Science, Health & Tech

We cover these essential linchpins of the Pittsburgh regional economy, and how they impact residents' personal health and employment. 

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Nursing home employees may soon be required to have weekly coronavirus tests according to a press release from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Inside Some Pennsylvania Rehabs, ‘It’s Like COVID Doesn’t Exist’

Aug 13, 2020
Dan Nott / Spotlight PA

Waking up on June 14, Colleen Moskov couldn’t remember what had happened the night before. She had blacked out from another episode of binge drinking, a frequent occurrence over the past six months. But that morning, Moskov decided she’d had enough.

Matt Rourke / AP

Pennsylvania reported nearly 1,000 new virus cases and another 24 new coronavirus-related deaths on Thursday, bringing the state’s total to more than 122,000 Pennsylvanians infected and more than 7,400 dead.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

The Allegheny County Health Department is pleading with bars and restaurants to continue following state and local regulations aimed at mitigating the spread of COVID-19.

Courtesy Bureau of Prisons

An outbreak at the federal prison in Lewisburg is driving a surge in coronavirus cases in Union County.

Ariel Worthy / 90.5 WESA

Earlier this summer the Allegheny County Health Department recommended that people who were returning from out-of-state travel should quarantine for two weeks, unless they could get two consecutive coronavirus tests that were both negative. 

These COVID-19 Patients Survived. But They Never Recovered

Aug 11, 2020
Courtesy of Melissa Mazur

Certain units of measurement have become familiar standards in the new language of this pandemic: 6 feet of distance, 20 seconds of hand washing, 2 weeks of quarantine.

Keith Srakocic / AP

Pennsylvania's new cases of COVID-19 reached 601 on Monday, the state Health Department reported, and there three additional deaths were reported.

University of Pittsburgh

"A man shouldn't have to do household chores."

"Men should use violence to get respect if necessary."

These are two of five beliefs about “harmful masculinity” that University of Pittsburgh researchers identified as correlating with violence, sexual harassment and poor mental health outcomes.

To achieve these findings, researchers survey more than 3,600 men between the ages of 18 and 30 in the U.S., .U.K. and Mexico about their beliefs around masculinity.


The current civil rights movement has been an emotionally and intellectually taxing experience for many Black Americans who are confronting injustices that stretch back generations.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Gina Winstead wants to see the technology industry act more like the manufacturing industry of the past, at least when it comes to hiring and training talent.


A UPMC cardiologist is no longer the program director for one of the medical system’s fellowship programs after he published an article in a prominent journal asserting that affirmative action policies produce less-qualified medical students and residents.

Margaret Sun / 90.5 WESA

The University of Pittsburgh will lead a consortium of institutions to study how autonomous vehicles can be made accessible to those with physical disabilities. The U.S. Department of Transportation awarded the school a $1 million grant last week. The department awarded grants to four new University Transportation Centers to advance research and education programs that address transportation challenges. 

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Pennsylvania health officials on Monday reported no new deaths attributed to COVID-19 for the first time in more than four months.

Courtesy of BeamData

An app launching this week from Pittsburgh startup BeamData aims to provide people with a direct line to their elected officials. Be the Change allows a user to create a profile that automatically generates a list of representatives based on their home address. From there, people can check out posts in their neighborhood about issues and upvote or downvote posts, similar to Reddit.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

The Pennsylvania Department of Health is hiring 1,000 additional contract tracers to bolster the state’s efforts to contain coronavirus outbreaks by quickly notifying people who might have been exposed.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

 Pennsylvania health officials on Thursday reported 860 additional cases of the coronavirus, and 14 new deaths.


Bars and restaurants still top the list of the most common places visited by people in Allegheny County prior to testing positive for COVID-19. But county data show that compared to previous weeks, the number of visits to these venues has fallen.

Universal Testing Complete At PA Nursing Homes

Jul 28, 2020
Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Health Secretary Rachel Levine said Thursday that all skilled nursing facilities have now complied with a state order to test all staff and residents for COVID-19. 

Keith Srakocic / AP

Pennsylvania reported more than 1,000 new coronavirus infections on Tuesday for the third time in less than a week and the sixth time this month as some regions of the state continue to see rising case numbers.

Hans Pennink / AP


On today's program: A possible COVID-19 vaccine moves into Phase 3 trials, but it could be another minimum of six months until Americans get the drug; the chancellor of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education is pushing for a system-wide redesign; and a brief history of the Pittsburgh left. 

Courtesy of Wendy Gilch

With fewer child care options and health and safety concerns, getting work done at home while also keeping an eye on her two children has been a struggle for Wendy Gilch.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

It’s getting harder to get tested for COVID-19 without symptoms in the Pittsburgh region. The Allegheny County Health Department suggests people who think they may have been exposed but are not experiencing symptoms skip the test and instead quarantine for 14 days.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA


On today's program: PWSA and elected officials announced the lead levels in water are now in compliance with EPA and DEP requirements; on the 30th anniversary of the ADA, advocates and activists look to the  future; and a new grant program will help minority business owners in Pennsylvania struggling due to the coronavirus. 

Inside One PA County’s Effort To Stay ‘Hot On The Trail’ Of Every COVID-19 Case

Jul 22, 2020
Emma Lee / WHYY

One of the most powerful tools in fighting the coronavirus is a spreadsheet.

Every morning, Montgomery County contact tracer Neil Lader opens one up on his home computer, and delves into another day of chasing down the virus.

State's High Court: Mental Health Doctors Have Duty To Warn

Jul 21, 2020
Keith Srakocic / AP

Mental health professionals have a duty to warn of threats made by patients even if they are made against an unspecified person, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court said in a split opinion Tuesday.

Carolyn Kaster / AP


On today's program: People with disabilities are still facing new challenges 30 years after the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act; the economy is opening but experts say some industries are adapting to the “new normal” better than others; and a Chambersburg Post Office shows how COVID-19 safety precautions that got wrapped up in election-year politics.

Matt Rourke / AP

At least two workers at the U.S. Post Office in Chambersburg have refused to wear face masks, in defiance of state Health Department Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine’s order requiring masks in businesses and public places. The state can’t enforce that order because the post office is a federal entity.

Keith Srakocic / AP

Pennsylvania reported 700 new coronavirus infections Monday, along with three additional deaths.


Though people in Allegheny County continue to die from COVID-19, data from the state and county show these deaths have not kept pace with the county's spike of positive cases. But there are severe health consequences not captured by this data.