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Rutgers Experts Available to Discuss Anniversary of First Confirmed COVID-19 Case in U.S.

Rutgers health experts are available to discuss the one-year anniversary of the first confirmed coronavirus case in the United States, as the country surpasses over 400,000 COVID-19 deaths to date. 

  • Reynold Panettieri, professor at the Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and director at the Rutgers Institute for Translational Medicine & Science, said, “After a year of life-changing, global consequences due to the pandemic, there exist glimmers of hope, cooperation and discovery to help combat the virus which has taken thousands of American lives. Despite the devastating statistics, we have seen unprecedented global efforts in the development of global vaccines and getting those vaccines administered to millions. This human spirit remains unflappable and shows our resilience and a unifying desire to restore world health.”
  • Lewis Nelson, chair of Emergency Medicine at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, said, “Since the coronavirus first appeared in the United States a year ago, our overwhelmed healthcare system and workers have been stressed to the breaking point. Still, they have worked tirelessly to care for victims of the disease and shown resilience evident in emergency departments across the nation. Although patients are still suffering and dying, we have made major strides in understanding the disease process and devising and implementing treatment strategies, all in record time, and making continuous progress towards success that will help get the pandemic under control.” 
  • Perry Halkitis, dean of the Rutgers School of Public Health, said, “We’ve learned two major lessons since the first COVID-19 case was identified in the United States: that politics too often shapes and is at odds with public health, and that epidemics are more than biomedical events and are directed by the complex interplay between biological, behavioral, social, and structural factors. The pandemic has also shown that Black and brown people are more likely to succumb to the disease due to the social, economic, and political conditions that shape their lives and the health inequities across populations. Social justice and health equity need to lead our decisions by giving a voice to people experiencing numerous health problems. We need to create systems where public health, policymakers, and healthcare systems work in tandem to rapidly contain COVID-19 and future epidemics in our country. We must also work tirelessly to change antiquated laws, policies and conditions that keep power and privilege in the hands of a few, as compared to the hands of all.”

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