Local domestic, sexual violence rise during pandemic

For many, Gov. Roy Cooper’s stay-at-home order was a protective measure to keep the community safe from COVID-19. But for others, home isn’t safe: If someone is trapped in close quarters with an abuser, social distancing becomes incredibly dangerous. With no end to the pandemic in sight, local organizations are preparing for a rise in domestic and sexual violence despite their limited resources.

COVID-like illness rates increase statewide

North Carolina’s COVID-19 trends continue to move in the wrong direction, according to a July 2 update by Dr. Mandy Cohen, the state’s secretary of health and human services. But in addition to tracking lab-confirmed cases of the disease, NCDHHS is also tracking COVID-like illnesses reported at health care facilities, which can give early warning of subsequent COVID-19 numbers.

Maggie Sugg and Jennifer Runkle

Local researcher­s explore weather’s role in COVID-19 spread

New research, published in the journal Science of The Total Environment, suggests that humidity plays a greater role than does the temperature in the spread of the novel coronavirus. “Weather is just another factor that we need to be incorporating in our infectious disease modeling,” says lead author Jennifer Runkle, an environmental epidemiologist with the Asheville-based North Carolina Institute for Climate Studies at N.C. State University.