USC Leonard Davis School COVID-19 Expertise

Faculty Tips and Perspectives

New collaboration aims to predict new COVID-19 strains

Understanding the rate of mutation in the virus’ genes could help create a more widely effective vaccine, says Assistant Professor Marc Vermulst.

Gerontology PhD graduate to study health disparities, including impact of COVID-19 on Puerto Rican older adults

Catherine Pérez Garcia PhD ’20, a first-generation college student, will continue her research on health disparities in minority populations as assistant professor of sociology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

From USC Leonard Davis School undergrad to medical doctor fighting COVID-19

Humanitarian Tyler Evans ’02 has responded to disease outbreaks around the globe and is now the chief medical officer overseeing the COVID-19 response for the New York City Department of Emergency Management.

5 Tips for Becoming a Better Teacher Online

Associate Professor John Walsh shares the tips he’s learned over the years that can help even novice instructors improve their teaching both online and off.

What and when we eat affects our immune system. Here’s how.

Professor Valter Longo, director of the USC Longevity Institute, is investigating how fasting and diets that mimic fasting’s effects can help immune function, including the body’s response to viruses.

Gerontology students reach out to older adults isolated by COVID-19

Members of the USC Student Gerontology Association and the USC chapter of the service group Glamour Gals are connecting with older adults across the country.

Thinking Creatively in the Age of COVID-19: Solutions for Older Adults

Instructional Associate Professor Caroline Cicero, director of the USC Age-Friendly University Initiative, encourages everyone to determine how communities can foster connections with sequestered residents who may be overlooked by mainstream service providers.

Gerontology students connect online

Following spring break, USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology students returned to class this week, convening online over the videoconferencing app Zoom.

Bridging Generational Divides

Much of the media narratives about COVID-19 have stated that those at risk of catching the virus are older adults and that young people are not obeying quarantine guidelines; “This is essentially pitting the generations against each other rather than encouraging us to work together,” says Paul Nash.

Resources to Stay Safe at Home

The USC Fall Prevention Center of Excellence has compiled a list of resources to make your home safe and supportive for you and your loved ones. View the list here.

Demographic Trends

In general, most countries are experiencing the highest death rates from COVID-19 at the older ages (e.g., 85+) and for men, say USC Leonard Davis demography experts.

Biological Differences Between Men and Women

Based on epidemiological data from Italian and Chinese cases of COVID-19, the disease disproportionately affects older people and has the highest death toll in men (~75% of reported deaths).

Staying Close, Virtually

Using technological solutions to help people stay connected could improve well-being in some people, says Eileen Crimmins, University Professor and AARP Professor of Gerontology.

Keeping Caregiving Relationships Healthy

Many caregivers already experience frustration and stress, and a time of crisis may exacerbate strain and tension in caregiving relationships.

Nutrition Needs

A recent study from the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology suggests that older adults who live alone and don’t have friends or family nearby eat less fruits and vegetables.

Eating well and staying healthy while sheltering in place

Dietitian Cary Kreutzer, director of the USC Master of Science in Nutrition, Healthspan and Longevity program, shares advice for maintaining healthy habits and connections while isolated.

Addressing Social Isolation

USC gerontology experts have tips for how you can help older adults practice social distancing but still feel in touch.

COVID-19 and caring for older adults

The coronavirus pandemic presents new challenges to senior care, but with some planning and determination, the risk can be mitigated, according to experts from the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology.

In the News

Out with the old: Coronavirus highlights why we need new names for aging (Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Fairfield Citizen)

Seattle Post-Intelligencer and Fairfield Citizen (via The Conversation) published an opinion column authored by Caroline Cicero and Paul Nash on ageist narratives during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Aging is something we will all experience, if we’re lucky. Yet ageism is arguably the last widely accepted form of social prejudice,” they said.

The ‘New Normal’ for Many Older Adults Is on the Internet (CityLab)

CityLab quoted Edward Schneider on how seniors are staying busy during the COVID-19 lockdown. “My day starts at 5:30 in the morning and ends at 8:30 or 9 at night, and I’m busy the entire time,” he said. “I don’t feel terribly isolated — although I am isolated, because I’m 80 years old — but […]

Navigator: Generation Loneliness (Bloomberg)

Bloomberg quoted Ed Schneider on the social impacts of COVID-19-induced isolation. Schneider said he thinks the disease will have a more lasting impact on young people than seniors: “We’ve either been through it or we’ve heard about it and therefore as bad as it is, we can deal with it.”

Coronavirus death toll higher in California than previously known, new data suggest (Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles Times quoted Eileen Crimmins of the USC Leonard Davis School on how comorbidities may be impacting the coronavirus death toll. “What we think is there is some combination of COVID deaths that are not declared COVID deaths and other deaths that are due to other causes people have not gotten treatment for, or […]

COVID-19 has brought havoc to nursing homes. Will pandemic end ‘warehousing’ the elderly? (Sacramento Bee)

The Sacramento Bee quoted Jennifer Ailshire of the USC Leonard Davis School on residents of long-term care facilities suffering from increased loneliness during the COVID-19 pandemic. “The residents may suffer psychological harm; they may feel isolated; they may not understand what’s happening,” Ailshire said.

Coronavirus And Advance Directives: Decisions You Need To Make Now (Forbes)

Forbes quoted Susan Enguídanos in an article on the importance of advance directives. “An advance directive is the best gift that a parent can give their children,” she said.

7 Expert Tips to Help Retirees Stay Active, Engaged, and Connected During Quarantine (Travel + Leisure)

Travel + Leisure quoted Jennifer Ailshire on how older adults can stay active in isolation. “My advice for everyone would be to focus on maintaining three types of activity: physical movement, cognitively stimulating activities, and social activities,” she said. “Strategies will vary depending on the person and their environment.”

Student group connects with seniors remotely (Daily Trojan)

Daily Trojan featured an article on the GlamourGals student group, founded and led by USC Leonard Davis Students, and how the group has transitioned from providing makeovers and manicures in senior living facilities to providing support remotely and via mail.

Cities Must do More to Protect Older Homeless Americans From COVID-19 (US News and World Report)

US News and World Report featured a column coauthored by Distinguished Scholar in Residence Paul Irving on how older homeless Americans need more help during the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19: Is Pulling A Loved One Out Of A Nursing Home The Right Decision? (KPCC-FM’s AirTalk)

KPCC-FM’s “AirTalk” interviewed Edward Schneider of the USC Leonard Davis School on what families should consider when deciding whether to remove a family member from a nursing home.

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