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Hurricane: NASA Goddard - Flickr Creative Commons / Tornado: Justin1569 - Wikipedia / Wildfire: U.S. Dept of Agriculture - Wikipedia

I’ve had a recurring dream ever since I was a little kid: I’m playing in the front yard of the house I grew up in, and suddenly, the atmosphere around me changes. I feel an ominous breeze on my face. I look up, and barreling down the street, is a tornado headed straight for me. I turn to run… and the dream ends. 

I think my compulsion to run away from dangerous weather - in my dreams and in real life - is probably shared by a lot of people. But today? The folks you’re gonna meet go towards the danger to stop it, or to document it so we can understand it better.

coronavirus testing
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

Some COVID-19 patients recover from the virus relatively quickly, but others have to deal with lingering or even new symptoms months after battling the virus. Ellie Stevenson of Norwalk says she is what’s called a long hauler.

Waterbury Public Schools school buses
Franke Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

A new report from Connecticut’s Child Advocate finds staff at Waterbury Public Schools have called the police hundreds of times on elementary and middle school students experiencing mental health crises.

Some of these children were as young as five years old.

Wikimedia Commons

State health officials say a potentially dangerous bacteria found in the water along Long Island Sound has caused an unusually high number of illnesses this summer. 

Efforts To Reduce COVID-19’s Spread Could Impact Health Outcomes For New Mothers And Infants

Sep 14, 2020
Felicia Tombascio and her daughter, Anastasia Marie Cordero.
handout photo / Connecticut Health I-Team

Felicia Tambascio’s first pregnancy was going fairly smoothly. But on July 20, at week 38, the 20-year-old Brookfield resident woke with horrible upper abdominal cramps, a searing headache, and vomiting. Her boyfriend took her to the hospital, but Tambascio was left to wait in a hallway alone. Per COVID-19 restrictions, no visitors were allowed unless the patient was admitted to labor and delivery. 

The National Sepember 11th Memorial in Manhattan. The fountains mark the footprints of the towers, which were destroyed in the attack.
Saschaporsche / Wikimedia Commons

Today, we reflect back on the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, 19 years ago. Nearly 3000 people died when hijacked passenger jets slammed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Another would crash into a field in Pennsylvania.

We hear about the health impacts first responders continue to face and the long fight to secure funding for their medical treatments.

Later, we look at the legacy of 9/11 on American foreign policy. Almost two decades after the attacks, how does that day shape our country’s foreign policy today? We talk to two international relations experts.

Industrial Farming Outweighs Willpower In Obesity Crisis, Experts Say

Sep 8, 2020
Sandy Flores of City Seed puts away a bag of $1 tokens at the close of the Wooster Farmers Market. Snap recipients can scan their EBT cards and receive two dollars in tokens for each dollar to spend at the market.
Melanie Stengel / C-HIT

Industrial-scale farming and food processing are greater factors in rising obesity numbers in Connecticut and worldwide than individual behavior, scientists say.

Joe Amon / Connecticut Public/NENC

When Connecticut officials approved more than $34 million in contracts with private vendors to test for coronavirus at nursing homes, the contracts shared a common clause: The Department of Public Health wanted quick results, ideally, within one day.  But interviews with health officials, contracted vendors and state documents show that hasn’t always been the case.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

State Republican lawmakers say Gov. Ned Lamont shouldn’t have extended his emergency powers under the pandemic for five more months.

The Placebo Effect

Aug 31, 2020
Christian Schnettelker / Creative Commons

Placebo treatments have been making people feel better since long before Franz Mesmer was run out of 18th-century Vienna for "mesmerizing" a young pianist into regaining her eyesight after doctors had given up on a medical cure. 

Doctors often dismiss the placebo effect as inferior to conventional medical treatments - even when studies show that placebos can reduce the pain of arthritic knees as well as in some surgical procedures like arthroscopy

A health care worker prepares to administer a nasal swab for a COVID-19 drive-by testing site
JOE AMON / CONNECTICUT PUBLIC/NENC

While most of Connecticut has seen a low rate of positive COVID-19 cases, the city of Danbury has become a concerning exception.

This hour, we talk to the city’s Mayor, Mark Boughton, to hear more about this local outbreak.

And later, contact tracing is a critical public health tool for containing the spread of COVID-19. But who are the people actually running Connecticut’s tracing efforts?

We hear from one of the state’s regional health directors.

And we check in across the Atlantic with a reporter in Germany, a place many point to as a model for public health response to the pandemic.

Vlad Povorny / Creative Commons

Officials in the Trump Administration last week videotaped both a naturalization ceremony held at the White House and an HUD official's interview with four New York City tenants on housing conditions. They then  played selected parts from each video at the Republican National Convention without the knowledge of the participants. 

The CDC updated testing guidelines last week to say that people who have been exposed to the virus but who don’t have symptoms or underlying risk factors, don't necessarily need to be tested. After public health officials complained that asymptomatic carriers are more likely to spread the virus, we learned that the recommendations came from the White House Coronavirus Task Force.  

Dave Wurtzel / Connecticut Public

State public health officials said they’ll work to more aggressively test staff at nursing homes for COVID-19. But officials in the eldercare industry said Friday they’re still waiting for formal guidance on those changes from the state Department of Public Health. 

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public

After a protracted back-and-forth with state health officials, Connecticut’s governing body of high school sports will go ahead with a fall season.

A diagram of the kidneys from Henry Gray's "Anatomy of the Human Body" (1918)
Henry Gray / Wikimedia Commons

State Representative Jeff Currey is a longtime public servant. Now he’s asking the public to help him. The East Hartford lawmaker is in kidney failure, and he needs a transplant.

This hour, he joins us to talk about kidney donation. We often think of organ donation as something considered after someone’s death, but living donors can give a kidney to a person in need.

Coming up we hear from patients, donors, and medical professionals about this lifesaving transplant.

And we learn about a revolutionary system that pairs matching donors and patients--that allows for multiple kidney transplants. 

Have you considered becoming a kidney donor?

A health care worker prepares to administer a nasal swab for a COVID-19 drive-by testing site
JOE AMON / CONNECTICUT PUBLIC/NENC

Connecticut public health officials have issued an alert to Danbury residents after what the state called a “significant spike” in new coronavirus cases.

Joe Amon / Connecticut Public/NENC

As state officials continue to investigate a COVID-19 outbreak at a nursing home in Norwich that killed one resident this month and hospitalized several more, one outstanding question is whether workers tested for COVID-19 were properly notified of their results.

Joshua Moses (7) holds his backpack in front of Bellizzi Middle School.
Brenda Leon / Connecticut Public

Marlin Johnson is getting her 7-year-old son Joshua ready to go back to school -- a mix of remote and in-person learning to start. Part of that preparation takes the pandemic into account, like reminding him to remember to keep his mask on and to maintain a healthy distance. 

A sign for coronavirus testing outside of a CVS drive-through in Hartford, Conn.
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Pubic

Scientists at the Yale School of Public Health say they have developed a quick, affordable COVID-19 saliva test, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has granted it emergency-use authorization. It’s called SalivaDirect, and one of its project leaders is Anne Wyllie, an associate research scientist at the Yale School of Public Health. Wyllie spoke on All Things Considered about why this testing method is better than the swab method, the crucial role the NBA played in its development, and the price she and her team had to pay to make this dream a reality.

Report Offers Clues To What Went Wrong In Lethal COVID Outbreak In Nursing Homes

Aug 18, 2020
Some of the nursing staff at Parkway Pavilion Health and Rehabilitation Center in Enfield in the early stages of the outbreak.
CTMirror.org

COVID-19 hit nursing homes in the Northeast states particularly hard, but those living in Connecticut long-term care facilities died more frequently than in any other state – a result of missteps by the state and a nursing home industry hamstrung by limited knowledge of the pathogen’s nature, how it spreads and to whom it posed the greatest risks.

Cindy Shebley / Creative Commons

The FDA on Saturday authorized emergency use of a rapid and inexpensive saliva test that could increase testing capacity. It’s quick, less expensive, and doesn't need the chemical reagents that are in short supply.

Health Care And Education Suffer When There's No Internet Access

Aug 16, 2020
Melanie Stengel / C-HIT

With no Wi-Fi or reliable internet access during the COVID-19 pandemic, Susana Encarnacion of New London had some trouble during doctors’ appointments for her 9-year-old son, Jeremiah, who has asthma and attention deficit disorder.

As Veteran Suicide Grows, National Guard Highest In Active Military

Aug 13, 2020
Donna Chapman gives her son, Sergeant William Davidson a kiss. Davidson struggled with mental health disorders after his deployment in Afghanistan and killed himself in 2017.
Contributed Family Photo

Sergeant William Davidson had been struggling with mental health problems since his deployment to Afghanistan. When he didn’t attend at least one of his Connecticut National Guard drill weekends, the Guard declared him AWOL (absent without leave) and discharged him with a “bad paper” separation. Four months after his discharge, Davidson, 24, fatally shot himself.

Jernej Furman / Creative Commons

As of this weekend, the number of people in the U.S. infected with SARS-CoV-2 topped 5 million, just 16 days after passing the 4 million mark on July 23. This weekend's motorcycle rally in Sturgis, South Dakota, portends that those numbers will continue to rise. 

Three potential vaccines against the virus have entered phase III clinical trials, in which safety and effectiveness is tested on thousands of healthy people. 

This stage can take months or years depending on how quickly researchers can detect a difference between the two groups, but some doctors believe that we'll have a vaccine sooner than later. Are we expecting too much from a vaccine? And, what about the expanding group of people afraid to trust any vaccine developed at "warp speed?" 

Is it time for another lockdown to get things under control until a vaccine is ready?

Illustration by Chion Wolf

When you were growing up, you probably heard about famous inventors. Maybe you thought they were brilliant. Rigorously trained. Confident. Capable. And that their inventions advanced humankind through and through.

But Dr. Ainissa Ramirez spent the last 5 years writing a book that strips away those presumptions. In The Alchemy of Us: How Humans and Matter Transformed One Another, she paints portraits not of how inventors settled questions of the limits of technology - but of how much further we still have to go.

Courtesy Huma Farid

Since the killing of George Floyd, some Americans have been examining their role in perpetuating racism and are committing to no longer being silent and inactive.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, testifies before a House Select Subcommittee hearing on the Coronavirus, Friday, July 31, 2020 on Capitol Hill in Washington.
Erin Scott / Pool via AP

Dr. Anthony Fauci says Connecticut is in a good place when it comes to the pandemic. 

Fadein / Wikimedia Commons

With the weather getting hotter and many indoor activities limited because of the pandemic, a trip to the water is a great way to cool off.

But not every Connecticut community has a beachfront or river in town, and many wealthy communities with waterfronts have a history of limiting water access to residents only.  Some of those restrictions have reappeared this summer in response to COVID-19.

This hour, we talk about the implications of excluding access to our state’s natural waters, especially during a pandemic.

Connecticut Misdiagnosed Elderly Patients As COVID-19-Positive

Jul 20, 2020
Jacqueline Rabe Thomas / CT Mirror

The state’s Public Health Laboratory in Rocky Hill misdiagnosed 90 people as COVID-19-positive during the past month, a mishap that likely led healthy nursing home residents to be housed with infected patients, state health officials acknowledged Monday.

National Human Genome Research Institute / Flickr Creative Commons

Right now the world population is 7.8 billion, and growing fast. We have doubled our population over just the past 50 years!

Even though the population is growing, fertility rates, overall, are dropping. So, more people are here, but we’re having fewer babies. There’s a lot of reasons for that, and one of them is infertility. The CDC estimates that nearly one out of eight couples struggles to conceive, but because of assisted reproductive technology, we’re upping the population numbers in the United States. The CDC reports that almost 2 percent of all U.S. births annually - or about 4 million babies - are here as a result of things like in-vitro-fertilization (IVF), surrogacy, and egg donation.

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