Dear Rutgers Community Members,
As of this morning, there have been 224,601 reported deaths in the United States due to COVID-19. New Jersey has confirmed 14,503 deaths and the three counties in which our campuses reside have suffered 3,729 confirmed deaths in total since the pandemic began.
Across the country and in New Jersey, SARS-CoV-2 cases are on the rise again. This past June, we rejoiced at the resolution with which our community adhered to guidance and effectively squashed the curve. Unfortunately, fighting this pandemic is a marathon, not a sprint. We know that we are all exhausted and frustrated for a myriad of reasons. We are all tired of virtual gatherings, takeout, and shouting through masks. But we must keep our pace. Please take precautions at social and family gatherings – particularly any that are indoors. All it takes to help our families, friends, and local businesses get through this is to observe the three W’s: Wear a Mask, Watch Your Distance, and Wash Your Hands.
We are hopeful that the finish line is now in sight. The clinical trials for a number of vaccine candidates have demonstrated extraordinary progress, and we are already working with the State of New Jersey on aiding distribution plans for later in 2020, or perhaps more likely 2021. Treatments are emerging. The technology for testing is rapidly advancing, and Rutgers is making more than its share of contributions to all of these. Though it may feel far away, there will be a day when we can again draw our family and friends close and display friendly smiles to our neighbors and feel safe. To get there, we must all accept responsibility and protect ourselves and our community by taking these simple precautions.
Please keep your loved ones and community top of mind these next few months, and Wear a Mask, Watch Your Distance, and Wash Your Hands to keep everyone safe.
Vicente Gracias, MD
Senior Vice Chancellor for Clinical Affairs, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences
Vice President Health Affairs, Rutgers University
Brian L. Strom, MD, MPH
Chancellor, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences
Executive Vice President for Health Affairs, Rutgers University