environment, even after the economy restarts. Other changes, such as a decrease in the use of mass transportation, could make environmental problems worse. 

Fact-check: Has PA seen 7,000 deaths beyond the state’s norm during the pandemic?

One model from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] estimates that, during the first five weeks of the pandemic, there were around 7,000 more deaths than would be expected over a similar time period in the past.

This count above the norm would be among the highest for any state in the country, but PublicSource reporting shows that number is still quite uncertain and could be higher or lower.

Dan Wonders, the Transportation Resource Coordinator for North Hills Community Outreach, helped distribute 125 meals in Millvale recently, more than double what the site normally gives out. (Photo by Jeff Geissler/North Hills Community Outreach)

12 Pittsburgh-area food pantries, food banks and soup kitchens say how COVID-19 has impacted need

Some food pantries have reported serving three times as many people as before the crisis, but a few dozen pantries and soup kitchens had to close entirely out of safety concerns created by the pandemic. The largest distributor of food aid in the region, the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, believes more people need food assistance than what’s been initially reported by its food network.

Some University of Pittsburgh's students, faculty and alumni are upset that it accepted $4.2 million in funding from the Charles Koch Foundation for a new center to study politics, markets and technology.

Pennsylvania’s leading COVID-19 modeler explains how life might start returning back to normal and what might not

The FRED model uses information about where and how residents interact at school, work and in their neighborhoods, to predict the spread of diseases like influenza, H1N1 and dengue. Applied to COVID-19, the model predicts that, with statewide social distancing, the state can limit the number of total hospitalizations to 100,000 and that the peak number of hospitalizations can be delayed for hundreds of days, enough time to potentially make additional healthcare resources available.