Posted April 1, 2020

Highlights from recent stories about Temple in the media

Faculty experts shed light on the legal, medical, psychological and economic impacts of the coronavirus outbreak.

flag with Temple T
Photography By: 
Joseph V. Labolito

With the global spread of COVID-19 affecting daily life, Temple University faculty have been sought out by reporters to lend their expertise, whether that means explaining scientific findings, providing historical context for current events or weighing in on modern life, as it related to the novel coronavirus. See what they’ve had to say.

Help for small business owners
The massive coronavirus economic relief package signed into law last Friday will provide additional assistance for small-business owners and nonprofits, including a $10,000 advance on an Economic Injury Disaster Loan. In order to qualify for the advance, you need to submit a new application. “But, the good news is that the new application is simpler and you don’t lose your place in line,” said Maura Shenker, director of the Small Business Development Center at Temple, which hosts online seminars about how to apply for loans. 
Philadelphia Inquirer | April 1, 2020

Epidemiologist speaks on flattening the curve
In the absence of a vaccine, communities are counting on the idea that social distancing will help curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. Krys Johnson, a professor of epidemiology and biostatistics, has been following the studies. According to Johnson, isolation and quarantines could start showing a decrease in the virus’ spread over four weeks and a return to some semblance of normalcy a month after that.
Bucks County Courier Times | March 28, 2020

Financial rescue package could help Philadelphia, Fox dean says
Many Americans will soon receive direct payments from the federal government after the passing of a $2.2 trillion rescue package to combat the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. The money is especially needed in Philadelphia, the nation’s poorest big city. “We have more people that are going to need these checks,” said Ron Anderson, dean of Temple University’s Fox School of Business. “These checks are going to be important for them to pay rent, to get groceries, just to keep the day-to-day things going on. So this is really important to Philadelphia.”
Philadelphia Inquirer | March 26, 2020

Immunologist on how the pandemic might end
The best-case scenario, explained Thomas Fekete, chair of Temple’s department of medicine and professor of microbiology and immunology, is akin to a fire burning through a land mass before petering out because there’s nothing left to burn. The idea is that with extreme social distancing measures—more like the total-shutdowns enacted in China—there would be no way for new people to become infected, Fakete told Philadelphia magazine. “That could put an end to it in a month or two,” he said.
Philadelphia magazine | March 24, 2020

Professors on how Philly came through past pandemics
Several faculty members were quoted in an Inquirer story on how the city endured prior plagues. “At no time in the history of America have people been asked to shut down their normal day-to-day lives and convert them as radically as we are being asked,” Emeritus Temple Professor of Sociology David Elesh explained. “In the short term, we’re probably being asked to do more as Americans than ever before.” But the pandemic is not unprecedented, said Matt Wray, a Temple medical sociologist and an expert on pandemics. “Epidemics have ravaged the globe to a far greater extent than we’re seeing now,” he added. Morris Vogel, professor emeritus of history at Temple and an expert on the history of medicine and public health, explained that in 1793, yellow fever wiped out 5,000 of 50,000 citizens of Philadelphia, then the nation’s capital, forcing President George Washington to decamp to Germantown.
Philadelphia Inquirer | March 22, 2020

Amid shelter-in-place orders, tips for managing anxiety 
Professor of Educational Psychology Frank Farley offered advice for coping with the stress of isolation and uncertainty. “Keep standard habits. Your everyday habits of sleep, get as much exercise as you can, eat as well as you can,” Farley told local news outlets. If you have kids, he said, try to keep them engaged while at home and don’t feel it necessary to fill them in on all of the details of the pandemic.
KYW Newsradio, CBS3 | March 20–22, 2020

Are smokers at increased risk from coronavirus?
Gerard Criner, chair and professor of thoracic medicine and surgery and director of the Temple Lung Center, and Aditi Satti, associate professor of thoracic medicine and surgery and director of the Smoking Cessation Program at Temple University Hospital, were interviewed about whether smoking or vaping puts individuals at increased risk for complications from COVID-19. According to Criner, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) can develop after years of exposure to smoking and one Italian study found that 26% of people who died of COVID-19 had COPD. “There’s always a benefit to stopping smoking even if you smoked a long time,” he added. Satti, who has had to put his in-person smoking cessation programs on hold, is urging folks interested in quitting to visit the Pennsylvania Free Quitline.
Philadelphia Inquirer | March 20, 2020

Placing the COVID-19 outbreak in historical context 
Associate Professor of History Hilary Iris Lowe spoke to the Jewish Exponent about the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918: “Young nursing and medical students were pressed into service as early as possible,” Lowe said. “They were encouraged to take ‘fresh air walks’ in Fairmount Park to cope with the mental strain.”
Jewish Exponent | March 18, 2020

Law professor on what quarantine means and how it can be enforced
“Home quarantine, and even probably most institutional quarantine, depends on voluntary compliance,” explained Scott Burris, professor and director at Temple University’s Center for Public Health Law Research. “That’s why making sure that people CAN comply (by making sure they have good food and can pay their bills if they miss work) is so important. [...] Occasionally you get some bonehead or bad person who breaks quarantine, and in law they can be fined and, in some places, even held under lock and key. But that is rare.”
Huffington Post | March 9, 2020

All links were active when the stories were compiled, but can change over time. Some media outlets require paid subscriptions.