Published May 8, 2020

During these unprecedented times, Rutgers University steadfastly remains on the front lines of the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Highlighting this week’s articles featuring the insight and advice from experts throughout Rutgers are stories of the alumni medical lab scientists answering the call for more coronavirus testing. Read on for the latest on how the Rutgers community is bettering the world—by leading the fight against this pandemic and much more.

Friday, May 8

Rutgers’ RUCDR Infinite Biologics has developed the first at-home coronavirus saliva test. The pioneering lab has received an amended emergency use authorization from the FDA late Thursday for the first SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus test that will allow people to collect their own saliva at home and then send it to a lab for results.

Rutgers University Foundation | FDA Approves First At-Home Saliva Collection Test for Coronavirus


William Rodgers, chief economist at Rutgers’ Heldrich Center for Workforce Development, writes in an op-ed for The Conversation that the reasons African Americans are bearing the brunt of the coronavirus recession are not surprising. For instance, “Black Americans have higher likelihoods of losing their jobs because those jobs are concentrated in the hardest-hit sectors of the economy, such as hotels, restaurants, bars, and department stores,” he writes.

The Conversation | Black Americans are bearing the brunt of the coronavirus – this should come as no surprise


Thursday, May 7

Contact tracing has emerged as a key component in the strategy to defeat COVID-19. With assistance from Rutgers University-Newark, the city of Newark has trained more than 200 contact tracers within its police and public health departments to track cases and determine quarantine needs more efficiently. As WPIX Channel 11 reports, the city has also established a walk-up or drive-through test site at Branch Brook Park. “This is one of many testing sites we are going to set up in the city,” said Newark Mayor Ras Baraka.

PIX11 | Newark opens new COVID-19 testing site for residents with insurance


Are there “teachable moments” to be gained from the COVID-19 pandemic—not just about public health, but in other areas such as civics and history? Nicole Mirra, a professor in the Graduate School of Education, coauthors a Washington Post op-ed examining the siloed way in which those subjects are often taught. Arguing that such compartmentalization can prevent young people from fully engaging in the political process, Mirra explores the possibilities of crafting more meaningful civic education in the wake of the pandemic.

The Washington Post | The profound civics lessons kids are getting from the US government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic


Wednesday, May 6

Drawing on his experience as senior counsel to the 9/11 Commission and his long record in other public service roles, John J. Farmer—now director of the Eagleton Institute of Politics—writes that an investigative body similar to the 9/11 Commission should be created to address the COVID-19 pandemic. “The catastrophic scale of the U.S. government’s failure has become increasingly apparent,” says Farmer in a Foreign Affairs op-ed, arguing that this is not only a public health failure but also a breakdown in the “fundamental constitutional duty to ‘provide for the common defense.’”

Foreign Affairs | How to Get the Truth About the Pandemic


In an op-ed for The Star-Ledger, Marc Levine, a clinical assistant professor at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, writes that COVID-19 will create a second wave of patients needing care and surgery for chronic conditions that were put off during the pandemic. “If we have learned anything about COVID-19, it is that it feasts on those with underlying chronic conditions,” Levine writes. “We must not create a population of vulnerable individuals by leaving their chronic conditions unmanaged.”

NJ.comThose suffering from non-COVID illnesses will create a second wave of patients in New Jersey


Tuesday, May 5

“Although the scope and rate of HIV infection don’t begin to match the new coronavirus, both pandemics have forced us to confront how fear, misinformation, and stigmatization can fuel the transmission and impact of a communicable disease,” writes Modupe Coker, an infectious disease epidemiologist at the Rutgers School of Dental Medicine, in a recent Star-Ledger op-ed. Coker, whose work has focused on HIV in sub-Saharan Africa, examines public health measures that slowed the AIDS pandemic over time and what those efforts teach us about battling COVID-19. | Lessons from an earlier pandemic should not be ignored


How and where to obtain childcare was stressful enough before COVID-19, but the pandemic has brought a whole new level of anxiety to the issue. Is it safe to get help from grandparents, nannies, babysitters, or even day care centers that are starting to reopen? The New York Times examines those questions, quoting David Cennimo of Rutgers New Jersey Medical School on the risks and benefits of various forms of care.

The New York TimesWhen Can Child Care Resume? 


Monday, May 4

“It is likely that the practice of modern medicine will never revert to what it was just two months ago,” says Leonard Lee, a cardiothoracic surgeon and professor at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, in a recent Star-Ledger op-ed. Lee explores the paradigm shift COVID-19 has brought about in the medical community and outlines five crucial lessons all healthcare providers and institutions should apply to their work going forward.

The Star-Ledger | A surgeon says COVID-19 has forced us all to learn a few new lessons


Innovation at Rutgers continues to propel thought, discussion, and action in the battle against COVID-19. It is also helping to clarify what constitutes genuine leadership in that battle. Quoting Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Romer, a Star-Ledger editorial highlights the saliva test developed at Rutgers as integral to turbocharging and opening up the U.S. economy.

The Star-Ledger | To open the economy, turbocharge testing