Side Effects Public Media

In partnership with the Center for Public Integrity, Columbia Journalism Investigations and Side Effects Public Media.

Every year, weather-related disasters ravage communities across the United States: floods in the Farm Belt, fires in the West and hurricanes along the South and East coasts.

Scientists say these disasters also lead to skyrocketing rates of depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. One survey of Hurricane Katrina survivors found that a third had mood disorders, and suicidal thoughts more than doubled. Many studies suggest similar outcomes after wildfires and floods.

If someone gets sick in a seven county swath of the Ozarks of southeastern Missouri, the closest place they can go for care is a clinic run by Missouri Highlands Health Care. Highlands operates in some of the least populated and poorest counties in the state. Now, it’s cutting back.

Update: As the case count continues to rise, information on this story is moving quickly and may be out-of-date. We recommend checking the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for ways to stay safe and this John Hopkins tool for the most recent data

States are considering how, and when, to reopen their economies. But the process looks different across the country, and there's a considerable variety even in the Midwest. Side Effects Public Media’s Brittani Howell spoke with Indiana Public Broadcasting’s statehouse reporter Brandon Smith, KBIA health reporter Sebastián Martínez Valdivia and Iowa Public Radio health reporter Natalie Krebs about how their states have reacted so far, and what they might do going forward.

For fourth-year medical students, spring is normally the time for an important rite of passage. They finish  classes and find out where they’ll spend the next several years doing their residencies.

The coronavirus pandemic has turned all that upside down.

We're continuing to answer questions about the novel coronavirus and COVID-19. If you have a question, email health@wfyi.org, text “health” to 73224 or leave a voicemail at 317-429-0080.

The elderly are especially vulnerable to COVID-19. The country’s first big outbreak was at a nursing home in Washington state, and more recently nursing homes and senior living facilities in places like Indiana, Illinois and Iowa have had experienced dozens of cases -- and deaths. Now, these places are facing a lot of pressure to keep residents safe -- and occupied. 

Update: As the case count continues to rise, information on this story is moving quickly and may be out-of-date. We recommend checking the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for ways to stay safe and this John Hopkins tool for the most recent data

Indiana Public Broadcasting’s digital producer Lauren Chapman and reporter Justin Hicks recently joined Side Effects Public Media’s Brittani Howell on Facebook Live to answer questions we’ve received about the new coronavirus and COVID-19.  

Update: As the case count continues to rise, information on this story is moving quickly and may be out-of-date. We recommend checking the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for ways to stay safe and this John Hopkins tool for the most recent data

In order to give your viewers a meaningful context in your reporting, please compare the current number of deaths from the COVID-19 virus with the average number of deaths due to the flu in the U.S. over the last decade.

The new coronavirus is still sweeping through the U.S., so it's difficult to draw comparisons to past flu seasons. Looking at the flu and coronavirus in other countries may be helpful. 

Updated 3/26/2020 5:09 pm

Ventilators are among the most important equipment hospitals need to treat a surge of COVID-19 patients. Companies such as General Motors are gearing up emergency production of the machines, which take over the labor of breathing for a patient with a serious case of the virus. 

The Broadway Diner is empty. The ‘50s style restaurant has been a fixture of downtown Columbia, for decades and gets a lot of customers from the University of Missouri. These days, the only sounds keeping owner Dave Johnson company are from the building’s noisy ventilation system. “I was here when the planes crashed into the World Trade Center, and I thought that was horrible, but it’s nothing like this." 

We're continuing to answer questions about the coronavirus and COVID-19. Here are the latest; if you have more, here's how to send a question.

Do people who recover from coronavirus have any long-lasting symptoms or side effects?

It all depends on the severity of the case. Dr. Abhijit Duggal, a critical care specialist at the Cleveland Clinic, told USA Today that about 80% of COVID-19 patients recover with no complications. As for that remaining 20%, it may be too early to tell.

The coronavirus is wreaking havoc on nearly every aspect of life. And people who lack stable housing or food supplies are among the most vulnerable.

A number of Midwest states and cities have issued “stay-at-home” orders, in an attempt to curb the new coronavirus, which continues to rapidly spread.  The orders create restrictions on working, recreation and travel. Still, there are many things you can continue to do, and not all businesses have to close. 

Update: As the case count continues to rise, information on this story is moving quickly and may be out-of-date. We recommend checking the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for ways to stay safe and this John Hopkins tool for the most recent data

We continue to answer your questions about the coronavirus and the disease it causes, COVID-19 -- and there sure are plenty. That's to be expected as the nation convulses from unprecedented lockdowns, quarantines and other interruptions. Here are some questions we received via email, with responses from Side Effects community engagement specialist Brittani Howell:

For the past two weeks, Side Effects and Indiana Public Broadcasting have partnered to answer questions about coronavirus and the disease it causes, COVID-19. Now, to reach a broader audience, we've put together a Spanish version of our coronavirus FAQ.

Feel free to share the information. There's plenty about the virus and how it spreads, who's at risk and how to take precautions. 

How are you dealing with the onslaught of coronavirus news? Are you suffering from loneliness, anxiety or depression? Indiana Public Broadcasting's All IN talk show brought in four experts to address these concerns and provide recommendations for managing stress. 

Coronavirus cases continue to climb throughout the Midwest, and American’s routines have been significantly disrupted amid the pandemic. President Trump invoked a war-time era law to ramp up production of essential supplies, and some experts and government officials are warning this could be the new normal for as long as 18 months. 

Alissa Xiao arrived home from Italy last week. Xiao is a junior at the University of Illinois. Now, she’s spending two weeks quarantined at her parents house in California. Her parents used guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She’s staying in a bedroom in their house alone. 

Cancellations continued to rise across the Midwest, as more states took aim at gyms, theaters, hair salons and other places where people gather. The coronavirus also was interfering with planned elections, including the Ohio presidential primary, which is being rescheduled.

The Kentucky Derby was postponed and many other events in the Midwest were canceled, as officials tried to stem the spread of coronavirus. Indiana and Kentucky saw their first fatalities this week, as the number and severity of coronavirus cases continues to rise in the Midwest. Here's a state-by-state summary of the news:

Illinois

UPDATE: As the case count continues to rise, information on this story is moving quickly and may be out-of-date. We recommend checking the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for ways to stay safe and this John Hopkins tool for the most recent data

Side Effects has received many questions seeking medical information about the new coronavirus and the disease it causes: COVID-19. For answers, we turned to Tom Duszynski, an epidemiologist with the Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health at IUPUI, and Ram Yeleti, Chief Physician Executive with Community Health Network. (This is the second set of questions from the March 11 All IN show from Indiana Public Broadcasting.)

UPDATE: As the case count continues to rise, information on this story is moving quickly and may be out-of-date. We recommend checking the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for ways to stay safe and this John Hopkins tool for the most recent data

As some schools close, workers are told to telecommute and the Indianapolis-based NCAA shuts down tournaments, coronavirus is having a broader impact on our lives. To answer your questions about the changes, we got some help from Tom Duszynski, an epidemiologist with the Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health at IUPUI, and Ram Yeleti, Chief Physician Executive with Community Health Network. They   joined Indiana Public Broadcasting’s All IN on March 11.

How Heart Disease Can Strike Young Mothers

Feb 28, 2020

Most people think of heart disease as something that only happens in old age. That’s not always the case. But younger people may not recognize symptoms of a cardiac emergency because they don’t think it could happen to them.

Communities across the Midwest have been devastated by the opioid epidemic. But there's still a lot of misunderstanding about how opioids affect our bodies. A new and unusual museum exhibit is tackling this issue. 

The federal government recently raised the smoking age to 21 to help curb teen vaping.  Some are applauding the decision as a win for public health. Others worry it was a knee-jerk reaction.

Just a few weeks ago, some Midwest state legislatures were aiming to raise the legal age for smoking. But Congress moved first, setting a new national age limit of 21. Now, some anti-smoking advocates say that’s not enough. 

Why This Free Health Clinic Is Pushing To Expand Medicaid

Jan 8, 2020

On a chilly afternoon, Terry Cox has come to Mountain View, Mo., to see a dentist. He’s waiting on a bench outside a converted rectory.

“Came to get a tooth check and see what they got to do to it," Cox says. "Maybe get ‘em all out.”

The 56-year-old works in northern Arkansas, and drove an hour and a half to the Good Samaritan Care Clinic.

Across the country, nearly 95,000 people are waiting for a kidney transplant. And the list has been growing for years. That's pushed some people to try unusual ways to find donors.

A wide range of healthcare issues drew headlines in 2019, affecting the lives of millions of Americans. Here are some highlights from Side Effects Public Media's coverage across the Midwest:

Vaping. In the second half of the year, this crisis exploded onto America's consciousness. 

Across the United States, Alzheimer's is a growing problem. The number of people with the disease is expected to increase nearly 15 percent over the next eight years. There’s no cure, but some caregivers are using music to help. 

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