Berkeley Public Health Responds to COVID-19

Berkeley Public Health is providing local, national and global leadership during this extraordinary public health crisis. We are working on the leading edge of COVID-19 research to find game-changing solutions; providing science-based counsel to policymakers and decisionmakers, educating the public about Covid-19 through events and other media, and mobilizing our community to serve Bay Area’s most vulnerable populations during this pandemic.

Highlights include:

Developing crucial resources such as videos for those on the frontlines caring for homeless individuals  and collaborating with a multi-institutional N95 Decontamination Research Group to publish scientific evidence for N95 mask decontamination and mitigate severe mask and PPE shortages.

Research: Our faculty are working at the leading edge of COVID-19 research, from basic science to better understand the molecular mechanisms of SARS-CoV-2, to the development of rapid diagnostics and therapeutics, to statistical modeling of the population burden of SARS-CoV-2, and broader impacts and related societal changes, especially for the most vulnerable populations.

Coronavirus: Science and Solutions Q&A: Our health experts offer practical tips about how to stay safe, what to do if you feel ill and what we can expect in the coming months.

Community Action: Numerous faculty, staff, students and alumni are organizing blood drives, PPE (personal protective equipment) drives and other relief efforts.

COVID-19 Modeling: Our experts and students are modeling the pandemic and mapping COVID-19 cases, locally and globally.

Informing the public: Our faculty have provided expert advice through numerous media interviews and events on various public health issues related to COVID-19.

What We’re Doing

Berkeley Public Health is producing groundbreaking research, mobilizing communities and providing mental health support during this public health crisis. We are engaging in transdisciplinary collaboration, leveraging the geography of genius on Berkeley campus with some of the best schools of engineering and data science, biology and social sciences, business and public policy, as well as across the Bay Area, including UCSF and Stanford, in search of game-changing solutions to this pandemic.

Community Action: Our Community Action Team is composed of diverse students, faculty and staff aiming to tap into the wellspring of activism, volunteerism and leadership that defines who we are—a community of doers; a community of changemakers. Activities include:

  • Community Support: Organizing blood and food drives, getting PPE for health care providers, calling for more donations and other relief efforts.
  • Sharing Skills and Knowledge: Leveraging skills in qualitative and quantitative research, data sharing and analysis, and multicultural and multilingual skills for COVID-19 efforts.
  • Advocacy: Calling for resources and policies to address the multiple levels of action to support the well-being of our communities, including addressing resource shortages, policies that exclude or put vulnerable communities in harm’s way.
  • Clinical Support: Health care providers are supporting vulnerable communities in various ways, such as providing guidance for those serving homeless students.
  • Visit the Community Action Team page for more information.

Research: Our faculty are working at the leading edge of COVID-19 research, from basic science to better understand the molecular mechanisms of SARS-CoV-2, to the development of rapid diagnostics and therapeutics, to research on and statistical modeling of the population burden of SARS-CoV-2, telemedicine, and broader impacts of SARS-CoV-2 and related societal changes, including education and management of other health conditions, especially for the most vulnerable populations. Highlights include:

  • Developing a web-based application projecting the number of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, ICU admissions and ventilator needs, as well as longer term possible scenarios with public health interventions to reduce transmission and help guide the local government COVID-19 response.
  • Collaborating on simulation and computational research on optimal surveillance approaches to detect, estimate the burden of, and understand the effects of mitigation efforts against SARS-CoV-2.
  • Undertaking research on the impacts of SARS-CoV-2 and related societal changes on different forms of violence in communities, families and other relationships.
  • Visit the Research Action Team page for more information.

Resiliency and Mental Health Initiative: A team of dedicated faculty, staff and students formed the Resiliency and Mental Health leadership team which met regularly in April and launched many initiatives to enhance the connectedness and empathy throughout our internal SPH community. The team also vetted and shared a list of key mental health resources. A summary of their initiatives and the list of resources can be found here.

News and Views

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Our Experts – COVID-19

UC Berkeley Public Health faculty, researchers and staff are available to provide commentary to the news media specifically related to COVID-19. Contact: publichealthcommunications@berkeley.edu with media requests.