ORONO – A few University of Maine professors and students are helping navigate new coronavirus research in efforts to relay the correct information to the public.
With more information about the coronavirus slipping into the public every day, it’s hard to understand what’s factual and what’s just click-bait.
A team from UMaine has been working with Bangor’s Public Health Department to research and provide factual information backed by science.
Melissa Maginnis, an assistant professor of microbiology, said, “there have been a lot of myths that have come out and some of it actually comes from published literature that sometimes gets misinterpreted.”
Maginnis also said their research will help the public be more aware of this murky situation, answering lots a unsure questions that some people think they know the correct answer too.
“Something that we were discussing recently was we should probably give some guidance to people that are going out into grocery stores and pharmacies and things like that, so that they can better understand the way in which they need interact in our new world were we are dealing with COVID-19,” said Maginnis.
With everyone’s intention on learning more about the virus, Kristy Townsend, an associate professor of Neurobiology, said, “I always tell my students “Caveat Emptor,” which means buyer beware when you’re reading the news. There is a big mental health risk right now with everyone being isolated and not having their normal social support system and the news can be overwhelming especially when you don’t understand a virus like this.”
The pandemic has shut down UMaine’s research labs on campus, but a handful of students have volunteered to help any way they can while currently being at their homes due to school cancellation.
“We are biomedical researchers and so really most of us got into this field because we want to help reduce human disease and suffering. In some ways we feel sort of helpless and we want to be able to help and this is a way that we can give back to the community,” said Maginnis.
The university is working on a website for all of the team’s research bulletins.