Category: Health

The Legacy of COVID-19

Claire D., journalist

The COVID-19 pandemic has dragged on for nearly a year now, and as we quickly approach the mid-March marker, the world seems to be holding its breath, waiting to see when life can return to the normal we once knew. Unfortunately, with the U.S. reaching over 500,000 lives lost to COVID-19, we will have to find a new normal to abide by, one with smiles missing from our dinner tables. Herd immunity through vaccination is an ongoing, long process, from actually creating the vaccine to then transporting it, and to then getting it into people’s arms, and is not expected to be achieved until the fall of this year. As a nation, it is time to recognize that coronavirus will not simply go away as we had once hoped but will remain part of this world even after the majority of the U.S. has been vaccinated. 

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How Friendships Have Changed During the Pandemic

Paige P., journalist

It has become clear by now that many aspects of life have changed pre-pandemic to the present. With lockdowns, social restrictions, and the rush of everyday life, many people have found it more challenging to maintain or make new friendships in the traditional sense. Now that much more socializing is done through the internet, many people realize differences in opinions, often political, amongst their friends, colleagues, and family. This has made people really think about the people in their lives they want to spend time and energy on. Throughout the pandemic, there has been plenty of time for self-reflection and contemplation on the people you choose to surround yourself with- do they build you up or tear you down? How do they make you feel about yourself? The answer to these questions should point you in the direction of your true friends.

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The Toddlers & Tablets Epidemic

Giuliana C., US News Department Co-Editor

Gen Alpha. The first generation to be born into a completely digitized world in which they are handed an iPad immediately after they emerge from the womb. They bring the devices to the grocery store, restaurants, and even the dinner table, glued to the screen and unable to look away as if the thousands of pixels set them into a deep hypnotic state. But this excess time spent attached to a screen comes with a price and even some side effects we aren’t fully aware of yet.

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A Murky Future: COVID-19’s Effects on College Admissions and Post-Secondary Plans

Nastia G., Arts Department Co-Editor

As college decision season rolls around, the full effects of the coronavirus on the college admissions process are becoming brazenly clear. Along with claiming the lives of over 500,000 U.S. residents alone, COVID-19 also affects the futures of over 20 million teenagers (ages 15-19) across the country. Graduation and what used to be prom season is just around the corner, and many communities are acknowledging the unfortunate cancellations of these in-person high school events with sympathy. Some schools are even working on creative ways to allow these cherished teenage milestones to persist even under stringent safety protocols. There is no doubt about it- high school juniors and seniors are not having the high school experience they waited for, and it is unfair. But the sad truth is that not even a magical prom or in-person graduation ceremony will amend the anger and disappointment high schoolers nationwide feel. The real brunt of coronavirus on teenagers is not that it forces high school experiences to look different but that it seriously impacts life beyond graduation and makes the future even murkier.

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Effects of Probiotics, Prebiotics, and Synbiotics

Diane K., journalist

 It is estimated that people have trillions of microbes externally and internally. Though it might not seem so, these microbes are a very essential part of everyone’s health. Good microorganisms such as probiotics, prebiotics, and synbiotics can confer many health benefits, making it a popular topic among many. Research has shown that foods containing probiotics, prebiotics, and synbiotics are beneficial to health in several ways.

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Cabin Fever: What it is, and How You Can Avoid It

Beatrice L., Journalist

As millions of Americans stay at home because of the Covid-19 pandemic, you might have noticed that you’ve developed feelings of isolation, whether the longing for interaction, feeling bored or unmotivated, or even feeling yourself losing touch with reality. What you might not realize is that these feelings have a name. What you’re experiencing is an age-old phenomenon known as cabin fever.  

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Covid Vaccine

Ben K., journalist

A new vaccine for the virus sweeping the country, COVID-19, is in place and may be distributed through pharmacies and grocery stores alike. For many months now, COVID has been affecting everyone in some way, no matter who you are or what country you live in. According to the Associated Press, Moderna, an American biotechnology company, has released news that the tests have yielded very good news, despite the current state of the virus now, and how the future would look very grim without the vaccine. The vaccine has appeared to be 94.5% effective, which is a huge step in dealing with the virus and will be very effective if distributed soon. Many companies are in a race for the vaccine, but only a few have been very successful. While Americans brace heavily for the next possible wave of COVID coming to us all, there is a light at the end of a tunnel for us all.

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Important Updates on the Coronavirus Vaccine

Claire Douglas, journalist

COVID-19 was officially recognized as a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) on Mar. 11, 2020, and America is currently still battling for control as cases continue to rise. The month of November, however, has taken a turn for the better with newly released advancements regarding a Pfizer coronavirus vaccine. In collaboration with Operation Warp Speed (OWS), a Pfizer vaccine is expected to begin distribution by mid-December, assuming that their vaccine gains FDA approval, and OWS is expecting widespread vaccination in America to be completed by spring of 2021. 

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Identity, Consciousness, and the Mind-Body Debate

Maya Tuckman, GW Chronicle Journalist

The mind and body debate encompasses a multitude of different theories that contribute to scientists’ understanding of human consciousness. It leads biologists and philosophers to question the extent to which our genetic predisposition influences our conscious and subconscious decisions through its critical reexamination of the mental and physical properties behind our actions.  

How does the metaphysical idea of the “mind” depend on the biological processes of the brain? How does this connection influence human behavior? How do physical changes in the brain alter a person’s mental state? How does consciousness alienate humankind from other species? These are all questions that branch out from the mind-body debate and lead to a much broader discussion of psychological identity, genetics and behaviorism, and nature versus nurture. The mind and body debate plays a fundamental role in examining these areas because it provides a structure to explore these questions further.

Scientists’ understanding of the mind and body debate of human consciousness is linked to identity, not in the ways we explicitly choose to identify, but because it describes the biological and mental characteristics we involuntarily possess as intelligent beings that comprise our personalities and behaviors. It relates to both the idea of who we are as individuals and what we are as the human race since the relationship between the mind and body dictate every thought, memory, or emotion we experience. This concept makes each argument compelling, and the debate, itself, demonstrates the complexity of human self-awareness.

Behaviorists, biologists, and humanists all have different insights as to how human consciousness operates. These perspectives conflict with each other over whether the mind or body are the same or separate entities. Neurobiologists may argue from a more materialistic outlook. They would say the mind doesn’t exist at all, and mental processes are characterized by the brain’s physical structure. This would mean that everything we feel, think, or experience is a direct result of brain activity. The other extreme is phenomenalism, which asserts that physical objects are manifestations of the mind’s perceptions and only mental objects exist. This suggests that the body is an illusion of the mind and an extension of our complex conscious thought.

Materialism and phenomenalism fall under the category of monism because they describe a scenario in which only the mind OR body exists. On the other hand, according to substance dualism, the mind and body both exist, separate and distinct from one another. Substance dualists believe in a division between the mental and physical elements; therefore, they reject the biological notion that the brain and mind are one physical system.

Behaviorists believe stimulus and response should dictate psychology in another branch of thought, while humanists believe people’s subjective perceptions are equally as significant when it comes to interpreting someone’s actions. Like how “a schizophrenic might not define their actions as ill, rather they would believe they had insight into some occurrence that no one else had.”

Though these numerous points of view offer interesting theories behind psychological processes, their conflicting natures reveal how little we know about them. There are countless studies to evidence each argument, but this only attests to the debate’s paradoxicality. Despite this, the mind and body debate supports further research and provides an interesting bridge between psychology and philosophy.

The Effects of Fast Food

Jillian Haskin, Science Department Co-Editor

After a long day at sports practice, the red and yellow food sign that can be viewed from a car window can entice just about anyone. Quick, oily, and filled with loads of sodium, nothing can top the first bite of hot fries and a bacon cheeseburger. Though the feeling of satisfaction that comes from choosing something off of an illuminated food menu is something wondrous, the effects of consumption may do more harm than good. 

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