Our most-read stories of 2020

| Deirdre Lockwood
Three people with face masks on stand in front of a fence with houses in background. Person in middle holds a clipboard and pen, person on right gives a peace sign and is wearing a t-shirt that reads "SERVE LOCAL."

Community organizers go door to door in South Park to share information about free COVID-19 testing and environmental health. Photo: Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition.

From COVID-19 to wildfire smoke: counting down our top stories from Health & Safety Matters, the DEOHS blog

In a year like no other, DEOHS faculty, students and staff quickly pivoted to tackle new threats posed by the pandemic. We contributed to Washington state's COVID-19 response, showed the effectiveness of self-sampling for the virus and assessed impacts on essential workers—not to mention our furry friends. We also continued investigating the health effects of wildfire smoke, particularly on agricultural workers. Thanks for reading, and for everything you've done to keep yourself and others safe this year.

A woman in a white shirt talks with another woman in a blue shirt while standing in front of desks with computers.

10. An inside look at Washington's pandemic response

2020 master’s grad Kaitlyn Kelly stepped up to serve on the state’s COVID-19 response team.



Marissa working in a cafeteria taking food safety notes

9. Saving lives and the planet

Researching the health benefits of solar panels created new opportunities for MPH student Marissa VanRy.



3 people wearing face masks stand next to weather monitoring equipment inside a chain-link fence.

8. Heat, fire, smoke and health in Washington's ag industry

DEOHS researchers investigated the combined health effects of wildfire smoke and heat on Washington’s agricultural workforce and tested strategies to protect workers and crops.



A group of travelers with suitcases stand in line at an airport near a sign about the novel coronavirus

7. Are travel bans effective?

Travel bans may only delay the spread of disease, according to a report from Assistant Professor Nicole Errett and colleagues.



A mannequin on an operating table with a black air monitoring sensor on its chest.

6. Can the coronavirus spread in hospital air?

Using state-of-the-art sensors, DEOHS researchers teamed up with UW colleagues to track aerosols in a hospital environment.



A man in a face mask and protective gear uses a spray wand to spray disinfectant inside a bus.

5. When telecommuting isn't an option

“The most important thing workers and employers can do is stay home when they are sick to protect themselves and others,” said Dr. Debra Cherry, DEOHS adjunct associate professor and residency director of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.



A woman in a bike helmet looks out over a lake toward wildfire smoke in the distance

4. The odds of death from wildfire smoke

DEOHS researchers found an increase in mortality risk on the day after a wildfire smoke event for everyone, regardless of underlying health conditions.



A woman purses her mouth while touching the neck of a husky dog standing on a harbor wall.

3. Can pets get COVID-19?

Center for One Health Research scientists launched a new pilot study of people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and their pets.



Person with arm tattoos preparing burgers behind the counter at a restaurant.

2. Most people can't work from home

About 75% of US workers are in jobs that can’t be done remotely during the pandemic, DEOHS Assistant Professor Marissa Baker found.



A man in a face mask and protective gear holds a tube and cotton swab near the driver's side window of a car.

1. Clearing the path for COVID-19 self-sampling

Patients can collect their own nasal swab samples just as accurately as clinicians to protect health care workers and preserve PPE, according to a new study from DEOHS Professor Gerard Cangelosi and partners.


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