The World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic—the first pandemic caused by a coronavirus—on March 11. Many people have questions about what to do, how to prevent spreading, who is at risk, and the best ways to adjust as we practice social distancing.
“As a public institution, Rutgers is a key health resource for the state,” says Brian L. Strom, chancellor of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences. “Our researchers and clinicians are working to address this outbreak, and we will continue to be a key partner for our state and federal agencies to ensure the health of our population.”
To help you stay informed during these challenging times…
Since early March, Rutgers Global Health Institute has been compiling the below selection of articles that feature insight and advice from experts throughout Rutgers. Their diverse perspectives underscore the complex interplay of factors that define global health. We are also active on Twitter: @RutgersGHI.
Recently, Rutgers launched a new webpage full of expert information on COVID-19 and related topics. This page is part of #weRUnited, a multifaceted campaign that demonstrates Rutgers’ role on the front lines of positively impacting COVID-19. You can find the latest articles there.
A New Way to Accurately Estimate COVID-19 Death Toll
news.rutgers.edu – April 30
Engineer Hoang Pham has created a mathematical model that accurately estimates the death toll linked to the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States and could be used around the world. “The COVID-19 pandemic might be over in the United States, meaning no more American deaths, by around late June 2020,” says Pham, a distinguished professor in the School of Engineering.
COVID-19 Showing Suburbs Are Just as Vulnerable as Cities
nytimes.com – April 29
Public health and medical experts weigh in on the dynamics of COVID-19 in urban and suburban settings. Tanaya Bhowmick, an infectious disease physician and assistant professor at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, says there might be a perception that people are safer in suburban neighborhoods, which “obviously isn’t true.”
More Essential Than Ever, Low-Wage Workers Demand More
npr.org – April 28
Activism and labor organizing among low-wage and gig workers are among the topics that Janice Fine, associate professor in the School of Management and Labor Relations, discusses in regards to “an extraordinary moment” in the labor movement. “COVID — it’s like an X-ray of all the existing relationships of power and inequality and problematic issues in the labor market,” she says.
I helped treat the 1st COVID-19 patient in New Jersey. It provided a teachable moment.
nj.com – April 26
Urgent care physician Ron Weiss explains why his encounters with COVID-19 patients seeking emergency treatment are, in fact, appropriate opportunities to discuss the role of diet in treating their underlying diseases. These patients are, hopefully, more mindful of their circumstances and can evolve to make positive behavioral changes, writes Weiss, who is also an assistant professor of clinical medicine at New Jersey Medical School. He goes on to discuss points about whole plant foods’ effects on the immune system, including potentially helping to prevent cytokine storms. He also talks about our food system’s influence on zoonotic disease, climate change, and biodiversity loss.
What needs to happen before your boss can make you return to work
mashable.com – April 25
There will need to be extraordinary efforts on the part of employers, employees, and governments in order for tens of millions of Americans to return to workplaces while significantly limiting the spread of infection. School of Public Health associate professor Michael Gusmano discusses the public health interventions that would need to be in place—but are not yet, fully—in order to send people back to work en masse, as well as the reality that some jobs cannot be done from home or with people maintaining safe distances from one another. “This is truly unprecedented. This is like the 1918 flu and the Great Depression at the same time,” says Christopher Hayes, a labor historian at the School of Management and Labor Relations. Unlike previous recessions and depressions over the last 100 years, though: “People now have to worry, ‘Is it safe to go to this job?’” he says.
Coping with grief in a time of COVID-19
nj.com – April 25
As COVID-19 losses mount, people are not able to get together with family and friends to mourn. How to cope with the “double-whammy” challenge of loss and isolation is the subject of an op-ed by grief expert Judith McCoyd, an associate professor in the School of Social Work. She offers specific suggestions for grievers—starting with, “Be gentle with yourself”—and a list of resources that includes online support groups.
‘Game-changer’ coronavirus test from Rutgers could screen 10K daily as key part of N.J. reopening plan
nj.com – April 24
During the State of New Jersey’s daily press briefing, Chancellor Brian Strom of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences joined Governor Phil Murphy to discuss the university’s role in expanding coronavirus testing throughout New Jersey. Rutgers is working to increase the number of its saliva-based tests that can be performed each day by ordering more equipment and securing technicians.
COVID-19 having significant impact on America’s food industry
newjersey.news12.com – April 23
“Tremendous” is how Bill Bamka describes the pandemic’s impact on the food industry. The head of Rutgers’ cooperative extension in Burlington County, a division of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, says there is “plenty of food,” but the supply chain is disrupted. For example, food sold at grocery stores is packaged differently than for restaurants and schools. “You have to change how you package things, which doesn’t happen overnight,” he says.
Rutgers launches nation’s largest study of health care workers exposed to COVID-19
phillyvoice.com – April 23
Rutgers has launched the nation’s largest prospective study of health care workers exposed to COVID-19. The study includes a series of clinical trials that will explore new drug treatments, antibody testing, and longterm health tracking in the hope of providing insight into how to treat COVID-19 and prevent its spread. Researchers hope to discover what puts people at greatest risk for acquiring the infection and why most get mild illness but some become severely ill, according to Martin Blaser, director of the Center for Advanced Biotechnology and Medicine. More than 800 employees from Rutgers, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, and University Hospital have volunteered to participate.
Earth Day 2020: Ways the Planet and Environment Have Changed Due to COVID-19
newsweek.com – April 22
Falling greenhouse gas emissions, drops in air pollution, and changes in seismic activity are a few examples of how unprecedented reductions in human activity are having a big impact on the planet. On the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, Karen O’Neill, professor of human ecology in the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, talks about the movement’s evolution to recognize that the quality of life for people around the world is directly related to environmental health. The degradation of ecosystems around the world contribute to the spread and severity of COVID-19, she says. “The pandemic is a reminder that there is no separation between humans and the environment.”
Testing and treatments for COVID-19 must be free or cheap for those who can’t afford to pay
nj.com – April 20
Pediatric infectious diseases expert Glenn Fennelly writes that efforts to counter COVID-19 with therapies, social distancing, and eventually vaccination will not succeed unless these treatments are fully accessible to those on the margins: the homeless, incarcerated, and undocumented. A professor of pediatrics at New Jersey Medical School, Fennelly references HIV, tuberculosis, and hepatitis A dynamics and also outlines steps to prevent the risk of COVID-19 spreading in marginalized communities and threatening the wider population.
With such uncertainty, maybe students should stay close to home for college
nj.com – April 19
Chancellor of Rutgers University–New Brunswick Christopher Molloy pens an op-ed that expresses reasons for high school seniors to consider choosing a college in their home state this year, calling it a “smart option.” He touts the benefits of higher education in New Jersey, at Rutgers and colleges.
The scarlet C: Coronavirus survivors face the stigma and discrimination
latimes.com – April 18
Infected people being shunned by first responders and racist outbursts against Asians are just two examples of pandemic-fueled stigmas proliferating nationwide. At the same time, there are many instances of people and communities working together and overcoming biases, says Richard Marlink, director of Rutgers Global Health Institute and a veteran of HIV/AIDS research and public policy. “How we respond to the pandemic is a measure of who we are, a measure of our goodness,” Marlink says. “The pressure we should put on ourselves is, this is an opportunity to be human.”
Are Crowded Cities the Reason for the COVID-19 Pandemic?
scientificamerican.com – April 17
Placing too much blame on urban density is a mistake, according to economists Jason Barr, an associate professor at Rutgers University–Newark, and Fordham’s Troy Tassier. Currently, it may seem that density is a main driving force of the disease hotspots across the country, the authors write. But that is only because these urban travel hubs attracted the first bolts of lightning.
Lessons From Wuhan: The Role of Social Workers During the COVID-19 Pandemic
socialworktoday.com – April 16
The role that social workers can and must play during this pandemic has not been clearly outlined, declares a panel of four authors that includes Nicole Milano, a licensed social worker and School of Social Work doctoral student. They advocate that health care systems and public health departments need to identify which populations are at an even higher risk of exposure due to social context, and whether preventive measures and medical treatments are being provided equitably.
This Newark Hospital is at the Forefront of a Promising COVID-19 Treatment
tapinto.net – April 16
University Hospital and New Jersey Medical School (NJMS) are, through their joint FDA-approved convalescent plasma program, collecting plasma donations from patients who have recovered from COVID-19 and infusing it into patients still struggling to fight off the virus. Marc Klapholz, chair of NJMS” Department of Medicine and the hospital’s chief of medical service, explains that the presumed antibodies in the plasma may improve seriously ill patients’ chances for survival.
Ethics and Evidence in the Search for a Vaccine and Treatments for Covid-19
thehastingscenter.org – April 15
There is mounting interest for researchers to start conducting studies with humans as soon as possible to find a vaccine and therapeutic treatments that are safe and effective, write Hastings Center research scholars Karen Maschke and Michael Gusmano, who also is an associate professor at Rutgers School of Public Health. The authors are “not eager to see Covid-19 interventions join the list of others that entered the clinic on the basis of limited or contested evidence of effectiveness and then harmed patients or proved to be ineffective. ” They suggest that effective strategies to minimize this risk require commitment from scientists, physicians, policymakers, patients, and the general public.
Deadly infectious agents like COVID-19 are more likely as our contact with wildlife grows
nj.com – April 15
The COVID-19 pandemic clearly illustrates that the health of humans is interlinked with the health and well-being of animals, all other species, and the environment, writes a Rutgers-Princeton panel representing New Jersey’s division of the Regional One Health Consortium, which is co-chaired by Gloria Bachmann, professor at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. They urge the state’s residents to support a legislative initiative that encourages the collaborative efforts of experts working across the human, animal, and environmental health fields in order to improve the health of people and animals, including pets, livestock, and wildlife.
What Are We Going to Do About Structural Inequities Highlighted by Pandemic?
njspotlight.com – April 15
The pandemic is just starting to be examined through a racial-equity lens, write Nancy Cantor and Peter Englot, the chancellor and senior vice chancellor for public affairs, respectively, at Rutgers University–Newark. The disparate effects on health, jobs, housing, food, and education are glaring. Cantor and Englot ask: “Will we act on what we know now to buffer the disparate impact of the next equivalent assault on our communities?”
What it means to be immune to the coronavirus
mashable.com – April 15
A bedrock of immunology is, if a virus infects you, and you fight off the infection, you develop an immunity to it for some time, even if you had mild symptoms. School of Public Health professor Vince Silenzio is among the experts who explain what is—and isn’t—known about the novel coronavirus in terms of immunity in humans.
Stigma Hampers Iraqi Efforts to Fight the Coronavirus
nytimes.com – April 14
Religious and cultural beliefs, plus a deep suspicion of the government, have made people ashamed and afraid of getting tested in Iraq. An exploration of factors that influence—and are influenced by—the stigma attached to illness and quarantine in the country includes comments from Omar Dewachi, associate professor of medical anthropology in the School of Arts and Sciences. He says it’s “not easy to tell people that the coronavirus is stronger than God.”
NJMS and University Hospital Prepare for a Surge of COVID-19 Patients
njms.rutgers.edu – April 14
Faculty doctors Mark Einstein and Debra Chew discuss elements put in place at Newark’s University Hospital, such as an incident command center as well as redesigned units and temporary spaces to house COVID-19 patients. Professor Einstein, currently serving as the hospital’s interim chief medical officer, and Chew, assistant professor of medicine in the infectious diseases division, also talk about personal protective equipment and workers’ dedication and readiness to assist.
Rutgers Medical School Students Mobilize to Support Health Care Workers Fighting COVID-19
news.rutgers.edu – April 14
From dog walking and grocery runs to coordinating personal protective equipment donations and assisting with new telehealth initiatives, medical students at Rutgers are volunteering their assistance to support the health care workforce, patients, and communities in New Jersey.
New Rutgers Saliva Test for Coronavirus Gets FDA Approval
news.rutgers.edu – April 13
More people can be tested more easily with a new testing approach developed by Rutgers’ RUCDR Infinite Biologics and partners. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted emergency use authorization for the test, which uses saliva instead of nose and throat swabs. In addition to the ability to increase testing capabilities, another benefit includes freeing up more personal protective equipment for use in patient care, because health professionals would encounter less risk of infection while conducting this new test. Rutgers personnel have communicated with the White House’s COVID-19 testing task force about expanding testing.
Rutgers’ Empty Computer Labs Put to Use Testing Possible COVID-19 Treatments
news.rutgers.edu – April 11
Through a research consortium called Folding@Home, more than 1,250 campus computers are providing research labs with additional computing power to support their work predicting the efficacy of potential COVID-19 treatments. It can take trillions of calculations to discover the molecular properties and processes involved with the virus and potential drug therapies— and that’s where the computer lab’s machines can help.
Coronavirus Exacts Greater Toll on Communities of Color
njspotlight.com – April 10
African Americans appear to face an oversized burden when it comes to COVID-19 infections and related deaths. The disproportionate impact of the coronavirus is not unexpected, according to medical experts that include Denise Rodgers, vice chancellor of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences and a professor of family medicine and community health at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. African Americans and other communities of color have long had less access to quality health care than white residents and suffer higher rates of underlying medical conditions.
Limited health care access further divides ‘haves’ from ‘have-nots’
healio.com – April 9
Like most other aspects of health care, social determinants of health play a role in the COVID-19 pandemic. In the United States, testing strategies do not reflect the level of infection in poor communities, according to Richard Marlink, director of Rutgers Global Health Institute. Access to testing was inequitable and clustering in the rich zip codes, he says. Marlink and other experts cite many low-paid workers’ inability to work from home or avoid public transportation and their often inadequate health benefits as reasons for disparate outcomes.
Finding employment during the coronavirus pandemic: A glimmer of hope for college seniors
inquirer.com – April 9
A job market that looked relatively good before the coronavirus has been upended. Higher education career development professionals, including program coordinator Scott Borden and senior director William Jones of the Rutgers Office of Career Exploration and Success, share their perspectives and tips for graduating college seniors.
Experts: As numbers drop, measures already taken should remain in place
newsday.com – April 7
Epidemiologist Henry Raymond, associate professor in the School of Public Health, is among the experts who warn that the longterm trajectory of COVID-19 is still unclear. An indicator that social distancing measures are working should be if new hospitalizations continue to decline in number, he says. Eliminating new infections is difficult, Raymond continues, because grocery stores and other essential businesses remain open.
How to use disposable gloves so they actually protect you
mic.com – April 7
Clinicians’ instructions include tips on wearing gloves that fit well, changing them often, removing them safely, disposing of them properly, and washing your hands after. Suzanne Willard, a nurse clinician and professor in Rutgers’ School of Nursing, also cautions that gloves can decrease an individual’s mindfulness about touching (or, not touching) things.
Covid-19 in South Asia
linkedin.com – April 7
A data-driven discourse on COVID-19 dynamics throughout the eight-country region cites the number of cases to be small compared to that reported in several other countries. Jaya Satagopan, a professor in the School of Public Health and director of the Center for South Asian Quantitative Health and Education, writes that this should not become grounds for complacency, and that efforts to control the pandemic should reflect the region’s diversity.
Rutgers-Camden coronavirus tracker suggests New Jersey curve starting to flatten
politico.com – April 6
A database created by Sarah Allred at Rutgers’ Senator Walter Rand Institute for Public Affairs indicates that the speed with which new deaths are announced is starting to slow. Allred, the Rand Institute’s faculty director, notes that it will take a few days to know if this is really a trend, which may suggest that the governor’s stay-at-home order is having its intended effect.
Clinical trial for drug combination to treat coronavirus is fast-tracked by Rutgers
nj.com – April 6
Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey has begun a clinical trial that will examine whether hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malaria drug some doctors are administering as an off-label use to treat the coronavirus, is more effective when taken with azithromycin, an antibiotic. Rutgers Cancer Institute director Steven Libutti, who is overseeing the trial, says it is imperative that a controlled clinical trial with a large patient population takes place in order to ensure the integrity of the results being gathered. Libutti also is senior vice president for oncology services for RWJBarnabas Health.
Tipping point: Mental health expert says 2-week mark could easily be psychological test for homebound N.J. workers
roi-nj.com – April 6
A “surge of feelings” this week wouldn’t be surprising, says Frank Ghinassi, president and CEO of University Behavioral Health Care. Americans are very connected to their work, so the physical distance combined with the psychological separation may begin to affect people around the two-week mark, he suggests, anecdotally. Working Americans do not have much experience being isolated and away from their normal routines for longer than two weeks. Ghinassi also notes that people who already are predisposed to being alone (the elderly, for example) or predisposed to other psychological issues (such as anxiety and depression) may have a harder time adjusting.
People die if we don’t have a clear, unified message about the virus
nj.com – April 6
There is massive communication breakdown through the ranks of our government and among politicians, public health experts, the federal government, and state governments, writes Soumitra Bhuyan, assistant professor of health administration at Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy. He offers examples to support his perspective about a deep divide between conservatives and liberals that has manifested in creating a divided American society—a divide that is perilous during a public health crisis.
Should You Wear a Face Mask to Protect Against the Coronavirus?
news.rutgers.edu – April 3
As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to climb in New Jersey and throughout the country, there is debate over whether people should be wearing face masks when they leave home. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now recommending that individuals wear cloth masks in public. Martin Blaser, director of the Center for Advanced Biotechnology and Medicine and professor of medicine and microbiology, says there is clear scientific evidence that masks work, provide some protection against a virus, and should be worn.
Explainer: Why Ventilators Are Critical and How NJ Is Preparing for a Possible Shortage
njspotlight.com – April 3
In all the uncertainty surrounding effective treatment of COVID-19, mechanical ventilators are seen as vital to prolonging the life of many patients. Already, some New Jersey hospitals are nearing, or have hit, full ventilator capacity. Andrew Berman, professor of medicine and director of the pulmonary/critical care medicine division at New Jersey Medical School, discusses the lifesaving equipment from different angles.
New coronavirus test developed at Rutgers can screen thousands and it’s as simple as a spit in a tube
nj.com – April 1
In what could represent a major advance in the fight against coronavirus, a Rutgers research lab—RUCDR Infinite Biologics—has developed a new test using existing automated technology able to analyze tens of thousands of patient samples each day to detect COVID-19.
Rutgers Expert Explores Impact of COVID-19 in Sub-Saharan Africa
news.rutgers.edu – April 1
COVID-19 has reached many sub-Saharan African countries that are already suffering from malnutrition and disease, under-resourced health systems, and limited economic funding. Richard Marlink, director of Rutgers Global Health Institute and a leader in the global response to HIV/AIDS, discusses how this pandemic is likely to impact the African region and what can be done to help these countries.
Will the COVID-19 crisis trigger us to rethink our ideas about authoritarian-style leadership?
nj.com – March 31
The stark contrast between many of President Trump’s leadership behaviors in comparison to those of Anthony Fauci, Andrew Cuomo, or Deborah Birx, for example, makes it clear that exaggeration, defensiveness, and self-promotion serve no helpful purpose, writes Brent Ruben, distinguished professor of communication and senior university fellow for the Center for Organizational Leadership.
Yes, Mr. President, health care workers actually need all those masks
nj.com – March 31
An op-ed by Barbara Ostfeld, a pediatrics professor at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, urges President Trump to gain understanding about the healthcare workers and settings that require more personal protective equipment, including masks. She challenges his expressed disbelief that the number of masks being requested are actually needed by describing scenarios one might encounter in a hospital setting.
Rutgers Acute Care Surgeon Turns to Hobby for PPE Solutions
news.rutgers.edu – March 30
Acute care surgeon Joseph Hanna, an assistant professor and medical director of emergency general surgery at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, is experimenting with 3D printing to find solutions to dwindling PPE (personal protective equipment) resources during the pandemic.
Some Instacart workers strike, others demand more as coronavirus alters labor landscape
nbcnews.com – March 30
Independent contractors who work for Instacart, an app-based company that offers same-day grocery delivery services, are striking. The guaranteed protections they are demanding include hand sanitizer, wipes, and hazard pay. School of Management and Labor Relations associate professor Rebecca Kolins Givan says that many U.S. workers who had been disrespected and their jobs degraded during past crises are now being seen by the American public as “deserving of respect and decent wages.”
Tips for Navigating the COVID-19 Crisis at Home with Teens, Young Adults
news.rutgers.edu – March 30
Compared to young children, teenagers and young adults living and learning at home during the COVID-19 crisis may be feeling the loss of social connections and life experiences while struggling to manage their time. Ann Murphy, director of the Northeast and Caribbean Mental Health Technology Transfer Center and an associate professor at the School of Health Professions, addresses how to navigate challenges related to social distancing, stress, remote learning, emotion regulation, and activities other than school and social media.
Are you washing your hands frequently (and you should)? Then, you need to thank Ignaz.
nj.com – March 28
A 19th-century Hungarian physician, Ignaz Semmelweis, was the first to provide overwhelming evidence that handwashing has the power to ward off illness and infection, according to Daniel Fine, chair of the oral biology department and director of the Center for Oral Infectious Diseases at Rutgers School of Dental Medicine. This was a radical notion at the time and the medical world denounced it, leading to Semmelweis’s downfall, says Fine.
Rutgers University Among First in Country to Expedite Graduation of Medical Students
news.rutgers.edu – March 28
New Jersey Medical School (NJMS) announces that 192 final-year students will graduate early to help in the fight against COVID-19. They will be eligible to begin residencies in the coming weeks; residency locations, such as hospitals, will make the determination whether the students can begin early. Sixty-two NJMS students matched to hospitals in New Jersey, and 58 matched to hospitals in New York, including 43 in New York City. First-year residents are critical members of care teams and are supervised by attending physicians.
Bosses are panic-buying spy software to keep tabs on remote workers
latimes.com – March 27
With so many people working remotely because of the COVID-19 pandemic, surveillance software is “flying off the virtual shelves.” Software features, managers’ and employees’ perspectives, and legal dynamics are discussed. For example, Rutgers Law School professor Stacy Hawkins suggests that employers are going too far if the monitoring software remains active after business hours.
‘Very close’ to more effective coronavirus testing, health expert says
cnbc.com – March 26
Comparing the COVID-19 outbreak to an iceberg—and we can only see the tip, currently—public health researcher Marila Gennaro says that an antibody test will enable much greater measurement of the pandemic. The New Jersey Medical School professor of medicine explains that testing whether a person has antibodies against this particular virus will help to identify individuals who have been infected, even if they were not tested for the virus itself, and, therefore, may be immune. It also will help officials learn much more about the virus and its broader effects, which is critical information for creating a vaccine and treatments.
New coronavirus test with results in 45 minutes exceeds expectations, Rutgers says
nj.com – March 25
David Alland’s laboratory, part of New Jersey Medical School’s Public Health Research Institute, was asked to “test the test” before it hits the market. Alland calls the results “wonderful” and says that the first prototype provided very accurate results and could detect the virus in small amounts.
Our goal should be to stop COVID-19, not slow it down
nj.com – March 25
In their op-ed, Rutgers Business School professor of supply chain management Alok Baveja and colleague Ajai Kapoor write that the goal should be to stop the virus, and they suggest the “theory of constraints” methodology. To do this requires creating enforceable, proactive, time-bound, and zonal physical restrictions, they posit, and cannot rely exclusively on voluntary measures.
Some U.S. Leaders Take ‘Do as I Say, Not as I Do’ Virus Stance
apnews.com – March 25
Traveling abroad, working out in gyms, and shaking hands are among the business-as-usual behaviors that some U.S. leaders have not ceased, despite public health officials’ strongest recommendations aimed at curbing the spread of the novel coronavirus. School of Communication and Information professor Itzhak Yanovitzky, who studies behavior change communication, explains the impact this can have on the general public. He says that there is a segment of the population already disinclined to take the risks seriously; therefore, inconsistencies between what influential people say and do can undermine the health mandates.
Experts Ponder Causes of New York’s ‘Breathtaking’ Outbreak
nytmes.com – March 25
If it were its own country, New York state would rank fifth in the number of coronavirus cases, after China, Italy, Spain, and Germany. Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences chancellor Brian Strom is among the scholars who offer likely reasons and commentary. Strom acknowledges federal officials’ onus, in terms of testing and conflicting messages about the virus’s threat.
Economic cost of the ‘cure’ is not worse than the disease — here’s why
thehill.com – March 24
This opinion piece acknowledges economic realities while also offering three reasons that the economic risks of social distancing and widespread shutdowns should not be as prominent in policymakers’ minds as the risks of mortality caused by the virus. Author Stuart Shapiro, professor and director of the public policy program at Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, elaborates on nongovernmental reasons for the economic slowdown; the government’s capacity to mitigate economic damages; and worst-case scenarios of allowing the disease to spread versus an economic slowdown.
Will ‘herd immunity’ work against coronavirus?
foxnews.com – March 24
Experts around the world discuss aspects of herd immunity in relation to the novel coronavirus outbreak. Stanley Weiss, a professor of medicine and epidemiology at New Jersey Medical School, underscores that there are still too many unknowns, meaning that herd immunity can’t be relied upon amid the crisis. He also notes that herd immunity requires that the virus won’t change in ways causing it to evade such protective immunity, and that other similar but different coronaviruses don’t emerge.
‘You can’t social distance in a county jail’: South Jersey prepares to release some inmates amid COVID-19
pressofatlanticcity.com – March 24
Cited as a calculated risk, a number of inmates are set to be released this week from New Jersey jails after an order was signed by a state judge aimed at mitigating the spread of COVID-19 through the facilities statewide. Rutgers Law School professor J.C. Lore explains that the law outlines the process for identifying qualified inmates and steps to monitor them upon release. He says that these are people who already were scheduled to be released “somewhat soon.”
Coronavirus Has ‘Devastating’ Impact on Domestic Violence Survivors — How They Can Get Help Now
people.com – March 24
Home is not always safe. Social distancing has a serious impact on child and adult victims of violence and abuse, according to Amanda Stylianou, a national expert on domestic violence and health outcomes and the director of quality improvement at University Behavioral Health Care. Concerns about financial security, inability to seek in-person support from friends and family, and uncertainty about available services are also factors that influence domestic violence dynamics during this pandemic.
Scientists are in a race to find a coronavirus antidote. Are they close?
njtvonline.org – March 24
There is no evidence yet that the antimalarial drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, or anything in the pipeline to treat COVID-19, actually work, explains Vincent Silenzio, a professor in the School of Public Health. He says that results so far have been both “encouraging and mixed—but mostly mixed.”
Helping Children Cope with the Stress of the Coronavirus Crisis
news.rutgers.edu – March 24
As the mental and emotional toll of the coronavirus pandemic unfolds, parents are learning how to create a new sense of normalcy for their children while maintaining social distancing and remote learning. The key, says Kelly Moore, a licensed clinical psychologist and program manager for the Children’s Center for Resilience and Trauma Recovery at University Behavioral Health Care, is to establish routines, have age-appropriate conversations, and validate children’s concerns.
The most important thing to know about social distancing
mashable.com – March 24
Epidemiologists, including School of Public Health associate professor Henry Raymond, discuss how long social distancing measures may need to last, why, and how it might be determined that restrictions can ease. He says that he does not expect a “flattening of the curve” in New Jersey for another month.
Rutgers Researchers Evaluate New Rapid COVID-19 Test
news.rutgers.edu – March 23
Rapid decisions about quarantine, hospital isolation, and treatments may be possible with a point-of-care test that Public Health Research Institute director David Alland and colleagues Padmapriya Banada and Sukalyani Banik are evaluating. An advantage of this test, developed by Cepheid to detect SARS-CoV-2 and given Emergency Use Authorization clearance by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, is that it is very fast and easy to perform without the need for a centralized laboratory.
Is it fair to gamble with other people’s lives during a pandemic?
nj.com – March 23
Philosophy professor Alexander Guerrero, School of Arts and Sciences, asks readers to consider how their choice to not practice social distancing will impose risk upon others. “If you are still going out in a normal way—to meet up with groups of friends, to the beach, on that trip—get a pen and paper. Write this down: ‘If I get seriously sick with COVID-19 and there is a shortage of medical equipment, please prioritize others over me. Ignore my age, prognosis, and other factors that might ordinarily put me ahead of others in line. Sincerely, ________.’ Now, ask yourself: are you willing to sign?”
Coronavirus is a killer. But this artist won’t reduce it to a cartoon villain.
washingtonpost.com – March 22
Molecular biologist David Goodsell uses computer graphics and simulation to explore structure/function relationships in biological systems. The research professor created a watercolor of the coronavirus that depicts it as a cross-section and uses a color scheme he invented. He explains that the omnipresent CDC-produced version of the coronavirus image also incorporates artistic license; while it’s “scrupulously faithful” to the virus’s structure, an electron microscope would render a coronavirus “as a gray blob with imperfectly spherical form and a dark shadow around the characteristic crown-shaped spiky covering.”
How to survive a pandemic: HIV experts and activists on lessons learned
nbcnews.com – March 22
Amid the global COVID-19 outbreak, HIV/AIDS experts, activists, and survivors share takeaways from the early days of the AIDS crisis. School of Public Health dean Perry Halkitis reflects on the misinformation that circulated early in the AIDS epidemic, including that it was a CIA conspiracy or that it could only infect gay men. He also discusses the role of the public’s attitude about a disease outbreak and how stigma interferes with testing and prevention measures.
Rutgers community discusses domestic violence, abuse resources while social distancing
dailytargum.com – March 22
The COVID-19 crisis can create a “terrifying reality” for children and adults that experience abuse and violence in their homes, where everyone is spending much more time. The student-run independent newspaper interviews professionals throughout Rutgers and current students, who provide perspectives on factors such as the current lack of activities that can provide a welcome escape for individuals with unsafe home environments, as well as the importance of using social media to reach out to people and share resources, such as hotline numbers.
Dr. Martin Blaser Answers Coronavirus Questions From Twitter
wired.com – March 21
When should we expect to see mutations? Does COVID-19 have a lifespan? Is coronavirus the 0.01% that soaps and sanitizers can’t kill? Center for Advanced Biotechnology and Medicine director Martin Blaser responds via video to questions asked on Twitter.
Coronavirus is leading us to the future of health care. It’s called ‘telemedicine’
nj.com – March 19
In the United States, two significant barriers to the adoption of telehealth services are reimbursement and lack of awareness among patients, writes Soumitra Bhuyan, assistant professor of health administration at Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, in an opinion piece. The recent lifting of restrictions on Medicare reimbursement for telehealth services is the right move, he says, in order to expand the capacity of the nation’s health care system and protect health care workers. Also citing lessons learned from China, he suggests leveraging telehealth for community outreach and to detect community-based transmissions.
Yes, it’s safe to order restaurant takeout during coronavirus outbreak, expert says
nj.com – March 19
Food scientist Donald Schaffner, a distinguished professor in the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, considers the effect of stomach acid on the virus if it were to be ingested on food. He also offers tips for having food delivered, such as paying in advance with a credit card to limit physical interaction with the driver as well as carefully removing your food from the container and putting it on a fresh plate.
The Ethical Way to Ration Coronavirus Hospital Care
bloomberg.com – March 17
In an opinion piece, the author consults Nir Eyal, Henry Rutgers Professor of Bioethics, who says that coordination and uniformity across hospitals is critical when it comes to rationing decisions. The alternative to a uniform plan is arbitrariness—or a system where the people with the most money or the sharpest elbows get the best care.
How to Take Care of Your Mental Health While Social Distancing
news.rutgers.edu – March 17
Elissa Kozlov, a licensed clinical psychologist and instructor at the School of Public Health, discusses ways to stay engaged and healthy. From virtual book clubs and dinner dates to smartphone apps for practicing mindfulness and helping with insomnia, she encourages people to be proactive about their mental health.
Morristown Needs Community and Generosity to Beat COVID-19
morristowngreen.com – March 17
Fear is a critical factor influencing behavior during the pandemic, according to Linda Stamato, a faculty fellow and codirector of the Center for Negotiation and Conflict Resolution at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, and psychotherapist Donna Gaffney. Their op-ed refers to a spectrum of responses, such as denial, refusal to act responsibly, and full-throttle measures to protect the community.
When Coronavirus Kills, the Lung Condition ARDS Can Be the Culprit. Here’s what you need to know.
inquirer.com – March 17
Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is one of the most severe complications caused by the novel coronavirus. Reynold Panettieri Jr., vice chancellor of clinical and translational science, is among the experts offering deep knowledge on the complexities surrounding the syndrome, as well as perspective on its role within the COVID-19 pandemic.
3 Myths About the Coronavirus that Are ‘Ignorant at Best’
today.com – March 16
Holding your breath for 10 seconds to test your lungs, sipping water every 15 minutes to flush the virus, and drinking water warm instead of cold are three misconceptions that have been circulating on social media. New Jersey Medical School’s David Cennimo, assistant professor of medicine and pediatrics in the infectious diseases division, offers his perspective on why people may believe there is truth in these claims and provides evidence-based medical information.
Park Rangers Are Still Exposed as Coronavirus Spreads
mashable.com – March 16
Labor management expert Susan Schurman, a distinguished professor in the School of Management and Labor Relations, describes the “management failure” that is National Park Service superintendents’ lack of authority to close tourist-packed, high-risk areas in their parks. In times of crisis, she says, operational decisions should be made at the local level.
Coronavirus, Isolation Causing Anxiety, Depression? Here are resources to help.
nj.com – March 16
Activating your virtual social network may help you cope with stress, loneliness, and uncertainty during these challenging times, says Frank Ghinassi, president and CEO of University Behavioral Health Care. He recommends staying connected to friends and family through phone calls, social media, and video chatting.
How to Disinfect Your Homes Against COVID-19
nj1015.com – March 16
Advice from associate professor Siobain Duffy, who researches emerging viruses in the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, includes how to use bleach, rubbing alcohol, and hydrogen peroxide to create disinfecting solutions. She also cites data—or lack thereof—on the use of vinegar and tea tree oil.
Will the Coronavirus Pandemic Uncover Our Students’ Digital Inequality?
nj.com – March 15
Inconsistent access to computers and high-speed internet is just one example of how low-income families may be “under-connected,” write Vikki Katz and Amy Jordan, faculty in the School of Communication and Information. As families navigate the challenges of home-based, remote school instruction, factors such as parents’ educational level, English-language proficiency, and ability to be home, period, also will exacerbate inequalities.
How to Stop Touching Your Face All the Time, According to Experts
goodhousekeeping.com – March 13
Tips to avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth include advice from dermatologist Cindy Wassef, assistant professor at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. An itchy scar, dry skin, eczema, and acne are conditions that may influence face-touching, she says, and medical treatment can help. The story also discusses olfactory triggers and acceptable counter-behaviors to break the unhealthy habit.
Does vaping make you more susceptible to coronavirus?
cbsnews.com – March 10
Given that individuals with chronic lung disease are especially at risk of contracting COVID-19, it plays to reason that vaping might also make a person more susceptible, as it has been shown to cause lung damage. Michael Steinberg, professor of internal medicine at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and director of the Tobacco Dependence Program, explains that e-cigarette aerosol contains chemicals that can cause an inflammatory response in the lung tissue, and, in general, inflammation can lead to tissue damage, cause airway constriction, and has the potential to increase risk of infection. More evidence is needed, he says, to understand the extent of such damage in humans.
As Coronavirus Recession Threatens, Economists Recommend Cash for People
cbsnews.com – March 10
Gig economy workers, such as Uber drivers and DoorDash delivery couriers, are unlikely to have paid sick leave. If they are unable to work due to COVID-19, a government bailout in the form of cash provided directly to individuals could go a long way, says Rebecca Kolins Givan, an associate professor at the School of Management and Labor Relations.
This is Why Soap is So Effective at Stopping Spread of Coronavirus
newsweek.com – March 9
Experts, including Donald Schaffner, a distinguished professor of food science in the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, explain why a humble bar of soap is one of the most important weapons in our arsenal against COVID-19. He also discusses the different effects of hand sanitizers.
Who is Most at Risk for Coronavirus? Cancer patients, elderly, and chronically ill face biggest threat.
nj.com – March 6
Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey’s Andrew Evens, associate director for clinical services, explains that many types of chemotherapy inadvertently damage the immune system temporarily as the medication destroys rapidly growing cells—including blood cells that fight infection. As for individuals with some autoimmune diseases, such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and type 1 diabetes, their immunosuppressant treatments can leave them vulnerable to infections, according to Patricia Whitley-Williams, chief of pediatric allergy, immunology, and infectious diseases at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and president-elect of the National Foundation of Infectious Diseases.
Everything You Need to Know About Coronavirus Transmission
shape.com – February 28
Infectious disease specialists including physician Pinki Bhatt, instructor at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, describe how the coronavirus can spread from person to person.
Universitywide COVID-19 Information
From symptoms of COVID-19 to information about classes and events, get the answers to frequently asked questions facing the Rutgers community. A task force, appointed by University President Robert L. Barchi, frequently updates this website, which is Rutgers’ official source for COVID-19 information.