Published May 15, 2020

Rutgers University’s presence at the front lines of the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic is highlighted in this week’s articles. Each story features the insight and advice from experts throughout Rutgers. Read on for the latest on how the Rutgers community is bettering the world.

Friday, May 15

Businesses are opening up across the U.S., and a lot of people welcome that development. The problem is, the coronavirus likes it, too. “This is a virus that we know is very happy to take advantage of people being careless,” says School of Public Health professor Vince Silenzio in a recent Mashable story. Joining other experts in describing how easily COVID-19 can spread, Silenzio emphasizes that a crowded bar or restaurant is “not a smart place to be from an epidemiological perspective.”

Mashable | What coronavirus outbreaks have in common

Newsweek looks at whether being deficient in vitamin D can increase the risk of death from COVID-19. Sue Shapses, a professor of nutritional science at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, says, “There is ample evidence that vitamin D deficiency is associated with an increased susceptibility to infection, so it makes sense that when persons are infected with COVID-19 and have [very low levels of vitamin D,] they would be at higher risk of fatality due to an inability to fight the infection.”

Newsweek | Does vitamin D deficiency really increase risk of death from COVID-19?


Thursday, May 14

More than 40 inmates and prison workers in New Jersey have died since the COVID-19 pandemic began, and more are likely to die because of inconsistent testing in the state’s correctional system, according to an investigation by NJ Advance Media and reported in The Star-Ledger. “It looks to me like it’s going horribly,” says Sara Wakefield, an associate professor of criminal justice at Rutgers. “I would say it’s going horribly in most states.” | Coronavirus has killed dozens in state prisons. How NJ failed to stop it.

An unpleasant nasal swab convinced Andrew Brooks that a better way to test for COVID-19 was needed. Brooks, chief operating officer and director of technology development at Rutgers’ RUCDR Infinite Biologics, talks to The Washington Post about how RUCDR developed the saliva test and how tests like it will be integral to reopening the country. “We created a scenario to bring the test to the patient,” Brooks says. “That’s the most groundbreaking part of this.”

The Washington Post | An easier coronavirus test is within spitting distance


Wednesday, May 13

Historically, the least fortunate in our society tend to suffer the most during times of crisis, writes David Dante Troutt, a professor at Rutgers Law School in Newark, in an op-ed for NJ Spotlight. “Why would poorer and working-class people trust that this crisis will produce a mutuality of solutions on equitable terms when crises never do?” But he offers suggestions for eliminating some of the deep inequalities that the pandemic has revealed.

NJ Spotlight | Op-Ed: We Say We’re All in This Together, Yet We’re Not an Equitable Society

While we must recognize the tragic scope of the COVID-19 pandemic, its disruption of long-held norms “may reveal things that should change and must change,” says School of Communication and Information professor Marya Doerful in a Star-Ledger op-ed. “A great place to start is the pressure on the American workweek.” Doerful proposes several ways to improve conditions for both employees and managers, asserting that “in the long run, transforming today will better position businesses to succeed after this crisis is over.”

The Star-Ledger | Businesses should take this opportunity to create a new normal for employees


Tuesday, May 12

A Rutgers study found that while COVID-19 is rare in children, it is far from harmless. A co-author of the study, Lawrence Kleinman RC’79, director of the integrated data core at Rutgers’ Institute for Health, Health Care Policy, and Aging Research, tells U.S. News & World Report, “The idea that COVID-19 is sparing of young people is just false.”

U.S. News | COVID-19 Still Rare in Kids, But Far from Harmless

With warm weather on the way and COVID-19 fading, it’s time to jump in the pool—right? Not so fast, says Rutgers School of Public Health professor Henry Raymond in a recent Yahoo! report. It’s true that sunlight and chlorinated water kill microbes, but public swimming pools—like all public spaces—still present opportunities for the virus to spread. Raymond and other experts offer advice on how to safely make a splash this summer.

Yahoo! Life | Is is safe to go to public pools this summer?


Monday, May 11

How risky is it to reopen state and county parks in New Jersey? Why are recreation areas treated differently than other public spaces? The Star-Ledger explores those questions with help from Henry Raymond, an epidemiologist at the School of Public Health, and other experts. Saying he now views park settings as relatively low-risk, Raymond also cautions that predications are as difficult as ever due to the coronavirus incubation period.

The Star-Ledger | Was reopening NJ parks a good idea? Here’s how soon we’ll know

While the Asian giant hornet, or murder hornet, has made its much-heralded appearance in Washington state, those of you wondering whether the insect could soon be spreading across the country can breathe a sigh of relief. “The species has not yet been detected this spring and we do not expect them on the East Coast,” says Rutgers entomology professor Dina M. Fonseca. “We do not know how the species arrived in the United States, but it is important to not overreact.”

The Philadelphia Inquirer | Asian giant ‘murder hornets’ buzz into the U.S. Could they get to Philly area?