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Epidemiologist: Get Vaccinated. Wear A Mask. The Pandemic Isn't Over.

River to River, hosted by Ben Kieffer

An update on the COVID-19 pandemic, the sentencing of the man convicted of killing Mollie Tibbetts and a new Waterloo literacy program from Pulitzer Prize-winner Nikole Hannah-Jones.

With the COVID-19 pandemic still in full swing and schools resuming classes, we checked in with an epidemiologist about what you need to know.

On this episode of River to River, host Ben Kieffer speaks with Dr. Melanie Wellington of the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. She said we've not been in school long enough to see the impact beings in classrooms is having on infection rates. That said, there is a surge statewide.

"There's a huge surge amongst everyone in Iowa right now, so it remains to be seen whether we'll be able to see the effect on schools or whether the whole thing is just going to be bundled up into one big surge, but we definitely are seeing a lot of kids and getting a lot of reports of kids getting exposed or having positive tests when they're at school," Wellington said.

More: State Waives Training Requirements For Nursing Home Staff

Later in the hour, we hear about students protesting a UI fraternity over an alleged sexual assault, the sentencing of Cristhian Bahena Rivera and a new child literacy program by the lead writer of the New York Times' 1619 Project. Last, we groove into the weekend with songs from Tim Easton and We Were Promised Jetpacks.


  • Dr. Melanie Wellington, epidemiologist at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics
  • Vanessa Miller, higher education reporter for The Cedar Rapids Gazette
  • Grant Gerlock, reporter for Iowa Public Radio
  • Melody Mercado, eastern suburbs and city of Des Moines beat reporter for The Des Moines Register
  • Mark Simmet, Studio One host for Iowa Public Radio
Ben Kieffer is the host of IPR's River to River
Zachary Oren Smith is a reporter covering Eastern Iowa