Published November 23, 2020
How should an academic community prepare for the challenges of the future, and are the most daunting challenges long-term or nearly upon us? Will the public square ever again be a place of safety and wellbeing? How quickly can the American economy recover from the pandemic? Media platforms seek out Rutgers experts to shed light on these questions, providing fresh perspective on education, healthcare, politics, and more.
The Chronicle of Higher Education convened a panel of higher education leaders to discuss how they can better support faculty members during this difficult time. Rutgers President Jonathan Holloway was on the panel and the piece quotes several of his comments, including this one: “We’re going to come out of this, somehow, in about a year’s time, but this is a three- or four-year challenge in terms of faculty job satisfaction, job security, the market, work-life balance, etc. …acknowledging that there’s going to be a long tail to this virus is an important thing to point out.”
The Chronicle of Higher Education | The Long Tail of an Unprecedented Crisis
There’s little evidence that deep cleaning of surfaces lowers the risk of contracting the novel coronavirus, according to an article in The New York Times. Emanuel Goldman, a professor of microbiology at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, told the Times that there is strong evidence that transmission via surfaces of the virus that fueled the 2002–2003 SARS epidemic was minor. “There is no reason to expect that the close relative SARS-CoV-2 would behave significantly different,” he added, referring to the new coronavirus.
The New York Times | The Coronavirus Is Airborne Indoors. Why Are We Still Scrubbing Surfaces?
When will the dream of “herd immunity” against COVID-19 become a reality? Professor Goldman addresses the question in TIME. “Not until a substantial proportion of the population is vaccinated, and the caseload has dropped to very low levels, will we be able to breathe (without a mask) a sigh of relief,” says Goldman, pointing out that researchers must continue tracking changes in our microscopic adversary as it finds fewer and fewer welcoming hosts. Even when we appear to be out of the woods, Goldman adds, “the virus might have other ideas and try to change in a way that makes the vaccine less effective.”
As vice president, Joe Biden led the Obama administration’s efforts to pull the United States out of the 2008 recession. But he was criticized by some as being too cautious in distributing government aid. Philip Harvey, a professor of law and economics at Rutgers Law School in Camden, says that providing income support directly to individuals and households would speed up a post-pandemic recovery when Biden becomes president in January. The aid back then, Harvey tells NBC News, “was not distributed directly to the people. It was all trickle-through and that’s what slowed it down. If the focus is on services to the unemployed and marginalized communities, that would get the money out very quickly.”
Since half of all U.S. voters are women, shouldn’t the makeup of Congress reflect that? In an op-ed for The Hill, Rutgers professor Debbie Walsh says both major U.S. political parties should strive for that goal. “The 2020 elections were an experiment for the Republican Party,” says Walsh, director of the Center for American Women and Politics. “The results of that experiment were enormously successful.” She adds that “both parties need to take advantage of the momentum that brought us past 25 percent and keep building until 50 percent no longer seems like some distant, unattainable future.”
Bees play a crucial role in our global ecosystem, but there has never been a comprehensive map of bee species distribution around the world—until now. Rachael Winfree, a professor in the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, adds her insight to a CNN story about a groundbreaking study of bee habitats at various latitudes. “The authors of this paper are the world experts on this topic, and their work is a big step forward for the field of biodiversity conservation,” says Winfree, who underscores “the critical importance of bees as pollinators.”