Elena Conis is a historian of U.S. public health and medicine, with a special focus on the history of infectious disease, environmental health, and vaccines.
Science + Health
What would have happened if large-scale policies like shelter-in-place orders, travel restrictions, and business closures were not implemented early in the COVID-19 pandemic?
Regarding the pandemic, here’s more bad news: One of the lowest-paying specialties in medicine is infectious diseases.
From the beginning, it was an ambitious idea. Computer automation would remove the taint of human emotion or prejudice from everyday life. Algorithms—the series of instructions that tell computers what to do—would make important decisions about everything from hiring to health care.
The reality, as Ziad Obermeyer discovered, is not quite that simple.
Posted on August 12, 2020 - 12:27pm
Look up! While you were stirring up a tweetstorm on your phone, real (non)human drama was unfolding among the original tweeters—that’s right, the birds. Cooper’s hawks are in hot pursuit of pigeons through the Berkeley canopy. A consortium of bushtits gather on the sidewalk, and a black phoebe lands pensively on your fence post.
Posted on July 16, 2020 - 9:48am
IT ALL STARTED WITH A MYSTERIOUS ILLNESS.
“The future will not, in crucial ways, be anything like the past, even the very recent past of a month or two ago,” the author Rebecca Solnit, M.A. ’84, wrote of the pandemic in the Guardian in early April. In a crisis, Solnit wrote, “Our focus shifts, and what matters shifts. What is weak breaks under new pressure, what is strong holds, and what was hidden emerges.”
ONE AUGUST AFTERNOON IN 2010, Michael Mann was opening mail in his office at Penn State University when a dusting of white powder emerged from an envelope. At first he thought it was his imagination. “I figured maybe it’s just an old dingy envelope or something,” Mann recalled. His next thought: anthrax.
Researchers Investigate How to Decontaminate Masks for Reuse
As the death toll for COVID-19 crosses 100,000 people in the United States—the highest number of any country in the world—African Americans continue to be disproportionately impacted by the virus. Nationally, African Americans are nearly twice as likely to die from COVID-19 as would be expected based on their share of the population according to an NPR analysis.
Posted on June 2, 2020 - 4:26pm
EVEN BEFORE the novel coronavirus struck, an urgent race was on to get migrants out of America’s overcrowded detention centers, where they were already at risk of abuse, malnutrition, a lack of medical resources, and insufficient access to legal services.
Posted on April 30, 2020 - 2:51pm
Restaurateur and food activist Alice Waters is holed up in her Berkeley home amidst shelter-in-place orders, but she is hopeful about the future. Waters discovered her passion for the culinary arts in the late 60s when she left UC Berkeley to study abroad in France.
Posted on April 30, 2020 - 2:37pm
Michael Tubbs, the 29-year-old mayor of Stockton, has the kind of life that, if you squint, could convince you the American dream is alive and well. He grew up in Stockton, the son of a single mother and an incarcerated father. He spent his lunch money buying SAT prep books, studying hungry. He eventually attended Stanford and interned at the White House. In 2016, he became the city’s first black mayor.
Posted on April 30, 2020 - 10:06am
There aren’t enough tests. That’s the problem now on many of our minds.
The idea for the testing facility was born just two weeks ago, when a virologist in Jennifer Doudna’s lab saw her own projects put on hold.
Posted on April 3, 2020 - 5:14pm
On Wednesday, March 25, Michael Lu, Dean of the UC Berkeley School of Public Health, hosted a virtual Q&A, “Coronavirus: Facts and Fears,” open to the public. For 90 minutes, experts from the school and other campus health services responded to listeners’ day-to-day fears and practical concerns about navigating life during the pandemic.
Posted on March 27, 2020 - 10:35am