Category Archives: COVID-19

Potential omicron illness coming?

By: Jasmine Williams

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Just when we thought COVID was done: it may be coming back says experts. According to the ‘Washington Post,’ the White House has received a warning about the possibility that the coronavirus may be coming back.

There’s a 20% possibility that COVID could come back in the next two years. A highly known scientist, Trevor Bedford, suggested that there could be a 40% percent chance of a similar omicron wave. He also conducted a statistical analysis about this possible new corona wave. This is what an immunologist and virgolist, Dan Barouch, said, “No one’s saying it’s zero. No one’s saying it’s 80 percent.” He added. “It’s more than an infinitesimal chance — and it is by no means a certainty.”

Experts in virology, immunobiology, and more, had spoken with White House officials about the virus being able to develop and mutate, bypassing protections from vaccines and treatments. These responses came, not instantly, as the administrators planned an end of the public health emergency on May 11.

Though in the US, the virus is considered finished, leaders and the coronavirus response team have other options made for long term pandemic protection. Senior officials are needing to implement more public health protections against the next threat. “One of my biggest worries is that we are losing time in preparing for the next pandemic,” assistant secretary of Health and Human Services, Dawn O’Connell, said.

Recently, the World Health Organization declared that COVID is no longer a worldwide health emergency. A director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, made an announcement saying, “[This] does not mean that COVID-19 is over as a global health threat.” He isn’t wrong, in fact there were a few confirmed cases and deaths recently. There were less than 80,000 cases in the US last week. Though it isn’t widely viewed that COVID isn’t fully gone and coming back, it’s still good to take precautions.

How COVID-19 still has an affect on us three years later

By: Calla Fragrassi & Mackenzie Malek

After three years of constant change in our school system, we wanted to ask Highland Park students how they were affected personally, then and now, by COVID-19.

We asked the same questions to students in grades 9-12 on their experiences.

Academics- How did the pandemic affect you academically in school? Was the transition between virtual to in-person learning challenging for you? If so, explain.

Freshman: “I thought the transition was really hard because on top of having to adjust to a whole new lifestyle where I couldn’t see people and couldn’t do so many things, my workload was still similar and so it was harder to do than before because I had so much more going on.”

Sophomore: “I felt like I fell behind in my classes and that school felt optional. Yes, I would say it was challenging because everything was constantly changing and it felt like there was no routine.”

Junior: “I believed everything would be easier coming out but my ideas changed. Also, I mentally struggled after the pandemic which took a toll on school. The actual transition wasn’t the hard part.”

Senior: “It made things easier and I got all As. The transition wasn’t that hard but it was fun to see other people again.”

Activities- Did COVID stop you from participating in any sports or activities you were involved in at the time? If so, how did that affect you personally?

Freshman: “COVID restrained me from all my sports and from seeing people I loved and it was really challenging because I relied on those practices to be good at my sports, so I felt set back and also felt set back from social activities since I wasn’t allowed to see people.”

Sophomore: “I stopped playing volleyball during COVID and when I went back for the season it was harder getting back into it because of the long break off, so I ended up quitting because I didn’t enjoy it as much anymore.”

Junior: “It took away club gymnastics, which was hard for me since it was the last year, and made the sports I eventually joined challenging in the fact everyone knew it wasn’t normal.”

Senior: “It prevented our football season in 2021 from going its full length because we had a shorter season due to COVID.”

Socially- Do you think the way you interacted with others changed after COVID? If so, explain.

Freshman: “ I think it did because so many people relied on social media to interact during quarantine and social media was the base of a lot of people’s senses of humor and things like that, so it kind of became something that defined your personality which I hadn’t really noticed before quarantine.”

Sophomore: “It was weird seeing my teachers and classmates in person after so long, and it felt weird being able to interact with other people besides just my family.”

Junior: “Yes, how I interacted changed in the way I grew, how I wanted to be as a person when I was in lock down. So, I figured out who and how I’d interact.”

Senior: “No, because I still interacted with people during COVID.”

All in all, these responses show that no matter the age, all these students had somewhat similar experiences throughout the pandemic. As you can see, for academics and activities, everyone had similar answers such as falling behind in classes and having to take a break from sports.

For the social questions, the responses varied a bit because this depended on how everyone interacted with others before COVID-19 prevented them from socializing. Some students were still able to talk to their friends and classmates, but others not so much.

What happened during the pandemic still has an affect on everyone today in some way and will in the future.

What is RSV, the third disease in the rumored “triple-pandemic?”

By: Ann McMullen

RSV refers to respiratory syncytial virus. This illness shares some similarities with the flu: they both affect the respiratory system (nose, throat, and lungs) and generally occur during late fall through early spring.

Who does this virus affect?

Anyone can be infected, but RSV is the most common and dangerous in children under two years old.

How do I know if I have RSV? Is there a cure?

The virus often presents itself as a cold, with symptoms such as fever, cough, and congestion. However, it can lead to more severe conditions. In fact, RSV is the leading cause in young children of pneumonia and bronchiolitis – a lung inflammation disease quite similar to bronchitis.

Patients can be tested for RSV, but there is no cure for it and antibiotics do not help treat the virus. Thankfully, it tends to clear up by itself within a week or so.

And, what is this “triple-pandemic?”

Americans are referring to influenza, COVID-19, and RSV as a “tripledemic,” as all three of them are quite prevalent in the United States right now. Flu cases always spike in the fall, but they’re even higher than usual this year. With COVID restrictions now greatly loosened, cases are expected to rise in the coming months. RSV wasn’t much of an issue for the past two years because a large portion of people still wore masks. This year, however, cases are greatly increasing, which is more than likely also a result of the lifting of COVID restrictions and people using less caution towards viruses overall.

To best protect yourself from RSV, the CDC advises that you should thoroughly wash your hands, cover your cough, and avoid close contact with people who appear to be ill.

For more information on RSV and the triple-pandemic, please visit

How can you protect yourself from COVID-19?

By: Ashley Harris

COVID-19 has been haunting our lives for almost 4 years now, and we need to stop it. But how can we? Well, the most beneficial, and easiest way too, is to simply get vaccinated. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) The vaccine can help lower your risk of getting and spreading the COVID-19 virus, and prevent serious illness and/or death.

 According to an article written by CNN, “Vulnerable Americans are desperate to find this COVID-19 drug.” The drug in question (which has been approved by the FDA) is called remdesivir and it’s used to treat ages 12 years and older.

According to a recent study, an oral drug prevented the death from COVID-19, in old mice, by reversing immune aging. Why is COVID-19 so deadly to old people? Well, the short answer is that the immune system deteriorates over time. In the study, daily doses of BGE-175 protected aged mice from a lethal dose of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

One common question asked by people all around the world is, “Are plain old cloth masks protective”? The short answer, no. Since the omicron virus can inflict serious symptoms, it is crucial to be wearing the best type of mask. The N95 mask is supposed to protect you from COVID-19 far more than the plain cloth masks according to Mayo Clinic and CDC.

As well as wearing masks and washing your hands etc., one of the best ways to reduce the spread of COVID-19 is by maintaining at least 6 feet of distance between yourself and others, avoid large gatherings, socialize outdoors, avoid close contact with sick people or people who were exposed to COVID-19, and finally, clean frequently touched objects and surfaces regularly.

So, after reading this, you should now be equipped with all the knowledge you need on how to prevent and protect yourself and the spread of COVID-19.

For more information, please visit:

Does the media influence the way that our society views COVID?

By: Caelyn Hippen

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Am I reading accurate information?
How do I know that this source is reliable?

These are questions we ask ourselves every day. Whether we are doing a quick search or a detailed research project. Many of us may have quickly looked up “Is the COVID vaccine safe?” or “What vaccine should I get?”

Well, that Google search may have affected how you, and the people you shared that information with, see vaccines, or COVID, etc.

It has been proven that about 1⁄2 of Americans get at least some information/news about COVID from social media, and approximately 6% of people find it the most important way to get news.

So, we know that social media does spread information about COVID, but is that information really accurate?

According to, Facebook was the most used app to spread COVID information and panic about COVID outbreaks and vaccines. The information that one person posted was shared and soon became popular news throughout the app. The impacts of social media ‘panic posts’ varies among people’s age, gender, and level of education. For example, a doctor or scientist who sees the post will know more than others if the information is incorrect or misleading. If they post that the information is invalid, this confuses society and viewers even more than before.

More information from, found that scientists and social media experts have found and concluded that social media apps like Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and more have all contributed to incorrect information and panic as COVID outbreaks come out.

Overall, I don’t agree with never getting information from social media, but to know how to filter and determine if the information is accurate is key to getting the right information.

How has COVID affected poverty in the USA?

By: Caelyn Hippen

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As you can see, COVID-19 has affected our world in many ways, such as the school systems, the economies, social interaction has lacked for many people, the amount of people with depression and anxiety has increased, material shortages across the world, effects on hospitals and health care systems, and on top of that, over 6 million deaths worldwide.

But many don’t think of the way that COVID has affected the amount of poverty in the USA. So you may be wondering, what is poverty? Well, poverty is the state of having few material possessions and/or little to no income. Poverty makes it hard for people to eat, and take care of themselves and/or their possible siblings or children. People who have lived in poverty for a longer amount of time find it harder to find jobs, leading to even less income and amount of luxury than before.

Poverty got really bad over COVID, and a contributing factor of that was another downfall of COVID: the spiking amount of unemployment. Over 18 million people were left unemployed, and 14 million of them couldn’t work because their employer closed their business altogether.

Unemployment is such a big factor in people living in poverty. About 20% of people who make minimum wage live in poverty, because the demands for all survival needs are high (food, clean water, a place to live, etc.).

In 2019, the poverty rate in the USA was 13.4%. This means that 13.4% of America’s population lived below the poverty line.

But, as of 2021, that number has been raised to a pandemic-era high of 17.3% of people. In Minnesota, over 500,000 people live in poverty. That’s 1/10 of the population!

So, for that reason, knowing how many people are struggling with finance and buying necessary items, donate and volunteer to help these people around you. You can make a big difference in your community by donating food, money, or just 1 hour from your day!

For more information, please visit:


Newest COVID variant: Omicron

By: Sarah VonBerge

The information and understanding of the newest COVID-19 variant, called Omicron, is very limited, as the first case of it was only found about a month and a half ago in Botswana, and the first case in the United States was on December 1, 2021. This variant is more contagious than even the Delta variant, although the Omicron symptoms are more mild. Omicron is currently the most dominant strain, as 73% of new cases are from it.

Omicron hasn’t shown a few of the normal COVID symptoms, such as a loss of taste and smell, but it still has had some of the regular symptoms, such as muscle aches, itchy throat, and fatigue. A new symptom that hasn’t been seen in any of the other strains has been night sweats. People have said that the night sweats are so bad that they have had to get up and change their clothes since they are so drenched in sweat.

This new variant has roughly 50 new mutations as compared to the original COVID-19 virus, 30 of which are in the spike protein. The spike protein is the mRNA that is used in the vaccine to help fight the virus and cause your immune system to fight it. Luckily, however, there have been no mutations found in the T cells, which is your immune system‘s second layer of protection.

So far, Omicron has affected young people the most; of the new cases reported from December 23rd-29th, 16% were minors, 54% were ages 18-39, 25% were ages 40-64, and 5% were 65 and older. It only takes 2 days for infection to occur and for the infected person to be contagious and Omicron cases are doubling every 2-4 days. Currently, unvaccinated people have a 10 times higher risk of testing positive and a 20 times higher risk of dying as compared to vaccinated people.

The best ways to fight Omicron and all other strains of COVID right now are to get vaccinated, get a booster shot, wear your mask and get tested as soon as you think you might have contracted COVID from someone. “This is not March of 2020. We are not defenseless,” Governor Kathy Hochul of New York said.

Booster shots have been shown to raise protection to the virus by 80%. The CDC recommends anyone 5 years and older gets vaccinated and everyone older than 18 should get a booster after at least 2 months of getting their original vaccination. Even though vaccination is the best way to protect yourself, you should continue to wear a mask. Anyone can contract and spread the virus. Vaccinations lessen symptoms, but they do completely cure you of Omicron or the other strains of COVID.

For more information, please visit:

What does COVID-19 testing look like?

By: Grace Blumer-Lamotte

We are currently living in a worldwide pandemic. This is a very unusual time that we have been put in. The future is unknown with the infection that is going on around the world. 

In order to get information on how to address the cases, it’s important to test for COVID-19. There are two different types of COVID-19 testing: diagnostic and antibody tests.

According to the FDA, “Diagnostic tests can show if you have an active COVID-19 infection and need to take steps to quarantine or self isolate. Antibody tests look for antibodies in your immune system produced in response to SARS-CoV-2, COVID-19, but antibody tests should not be used to diagnose an active COVID-19 infection.”

There are two different types of COVID-19 tests. One is a saliva test. The saliva test is where you spit into a tube and then send it into testing. Saliva tests can be self-collected. They are as good as the nasal swabs, according to health care workers.

The second type of COVID-19 tests are the nasal swab. According to the Mayo Clinic, “A fluid sample is collected by inserting a long nasal swab (nasopharyngeal swab) into your nostril and taking fluid from the back of your nose or by using a shorter nasal swab (mid-turbinate swab) to get a sample.”

The saliva test is easier to perform because you can do it at home. The saliva test does not require interaction with a healthcare worker. For the long nasal swab you normally have to go to a testing site. 

Some commonly asked questions are: Do the tests hurt? When should I get tested? Which COVID-19 test should I take?

A COVID-19 nasal swab may cause some pain. If it is extremely painful, say something to the healthcare worker that is swabbing your nose. You may feel some discomfort when the test is being performed, but you shouldn’t feel any pain. 

If you begin to develop symptoms, you should consider getting tested right away. The CDC also encourages you to get tested every two weeks to be cautious. 

For which test to take, you should consider the situation you are in right now. If you need fast results, get a rapid test. According to UC Davis, in other instances, “A molecular PCR test is more appropriate. A PCR test can be used for asymptomatic testing or to confirm a positive antigen test.”

What are the benefits of getting the COVID-19 vaccine?

By: Grace Blumer-Lamotte

The COVID-19 vaccines that are being used right now are the Pfizer vaccine, Johnson & Johnson, and Moderna. The Pfizer vaccine is the only vaccine cleared for children currently; it is cleared for children ages 5 through 11.

There is also a COVID booster shot. Everyone over the age of 18 can get it. At first they were just giving it to first responders and people who were more susceptible to get COVID, but now it has opened up more to the public and everyone of the age of 18 can get the booster shot.

According to the CDC, “COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective, once fully vaccinated, people can start doing more, and a safer way to help build protection.” 

One of the reasons the vaccine is safe is because millions of people in the US have received the vaccine since they were authorized by the FDA. Another reason is that they have undergone “The most insensitive safety monitoring in US history.” A third reason is “There is no evidence that COVID-19 vaccines cause fertility problems.” The last reason, the CDC had stated was “The benefits of COVID-19 vaccination outweigh the known and potential risks.”

I interviewed a freshman and a junior. I asked them these questions: Have you heard anything about the COVID-19 vaccine causing fertility issues? Have you heard about the tedious monitoring that the US has undergone trying to make the vaccine?

The freshman answered the first question saying, “No, I haven’t.” 

They then answered the second question saying, “Yes I have. I know it took lots of scientists to make the vaccine. They also had a very short period of time to make the vaccine.”

The junior answered the first question saying, “I’ve only heard conspiracy theories about it.”

They then answered the second question saying, “Yes I have. My Mom works at the U of MN and she tells me stories about how long it was taking and what a tedious process it was.”

The COVID-19 vaccine is effective. It helps children and adults from getting very ill. Another reason the CDC states about this was “Getting children ages 5 years and older vaccinated can help protect them from serious short- and long-term complications.”

Once fully vaccinated, people can progressively start doing more. Families/people can resume many activities that they did before the pandemic started. Some activities that you could return to doing that are low risk are: eating outdoors at a restaurant, getting a haircut, going to an outdoor concert, hugging vaccinated family and friends, and visiting elderly relatives that have also been fully vaccinated.

Some other activities that you could return to doing that are medium risks are: eating indoors at a restaurant, going to the theaters, traveling, going to the gym, and getting a massage.

The COVID-19 vaccine is a safer way to help build protection. According to the CDC, “Children ages 5 years and older and adults who are eligible should get vaccinated regardless of whether they already had COVID-19. Evidence is emerging that people get better protection by being fully vaccinated compared with previously having a COVID-19 infection.”

To learn more about the benefits of getting vaccinated, please go to:

What is COVID-19 currently looking like in Minnesota?

By: Grace Blumer-Lamotte

COVID-19 better known as COVID or Corona, is a virus. According to Hopkins Medicine, COVID-19 is the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that emerged in December 2019. The way coronavirus is spread as of now, researchers know that the spread is through droplets and virus particles released into the air when an infected person breathes, talks, laughs, sings, coughs, or sneezes. 

The cases in Minnesota have increased due to the widely known delta variant. According to StarTribune, there are increased demands for hospitalization including a surge of newly reported infections, exceeding the state’s capacity for logging cases. 

The symptoms of COVID-19 are flu like symptoms. That includes fevers or chills, a cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea. If you have any of these symptoms the CDC strongly encourages those to get tested. To learn more about COVID-19 tests, visit this website:

According to Mayo Clinic, one of the ways you can help prevent the spread of COVID is wearing a mask properly. This means wearing it above your nose and having it cover both your nose and mouth.

Maintaining social distancing, getting a flu shot, if you haven’t already, washing your hands frequently, and cleaning/disinfecting surfaces are also ways to help prevent spreading COVID.

Another way to help prevent the spread is getting the COVID-19 vaccine. If you are interested in getting the vaccine, you may find this website helpful:

I interviewed a freshman and asked them these questions: How has COVID-19 affected you personally? How has it affected your household? What precautions are you taking to prevent it? How do you feel about the vaccine?

*Note, the following are simply the freshman’s responses to my questions. They were not verified for facts.

The freshman responded saying, “It stops me from visiting my friends. I also can’t go into public spaces without a mask. It is difficult for me to focus in school because I am thinking about a huge pandemic that is spreading throughout the world rather than my learning.” 

The freshman responded to the second question saying, “It affects my daily life inside my house. It affects me by making me clean literally anything inside my house. You have to be super sanitary. Any visitors I have inside my house, also have to go through the same thing. It is just a huge pain.”

The freshman responded to the third question saying, “Hand sanitizer, mask, the alcohol wipes, eat healthy, avoid areas with a large amount of people, and try not to touch everything.”

The freshman responded to the fourth question saying, “The vaccine is actually really helpful because it helps protect you from getting the virus. And I support it because over 60% of the people in the world would be infected by it if they didn’t have the vaccine.”