Lauren Bavis

Lauren a reporter and editor based at WFYI in Indianapolis. She maintains Side Effects' website, social media accounts (which you can follow on Facebook and Twitter) and newsletter (which you should sign up to get weekly). Lauren graduated from Towson University and moved to Indiana in 2012, where she began her career as a newspaper reporter. She reported on health and social services for the Bloomington Herald-Times. Her work has been recognized by the Indiana chapters of the Society of Professional Journalists and Associated Press Media Editors, as well as the Hoosier State Press Association.  

At a news conference on Aug. 26, Indiana State Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box said it’s crucial for Hoosiers to participate in contact tracing.  

“So If you get a text or a phone call from the state department of health about an important public health matter, please answer the text, answer the call,” she said.  

Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca announced Wednesday morning that its COVID-19 vaccine trial is on hold after a volunteer in the UK had an unexplained illness.

Update, Sept. 9, 2020: AstraZeneca announced that its COVID-19 vaccine trial is on hold. Read more.

The Indiana University School of Medicine announced it has been selected to participate in an international COVID-19 vaccine trial.  

On a Friday evening in late June, Liliana Quintero received a call from one of the Spanish interpreters working at a COVID-19 testing site in Goshen, Indiana. The area has one of Indiana’s higher Latinx populations and higher rates of COVID-19 cases, according to state data.

“[He was] saying, ‘Liliana I need to inform you that the nurse who is in charge of this site just told me that each time that she sees Hispanics coming to this site, she's going to call the police,’” recalls Quintero, director of the Northern Indiana Hispanic Health Coalition, an Elkhart-based health education and advocacy nonprofit.

Kristina Ortiz and Tim Himes aren’t brother and sister by blood, but they might as well be. They’ve never known life apart. Ortiz was six months old when her foster mother brought Himes home from the hospital.  

“I’m always there for you,” Himes said on a video call with Ortiz. 

This story was updated on July 24, 2020 to include additional information on deaths in group homes.

One of the ways Mikaela Coppedge has coped during the COVID-19 pandemic has been through writing poetry. Her poem “The Fear That Is COVID-19," starts: 

“Since the coronavirus outbreak and then the quarantine beginning, life as we know has all somewhat gone to hell.” 

Coppedge has a rare brain disease called Rasmussen’s encephalitis. As a treatment, half her brain was removed when she was three years old.  

Brandon Duncan describes himself as fearless. So when he first heard news reports about the novel coronavirus, the 30-year-old wasn’t afraid for himself. 

“I’m like, how is this going to affect Danny?” he says.

Treva Steele visited her father every day after he moved to Greenwood Healthcare Center in Greenwood, Indiana, in February. Joe Barton, who was 73, was recovering from open heart surgery and on a ventilator.   

Protesters march down High Street in Columbus on June 2, 2020.
Paige Pfleger / WOSU

Public health experts worried that COVID-19 would continue to spread even as states reopen. Those concerns have been compounded recently, as large crowds gather to protest police brutality and the killings of black Americans. 

With more states reopening, public health experts worried that COVID-19 would continue to spread. Those concerns have been compounded recently as large crowds gathered to protest police brutality and killings of black Americans. 

Side Effects Public Media’s Lauren Bavis spoke with Ogbonnaya Omenka, a professor of public health and health disparities at Butler University, about protesting during a pandemic.

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

Nearly half of Indiana’s COVID-19 deaths have been in long-term care facilities. Twenty-three-year-old Aubrey Baker is a qualified medication aid at Wildwood Healthcare Center, a nursing facility in Indianapolis. Her mother, Lenore Williams, oversees the center. They spoke to reporter Lauren Bavis about how the virus has impacted their work, and how it hit close to home. 

About 20 or so women were gathered for a late afternoon video conference. Some had glasses of wine, or cups of coffee. You could see pets in a few frames. It was March 26, when COVID-19 cases were beginning to ramp up in Indiana.

One of the women, Dr. Theresa Rohr-Kirchgraber, posed a question: Was anyone else feeling guilty? 

Continuamos respondiendo a tus preguntas acerca del coronavirus y la COVID-19.

Marvin Miles got a call from his mother on March 27. She had started rehabilitation about a month earlier at Bethany Pointe Health Campus, a skilled nursing facility in Anderson, Indiana. They had spoken almost daily since then, but this call was concerning because it came at 1:35 a.m. 

“She was complaining about she couldn't breathe, and she had been pressing the nurses’ button for over an hour and no one would come in there,” Miles says.

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

Physicians Gabriel and Sarah Bosslet have been married almost 20 years. Sarah was diagnosed early this year with breast cancer. Soon, the world began dealing with another health crisis: the coronavirus pandemic. 

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