2020 Science Reporting – Large Outlet - Silver

Sarah Kaplan told the heart-wrenching story of Keith Redding, an early March COVID-19 victim who became an important case study for doctors battling the virus. Redding first checked into the hospital with a suspected pneumonia infection. Early CT scans showed a lung symptom doctors have come to associate with the virus called “ground glass opacity.” Redding later experienced a cytokine storm, another tell-tale effect of the virus that occurs when a patient’s stressed immune system mounts an overaggressive internal attack. “This is the tragedy of the coronavirus,” writes Kaplan. “It hijacks the systems that are supposed to protect us. It tricks the body into betraying itself.” Between her vivid scientific descriptions, Kaplan also manages to reveal the loss faced by Redding’s loving wife Dana. Sarah Zielinski, managing editor at Science News for Students, applauded how Kaplan “deftly married coronavirus science with a touching story of loss to create a moving tale that drove home to the reader just how serious and deadly the pandemic was becoming.” Kaplan said Redding’s wife chose to share his story ― and a 3-D image of his infected lungs ― because she believed it would save lives if more people understood the pandemic’s human toll. “I’m grateful for this recognition of Keith’s life and Dana’s courage, and I hope that those who read their love story are moved to make their communities safer from this devastating disease,” Kaplan said.