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COMIC: Why A Pregnant St. Louis Doctor Chose To Leave The Front Lines

Dr. Matifadza Hlatshwayo Davis is an infectious disease doctor with the Washington University School of Medicine.

When the coronavirus began spreading in the St. Louis region, Dr. Matifadza Hlatshwayo Davis was about seven months pregnant.

Like other doctors at the Washington University School of Medicine, she began to prepare herself in early March for the risks of treating patients who could be contagious with a dangerous virus that experts knew very little about.

But after examining a patient who had a fever, cough and other symptoms of COVID-19, she started to wonder if seeing patients in person would be too risky for her and her child.


David Kovaluk contributed to this illustrated report.

Eli Chen is the science and environment reporter at St. Louis Public Radio. She comes to St. Louis after covering the eroding Delaware coast, bat-friendly wind turbine technology, mouse love songs and various science stories for Delaware Public Media/WDDE-FM. Before that, she corralled robots and citizen scientists for the World Science Festival in New York City and spent a brief stint booking guests for Science Friday’s live events in 2013. Eli grew up in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, where a mixture of teen angst, a love for Ray Bradbury novels and the growing awareness about climate change propelled her to become the science storyteller she is today. When not working, Eli enjoys a solid bike ride, collects classic disco, watches standup comedy and is often found cuddling other people’s dogs. She has a bachelor’s in environmental sustainability and creative writing at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and has a master’s degree in journalism, with a focus on science reporting, from the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism.
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