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As a new strain of coronavirus (COVID-19) swept through the world in 2020, preparedness plans, masking policies and more public policy changed just as quickly. WVXU has covered the pandemic's impact on the Tri-State from the very beginning, when on March 3, 2020, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine barred spectators from attending the Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus over concerns about the virus, even though Ohio had yet to confirm a single case of COVID-19.

Ohio State Medical Student Part Of CDC Team Investigating Coronavirus Case

Fourth-year Ohio State University medical student Amy Xie, right, working for the CDC.
Courtesy of Amy Xie
Fourth-year Ohio State University medical student Amy Xie, right, working for the CDC.

Fourth-year Ohio State University medical student Amy Xie just returned to the CDC headquarters in Atlanta after conducting an investigation of the coronavirus outbreak in Arizona.

Xie works at the CDC as part of a epidemiology elective program through Ohio State.

“Our role was to do an outbreak investigation surrounding the one confirmed case as well as any potential exposures,” she says, “as well as persons under investigation who have symptoms or travel histories that might line up with a new diagnosis of the case.”

The confirmed casein Arizona is one of 15 cases in the country, according to the CDC. Globally, more than 2,000 people have died from COVIDO-19. Hundreds of Americanshave been quarantined at military bases after returning from travel abroad.

Xie says person-to-person transmission in the U.S. seems to come from very close contact, like among spouses.

The experience will inform how she thinks of her role as a doctor, she says. She says it taught her about the importance of working with a team of health professionals to communicate accurate information to the public.

“My work in the future cannot be just limited to working in a hospital or in a clinic,” she says, “but that physicians are needed as part of the public health workforce.”

Xie will return to campus in March.

Copyright 2020 WOSU 89.7 NPR News

Paige Pfleger is a reporter for WOSU, Central Ohio's NPR station. Before joining the staff of WOSU, Paige worked in the newsrooms of NPR, Vox, Michigan Radio, WHYY and The Tennessean. She spent three years in Philadelphia covering health, science, and gender, and her work has appeared nationally in The Washington Post, Marketplace, Atlas Obscura and more.