Published May 22, 2020

Memorial Day Weekend is normally a time for the outdoors, mass social gatherings, and an informal start to the summer season – but this year, in the middle of the global pandemic, America goes into the long weekend with some collective anxiety. As citizens, businesses, and local governments lay out a way back toward (relative) normalcy, Rutgers continues to lead the course. University experts have been at the forefront of understanding the virus which has brought the globe to a grinding halt, and have been offering key guidance to local officials, communities, and media outlets about moving forward safely.

Friday, May 22

The federal coronavirus relief packages were less effective than they could have been because they ignored the ways that the pandemic would inevitably harm some communities more than others, according to an op-ed in The New York Times co-written by Salamishah Tillet, a professor of African-American studies at Rutgers University–Newark. “We propose that governments at the local, state, and federal levels, as well as philanthropies, analyze the impact the funding would have on women, men, boys, girls, and nonbinary people across race and class and other social identities. Then they should ensure the money is allocated in a way that alleviates inequality, rather than reproduces it,” Tillet and her co-author write.

The New York Times | How We Spend Tells Us Whose Lives Matter

According to a New Jersey report issued this week, the state lost three-quarters of a million jobs and its unemployment rate soared to a record high of 15.3 percent in April. The report laid bare the devastating economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, as the disease wiped out all of the job gains of the last decade in single month. James W. Hughes, University Professor at the Rutgers School of Engineering, said, “it clearly is the worst monthly job loss in the history of New Jersey.”

The Asbury Park Press | NJ jobless rate soars to record 15.3% in April during coronavirus pandemic


Thursday, May 21

The city of Paterson, New Jersey, is taking steps to control COVID-19 through aggressive contact tracing efforts, according to The New York Times. Perry N. Halkitis, dean of Rutgers’ School of Public Health, calls contact tracing “one of the few tools that we actually have in the absence of a vaccine” to fight the pandemic.

The New York Times | As the Nation Begins Virus Tracing, It Could Learn from This N.J. City

While it’s still unknown if people are immune to the coronavirus if they’ve already had it, there’s a high possibility for this to be the case, says Dr. David Cennimo, an infectious disease specialist who teaches at the Rutgers New Jersey Medical School in Newark. “For other respiratory illnesses, you can contract the same virus but will generally not experience the symptoms as severely the second time around.” | Coronavirus question: If I already had the coronavirus, am i now immune to it?


Wednesday, May 20

Why do some viruses die off during the summer but not others? Mashable talks to Siobain Duffy RC’00, an associate professor at Rutgers’ School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, who studies emerging viruses. Flu viruses and coronaviruses are surrounded by a fatty shell, making them more susceptible to heat and “easier to kill,” Duffy says. The story also quotes Vincent Silenzio RWJMS’91, SPH’92.

Mashable | Why some viruses die out in summer, but others thrive

Whether telemedicine remains a staple of the American health care system after the pandemic subsides remains to be seen. But for now, virtual doctor visits have many benefits, including for COVID-19 patients who are recovering, says Frank Sonnenberg, a professor of medicine at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. “We can give them a device called a pulse oximeter, which measures the oxygen level in their blood,” he says. “…they’re not taking up a hospital bed…and we prefer not to have infected patients in the hospital setting if we don’t need to,” he tells TAPinto.

TapInto Franklin-Somerset | Rutgers Expert Says Telehealth Will Likely Be New Norm After Pandemic Subsides


Tuesday, May 19

What will going to the gym look like once the pandemic has receded? Will it even be safe to do so? The Star-Ledger explores those questions with Henry Raymond, associate director for the Center for COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness at Rutgers. “There are a lot of possible transmission behaviors that could happen in a gym context,” says Raymond. “I hope as people (evaluate the situation), they think not just about themselves and their freedom but what it means for the people around them and the community as a whole.”

The Star-Ledger | Is it safe to go to the gym? A N.J. coronavirus expert answers our questions.

Don’t fret too much if you gain a little weight during lockdown, says Charlotte Markey, an associate professor of psychology at Rutgers University–Camden and an expert on body image. She tells KYW News that while a lot of people may be feeling guilty about indulging these days, they shouldn’t be too hard on themselves. “This will pass,” she says. “We can go back to the gym. We can go back to other eating habits. Maybe just eat a little extra cake now and call it a day.”

KYW NewsRadio | Expert suggests not to fret if you’ve gained weight during the pandemic


Monday, May 18

With so many masks on the market now, it can be confusing to know which kind of mask will be most effective in fighting COVID-19, while also being comfortable enough to make you want to wear it. Mitchel Rosen GSNB’12, an assistant professor at Rutgers’ School of Public Health, offers some tips in a story in The Star-Ledger. “The mask should be made from two layers,” he says. “Wear the mask to make sure it is comfortable so that you feel confident wearing it when you are out of your home.”

The Star-Ledger | Customer asks if these face masks are safe? Here are the questions you need to ask.

A study by Rutgers University’s Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences has reproduced evidence that man-made climate change now has a greater effect on sea level rise than Earth’s orbit.

The Independent | Earth’s orbit controlled sea-level rise for millennia but now it’s driven by man-made climate change, study reaffirms


Support in Crisis

Rutgers medical workers and students need your help