COVID Questions: Superspreaders, Herd Immunity

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Note: UW-Madison will be publishing answers to questions about COVID-19 and the pandemic each week in a COVID questions column. If you have a question, please email it to This post was originally published …

Vector Inspector

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As the brutal Northern winter melts away and Wisconsinites are freed from their homes to hike the timberland forests, Dr. Lyric Bartholomay can be found spending her spring and summer a bit differently than most. As a medical entomologist at the University of Wisconsin, she spends warmer months tracking, recording, and studying the mosquitoes and ticks that cross our paths during time spent outdoors. Mosquitoes and ticks are more than just skeevy nuisances. They can carry and transmit to humans a variety of bacteria and viruses. Knowing which vector species are present, how prevalent they are, and which bacteria and viruses they are carrying is paramount to informing the public of their risk for mosquito and tickborne illnesses.
Mainstaiing a bit social distance due to COVID-19, researchers David O'Connor, left, and Tom Friedrich are pictured in a lab at the AIDS Vaccine Research Laboratory (AVRL) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on March 18, 2020. O'Connor is UW Medical Foundation Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine in the School of Medicine and Public Health. Friedrich is professor of pathobiological sciences in the School of Veterinary Medicine. Both are experts on the evolution and emergence of HIV (AIDS), SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19), influenza, Zika and other viruses. (Photo by Jeff Miller / UW-Madison)

UW–Madison Researches Coronavirus Transmission

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Preliminary data from a UW–Madison research team suggests that travel restrictions and social distancing guidelines are working in Wisconsin. That was just one of the insights on COVID-19 from UW–Madison expert Thomas Friedrich, professor of …