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How to Gain Research Experience as a Premed Student as Coronavirus Restrictions Continue | Medical School Admissions Doctor

For premed students hoping to gain some research experience before applying to medical school, the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic poses a challenge to that goal. At a time when so much medical research has taken off, it is hard for students to find places on research teams. Hospitals and other clinical facilities are limiting entry into buildings, as are research labs at universities.

Since research experience can be an important part of a medical school application, figuring out where your application stands in terms of research and whether it makes sense to pursue opportunities at this time is imperative.

As a 2020-2021 applicant to med school, you will likely find yourself in one of three applicant categories.

First are students who already have robust research experience. These students may wish to strengthen their skills further or may have had research projects interrupted by COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

Second are students who have some research experience, but this research may not be related to science or health care and it may have involved few participation hours.

Finally, some students may have no research experience at all, and they face the prospect of applying to medical school without having had these opportunities.

Students With Robust Research Experience

If you are part of the first category of students, take a deep breath. You have had quality research experiences and have had the chance to hone the research skills that med schools value.

While you can still ask around about furthering your experience, do not worry if you cannot find another research opportunity. Instead, think about other activities that will meaningfully add to your application – like an online class or volunteering to deliver groceries to those at risk for complications from the coronavirus – and pursue those.

Students With Less or No Research Experience

If you are in the second or third groups of students, do not panic. While research is a good thing to have on your med school application, it is not the sole determinant of your admissions worthiness.

For example, I had no research on my med school application and I was admitted to med school. If you find yourself barred from in-person research environments due to the pandemic, reach out to a mentor or faculty member involved in an interesting project and offer to help with literature reviews or data analysis. Both of these types of work are critical to the research process, and they can be done remotely.

If you are unable to secure a research position, think about other means of strengthening your application. And if you are absolutely sure you want to do research prior to enrolling in med school, you always have the option to delay your application to a later cycle. The option to apply to med school will exist whenever you are ready to take it.

Remember that medical schools are sensitive to the disruptions resulting from the coronavirus. While it is important to present the most complete application

A Student Dies, and a Campus Gets Serious About Coronavirus

BOONE, N.C. — Since last Monday, when a sophomore at his school died from suspected Covid-19 complications, Chase Sturgis says he has been thinking about his own bout with the coronavirus — and his own mortality.

Mr. Sturgis, 21, had been avoiding socializing over the summer, but as students at his school, Appalachian State University, began returning to campus in August, he yielded to temptation. “We went out to a bar,” he said. Within days he felt ill, and then tested positive for coronavirus: “To this day I have no sense of taste or smell.”

But even more unnerving is the “really, honestly scary” realization that he and the student who died, 19-year-old Chad Dorrill, were sick at about the same time, with similar symptoms and no known pre-existing conditions. “He died a week or two after he got the virus,” Mr. Sturgis said. “It has been about two weeks for me.”

Young people have generally been at lower risk of developing severe cases of Covid-19, and there have been only a few student deaths linked to the virus. But while that statistical advantage may have led to apathy about the pandemic at some institutions, Mr. Dorrill’s death has shaken the rural Appalachian State campus in the Blue Ridge Mountains, sparking questions about whether the college is doing enough to keep its students and faculty safe.

“It’s not a hoax, that this virus really does exist,” said a classmate of Mr. Sturgis, Emma Crider. “Before this, the overall mentality was ‘out of sight, out of mind.’”

As if to underscore that point, cases at Appalachian State, part of North Carolina’s state university system, spiked sharply last week. On Thursday, the school canceled an upcoming football game and announced outbreaks in four residence halls, two fraternity houses, the volleyball team and the football program. The school’s dashboard shows more than 700 confirmed Covid-19 cases at the 20,000-student campus since early June.

Aside from athletes, who must be tested under N.C.A.A. rules, Appalachian State has not conducted the kind of costly, widespread mandatory testing and tracing of people with and without symptoms that has helped control the virus at some campuses. Rather, the school has offered voluntary testing at its student health center and at “pop-up” test sites where students can walk up and be tested twice weekly.

That approach, the school’s website says, is based on C.D.C. guidance, which has advised against testing all students upon arrival to campus. Health experts have criticized the C.D.C.’s guidance as weak and confusing, but many large public colleges have based their coronavirus health regimens on it.

Surrounding Watauga County also experienced its worst 7-day period in the pandemic this past week, according to data collected by The New York Times. Coronavirus cases in the county have more than doubled since Sept. 1, to more than 1,300, and an update last week found “the largest percentage of cases in the 18-24 old age group.”

Despite efforts by most colleges and universities to contain the virus

North Carolina college student, seemingly otherwise healthy, dies of Covid-19 complications

A college student and former high school basketball player has died from Covid-19, highlighting the virus’s danger even toward the young and healthy.



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Chad Dorrill, a 19-year-old sophomore at Appalachian State University in North Carolina, died this week after complications from Covid-19, according to the university. He was diagnosed with the virus earlier in September.

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Dorrill lived off campus, and all of his classes were online. The university did not say how he contracted the virus.

“When he began feeling unwell earlier this month, his mother encouraged him to come home, quarantine, and be tested for COVID-19,” Sheri Everts, chancellor of App State, said in an announcement to the university community.

“After testing positive for COVID-19 in his home county, he followed isolation procedures and was cleared by his doctor to return to Boone.”

When he returned to school, Dorrill began experiencing further difficulties, Everts said. His family then picked him up, and he was hospitalized.

“Despite generally being at lower risk for severe illness, college-age adults can become seriously ill from COVID-19. As we approach the halfway mark to the last day of classes for the Fall semester, we are seeing a rise in COVID-19 cases in students,” Everts warned.

Classes — a mix of online and in-person — began in August. Since March 27, more than 600 people at the university have contracted the virus, according to the school’s tally.

Dorrill is not the first undergraduate student to die from Covid-19, but his death raises even more urgent questions around the safety of college campuses, even as universities urge safety measures amidst reopening.

CNN reached out to Dorrill’s family for comment, but has not immediately received a response.

Liam Dunman, a student at App State, said the death “definitely resonated” with him.

“You don’t hear about people our age dying from it at all, so it definitely got a little bit more real for me,” he told CNN affiliate WSOC.

In the state of North Carolina, there have only been five reported deaths from Covid-19 in people ages 24 and under and more than 56,000 confirmed cases, according to the state’s Department of Health and Human Services.

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“Super healthy” Appalachian State student dies following COVID-19 complications

The University of North Carolina system reported its first coronavirus-related student death on Tuesday since several campuses reopened with at least partial in-person learning last month. Chad Dorrill, a 19-year student at Appalachian State University who his mother and former coach described as a “super healthy” athlete, died on Monday due to coronavirus complications, officials said.

“Any loss of life is a tragedy, but the grief cuts especially deep as we mourn a young man who had so much life ahead,” said a statement from Peter Hans, chancellor of the system overseeing the state’s 16 public colleges and universities. “I ache for the profound sadness that Chad Dorrill’s family is enduring right now. My heart goes out to the entire Appalachian State community.”

Dorrill was a graduate of Ledford High School in Thomasvile, CBS affiliate WFMY-TV reports. His former high school coach, Jason Anderson, told the station it’s hard to come to terms with Dorrill’s death.

“This is a perfectly healthy 19-year-old kid that two years ago was running up and down the floor playing 30 out of 32-minute games,” Anderson said.

The Piedmont Pacers, a travel basketball team that Chad Dorrill played on, said Dorrill was their all-time leading scorer and member of the 2018 USSSA National Championship team.

Dorrill’s mother released a statement though the team. “The doctors said that Chad is the rarest 1-10,000,000 case but if it can happen to a super healthy 19-year old boy who doesn’t smoke, vape or do drugs, it can happen to anyone,” Susan Dorrill said, according to WFMY.

The university reported a new high of 159 current COVID-19 cases among students on Tuesday. Nearly 550 students have tested positive for the virus since in-person classes resumed last month. Appalachian State remains open for in-person instruction.

Three North Carolina colleges, including UNC-Chapel Hill, North Carolina State University and East Carolina University, have halted physical classes for undergraduate students, after reporting a series of coronavirus outbreaks  shortly after students returned to campus. Nearly 1,000 UNC students have tested positive for COVID-19 since classes resumed in August. ECU surpassed 1,000 cases earlier this month, followed shortly thereafter by NC State.

In a message to the university community on Tuesday, App State Chancellor Sheri Everts reminded college students to take the virus seriously and follow public health guidelines.

“His family’s wishes are for the university to share a common call to action so our entire campus community recognizes the importance of following COVID-19 safety protocols and guidelines,” Everts wrote. “Despite generally being at lower risk for severe illness, college-age adults can become seriously ill from COVID-19.”

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The Latest: UNC Reports Coronavirus-Related Student Death | World News

RALEIGH, N.C. — The University of North Carolina system reported its first coronavirus-related student death on Tuesday since several campuses reopened with at least partial in-person learning last month.

Chad Dorrill, a 19-year student at Appalachian State University who lived off campus in Boone and took all of his classes online, died on Monday due to coronavirus complications, officials said.

“Any loss of life is a tragedy, but the grief cuts especially deep as we mourn a young man who had so much life ahead,” said a statement from Peter Hans, chancellor of the system overseeing the state’s 16 public colleges and universities. “I ache for the profound sadness that Chad Dorrill’s family is enduring right now. My heart goes out to the entire Appalachian State community.”

The university reported a new high of 159 current COVID-19 cases among students on Tuesday. Nearly 550 students have tested positive for the virus since in-person classes resumed last month. Appalachian State remains open for in-person instruction.

Three North Carolina colleges, including UNC-Chapel Hill, North Carolina State University and East Carolina University, have halted physical classes for undergraduate students, after reporting a series of coronavirus outbreaks shortly after students returned to campus.

HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK

— New York City officials to start issuing fines to people who refuse to wear masks in areas with spikes in the novel coronavirus

— llinois Gov. Pritzker to quarantine 2 weeks after contact with staffer who tested positive

— India vice president tests positive for virus, isolating at home

— How can I volunteer for a COVID-19 vaccine study?

— The coronavirus is infecting a rising number of American children and teens in a trend authorities say appears driven by school re-openings, resumption of sports and play dates.

— University of Notre Dame president Rev. John I. Jenkins apologized for not wearing a mask after pictures surfaced online of him shaking hands and sitting shoulder-to-shoulder with people at a recent Rose Garden ceremony.

— Tennessee Titans players, staff test positive for coronavirus; first outbreak in the NFL at Week 4.

Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

O’FALLON, Mo. — The number of people hospitalized for the coronavirus has nearly tripled in areas outside of Missouri’s two largest metropolitan areas since the state reopened for business in mid-June, according to state health department data Tuesday.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services’ COVID-19 dashboard shows the state’s northwest, southeast, southwest and central regions all reached record highs for virus-related hospitalizations on Monday, based on seven-day averages. All told, Missouri reported 1,094 hospitalizations, five fewer than a day earlier, when statewide hospitalizations peaked.

Excluding the St. Louis and Kansas City areas, hospitalizations have risen 186% in the 3½ months since Republican Gov. Mike Parson allowed Missouri to reopen on June 16. The seven-day average for hospitalizations outstate on June 16 was 161; on Monday it was 461.

LIMA, Peru — Health workers for Peru’s

Student gatherings, congregate living contribute to rapid coronavirus spread at universities: CDC

Student gatherings and congregate living settings likely contribute to the rapid spread of COVID-19 at universities, according to an analysis published Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Universities that resume in-person learning should reduce the capacity of on-campus housing, increase consistent use of masks, increase testing for COVID-19 and discourage student gatherings, the authors of the CDC report concluded. 

The report looked at one university in North Carolina that experienced a “rapid increase of COVID-19 cases and clusters” within two weeks of opening campus to students. 

Between August 3 and 25, nearly 700 COVID-19 cases were identified, mostly among patients 22 or younger, suggesting most cases were among undergraduate students. 

While the report doesn’t name the university — a common practice for CDC reports — the demographics and statistics listed match up with the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, which ended in-person instruction two weeks after classes began following outbreaks of COVID-19 on campus. Students also were not required to quarantine or get tested for COVID-19 before arriving on campus.

Thirty percent of cases were linked to at least one cluster, defined by the CDC as five or more linked cases, such as a common residence, sports team, or membership of a fraternity or sorority. 

The CDC identified 18 clusters in total, the largest one connected to a university-affiliated apartment complex. 

“Student gatherings and congregate living settings, both on and off-campus, likely contributed to the rapid spread of COVID-19 within the university community,” the authors of the report wrote. 

By the time the university moved to online instruction Aug. 19, more than 330 COVID-19 cases had been reported to the local health department, despite taking a number of mitigation measures, including decreasing the capacity of dining halls and classrooms. 

Still, residence halls had opened at between 60 percent to 85 percent capacity, with most students in double rooms, according to the CDC’s report. 

About 5,800 students — 30 percent of enrolled undergraduates — were living on campus as of August 10. 

Among undergraduate students who tested positive for COVID-19, 36 percent lived on campus, and at least 8 percent were members of a fraternity or sorority. Eight percent were student athletes. 

As of Aug. 25, none of the students were hospitalized or had died, according to the report, but any longer-term complications are unknown because of “limited clinical follow-up,” according to the report. 

While healthy children are young adults are unlikely to face severe COVID-19 illness, they can spread it to others who are at higher risk for complications, according to a separate CDC report published Tuesday. That report found a 55 percent increase in COVID-19 cases among 18-22 year-olds between Aug. 2 and Sept. 5, as college campuses were reopening. While many colleges and universities required students be tested before or after arriving on campus, the increase in cases is not solely related to more testing, the authors of the report wrote. 

“It is likely that some of this increase is linked to resumption