It may feel like COVID-19 already has been with us for a long time, but Wilkes alumni Ruth McDermott-Levy ’82 and Chris Wolverton ’82 have a different perspective. The two health experts say this is a new disease and it’s still evolving.
That was one of the messages that the two alumni experts shared in a Wilkes Wednesday Webinar that examined the virology and public health implications of the novel coronavirus and COVID-19, the disease that it causes.
The two shared their expertise about virology and public health implications of COVID-19 in the webinar. McDermott-Levy is a nurse and associate professor and director for the Center for Global and Public Health at Villanova University. Wolverton is a professor of environmental health sciences in the College of Public Health at Kent State University. The pair traced the evolution of the pandemic and provided an easy-to-understand explanation of how a virus spreads among the population.
Wolverton shared a graphic of the now-familiar drawing of the coronavirus with its spikey arms and explained how the spikes allow it to infect a host by attaching to lipid proteins. He also summarized how anti-viral medicine, vaccines and disinfecting agents, such as detergents and disinfectants, act on the virus.
McDermott-Levy shared the perspective that she and other public health experts have been seeing a public health crisis unfold in real time. Public health, McDermott-Levy explains, brings together experts in many disciplines to examine the impact of disease on the population from many perspectives. Those disciplines include health care, epidemiologists, social workers and more.
Among the things that the two alumni have observed in the current crisis:
- It is too soon for experts to know whether this virus will evolve to a more benign form as some previous outbreaks have done, such as the H1N1 strains.
- COVID-19 has highlighted the economic and environmental disparities in our society, impacting the poor far more than it has people in higher socioeconomic groups.
The recording of the presentation can be accessed on Wilkes University’s YouTube site, or by clicking here.