UCI News

The New York Times, May 4, 2020
The Pandemic May Mean the End of the Open-Floor Office
Taller plastic barriers that extend over desks have long been in use at an office run by one of the country’s top infectious disease experts, Dr. Susan Huang, medical director of epidemiology and infection prevention at the University of California, Irvine. The barriers “weren’t designed for coronavirus,” Dr. Huang said, but, rather, to maintain a sense of collaboration while cutting down noise. Now, the barriers may have an added benefit of creating some biological isolation. But Dr. Huang said that safety in the workplace would require more than plastic shields. [Subscription required, campus-wide access provided by UCI Libraries. Sign-up here: AccessNYT.com]

Orange County Business Journal, May 4, 2020
UCI’s COVID-19 Task Force Makes Strides
When Bernadette Boden-Albala took a job at the University of California, Irvine last July to head the start of a new public health school, she didn’t expect that her job duties would entail local management of a global pandemic.. Still, she was up for the challenge, joining a task force organized by Chancellor Howard Gillman in January to help educate and support the school’s some 37,600 students, and work with the Orange County Health Care Agency (OCHCA) in its efforts of tracking and analyzing the looming spread of COVID-19 in Orange County. [Subscription required, you can request an electronic copy of the article by sending an email to communications@uci.edu.]

Orange County Register, May 3, 2020
Why is Orange County’s coronavirus death rate lower than its neighbors’?
“Some counties do well and some counties do poor,” said Andrew Noymer, an epidemiologist and associate professor of public health at UC Irvine and part of an informal task force on COVID-19 in Orange County that includes academic researchers and county officials. “Right now, we’re in the first group, and it’s not exactly clear why.” … “Some differences could come about simply by chance,” said Dominik Wodarz, another UCI researcher in public health who studies the dynamics of infectious disease and has been tracking the curve of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Orange County with UCI math professor Natalia Komarova. [Subscription required, you can request an electronic copy of the article by sending an email to communications@uci.edu.]

India West, May 1, 2020
UCI Health Clinician Alpesh Amin Launches Clinical Trial to Test Remdesivir
UC-Irvine Health clinicians Dr. Alpesh N. Amin and Lanny Hsieh have launched a clinical trial to test the efficacy of the antiviral drug remdesivir as a potential therapy for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus that has reached pandemic levels across the globe. … “There is currently no safe, effective treatment for COVID-19,” Amin, chair of the Department of Medicine, UCI School of Medicine and executive director, UCI Health Hospitalist Program, said in a UCI press release. “While remdesivir has shown some promise, we need solid clinical data that indicates it improves outcomes for infected patients,” the Indian American researcher added.

Wired, May 3, 2020
Zoom Not Cutting It for You? Try Exploring a Virtual World
I recently took a trip to Anteater Island in Second Life, where UC Irvine professor Tom Boellstorff is teaching his Digital Cultures class this semester. Boellstorff, an anthropologist, has studied Second Life nearly since its inception in 2003, but this is the first time he’s teaching class using the program. … Being in the same virtual space “does seem to have supported interactions that would not have happened if only using Zoom or a similar conference call program,” he says.

Previously “In the News”