COVID-19 Update

The situation with the global coronavirus outbreak is developing rapidly as scientists and doctors learn more about the virus and the illness it causes, COVID-19. ConnectWell will provide updates on issues surrounding the unfolding spread and management of COVID-19.


We are bringing ConnectWell’s expertise from the UC Berkeley School of Public Health to our visitors. The School of Public Health at UC Berkeley is taking a leadership role in marshaling resources across the university to bring together experts that can shed light on and create solutions to meet the challenges of COVID-19.


Berkeley Conversations: COVID-19 Live and Recorded Programming

  • Berkeley Conversations: Race, Law, and Health Policy, June 29, 2020 12:50-2 pm (Pacific time) COVID-19 has had a dramatically different effect on African-American and Latinx communities. This reflects enormous racial inequalities in health and health care in the United States. A panel of Berkeley professors discuss race, law, and health policy.

  • Berkeley Conversations: Structural Racism and COVID-19: The Political Divide, Re-Opening the Society and Health Impacts on People of Color, June 26, 2020 12-1 pm (Pacific time) Recent California data show that citizen perspectives on rolling back shelter in place and other public health provisions related to COVID-19 are highly politicized and racialized. This conversation features experts John Powell, Director of the Othering and Belonging Institute at UC Berkeley, Cristina Mora, Co-Director of the Institute of Governmental Studies, and Mahasin Mujahid, Epidemiologist, School of Public Health who explore the impact of a polarized society on COVID-19, especially for vulnerable populations. Panelists discuss public health and social equity measures needed to safely re-open the society to address COVID-19 as well as the underlying pandemic of structural racism. They also examine bridging policies that can help overcome societal divisions and promote health justice for all.

  • Berkeley Conversations: Of Virulent Viruses and Reservoir Hosts, June 12, 2020 12-1 pm (Pacific time) Bats are thought to harbor hundreds of coronaviruses, as well as many other types of viruses that are highly pathogenic in humans. Dr. Cara Brook and Professor Britt Glaunsinger provide insight into what allows bats to exist with such an array of potentially lethal viruses, how pathogens like the coronavirus jump into the human population and how the coronavirus is able to hijack a human cell to amplify itself and evade the immune system. They discuss the coordinated efforts across UC Berkeley to track the virus, discover exactly how it works and develop new therapies.

  • Berkeley Conversations: COVID-19 in the global south: economic impacts and recovery, June 10, 2020 9-10:15 am (Pacific time) COVID-19 is threatening the health and economic security of communities around the world, with dire implications for those living in poverty. As the pandemic unfolds, the Center for Effective Global Action (CEGA) is committed to sharing practical insights that can support evidence-based responses in the Global South. This panel features four experts from the CEGA research community: faculty co-Directors Ted Miguel and Josh Blumenstock, along with affiliates Supreet Kaur and Paul Niehaus. Panelists discuss ongoing and completed research that sheds light on the economic toll of the pandemic, as well as the optimal design and targeting of cash transfer programs. We hope these insights will help to inform government and NGO decision-making in the face of what could quickly become a protracted crisis.

  • Berkeley Conversations: COVID-19: California poll findings and what they mean for our future, May 27, 2020 2-2:30 pm (Pacific time) UC Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies (IGS) and the California Initiative for Health Equity & Action (Cal-IHEA) recently completed the largest survey of Californians to date regarding opinions and attitudes related to COVID-19. The results are fascinating and point to a wide range of potential political and societal impacts arising from our still-unfolding responses to the pandemic. This discussion with IGS Co-Directors Cristina Mora and Eric Schickler and Cal-IHEA Director Hector Rodriguez, who together devised and ran the poll, share the significance and meaning of the data, and what it all might portend for California and the nation in the current context of political polarization and racial inequality.

  • COVID-19: Tracking, data privacy and getting the numbers right, May 13, 2020 10-11 am (Pacific time) As plans for re-opening businesses, communities, and schools emerge, mechanisms to track the SARS-COV-2 virus become increasingly critical to consider. In this conversation led by Nobel Laureate Saul Perlmutter, Director of the Berkeley Institute for Data Science and Professor of Physics, Berkeley faculty present their recent research findings and data on COVID-19 infection and death rates. They discuss how they are using data to better understand how many people are infected and actually dying from COVID-19, whether infections and deaths are going up or down, and how much we can afford to increase mobility. They also address broader questions about what data we need, how to protect it using encryption, and how to improve the ways we track and limit the pandemic.

  • Nordics and COVID-19: Public Health, Economic and Public Policy Responses, May 11, 2020 2-3 pm (Pacific time) Nordic countries are regularly cited as exemplars of healthy and resilient societies. Join us for a virtual conversation comparing and contrasting the Nordic public health, economic, and public policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly the responses by Denmark and Sweden. Hosted by Dr. Laura Tyson, Professor Emeritus at UC Berkeley, the event will feature Dr. Robert Strand, Executive Director of the Center for Responsible Business and leading expert on Nordic sustainable business and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and Dr. Ann Keller, Associate Professor of Health Policy and Management and leading expert on pandemic responses.

  • How COVID-19 will shape the 2020 election, May 8, 2020 12-1 pm (Pacific time) The COVID-19 pandemic has already had a deep impact on the 2020 presidential election, from a battle over when to hold the Wisconsin primary to the postponement of other primaries and even the Democratic convention. In the months ahead, it will shape every facet of the contest: the issues, the mechanics of campaigns, how candidates engage the voters, and ultimately, how we cast our ballots. A panel of Berkeley political scientists and election experts discuss election law and security, voter participation, and how COVID-19 may permanently change how America votes.

  • COVID-19: The end or revival of international higher education?, May 7, 2020 9-10:30 am (Pacific time) Recent years have witnessed a rise in the level of nationalism in many countries, with tightened immigration policies and stronger governmental oversight of multinational research collaborations. At the same time, competition among countries and universities for international students has increased significantly, while the demographics of young populations in many countries are shifting. Now, the onset of an historic global pandemic, with its serious travel challenges and dramatic economic effects, raises yet another threat to the future of internationalization on U.S. campuses. Three outstandingly expert and highly experienced figures in the field of international higher education present their thoughts on these important topics.

  • COVID-19 and the media: The role of journalism in a global pandemic, May 6, 2020 9-10:15 am (Pacific time) John Swartzberg, M.D., clinical professor emeritus at the School of Public Health and Ed Wasserman, Dean of the Graduate School of Journalism explore the challenges reporters and researchers alike face when it comes to providing accurate information about a new virus and a pandemic of historic proportions. This look behind the scenes sheds light on the collaborative efforts of scientists and journalists to support policy makers and the public in navigating the crisis. This session challenges your current understanding of the pandemic, provides criteria you can use when choosing sources of information and explores possible scenarios of an eventual return to normalcy.

  • Financial impacts of COVID-19 on higher education in California, May 4, 2020 10-11 am (Pacific time) The panel provides multiple perspectives on the potential financial impact of COVID-19 on California’s public colleges and universities. Panel members include campus CEOs from the University of California and California State University system as well as from a UC Berkeley higher education researcher with experience as a CFO at multiple UC and CSU campuses.

  • Looking Forward: How Can We Safely Reopen the Economy?, May 1, 2020 12:30-1:30 pm (Pacific time) Deciding how and when it’s safe for people to return to work, school, and public life is a complex topic that involves implementing widespread testing; accurate assessment of exposure risks; ensuring health care system capacity; putting in place procedures and routines to protect workers; setting guidelines for mass behavior changes; and restoring public trust. A panel of experts from the Haas School of Business and the School of Public Health will engage in an interactive discussion on what needs to happen to reopen businesses and get people back to work while protecting public health and preventing a second wave of coronavirus infections.

  • Literature and the Arts in Times of Crisis, April 29, 2020 12-1 pm (Pacific time) Literature and the arts have always had a prominent place in defining who we are as human beings and in making life worth living. This is all the more apparent in times of crisis, such as the one we have been living in. Join prominent Berkeley faculty members from Music, Art History, and English as they share their insights into what makes literature and the arts so critically important to us now.

  • Trauma-Informed Approaches for Individual and Organizational Resilience During COVID-19, April 28, 2020 12-1 pm (Pacific time) Dr. Joyce Dorado and Dr. Susan Stone discuss practical strategies for addressing pandemic-related trauma and stress in individuals and systems (e.g. educational, child welfare, public health) through the lens of trauma-informed principles based in the science of trauma, stress, resilience, and healing. How might the disruptions of the COVID-19 crisis affect individuals and organizations in the short term, and how can we prevent a second epidemic of acute and chronic trauma-related difficulties? What science-based tools can we use to navigate this challenging time?

  • Climate change and COVID-19: Can this crisis shift the paradigm?, April 27, 2020 12-1 pm (Pacific time) In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the global economy is skidding into recession. Reduced consumption and transportation also mean reduced CO2 emissions. From India to China to the United States, skies are blue and the air is cleaner and healthier in cities than it has been for years. The pandemic has caused seismic shifts in how we produce and consume goods and could open a path to a more sustainable future. This conversation features Berkeley researchers discussing the science and policy behind CO2 emissions and opportunities for a different path forward.

  • Straight talk: A Conversation about Racism, Health Inequities and COVID-19, April 24, 2020 12-1 pm (Pacific time) Emerging data show that African Americans and other U.S. ethnic minorities are being stricken by COVID-19 at a higher rate, and experiencing greater sickness and a higher death toll than other Americans. Some have said that COVID-19 is “ravaging” black communities. In this interactive conversation, five faculty members from the School of Public Health  discuss how racism shapes vulnerability to COVID-19, why African Americans are being so heavily impacted, and why these disparities matter.

  • Understanding and Seeking Equity amid COVID-19, April 21, 2020 10-11 am (Pacific time) Emerging data show the COVID-19 pandemic is amplifying socioeconomic disparities as the coronavirus advances across the country and the world. In this interactive conversation, three faculty researchers (Ziad Obermeyer, Niloufar Salehi, and Sarah Vaughn) discuss how they are making choices about data sources, research methods, and technologies to identify and address social disparities. 

  • COVID-19: Mental health and well being for ourselves and our children, April 17, 2020 12-12:30 pm (Pacific time) Three leading UC Berkeley psychologists (Frank Worrell, Sonia Bishop, and Dacher Keltner) discuss effective approaches and strategies for dealing with the anxiety, stress and uncertainty that are inherent parts of the COVID-19 crisis.

  • COVID-19: Campus Impacts and Responses, April 15, 2020 1-2 pm (Pacific time) At this time of unprecedented challenge, Chancellor Carol Christ and Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Paul Alivisatos discussed and took questions about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on campus operations and activities; how the campus has responded and adopted innovative approaches; and planning underway for a variety of possible scenarios.

  • Coronavirus: Science and Solutions, April 13, 2020 4:30-6 pm (Pacific time) Berkeley’s School of Public Health hosts a follow-up to its initial town hall, Coronavirus: Facts & Fears. This program focuses on addressing unanswered questions from the last town hall, and highlighting emerging science that will drive solutions to this and future pandemic outbreaks.

  • COVID-19: Economic Impact, Human Solutions, April 10, 2020 12:00-1 pm (Pacific time) A panel of UC Berkeley’s leading economists and public policy experts discuss the economic consequences of sheltering-in-place, evaluate the Congressional response and discuss strategies that could help to stabilize the economy, safeguard jobs and protect society’s most vulnerable people. Panelists include: Henry Brady, Dean of the Goldman School of Public Policy, Professors Ellora Derenoncourt, Hilary Hoynes, Jesse Rothstein, and Gabriel Zucman.


Learn directly from Dr. John Swartzberg who is clinical professor emeritus of infectious diseases and vaccinology in the UC Berkeley-UCSF Joint Medical Program. Dr. Swartzberg works closely with ConnectWell through overseeing our digital content development from a medical perspective as Chair of the Editorial Board of the School’s Health & Wellness Publications.

Articles & Videos from Dr. John Swartzberg about developments in COVID-19


Useful Resources

Real-time factual updates on COVID-19, as well as recommendations for preventing its spread, are available on the websites of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), and White House.

For factual information on COVID-19 in your area and on Public Health Orders that might affect you, consult your local and state health department websites.

CDC Resources


  • This CDC link provides a situation summary of COVID-19.

  • This CDC COVID-19 site link has an interactive map of all the states and how they are impacted. On the map, when you click on a state, you will be brought to the health department’s website of that state and can learn more about specific COVID-19 updates related to that state.

  • For state specific information on COVID-19, go to this CDC site.

WHO Resources

White House Guidelines

  • White House guidelines on Slowing the Spread of coronavirus from the President.

  • White House guidelines for Opening Up American Again.

Additional Resources

Public Health Orders

During Public Health Emergencies, health officials have broad authority to protect the health of the population and can issue orders that the public must follow. Governors and the President can issue executive orders for the same purpose. Watch for news, smartphone, radio, and television updates. Consult your state and local health department website daily to stay informed about orders that are in effect in your area.


Most of the orders in the COVID-19 outbreak are efforts to slow down transmission. Doing so will reduce the number of people who are sick at one time. Without being slowed, spread of COVID-19 has the potential to move forward rapidly, resulting in a massive wave of ill patients and overwhelming the capacity of the healthcare system and medical facilities. 


COVID-19 is extremely easy to transmit to susceptible people and can be passed on before any symptoms appear. Until testing can help identify who is infectious, slowing transmission means keeping everyone — even people who feel well — separated as much as possible. 


Shelter-in-place Orders

To slow the spread of COVID-19, shelter-in-place orders are going into effect across the United States. The first metro region to implement a shelter-in-place order was the 6-county region of the San Francisco Bay Area, effective March 17, 2020. The shelter-in-place order was expanded by Governor Gavin Newsom to the entire state of California just 3 days later to slow the spread of the virus. The states of Illinois and New York quickly followed with shelter-in-place orders of their own. By the week of March 23rd, a total of 17 states followed with similar orders to reduce the spread of the virus. By March 30th, the majority of states and the District of Columbia instituted shelter-in-place orders. These orders may be different by state and it is important to know the specifics of the order in your area so you can comply with the ordinance and do your part to reduce spreading of the virus.

Here are some general elements of the country’s first shelter-in-place order:

  • Residents are to stay home as much as possible, with the exceptions of certain “essential” activities and jobs.

  • “Essential” exceptions include: getting food at the grocery store, picking up prescriptions at the pharmacy, buying gas, going to the bank, and checking on relatives. Restaurants can serve takeout food and do deliveries, and essential government services like transit, police, fire, and healthcare facilities will stay open.

  • During any of those exceptions, strict hygiene and social distancing are required.

  • Nonessential businesses at which people aggregate in numbers — such as gyms, bars, and movie theaters — have been required to close.

  • People are allowed to go outside, run, hike and walk their dogs, as long as they do it alone or with close family, and keep 6 feet away from others. 

  • Homeless people “are not subject to the shelter in place order.” They are urged to find safe places to abide by the order if possible. “Government agencies are urged to take steps needed to provide shelter for those individuals.”

Lifting of Shelter-in-place Orders & Reopening

​There is wide variation of policies by state and within states of the reopening of businesses and workplaces. Reopening plans and phases vary greatly by state, county, and city based on the state of COVID-19 in each area. Check the policies of your city and county to ensure that you remain in compliance and help to do your part to slow the spread of coronavirus.

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