Tut Underwood

Suicide Prevention Efforts Changed by COVID

By Tut Underwood

Suicide Prevention LifelineAs the COVID pandemic continues, it also continues to alter virtually every aspect of life and work in South Carolina as well as the nation. For some, working at home or wearing a mask to the store is a minor inconvenience. For others, however, the isolation of working from home, or sometimes the worry of unemployment or other stressors can be major traumas and have catastrophic results, including suicide. According to Chris Allen, board chairman of the South Carolina chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the Coronavirus also has the affected the activities of the...

COVID-19 Alters Halloween Traditions

By Tut Underwood

Visitors to Trenholm Road United Methodist Church's pumpkin patch in Columbia The COVID-19 pandemic has altered the traditions of many families, and Halloween in South Carolina is one of them. Many families have decided not to Trick or Treat this year, and organizations have also changed their Halloween plans. The annual Trunk or Treat event at Columbia's Trenholm Road United Methodist Church had to be cancelled this year, according to Anna Burrell, interim director of children and families ministry. Listen to the story... A production of South Carolina Public Radio. "When I was asking our parents if they wanted to do a Trunk or Treat, a lot of parents did want to...

USC Library Acquires Major Comic Book Collection

By Tut Underwood

A prestigious collection of more than 180,000 historic comic books, pulp magazines and other items has been acquired by the University of South Carolina's Thomas Cooper Library.Superman, Batman, Donald Duck, Tarzan of the Apes and many more characters that help define American popular culture have been seen in comic books and other media for many years. The adventures of hundreds of such characters are now gathered in one place at the University of South Carolina's Thomas Cooper Library, thanks to the gift of a major collection of more than 180,000 comics, pulp magazines and related items from an Ohio collector. According to Michael Weisenberg, reference and instruction librarian at the library's Irvin Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, donor Gary Lee...

Shortage of Coins Brought On by COVID Pandemic

By Tut Underwood

COVID-19 has had many affects on society, some unexpected.  One of these is a shortage of coins.  COVID-19 has caused many disruptions in people's daily lives, and one of the unexpected obstacles facing businesses around the state and country - as if there weren't enough - is a shortage of coins. University of South Carolina economics professor William Hauk explained: "The U.S. Mint was shut down a little bit due to social distancing requirements, and there weren't as many coins produced and put into circulation. That's largely over," he said, noting that the Mint is now back operating at full capacity. "What we are still having problems with, though, is...a lot of people just aren't...

When a COVID Vaccine is Developed, Will People Take It?

By Tut Underwood

Numerous pharmaceutical manufacturers are working hard to develop a vaccine for COVID-19.  Once that's done, the big question to be answered is, will people take it?Drug companies have been working furiously to produce a vaccine for COVID-19, with hopes for one late this year or early 2021. As development gets nearer, an important question has arisen among some medical professionals: once the vaccine has been produced, will people trust it enough to take it? "That's the million-dollar question," said University of South Carolina immunologist and vice president of research Prakash Nagarkotti. "And what is very perplexing for people who are experts in this field is that it causes very mild or virtually asymptomatic types of infections in most people,...

COVID Inspires Lowcountry Chefs to Get Personal

By Tut Underwood

File photo of chef's hands cutting green onionsCOVID-19 has caused many a business to adapt to changing circumstances in order to survive. Such is the condition of many chefs in the Charleston area. Since the advent of COVID has shut or slowed many restaurants, some chefs in the Lowcountry - and elsewhere - have found work doing private cooking for small groups or families right in their homes. Chef Emily Lane was already doing that, cooking for families three days a week. But she said the Coronavirus changed the way she works. When the virus first hit big, there were shortages at grocery stores where she shops for some of the items she...

Red Cross Deals with the Effects of Coronavirus

By Tut Underwood

Not only is blood needed by the Red Cross to make up for COVID-related blood drive cancellations, but volunteers are greatly needed as well.Even though the nation is in the midst of the COVID pandemic, other needs go on. A big one is the need for blood. According to Red Cross spokesman Ben Williamson, hundreds of blood drives have been cancelled or rescheduled by the pandemic in the last few months. As a result, thousands of pints of blood have been lost to hospitals. But the lack of blood hasn't stopped the need, said Williamson. "There are kids that have cancer that need blood. There are still accidents happening where transfusions are needed. As elective surgeries have picked back up at hospitals, that need for blood has...

Researcher Finds Possible COVID Warning in Sewage

By Tut Underwood

Wastewater treatment plantTesting for the coronavirus is ongoing throughout the country, but testing individually takes a lot of time. University of South Carolina public health Professor Sean Norman is taking a different approach. Viruses are not only carried in the body, but some are also shed in human waste, and coronavirus is one of them. So Norman is analyzing sewage to determine the presence and amount of the virus in large populations. He said the application is new, but the technique has been around for a while. "People have looked at wastewater to monitor other viruses, like polio virus, as well as...

Educators Consider COVID's Effects on Higher Education

By Tut Underwood

college campusThe coronavirus has changed life for everyone - from washing hands frequently to wearing masks to keeping social distance - and every segment of our society. The realm of higher education is no different. According to Clemson University Dean of Education George Peterson, colleges and universities are wrestling with how COVID-19 will affect their abilities to get back into the classroom - at least partially - while keeping everyone safe. "What does that look like in a face-to-face setting," he wondered, taking into account questions such as "the size of the room, social distancing, are masks...

Experts Project COVID's Effect on the Business Workplace Going Forward

By Tut Underwood

LeeAnna Murphy, disinfects her work area at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, April 30, 2020. Things are looking differently as businesses in South Carolina and elsewhere gradually open back up amid a still active coronavirus outbreak. Workplaces include the use of shields, masks, gloves, distance and other new methods. But according to Dr. Rich Harrill, director of the University of South Carolina's International Tourism Research Institute, the changes in routine may not be as dramatic as some might think. For example, he said "in the restaurant business, there were predictions at the beginning that maybe 40 percent would go out of business. It's not going to be that drastic, it'll...

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