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Published September 9, 2020

Are we relying too much on disinfectants and not enough on face masks? Why are health authorities giving coronavirus tests to people who have already died? What should we make of Donald Trump’s alleged remarks disparaging fallen soldiers? Addressing these complex questions and others, Rutgers experts provide fresh perspective on healthcare, politics, and countless other areas of public concern. Below are examples from media appearances in the past few days:

The New York Times reports that New York state will test more deceased people for coronavirus and flu to obtain the most accurate death data possible. Valerie Fitzhugh RC’00, NJMS’04, an associate professor of pathology at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, says such testing will aid public health officials in tracking the disease’s prevalence. “People need to know who around them was sick,” says Fitzhugh. “If someone can’t be tested in life, why not test them soon after death?”

The New York Times | New York Will Test the Dead More Often for Coronavirus and Flu

The term “security theater” went mainstream after 9/11 to describe anti-terrorism measures that felt excessive and ineffectual. A recent Washington Post article looks at “sanitization theater,” quoting Rutgers New Jersey Medical School microbiology professor Emanuel Goldman, who says that surfaces are being over-sanitized, giving people a false sense of security. “Surfaces are not really the problem,” says Goldman, acknowledging that some level of cleaning is necessary to combat COVID-19. What health authorities “really should be doing is focusing on the main routes of transmission of this disease, which is breathing.”

The Washington Post | Deep cleans and disinfecting mists might not keep us from getting the virus, but they sure make us feel better

Lyneir Richardson, a professor at Rutgers Business School and executive director of the Center for Urban Entrepreneurship and Economic Development, tells NJTV News that, as indoor dining returns to New Jersey, the next few months will determine the fate of many restaurants in the state. “These next three or four months are going to be really interesting to see what happens between now and the end of the year,” Richardson says. “How many businesses will be able to survive?”

NJTV News | Indoor dining is back at 25% capacity but is it enough for restaurants to survive?

The New York Times reports on recent Rutgers-led research connecting spikes in minimum-wage violations to the increasing vulnerability—and fearful silence—of low-paid workers. “In slack labor markets with high unemployment, we know that workers are just going to be less likely to come forward because they’re more afraid of losing their jobs,” says research leader Janice Fine of the Center for Innovation in Worker Organization at Rutgers. According to Fine and her colleagues, violations persist in part because most cities and states largely rely on workers to file complaints, rather than inspecting workplaces without prompting.

The New York Times | Stiffing Workers on Wages Grows Worse With Recession

Mark Bray GSNB’16, a historian and lecturer at Rutgers University–New Brunswick, talks with NPR about the genesis of anti-fascist movements in the United States. Antifa, he says, is “not a singular organization. It’s a kind of politics or activity of radical opposition to the far right that doesn’t have any qualms about physically disrupting far-right demonstrations. This isn’t something that came about over the last few years. Anti-fascism has a hundred-year history, and this specific strain of militant anti-fascism has existed in the U.S. for several decades.”

NPR | In Many Ways, Antifa Eludes Definition. What Is It Exactly?

Following allegations that Donald Trump called members of the military “losers” and “suckers,” Ross Baker, a distinguished professor of political science in the School of Arts and Sciences, writes a USA Today op-ed reflecting on his family’s long history of military service. Baker also comments on what he sees as the commander-in-chief’s disturbing mindset. Although Trump may “simulate respect for the soldiers and sailors, airmen and Coast Guard…when walking down the stairs from Air Force One,” says Baker, the President’s “feigned respect for these young people must conceal an inner contempt for them.”

USA Today | ‘Losers’ and ‘suckers’: Military service made men in my family nothing like Donald Trump