Christine Herman

Reporter, WILL

Christine Herman is a Ph.D. chemist turned audio journalist. Her reporting has received awards from the Illinois Associated Press Broadcasters Association and has aired on national programs including All Things Considered and Here & Now. Christine is a mother of three and aspiring aerial artist. She's a recipient of the 2018-2019 Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism and has been working at Illinois Public Media since 2015. 

Ways to Connect

Yousuf El-Jayyousi, a junior engineering student at the University of Missouri, wanted guidance and reassurance it would be safe to go back to school for the fall semester. He tuned into a pair of online town halls organized by the university hoping to find that.

He did not.

Courtesy of Northwestern Medicine

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, 28-year-old Mayra Ramirez was working as a paralegal for an immigration law firm in Chicago. She enjoyed walking her dogs and running 5K races. 

Ramirez has a condition requiring medication that could’ve suppressed her immune system but was otherwise healthy. When the Illinois governor issued a shelter-in-place order in March, she began working from home, hardly leaving the house. So she has no idea how she contracted COVID-19.

Christine Herman/Illinois Public Media

As universities prepare to welcome students back to campus for the fall semester, some are counting on widespread COVID-19 testing to help clamp down on potential outbreaks. 

At the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, large white tents, with signs reading “Walk-Up COVID-19 Testing,” have been popping up across campus.

Courtesy of James Unzicker, CHP of IL

Maricel Mendoza is familiar with the work migrant and seasonal farmworkers do. Growing up, her family traveled from Texas to central Illinois every year for her parents’ jobs as contractors with a large seed company. 

“All of my parents’ siblings were migrants, my grandparents were migrants,” Mendoza says. “So it’s just something that was the norm for me.” 

Courtesy of Northwestern Medicine

Doctors at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago announced Thursday they’ve performed the first successful double lung transplant on a COVID-19 patient in the U.S. 

The Hispanic woman in her twenties was otherwise healthy, but developed a severe case of COVID-19 that resulted in hospitalization, says Dr. Ankit Bharat, Northwestern’s chief of thoracic surgery.

Courtesy of Jeanne Bosecker

Even without a global pandemic, dentistry is inherently riskier than many other medical professions.

That’s because dentists and hygienists spend a lot of time inches away from wide-open mouths, conducting procedures known to generate aerosols — tiny droplets that can linger in the air and carry viruses. 

So when dental hygienist Jeanne Bosecker started back at work in mid-May, she says it felt a little soon to be reopening for routine dental care.

Courtesy of Ann Hyoung Sook/University of Illinois

As states move toward reopening their economies, officials are emphasizing the need to expand their capacity to test for COVID-19.

But many say their efforts to ramp up testing are still being hampered by a shortage of supplies. To help fill the gaps, some state public health labs are looking to academic labs for help.

Jim Meadows/Illinois Newsroom

This is part of Essential Voices, a series of interviews with people confronting COVID-19.

Since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, local public health agencies across the nation have been working to mitigate the spread of the disease -- and to overcome some big obstacles.

Courtesy of Brittanny Budimir

This is part of Essential Voices, a series of interviews with people confronting COVID-19.

Health care workers and first responders face serious risks dealing with people who have COVID-19. Bryce and Brittanny Budimir, a married couple in Kankakee, Illinois, both work on the front lines of the pandemic. 

Bigstock

A majority of Americans believe that while their communities will suffer in the short term from the COVID-19 pandemic, they will eventually recover.

And nearly one in 5 people feels their communities will emerge stronger than ever.

That’s according to a new Public Agenda/USA Today/Ipsos Hidden Common Ground survey — conducted at the end of March and released on April 3.

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