Fall 2020

Making headlines


Doing better for Black babies

Today in the United States, Black newborns die at three times the rate of white babies in the hospital after birth.

But when Black babies get care from Black doctors, their mortality rate is reduced by half, according to a study coauthored by U of M School of Public Health researcher Rachel Hardeman, Ph.D., M.P.H.

Hardeman, who holds the inaugural Blue Cross Endowed Professorship in Health and Racial Equity, told USA Today that the “incredibly concerning” disparities are not due to biological differences but instead likely the effects of structural racism.

Optimism about immunity 

Recent studies suggest a longer-than expected period of immune protection from COVID-19 for those who have already been infected, even those who had mild symptoms. 

Scientists believe that immune protection could last for months. U of M Medical School immunologist and Howard Hughes Medical Institute Scholar David Masopust, Ph.D., told CNN in August that he’s encouraged by the studies but acknowledged that only time will bear the truth. 

“That’s a real-world experiment that will unfortunately be done by the people [who] come into contact with the coronavirus.”

Fighting COVID with fitness 

Get 150 to 300 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise a week to reduce risks of severe complications of COVID-19. Those are the new guidelines from the American College of Sports Medicine, led by U of M Medical School professor William Roberts, M.D., M.S. 

“If you can only get in 30 minutes a week or 60 minutes, it’s better than none,” Roberts told the Star Tribune in August. “The biggest thing ... is to get off the couch.” 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention list obesity as one of eight conditions that raise a person’s risk of severe illness from COVID-19.