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The Science Behind a Pandemic and Infectious Disease Discussion

 

Recent events involving the Covid-19 pandemic have had a profound impact on all of our lives. And with all of the information circulating out there, it is sometimes difficult to separate “science” from “opinion”. The purpose of this extra credit assignment is to attempt to filter out the opinion and focus on the science of this pandemic. That is, this assignment asks that you utilize the scientific method, as we discussed the method for this class, to reach your own conclusions regarding any aspect that you find interesting surrounding this pandemic. That may be the origins of the virus, infection rates, economic impacts, educational impacts, hospital impacts…any topic that you find particularly interesting is fair game. And your goal is to write a 2500 word essay (the equivalent of approximately 5 pages, single-spaced) regarding your chosen topic. Truly, your options are very broad and extend well beyond these few examples. You’re more than welcome to run any of your ideas by me if you’re at all unsure if what you’re hoping to do satisfies this assignment.

Specific instructions regarding your submittal are as follows:

  1. Your essay will be divided into 6 sections:
    1. Section 1: Observation – Write ~500 words regarding an observation that you have made during this pandemic that will be the subject of your essay.
    2. Section 2: Question – Formulate a single sentence question (~5-20 words) that you will be evaluating for your essay. Ex: “Why does the Novel Coronavirus infect children at a much lower rate than adults?” or “Why does Africa have a much lower rate of infection than other areas of the world?”
    3. Section 3: Resources – Cite at least 5 scientific resources that you will be utilizing for your references. These cannot be private news/media sources!! Examples of scientific resources include government websites (e.g. CDC, Riverside County Department of Public Health, WHO, etc.), peer-reviewed journals (e.g. Nature, Science, etc.), and/or online databases (e.g. databases tallying confirmed cases of the virus).
    4. Section 4: Hypothesis – Write a testable hypothesis and provide supporting information as to why you think this hypothesis is reasonable (~200 words). This should be a hypothesis that someone has already tested!! e.g. “My hypothesis is that children develop fewer cases of COVID-19 because of their more robust immune system. Previous instances of viral infection has shown this to be the case….etc. etc.”
    5. Section 5: Experiment and Data Analysis – Using each of your 5 resources cited in Section 3, describe research that has been done to test your hypothesis discussed in Section 4, and the analysis of that data performed by those references. These should be listed in bulleted format and include ~300 words for each reference (~1500 words total for this section). Example:
      1. “CDC Website – The CDC tracked COVID-19 infections using data supplied from hospitals. That information included location, age…etc., etc. Based on these data, the CDC found…etc., etc.,…”
    6. Section 6: Conclusions – Write ~300 words regarding your review of this science. This MUST include potential recommendations for further testing!! For example, “The data reported herein suggest…Based on these findings, additional research may include expanded testing requirements for children with symptoms of COVID-19…etc., etc.”

And that is it!! ~2500 words total, separated into sections as outlined above

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