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Collision of two public health crises

Author: Paddy Ssentongo

Article Topics: Pennsylvania, gun violence, public health The big picture Pennsylvania saw a 38% increase in the rate of gun violence during the first year of the COVID-19 Pandemic compared to the pre-pandemic period. This rate was higher than that of the national average — the rate increased by 30% in the entire United States (US). This observation is based on the recent peer-reviewed study that enabled us to assess the rates of gun violence before the COVID-19 pandemic and compare them with the rates during the first year of the pandemic. For example, March 2020 was Philadelphia's worst March for gun violence in 5 years. Although the factors…

Food Access and Insecurity During COVID-19

Author: Amit Sharma, Ph.D. , Kimberly Impellitteri

Article Topics: food insecurity, foodservice, hunger, Pennsylvania Overview The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted our lives in ways beyond what we could have imagined. The disruption of essential elements of life, such as food, water, money, and housing, has been devastating to families and communities, particularly those most vulnerable. While some of the impact on the unavailability of food, for instance, has been due to the pandemic, the inequalities that preexisted the crisis have persisted. Consequently, not everyone has been impacted equally by the inaccessibility of food; yet those who never imagined they would be impacted have found themselves food…

Policing Pain and Social Distancing During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Author: Sandra Trappen, Ph.D.

Article Topics: substance use, policing, criminal justice system, Pennsylvania, qualitative research Opioid-related drug overdose is a leading cause of death and injury in the United States. Both prescription as well as illicit opioids continue to play a major role in the growing opioid epidemic. When we consider individuals who use opioids, some of the social factors described in this post may double as risk factors for infectious disease transmission, including COVID-19. Early studies of Middle East Respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-COV) that emerged in 2012 documented that transmissions and outbreaks have been correlated with healthcare settings. Recently, experts have called…

The Impact of COVID-19 on Child Care Facilities in Pennsylvania

Author: Philip Sirinides, Ph.D.

Article Topics: child care, Pennsylvania, mixed-methods, children The operational and financial impacts of COVID-19 on Pennsylvania child care providers and staff have been significant. Most child care programs closed, at least temporarily, in the initial weeks of the pandemic, eliminating income even while costs continued to accrue. Statewide, 86% of providers reported closing at some point, although the true rate of closure could be as high as 93% due to the unknown status of unresponsive providers. Throughout the closure, nearly all providers did not charge tuition, which had substantial financial impacts. Many child care providers need to make payments…

Moral Emotions During COVID-19

Author: Daryl Cameron, Ph.D. , Eliana Hadjiandreou, B.A. , Stephen Anderson, M.A. , Julian A. Scheffer, M.A.

Article Topics: psychology, Pennsylvania, moral emotions As the COVID-19 pandemic is currently surging across the United States, and worldwide, individuals and institutions are debating what can and should be done to protect public health. When it comes to how we navigate this complex landscape, what is the role of how we feel, and how we choose to manage our feelings? At the current moment, with cases increasing in the state of Pennsylvania, how can we use our moral emotions productively? In this blog post, we discuss how people choose to have empathy and moralize mask-wearing in the context of COVID-19. The Role of Moral Emotion Regulation To…

Economic Recovery in the Face of COVID-19

Author: Göktuğ Morçöl, Ph.D.

Article Topics: economy, Pennsylvania, rural, urban Introduction The COVID-19 pandemic has affected Pennsylvania’s economy in a way that has no comparison in recent history. The state’s and the nation’s economies are in the worst recession since the Great Depression of 1929 and its effects are likely to be felt for a long time. As of the writing of this post (late June 2020), after months-long mitigation efforts, Pennsylvania’s counties have begun reopening their economies. Now, a key question is, which counties are more likely to recover from the COVID-19 recession in a robust manner? It is not easy to answer this question, because the…

Exploring the Impacts of COVID-19 Pandemic on Supply Chain Mobility

Author: Steve Tracey, MBA , Susan Purdum, MBA , Kusumal Ruamsook

Article Topics: Pennsylvania, supply chain, employment By Steve Tracey, Susan Purdum, and Kusumal Ruamsook. The Center for Supply Chain ResearchÒ, Smeal College of Business The COVID-19 pandemic and government efforts to contain the spread of the virus through travel restrictions, social distancing, and shelter-in-place orders have widespread influence on business operations and personal activities. During this time of crisis, supply chains are at the forefront not only in business and government planning, but also in the minds of consumers. The COVID-19 pandemic spotlight is in play across supply chain enterprises, but it has shone…

Covid-19 And Improvements In Air Quality

Author: Jon M. Nese, Ph.D.

Article Topics: weather, Pennsylvania The price of a gallon of gasoline has declined noticeably over the last few months in concert with a decline in travel during the COVID-19 pandemic and a concurrent decrease in the demand for fuel. With less fuel being burned, the atmosphere has responded with significant short-term improvements in air quality. In this video, which first aired on April 29, 2020 as part of Penn State's long-running weather magazine show Weather World, (seen weekdays on WPSU-TV and the Pennsylvania Cable Network), we explore some of these changes in air quality using both satellite and ground-based…

Knowledge, perceptions, and preferred information sources related to COVID-19

Author: Robert P. Lennon, M.D., JD , Lauren Jodi Van Scoy, M.D. , Erin L. Miller , Bethany Snyder, MPH

Article Topics: survey research, Pennsylvania, mixed-methods, public knowledge Until there is a vaccine or a cure, information is the most powerful weapon to fight a pandemic infection. Effective communication is therefore recognized as a critical element of successfully managing a pandemic response – for the disease spread to be contained, the public must comply with public health recommendations. The first step in compliance is an understanding of those recommendations, so it is important to understand public knowledge about them. Assessing public pandemic knowledge in real time early in a pandemic has seldom been done – virtually all prior pandemic messaging studies…

Managing Uncertainty while Serving the Community

Author: Ashley Stauffer, M.S., PMP

Article Topics: community, homelessness, human services, non-profit, prevention, civic-engagement, Centre County, Pennsylvania Currently, there over 1.7 million total unemployment compensation claims in Pennsylvania, an over 1000% increase in claims since early March, and only second to California. Considering that Pennsylvania is leading the nation in unemployment claims, and other states perhaps soon to follow, a sense of unease about the future settles in. The long-term economic and social impacts of the coronavirus pandemic have yet to be revealed. The statewide “pause” of non-life-sustaining businesses enacted as a necessary prevention and mitigation measure will impact us all. How we live through and…

Educational Implications of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Students with Disabilities in Pennsylvania

Author: Adrienne D. Woods, Ph.D. , Paul L. Morgan, Ph.D. , Yangyang Wang, M.A.

Article Topics: special education, Pennsylvania, children The COVID-19 pandemic is impacting special education service delivery in Pennsylvania and beyond. However, there are steps parents, educators, schools, and policymakers can take to help mitigate the impact. How is the COVID-19 pandemic affecting special education service delivery? Pennsylvania is among the 32 states, 3 U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia to have closed its schools for the rest of the 2019-2020 academic year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In Pennsylvania alone, these closures have impacted over 3,000 public schools and affected more than 1.7 million students. This…

Food insecurity in Pennsylvania during the COVID-19 pandemic

Author: Muzi Na, Ph.D. , Emily Hohman, Ph.D. , Jennifer Savage Williams, Ph.D.

Article Topics: food insecurity, hunger, income, Pennsylvania The COVID-19 outbreak has had a detrimental impact to Pennsylvania’s economy. Governor Tom Wolf announced the state shutdown on Mar 19, 2020. In the week ending March 21, 2020, the weekly number of unemployment filings in Pennsylvania reached a record-high of 380,0001 . After a 5-week stay at home order, the state’s total of jobless has surged to over 1.6 million or 24.7% of the workforce2 . The halt of business likely has the biggest impact on less educated, lower-income, and minority workers. For example, pandemic related job loss is disproportionately higher among the low-income…

COVID-19: Implications and Opportunities for Substance Use Disorder

Author: Glenn Sterner, Ph.D.

Article Topics: substance use disorder, treatment, prevention, Pennsylvania As we learn about the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on our society it is clear that they are often felt most deeply in disadvantaged and marginalized communities. This public health crisis has exposed the systemic weaknesses that serve these populations, illuminating clear directions for addressing them now, and highlighting the need to rethink our future strategies, policies, and services. Especially vulnerable during this crisis are those affected by substance use disorder (SUD). In the face of the demands on our health care system and policies that protect against virus spread, it is…

Impacts of the Coronavirus Pandemic on the Criminal Justice System

Author: Gary Zajac, Ph.D. , Derek Kreager, Ph.D. , Glenn Sterner, Ph.D.

Article Topics: criminal justice system, policing, courts, corrections, Pennsylvania The global Coronavirus pandemic of 2020 has had an unprecedented impact on the operations of national, state and local governments across all domains of public policy. In this post, we focus on the impacts to the criminal justice system (CJS) as of early April. Because this situation is evolving rapidly, the information presented here may change daily. Although we focus on impacts within Pennsylvania, it is likely that at least some of the impacts discussed are generalizable to the CJS nationally, and perhaps even internationally. We examine system impacts resulting directly from efforts to…

Delaying treatment initiation for cancer patients: Implications for the COVID-19 pandemic

Author: Nicholas G. Zaorsky, M.D. MS , Ming Wang, M.S. Ph.D. , Vonn Walter, Ph.D. , Niraj J. Gusani, M.D. FACS , Daniel E. Spratt, M.D. , Alok Khorana, M.D. , Christopher S. Hollenbeak, Ph.D.

Article Topics: cancer care, treatment, Pennsylvania The emergence of COVID-19 has required a re-prioritization of healthcare resources in many dimensions. Cancer is a leading cause of death in the developed world, and cancer patients have been particularly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Early studies from Wuhan suggest that patients with cancer are at greater risk of acquiring coronavirus and also death from subsequent COVID-19 infections1 2 . Clinicians have therefore tried to minimize risk of infection among newly diagnosed cancer patients by delaying time until treatment for certain patients, or by modifying treatment standards for…