We’re On It: COVID-19 Resources to Stay Informed and Join the Pandemic Response

As people around the world — with a variety of backgrounds and expertise — are working to slow the spread of COVID-19, many questions have surfaced. What does a pandemic mean on a global, local and personal scale? How can leaders address the multitude of challenges that come with a global health crisis? What, on an individual level, can be done to help?

By acknowledging that we’re all in this together, everyone can do their part. Faculty, students and staff at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health are leading the way with innovative strategies while providing information to others who are interested in joining the response.

How the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health Is Pursuing Solutions to COVID-19 

Coronavirus Information Portal
Resource: Information Page
Created by public health experts at the Gillings School, this resource provides a variety of information for anyone who wants to know more about the virus and prevention. Contents includes research from faculty, a global cases map, infographics about proper disinfection techniques and a recording of a seminar on COVID-19.

Coronavirus Affects Everybody: The Gillings School Responds
Resource: Article
Researchers and practitioners from every discipline at the Gillings School are turning their expertise into action to support the pandemic response. This article — the first in a weekly series — highlights each department in the School and their role in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Coronavirus Drug Shows Promise at UNC
Resource: Video
This video featuring virologist and Gillings School assistant professor Timothy Sheahan, PhD, offers a behind-the-scenes look at the lab work being done to find an antiviral drug treatment for COVID-19.

“Right now, there are no approved antiviral drugs for any human coronavirus,” Sheahan said. “So basically, we have no weapons in our arsenal.”

Sheahan is working with other researchers on the development of remdesivir, a drug that is currently in clinical trials and could help treat severe COVID-19 cases if successful.

COVID-19 Resources for Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute
Resource: Information Page
In collaboration with the Lactation and Infant Feeding in Emergencies (L.I.F.E.) Initiative, this resource provides current information and links to additional resources to help individuals stay up to date on emerging guidance for infant feeding amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The website includes guidance from the World Health Organization, UNICEF and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and offers references related to human milk banking and infant feeding.

UNC-TV Science: Your Coronavirus Questions Answered
Resource: Video
Understanding the basics of how to slow the spread of COVID-19 is an important part of fighting this outbreak.

“There is so much that is unknown about the new coronavirus,” said Sheahan. “We don’t know how the virus ultimately will behave in this population in the United States.”

In a video clip for UNC-TV, he answers frequently asked questions about the novel coronavirus. This resource can be shared with friends and family members to help dispel misinformation.

UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health in the News

Charlotte Talks: Your Questions About Coronavirus Answered
Resource: Audio
Outlet: WFAE
When COVID-19 cases emerged in North Carolina, radio station WFAE assembled a panel of experts to answer listeners’ questions about the pandemic. In addition to Gillings School professor Ralph Baric, PhD, the panelists include Claire Donnelly, WFAE’s health reporter, and Jonathan Studnek, deputy director at Mecklenburg Emergency Medical Services Agency.

Curing Coronavirus: Inside a Secret Lab That’s Working on a COVID-19 Vaccine
Resource: Podcast
Outlet: Tying it Together with Tim Boyum
Tying It Together is a news podcast hosted by North Carolina reporter and anchor Tim Boyum. In this episode, he talks with researchers at a Gillings School lab who are working to find a vaccine. The episode also explains the science behind vaccines and explores the possibility of future viruses and pandemics.

One Graphic Shows How Long the Coronavirus Lives on Surfaces Like Cardboard, Plastic, and Steel
Resource: Article
Outlet: Business Insider
Concerns about taking public transportation, receiving packages and completing other day-to-day tasks that may put people in contact with the coronavirus have inspired questions about how long the virus can live on different surfaces. This article includes insight from Gillings School assistant professor Rachel Graham, PhD, on the relatively low risk of exposure to the virus via packages received in the mail.

“We know that viruses are likely to only live a few hours to a few days under the sort of conditions we expose packages to, including shifts in temperature and humidity,” she said.

The article also includes a graphic that illustrates the lifespan of the novel coronavirus on different materials.

Stocking Up for the Coronavirus: What You Need
Resource: Article
Outlet: U.S. News & World Report
There is a difference between being prepared for isolation and panic buying, the latter of which can leave others in need of essential products necessary for daily living. This article from U.S. News & World Report guides consumers on what to buy when preparing for isolation as a result of the pandemic. The piece also includes recommendations from Bill Gentry, director of the Community Preparedness and Disaster Management program and associate professor of health policy and management at the Gillings School.

The Ethics of Staying Home in the Face of Coronavirus
Resource: Article
Outlet: Quartz
This article from Quartz includes insight from public health professionals on balancing the ethical responsibility of slowing the spread of COVID-19 with meeting one’s personal needs. In the article, Gillings School associate professor Jim Thomas, PhD, explains the American Public Health Association’s code of ethics, saying, “We lose some of our autonomy by being in a society, and we take on obligations by living with others.”

What Should You Do About Your Babysitter During Coronavirus?
Resource: Article
Outlet: The New York Times
Parents who regularly use caregivers are struggling with child care decisions amid recommendations to isolate during the COVID-19 pandemic. This New York Times article includes advice from Gillings professor Allison Aiello, PhD, on how parents can set boundaries and establish new routines to keep everyone safe. One such tip from Aiello: “Caregivers should be encouraged to wash their hands and remove shoes upon entry to the home.”

Why the Coronavirus Has Been So Successful
Resource: Article
Outlet: The Atlantic
This article from The Atlantic shares insights on the spread of the coronavirus and what needs to be done to address it. It includes analysis from Gillings School assistant professor Lisa Gralinski, PhD.

“The virus has been remarkably stable given how much transmission we’ve seen. That makes sense, because there’s no evolutionary pressure on the virus to transmit better,” she said. “It’s doing a great job of spreading around the world right now.”

You Probably Don’t Need to Worry About Getting Coronavirus From the Packages You’re Ordering, But Here’s What You Can Do to Be Sure
Resource: Article
Outlet: Business Insider
Should people be concerned about exposure to COVID-19 from packages they receive in the mail? In most cases, no, according to this article for Business Insider, which explains how different materials affect the lifespan of the coronavirus. For those who want to err on the side of caution, Gillings assistant professor Rachel Graham, PhD, weighs in with a recommendation to spray cleaning solution on a package, wait five to six minutes, and then wipe it down. Additionally, Graham noted that individuals should avoid touching their face and wash their hands after handling a package.

Citation for this content: MPH@UNC, the Gillings School of Global Public Health’s online MPH program.