Jacobs School COVID-19 Resource Site

Updated March 31, 2020 at 9:21 AM

The Jacobs School is following the University's recommendation to “maximize distance learning” for classes and learning experiences where possible.

Admissions During the COVID-19 Pandemic

We know you have questions about how the coronavirus (COVID-19) could impact your impending enrollment, especially if you are traveling to us.

Students, Trainees, Faculty and Staff

Information specific to medical students, residents, fellows, graduate and undergraduate students is available on our password-protected site.

Access requires a valid UBITname and password.

Jacobs School Faculty Experts on COVID-19

3/31/20
An article in The Buffalo News featured observations from Erik J. Jensen, MD, an Erie County Medical Center anesthesiologist and clinical assistant professor of anesthesiology in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, who warned of the unprecedented urgency and unknown of the COVID-19 virus. “These were the sickest patients I have ever cared for in 25 years of doing this medicine thing,” wrote Jensen. “The whole floor was full of sick people and absolutely shell-shocked staff.”
3/31/20
Articles about the chances of people living in apartment buildings contracting COVID-19 quote Thomas A. Russo, MD, professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases. “Theoretically if someone is infected we are pretty confident as long as the person stays in the room the risk [of transmission] should be low,” Russo said. If you feel sick, “you need to go ahead and stay in the house … you should not go out unless you have no other options.”
3/30/20
Thomas A. Russo, MD, professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, was interviewed about the potential impact COVID-19 could have on Western New York. “A common question I’m getting is, ‘I want to have a small group gathering for Easter, can I do it safely?’ ” Russo said. “The answer is no, you can’t do so with 100 percent certainty. There’s the whole asymptomatic issue, which makes it impossible to be sure that you are not infected.” 
3/30/20
Clinical laboratories in Buffalo racing to find new ways of testing for the novel coronavirus are facing a shortage of supplies, especially nasal swabs, transport tubes and reagents. “Like there’s a run on toilet paper, there’s a run on all these things,” said John E. Tomaszewski, MD, professor and chair of pathology and anatomical sciences. “We really need access to reagents. That’s the A No. 1 thing.”
3/30/20
A report about two 1-year-old children in Niagara County diagnosed with COVID-19 quotes Thomas A. Russo, MD, professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases. “Nearly all children regardless if they are less than 1 or older are going to get through this without any serious consequences,” he said.
3/27/20
Articles about the fact that while beards may be covered in germs, they are likely not increasing a person’s chances of getting or spreading COVID-19 interview Thomas A. Russo, MD, professor of medicine and chief of infectious diseases, who explained the importance of trimming facial hair for health care workers: “For health care providers, beards present a problem because getting a good, tight fit for N-95 masks is difficult. Certainly, big fluffy beards are a big problem because unless they’re trimmed way back, you might not be able to get a good seal, making it not effective.”
3/27/20
A story about playing it safe when visiting local parks interviews Thomas A. Russo, MD, professor of medicine and chief of infectious diseases, who encouraged people to get outside. “Outside is better than inside. A lot more air volume to disperse the virus in exercise is good and we’re all getting a bit antsy inside. So I think that’s a great idea to take those walks to make sure you maintain your distance from others,” he said.
3/26/20
WBFO interviewed Nancy H. Nielsen, MD, PhD, senior associate dean for health policy in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, for a story about the now 70,000-plus health care professionals who have volunteered to help the state battle COVID-19. “Doctors and nurses run to where trouble is. We always have done that,” said Nielsen, a clinical professor of medicine who has volunteered for the program.
3/26/20
Medical Xpress reports on insights by Dennis Z. Kuo, MD, associate professor of pediatrics and chief of the Division of General Pediatrics in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, who said the COVID-19 pandemic’s social and economic consequences have already begun to affect the most vulnerable children — those with disabilities. Kuo is chair of the Council on Children with Disabilities of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
3/26/20
Thomas A. Russo MD, professor of medicine and chief of infectious diseases, was quoted in a  story in which he says Western New York is “at a critical tipping point.” Russo also said that “Even with optimal testing, it’s been estimated that detection of positive cases represents about 10 percent of the overall caseload. I think it’s quite certain that we probably have close to 2,000 plus cases.”
3/25/20
A Buffalo News story on New York State’s need for ventilators interviews Sanjay Sethi, MD, professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, who explained what ventilators do. “They assist the lungs to get air in and out. You can control the volume of air, what rate it goes in, how much oxygen you add to it,” Sethi said.
3/24/20
On the Shredd and Ragan show, Thomas A. Russo, MD, professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, gave an update on COVID-19. “Cases are still on the rise in New York state, the country and globally,” Russo said. It’s important to note that documented cases are an underestimation of total actual cases, he explained, adding: “Our testing hasn’t quite been optimal.” Russo emphasized that if a person develops symptoms of the coronavirus, they should stay home to prevent spreading it. He recommended that if a person experiences shortness of breath, they should contact their health care provider to find out if they need further evaluation. Russo also briefly discussed clinical trials, a potential vaccine and the biology of coronaviruses. 
3/23/20
Steven L. Dubovsky, MD, professor and chair of psychiatry, provides expertise in an article discussing how the coronavirus pandemic has the potential to make people feel as if they are hypochondriacs. Hypochondriasis, what we typically call hypochondria, can be a serious illness, in which case it consists of “a preoccupation with the idea of being ill and spending so much of your time and effort looking for a diagnosis and treatment that you can’t function normally,” explains Dubovsky. “In more minor forms, hypochondriacal preoccupations are common in all of us when we feel stressed,” he says. His advice to anyone struggling with anxiety about how they physically feel: “Shut off the 24-hour news.” Dubovsky notes that for peace of mind, and for physical well-being, it’s crucial to take precautions including social distancing and proper hand washing.
3/23/20
Sanjay Sethi, MD, answers COVID-19-related questions about testing, the measures medical professionals are taking to protect themselves while treating COVID-19 patients, and the length of the contagious period. He also provides insight into whether it’s helpful to have an up-to-date pneumonia vaccine and whether smoking has an effect on the body’s ability to fight the virus. Sethi is a professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine.
3/20/20
Thomas A. Russo, MD, professor of medicine and chief of infectious diseases, fielded viewer questions related to the coronavirus on WKBW-TV. He covered potential resistance to the virus among those who have already been infected and how to deal with non-virus related medical care. He noted that someone who is scheduled for routine follow-up appointments who is not experiencing any problems or symptoms should stay home. “But if an acute problem develops or you have underlying disease and symptoms, then you should call your health care provider,” he said.
3/19/20
Thomas A. Russo, MD, professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, is quoted about supermarkets offering special hours for shoppers over 60 as a way to reduce the risk of exposure to the population most susceptible to the novel coronavirus. The well-intentioned concept is not necessarily safe, according to Russo. “Albeit a grocery store is fairly expansive in terms of airspace, it’s still an enclosed system,” Russo said. “It’s not quite as close quarters as a cruise ship, but it’s a variation of the model in my mind.”
3/19/20
An editorial in The Buffalo News by Timothy F. Murphy, MD, senior associate dean for clinical and translational research at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, cites a recent study that demonstrates the effectiveness social distancing had on curbing the spread of infections during the 1918 influenza pandemic. “For social distancing to be effective, each of us needs to commit to it,” he wrote. Murphy, SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases, added: “The evidence is clear that a community-wide effort will reduce transmission of coronavirus infection and save lives. But, it will only work if we all do it.”
3/19/20
Thomas A. Russo, MD, professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, was interviewed about a recent study that found coronavirus could remain viable in the air for hours and on some surfaces for days. “I think the greatest risk remains if that person coughs or sneezes when you’re in close proximity. And that close proximity we’ve been talking about now to the best of our knowledge is six feet,” Russo explained. The findings suggest that the virus is detectable up to four hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to two or three days on plastic and stainless steel. “It survived less well on cardboard and copper. Copper does have some potential anti-viral activities. It survived longer on stainless steel and on plastic,” Russo said.
3/19/20
WGRZ-TV relied on the expertise of Thomas A. Russo, MD, professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, for its story on the shortage of the multifaceted coronavirus test. There are multiple steps to accurate testing, according to Russo. “It’s a little more complicated than some of the basic tests that we do,” he said.
3/18/20
Timothy F. Murphy, MD, senior associate dean for clinical and translational research, was quoted in stories on the risks Florida’s crowded beaches have in potentially spreading COVID-19. “This is how it is going to spread,” said Murphy, an infectious disease expert who is SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine and director of UB’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute. “In order for social distancing to work, everyone has got to do it. It’s not going to work unless everyone buys into it.”
3/18/20
A story on the burden carried by the state’s health care system in response to the coronavirus situation quotes Thomas A. Russo, MD, professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, on the possible lack of ventilators in the area. “I’m concerned we could be in the negative,” Russo said.
3/18/20
As the coronavirus continues to spread globally, Nancy H. Nielsen, MD, PhD, discusses how the virus could affect female health-care professionals. Nielsen, senior associate dean for health policy and clinical professor of medicine, says many women in health care are balancing a demanding work life and home life. Female health care workers “also have responsibility to take care of parents, who are older, and school-aged children … So their lives are enormously impacted by worrying about elderly relatives and by school closures.” Additionally, Nielsen explains that when people from the general public hoard N95 respirator masks, it prevents health-care workers — who are at the greatest risk — from accessing them.
3/17/20
COVID-19 coverage in The Buffalo News included a story that quoted Anne B. Curtis, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor and Charles and Mary Bauer Professor and chair of medicine. Most COVID-19 patients will be able to recover at home and would have no need for a conventional hospital bed, according to the story. “I really would worry about the ICUs – and not only that, but the number of respirators that we have,” Curtis said.
3/16/20
Thomas A. Russo, MD, professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, appeared on WIVB-TV talking about actions by New York State to mitigate the spread of the new coronavirus and who should get tested and how the number will spike in the coming weeks.
3/14/20
Thomas A. Russo, MD, professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, is interviewed about the importance of efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19. “If you were going to have a chance of getting infected, would you rather do it now or six months from now or a year from now?” he said. “The answer is the longer we can push this off, the better the possibility that new treatments and drugs come online, and a vaccine — albeit that could be 18 months away.”
3/14/20
Roseanne C. Berger, MD, senior associate dean for graduate medical education and associate professor of family medicine, is quoted as part of news coverage of COVID-19.  “We wish there would be a way to get rapid and quick testing, which is a concern that many of us have. We don't know what we don't know,” she said.
3/11/20
WIVB-TV conducted a 45-minute live interview on COVID-19 with Thomas A. Russo, MD, professor of medicine and chief of infectious diseases in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. Russo covered a wide range of topics, including his advice on how to protect against the disease. “I think the safe thing to do, because we often inadvertently touch our face, is after you come in contact with a high-touch area or something that you’re concerned could be contaminated, to wash your hands well. And the present recommendation is with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, which is the Happy Birthday song twice,” he said.
3/10/20
John K. Crane, MD, PhD, professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases, is quoted in a story on the rapid increase in coronavirus cases worldwide. Crane said that the U.S. was watching and learning from the experiences of countries such as Italy, which recently imposed a nationwide lockdown, and China, where people’s movements were severely restricted for a period of time. “We have no experience of that. Most of the country is much less densely populated so we would not have to implement it everywhere in the rural places in our country, rather tell them to just maintain social distancing, not to go to bars and nightclubs, etc.,” he said.
3/6/20
Thomas A. Russo, MD, professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, spoke on how the homeless population is at greater risk for coronavirus because they often don’t have access to running water or hygiene products. “They likely will be at greater risk for acquiring not only the new coronavirus, but a wide variety of infections that potentially could be transmitted through your hands being contaminated and then, touching a critical surface, such as your mouth, nose,” Russo said.
3/5/20
Thomas A. Russo, MD, professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, was interviewed on how public transit is a potentially risky location for a coronavirus outbreak because of the prospect of crowding and close contact with other riders. “You’ve got a contained subway car, so if somebody is coughing and everybody is standing and holding on, you’re pretty close to somebody,” Russo said. “Let’s say you’re going to a Celtics game. It’s probably not quite as bad. It’s not quite as confined or close quarters.”
3/5/20
Thomas A. Russo, MD, professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, also spoke about the risk of contracting coronavirus while shopping for groceries. “We don’t know how long the new virus is able to survive on inanimate surfaces, but it can probably survive for several hours,” he said. “As long as you wash your hands and don’t touch your face, you will be safe.”
3/2/20
A story about Canisius College students being asked to return home from studying abroad due to concerns over the coronavirus quotes infectious disease expert John A. Sellick Jr., DO, professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. "The most important thing is hand hygiene, making sure you avoid people who are obviously ill. Masks are pretty much of no value," he explained.

Updates

Public Health Information

Building Closed to the Public

The Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences building is closed to the public until further notice.

Many employees are working from home. Call or email before attempting to visit offices in the building.

COVID-19 Hotline

The Erie County Department of Health has created a hotline for COVID-19 related calls, including from travelers who have recently visited impacted areas: 716-858-2929

CDC Travel Advisories

CDC Travel Advisories are being updated and changed frequently. Travelers should visit the CDC's advisories website for the latest notices.

View the latest CDC Travel Advisories