USC Leonard Davis School COVID-19 Expertise

Faculty Tips and Perspectives

A century of COVID-19: what history tells us about the long-term effects of a pandemic

USC research showed that people born during or just after the 1918 flu pandemic faced increased heart disease risk more than 60 years later. The legacy of the novel coronavirus could be worse.

Form, function, and fighting disease in senior living

More important than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic, USC experts teach students how to design and operate senior living facilities that promote public health.

Caring for Caregivers

Amid challenges posed by COVID-19, recent national attention on the needs of caregivers is long overdue, says Donna Benton, director of the USC Family Caregiver Support Center.

How will COVID-19 affect our next generation?

In-utero exposure to the coronavirus pandemic could cause developmental difficulties and accelerated aging in the century ahead, say USC researchers.

Researchers find evidence of pandemic fatigue; younger and older adults resumed risky social behaviors as COVID-19 progressed

USC study also reveals differences in preventive behavior based on gender, race, education, state of residence, health condition, and trusted news source.

The Loneliness Epidemic and COVID-19

Using technology and engaging the senses can help us tackle loneliness among older adults, say USC experts.

An Unprecedented Internship: Living in a Retirement Community during COVID-19

While most USC Leonard Davis students had their internships pivot to a virtual setting due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Nelson Rubio Argueta’s internship site, Kingsley Manor Retirement Community in Los Angeles, was also his home.

Column: Surviving the New Normal

We need to acknowledge that we are all susceptible to environmental and situational stressors, identify coping strategies, and care for one another, writes Caroline Cicero in a column for the American Society on Aging.

Online Education with Expertise and Optimism

As online education and virtual classrooms slowly become the norm, students and teachers alike continue to tackle new challenges together.

COVID-19: Vaccines and Older Adults

In this brief video, Dean Pinchas Cohen explains that the response to vaccines is sometimes very ineffective in older adults and is an area of research that will need to be addressed in the development of a COVID-19 vaccine. 

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.

Students support nonprofit bringing meals to people facing illness

USC Student Gerontology Association raises funds for Project Angel Food, a nonprofit which cooks and delivers meals to those living with serious illnesses. 

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

Coronavirus will knock more than a year off average US life expectancy, study finds (CNN)

CNN featured research by Theresa Andrasfay of the USC Leonard Davis School on how coronavirus deaths have shortened American life expectancy, especially Black and Latino populations. “Some reduction in life expectancy may persist beyond 2020 because of continued COVID-19 mortality and long-term health, social and economic impacts of the pandemic,” she said. Additional coverage was found […]

How The COVID-19 Pandemic Is Forcing Us To Rethink How We View And Approach Aging And Retirement (KPCC-FM)

KPCC-FM featured Pinchas Cohen, dean of the USC Leonard Davis School, on how COVID-19 will change our views on aging and retirement. “We’re dealing with an incredible rise in the number of seniors who will require some sort of care. This is the result of tremendous success in making people live longer, but more and […]

USC Study Finds People Tired of Pandemic Rules Just 2 Months Into Lockdown (KNBC-TV)

NBC News Los Angeles affiliate KNBC-TV featured research by Jung Ki Kim and Eileen Crimmins of the USC Leonard Davis School on pandemic fatigue among people of all ages. “It is concerning that people increased risky social behaviors over time, particularly older people, who could have more adverse consequences from meeting with family and friends,” […]

USC Study Highlights Early Fatigue with Health Orders (KCET)

KCET  featured a study by Jung Ki Kim and Eileen Crimmins on how people of all ages grew tired of complying with such rules as early as two months into the pandemic. “It is encouraging to observe older people taking more preventive personal behaviors as the pandemic progressed as this may have alleviated their risk […]

How Covid-19 Will Change Aging and Retirement (Wall Street Journal)

The Wall Street Journal featured Pinchas Cohen, dean of the USC Leonard Davis School, on how the COVID-19 pandemic will impact aging, retirement and lifestyle choices. “Age is the No. 1 cause of risk for mortality from COVID, but it’s not chronological age, it’s biological age,” he said.

Carlsbad retirees strum away the pandemic blues (San Diego Union-Tribune)

The San Diego Union-Tribune cited research from the USC Leonard Davis School on how playing a musical instrument can protect against dementia.

Pandemic Precautions: The TV News You Watch Might Matter (U.S. News & World Report)

U.S. News & World Report featured research by doctoral students Erfei Zhao and Qiao Wu of the USC Leonard Davis School on how viewers of Fox News were less likely to take preventive measures against COVID-19 compared to CNN viewers. “In a highly partisan environment, false information can be easily disseminated,” they said.

Fox News viewers are less likely to follow coronavirus safety measures than people who watch CNN, study finds (Insider)

Insider featured research by doctoral students Erfei Zhao and Qiao Wu of the USC Leonard Davis School on how viewers of Fox News were less likely to take preventative measures against COVID-19 compared to CNN viewers. “It’s not about what media they watch, it’s about what media they trust,” Zhao said.

Fox News viewers use fewer Covid-19 safety precautions than CNN viewers, study finds (CNN)

CNN featured a study by PhD in Gerontology students Erfei Zhao and Qiao Wu that found viewers who trust Fox News coverage more than CNN’s are slightly less likely to take preventative measures against the novel coronavirus and a little more likely to put themselves at risk. “Health messaging, despite being one of the few […]

COVID-19: TCTMD’s Daily Dispatch for October 9 (tctMD)

tctMD included in its COVID-19 news roundup a new study from PhD students Erfei Zhao and Qiao Wu on how trusting right- or left-leaning TV news outlets are strongly correlated with either risky or preventive behaviors regarding the pandemic.

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