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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."

What fallout might PA nursing homes face for becoming a ‘ground zero’ in the COVID-19 pandemic?

According to industry experts, disease forecasters, lawyers, lawmakers and advocates, the fallout from the unfolding failures at nursing homes will likely come on many fronts: civil lawsuits and criminal prosecutions that could hobble the ability to provide quality care; budget cuts that threaten funding; and a possible contraction in facility ownership. 

From the Source Podcast Episode 10: The counselor and teacher finding hope and growth in kids

More than two months into quarantine, it remains unclear when or how children will return to classrooms. How will they be evaluated? Would they be prepared to pick it up and start working on math and spelling? How would they cope with 'time lost' and be able to reconnect with their classmates and teachers? On this episode, a Wesley Family Services school counselor and a Pittsburgh Montessori teacher give us a glimpse into their students' lives now and how the adults are feeling about it, too.

On Forbes Avenue in Oakland, a person wearing a face mask exits a Port Authority bus adorned with the message 'Stay Home, Save Lives'. (Photo by Kimberly Rowen/PublicSource)

Ridership down, cleaning costs up, Port Authority navigates financial hurdles of COVID-19

As the COVID-19 pandemic has eviscerated transit ridership around the country, it’s left many concerned about the financial health of transit agencies. The Port Authority of Allegheny County says it has lost 75% to 80% of its ridership. Though the agency recently began to restore some of its service to normal levels as the county begins to reopen its businesses, the Port Authority is also concerned about what the future holds.

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.

Quick to judge: Let’s reform how healthcare workers treat people with substance use and mental health disorders

The emergence of COVID-19 has put health care in breaking news. Every day, we hear of the tragic deaths due to this pandemic. We are also hearing of heroic efforts by healthcare workers, what they are doing for their patients and how communities are coming together to help one another out in this trying time. COVID-19 has also exposed weaknesses in the U.S. healthcare system, like the lack of personal protective equipment, poor regulations on long-term care facilities and poor response from government agencies. 

Another weakness to consider is the stigma and bias that those with mental health disorders and substance use disorders experience in the healthcare system. The bias and stigma come directly from healthcare professionals. 

I know firsthand the effects of stigma and bias on patients because I have been working in health care for 22 years; 19 of those years have been serving people with mental health and substance use disorders.

From the Source Podcast Episode 9: Turned off by tip-baiting, the Pittsburgh-area Instacart worker went solo

Many consumers are relying on delivery workers to shop for and deliver their groceries to protect themselves during the pandemic. With increased demand, some customers have been making their orders look more appealing by adding big tips and then reducing or zeroing it out after the job is done. On this episode, Selena Eisenberg, who is also a mom with ambitious career dreams of her own, shares the personal toll of being baited and how it prompted her to strike out as an independent personal shopper.

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With a newborn, 5-year old and new diploma, I am juggling it all amid the pandemic. Because is there even a choice?

It’s Feb. 28, the Friday before my due date and the last day with the students I have been learning along as a student-teacher. I have grown so attached to the students since I started two and a half months earlier. Even though it has been a process acclimating and learning the gears and grooves of everyday teaching at a charter school, I am thoroughly enjoying the uphill process. My timing is improving, lessons becoming smooth like jazz, and I even have some inside jokes with the students.