Earlham professors Peter Blair and Lindsey McGee are available to talk with members of the media about the international spread of COVID-19/coronavirus and lockdown efforts to slow its spread.
“I do not fault anybody for making decisions to try to make people safe,” McGee, an assistant professor of biology said during a colloquium offered to students. (link to video clip below)
“What may seem alarmist now might end up being the right call later, but only time will tell,” she says. “This current virus is very mild. It does not cause severe disease in most people. And so our ability to detect this virus, based on symptoms, is very underestimated. There are probably a lot more cases than we actually see, which would raise some concern, but could also alleviate others.”
McGee is interested in host range expansion of virus populations. She contributes to the core courses in the Biology Department, as well as upper-level Biology courses focusing on cellular and molecular biology in the context of ecological and evolutionary mechanisms.
Blair, a Professor of Biology and Director of Earlham’s Center for Global Health, is a molecular parasitologist with areas of focus in malaria biology and genomics. His current research with undergraduates involves coupling bioinformatics and molecular biology techniques to understand the biology of the malaria parasite.
“The number of cases of COVID-19 cases in the United States will undoubtedly increase, and probably spike,” Blair said. “To decrease the more serious outcomes of disease, we can all adjust our individual behaviors and travel to be ever mindful of the most at-risks groups, those that are immunosuppressed and/or of certain age. This includes allowing those with the greatest need access and prioritization to virus testing facilities and quality health care.
“The current pandemic represents a new virus that although we can draw comparisons to other coronaviruses, like SARS, we have much to learn about COVID-19,” he said. “That learning takes time and due diligence. That due diligence will ultimately lead to therapeutics and vaccines. Until then, social distancing, hand washing, and prioritizing health access to those most in need, should become the norm.”
Interviews with these professors can be scheduled by calling Brian Zimmerman, Earlham’s director of media relations at (765) 983-1256. Zimmerman can be reached via e-mail at [email protected].