The Charger Blog

University of New Haven Experts Discuss Impact of Coronavirus

An interdisciplinary panel of experts came together on March 9 to answer questions about COVID-19 and discuss how members of the University community can protect themselves and others from the virus.

March 26, 2020

By Renee Chmiel, Office of Marketing and Communications

Coronavirus Panel.
An interdisciplinary panel of experts discussed the impact of the coronavirus.

Dikshya Neupane ’21 MHA was in the audience for a panel discussion on March 9 that addressed growing concerns about the coronavirus. A native of Nepal, Neupane wanted to learn as much as she could about COVID-19.

“The panelists provided good information to the University community,” she said. “It was an important reminder to students to be self-aware – of both our actions and of what we can do to keep ourselves and others safe.”

Moderated by Summer McGee, Ph.D., dean of the University’s School of Health Sciences, the panel took place just hours before the University announced it was, in response to the coronavirus global pandemic, cancelling in-person classes and instituting remote learning across the University. Since then, the University has extended remote learning for the remainder of the spring semester.

Titled “Perspectives on COVID-19: Science, Safety, and Society,” the talk brought together experts in several fields, including virology, bioethics, and emergency preparedness. Endeavoring to educate the campus community, they discussed monitoring the virus, the development of a potential vaccine, and the impact the virus has had on society.

"Take steps to protect yourself and others, but do not panic." Dikshya Neupane '21

Jess Holzer, Ph.D., an assistant professor of health administration and policy, discussed some of the policy-focused issues the virus has raised, including the distribution of resources such as sanitizer and masks. She also discussed the financial impact the virus is having.

“As we ask people to self-quarantine, it may sound reasonable – until you consider that you may be asking someone to forgo this month’s rent money or their kid’s daycare money if they are missing work,” she said. “We have to ask, as a society, what are we going to do for these people?”

The panel included Anna Kloc, Ph.D., an assistant professor and expert on viruses; Carleta Maurice, M.S., M.T., director of the University’s Medical Laboratory Science Program; and Karl Minges, Ph.D., MPH, chair of the University’s Health Administration and Policy Department. They offered advice, including how students can protect themselves and those around them.

Picture of panelists.
The talk brought together experts in several fields.

Terry Cooper ’21 MPH, an emergency response coordinator in the city of New Haven’s Office of Emergency Preparedness who also spoke as part of the panel, discussed the response to the virus and offered tips to students.

“Think about the objects you touch every day,” he said. “Objects such as door handles, cell phones, pens, and credit cards are typically touched by other people. Bring your own pen. Be aware, but remember that paranoia and fear will only make this worse.”

Students, faculty, and staff members were encouraged to wash their hands often. For Neupane, the message that resonated the most was another recommendation that experts made throughout the discussion.

“Take steps to protect yourself and others, but do not panic,” she said.

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