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UW In The News

  • How Wisconsin’s Covid-19 pandemic became one of the worst in the US

    Vox | October 26, 2020

    “It’s a combination of a lot of things that have occurred at the same time,” Ajay Sethi, an epidemiologist at the University of Wisconsin Madison, told me. “It was a perfect storm.”

  • Wisconsin sees record number of early voters as Covid cases climb in state

    The Guardian | October 26, 2020

    But some experts say it won’t hinder most voters. “This year it looks likely that the majority of votes in Wisconsin could be submitted before election day – that’s a huge change and it’s significant,” said Barry Burden, political science professor at University of Wisconsin – Madison and director of the Elections Research Center.

    Burden attributes the trends to a response to the pandemic, with voters wanting to avoid exposure to Covid-19 while waiting in line to vote, but also to an unprecedented enthusiasm for early voting.

  • Biden stretches lead over Trump in Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania: poll

    The Hill | October 26, 2020

    The latest survey of likely voters in the three former “blue wall” states from the Elections Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison finds Biden nearly doubling his lead in each state compared to last month.

  • New Poll Shows Biden’s Lead Over Trump Grows to 9 Points in Wisconsin, Beyond the Margin of Error

    Newsweek | October 26, 2020

    The survey, which was conducted by YouGov for the University of Wisconsin-Madison from October 13 to 21, shows Biden backed by 53 percent of likely voters, while just 44 percent support the president. Notably, that’s a gain of 3 percentage points for the former vice president and a loss of 2 percentage points for Trump, compared with results from the survey when it was carried out in September.

  • Women who inspire: Culturists breaking through during Covid-19

    NBC News | October 26, 2020

    In the early days of the pandemic, Malia Jones wrote an informative letter about coronavirus to her friends and family, including tips like “wash your hands” and “don’t pick your nose.” The letter went viral, getting over one million views on USA Today and earning her an appearance on “Dr. Phil.” Jones, a social epidemiologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who studies how infectious diseases spread through populations, was suddenly in high demand to explain the science of outbreaks on a level that the general public could understand.

  • From coronavirus to race to the economy, Wisconsin is a microcosm of the forces roiling America

    The Washington Post | October 26, 2020

    “In the more rural parts of Wisconsin, you drive by taverns and other meeting spots and they’re just packed on a Friday night,” said Katherine Cramer, a politics professor at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

  • Pennsylvania poll shows Biden holding solid lead over Trump as Election Day nears

    Philadelphia Inquirer | October 26, 2020

    Biden has support from 52% of likely Pennsylvania voters, compared to 44% for Trump, according to the survey from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

  • Are Asian Americans the Last Undecided Voters?

    The New Yorker | October 26, 2020

    Conversations during the summer were wary, and often explosive. Yang Sao Xiong, a professor of social work and Asian American studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who studies Hmong American political participation, observed that Hmong Americans sometimes have an “uneasy” relationship to the broader category of Asian American. Their higher rates of poverty are often invoked as a “negative test case” to disprove the model-minority myth, he explained, “and that’s the only time they enter into the Asian American conversation.”

  • Voter turnout 2020: How many people voted in 2016, past US elections

    USA Today | October 23, 2020

    But trends changed in the mid-19th century, when the U.S. began to see “astronomical” turnout, said Barry Burden, a political science professor and director of the Elections Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

  • 2020 election: Kenosha shows why last-minute shake-up is unlikely to help Trump

    CNBC | October 23, 2020

    “There are very few people who haven’t already made up their minds,” explained Katherine Cramer, the author of the 2016 book “The Politics of Resentment” and a researcher at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

  • Can Trump Win The Election? Yes. But the Path to 270 Is Difficult.

    The New York Times | October 22, 2020

    Some analysts have suggested he pour resources into Wisconsin, which began in-person early voting on Tuesday. “It’s quite a challenge for him,” said Katherine J. Cramer, a political scientist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “It seems like Biden is really holding his own here.”

  • Stimulus Spending, and Lots of It, Is the Only Way for Next President to Fix the Ailing Economy, Experts Say

    Newsweek | October 20, 2020

    Fenaba Addo Economist, Associate ProfessorUniversity of Wisconsin-Madison

    The next president should extend and expand help for the 43 million current and former college and graduate students who collectively are on the hook for more than $1.7 trillion in higher education debt, says Addo.

  • Voting violence feared as Trump calls for poll watchers, often illegal

    USA Today | October 20, 2020

    Intimidation at polling places by armed groups has the potential to be a serious problem in places like the Midwest, said Kenneth Mayer, a political science professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. A private security firm has been recruiting former special operations troops to patrol polling sites on election day in Minnesota, the Washington Post has reported. Though the law varies by state, any poll watchers typically have to be certified in advance or it is illegal.

  • Heat, strong winds heighten California wildfire danger

    The Washington Post | October 19, 2020

    “Transmission lines transport a large amount of power, and if several such lines are turned off you can really start to see large-scale power shut-offs,” said Line Roald, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

  • Doctor On Wisconsin Hospital Preparation Amid Coronavirus Surge

    NPR | October 19, 2020

    NPR’s Ailsa Chang talks with Nasia Safdar, medical director of infection control and protection at the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics, about a spike in coronavirus cases in Wisconsin.

  • 4 key battleground states reporting record-high coronavirus cases weeks from Election Day –

    ABC News | October 19, 2020

    Ajay K. Sethi, an associate professor in population health sciences at the University of Wisconsin, told ABC News that the state has put in place strict restrictions to make sure voters are safe.

    “Since previous COVID cases were tied to polling locations during the April spring election, there certainly is awareness and concern for additional spread of the virus on Election Day,” said Sethi. “Election officials are preparing to operate polling places safely, and a record number of Wisconsinites have voted already, so I am hopeful that Election Day will not add more fuel to the fire.”

  • Disney Adds Warnings for Racist Stereotypes to Some Older Films

    The New York Times | October 19, 2020

    Hemant Shah, a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who studies portrayals of race and ethnicity in film and media, said that if white children consumed content with racist portrayals that went unchecked, it could “normalize the stereotype” for them and make it “normal for them not to call out stereotypes or racist behaviors they see in their lives.”

  • Why New Dads Struggle With Depression – Male Postpartum Depression

    Men's Health | October 16, 2020

    There have been some appeals by experts over the years to take paternal PPD seriously, but those calls have been largely ignored. In January, three leading researchers, Tova Walsh, Ph.D., Neal Davis, M.D., and Craig Garfield, M.D., published a piece in Pediatrics—the influential journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics—urging pediatricians to screen for paternal PPD, just as they do for maternal postpartum depression. “It is now critical to recognize paternal depression as a community of pediatric providers and ensure consistent screening, referral, and follow-up,” they wrote.

  • Covid-19 Cases Are Rising in More Than 40 States

    WSJ | October 15, 2020

    “This just makes me feel that the winter will be more ominous. I don’t think it’s going to go down. It could, we have the time for it to go down,” said Ajay Sethi, an associate professor of population health sciences at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. “But you really need to have a sudden and complete change in behavior across the state, and it’s hard to believe it will occur.”

  • Wisconsin Judge Temporarily Blocks State Order on Taverns as New Covid-19 Cases Hit Record

    WSJ | October 15, 2020

    Howard Schweber, a political-science professor at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, said the conflicts in all three states reflect the intense partisan divide, with Democratic governors and one or both houses of the legislative branch controlled by Republicans.

    “What we have is just a sort of state-level version of what is sometimes called constitutional hardball,” he said. “Parties pushing the rules of the game and their interests to the extreme that the system will allow, which would be unfortunate if we were talking about, say, fiscal policy, but in the case of a genuine public-health crisis, is truly disastrous.”

  • Voter turnout: Will sports stadiums as voting sites boost the vote?

    Slate | October 15, 2020

    “I think it’s a combination of widespread national interest in racial justice and the pandemic happening simultaneously [driving engagement]—and the fact that these arenas aren’t actually being used for sports [that] makes them available,” said Barry Burden, a political science professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and founding director of its Elections Research Center. “So it’s sort of a perfect storm of all these things coming together that’s made it sort of a natural extension for teams to make.”

  • Trump and Biden in competing town halls with president facing uphill battle

    The Japan Times | October 15, 2020

    David Canon, chair of the political science department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, agreed.But he said Trump may have committed a “tactical error” by backing out of a virtual debate with Biden.“He needed the debates more than Biden did,” Canon said. “He’s the one that needs to change the momentum in the election.”

  • Wild Predators Are Relying More on Our Food

    WIRED | October 14, 2020

    A new study from researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of New Mexico used hair, fur, and bone samples to identify the diets of seven carnivore species across the Upper Midwest, from the outskirts of Albany, New York, to remote Minnesota forestland. The scientists used chemical tracers to show that the animals were relying on human food sources either directly, such as by raiding fields or trash bins, or indirectly by preying on smaller animals that do, such as mice, rabbits, or sometimes even pets.

  • How coronavirus’s genetic code can help control outbreaks

    Washington Post | October 13, 2020

    “It’s still kind of like a volunteer fire department,” said Tom Friedrich, a virologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a member of the consortium. “Labs that already have the interest and capacity are sequencing, but that leaves other places lacking in coverage.”

    Some of the biggest gaps are in places where outbreaks are most out of control, noted Friedrich’s University of Wisconsin colleague Dave O’Connor. “It is sort of like a street only being illuminated where there happen to be streetlights,” he said. “You can’t know anything about the areas that are dark.”

  • How To Trick-Or-Treat Safely During A Pandemic, According To An Epidemiologist

    Wisconsin Public Radio | October 13, 2020

    But that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate Halloween safely this year. University of Wisconsin-Madison Epidemiologist Malia Jones answers your questions — and offers some creative alternatives to enjoying the spooky season.

  • Spinoza: A Heretical and Modern Mind

    WSJ | October 12, 2020

    The standard biography of the man is the fascinating “Spinoza: A Life,” by Steven Nadler, a philosophy professor at the University of Wisconsin. A revised edition of this much-admired book has recently appeared.

  • Enrollment drops worry public schools as pandemic persists

    AP | October 12, 2020

    More affluent families may have chosen private schools or homeschooling because they did not like the pre-packaged curricula that many public school systems are using for online learning, and they are unlikely to return to public schools any time soon, University of Wisconsin education professor Michael Apple said.

  • Is It Possible to Party Safely at Dance Events During the Coronavirus Pandemic?

    Billboard | October 9, 2020

    According to Dr. Ajay K. Sethi, associate professor of population health sciences at the University of Wisconsin, the testing protocol at In My Elements was solid, though not entirely fail-safe. “Multiple rounds are better than a one-time test at the time of admission,” Sethi says. “The PCR test result indicates that virus was not detected on the day that testing was performed. If someone was exposed and infected the day before PCR testing, then the test may miss detection of the virus.”

  • Rubella virus: Wisconsin, German researchers discover 2 new relatives

    USA Today | October 9, 2020

    A team of researchers, including two from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has solved a long-running biological mystery, reporting the discovery of the first two viral relatives of rubella, also known as German Measles.

  • Rejected mail in ballots projected to be major factor in 2020 election

    USA Today | October 9, 2020

    “I think any rejected ballot is a travesty. We don’t want any legitimate voter to have their ballot go uncounted because of an administrative mishap, a missing signature, a slow mail delivery,” said Barry Burden, a political science professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who analyzed Wisconsin absentee data.

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