Experts in epidemics, economics, psychology, other fields available for interview related to COVID-19


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Finding reliable experts for media interviews is especially important during this difficult time. Virginia Tech’s television and radio studios can broadcast live HD audio and video to networks, news outlets, and affiliates interviewing Virginia Tech faculty and staff. The university does not charge for use of its studios. Video is transmitted by LTN Global Communications; Skype, FaceTime, or similar products; or file sharing (Dropbox, Google Drive, We-Transfer, etc.). Radio interviews can be transmitted by ISDN, Comrex, phone, smartphone recording, or file sharing.  

Media experts:
Last updated: March 25, 2020. Additional scholars with expertise related to the global spread of the novel coronavirus will be added on this page as they become available.

Caring for elderly friends and family

— 6 tips for older adults to avoid scams brought on by COVID-19

“Billions of dollars are lost each year because of fraudulent telemarketers. You are not being rude by hanging up when a solicitor calls,” says Virginia Tech professor Karen Roberto. (See expert bio)

— Expert in aging offers tips for interacting with older family and friends during COVID-19 spread

Families also need to be putting in place alternative plans should their usual caregiving services become unavailable or reduced in response to the need for social distancing, says Virginia Tech’s Karen Roberto. (See expert bio)

Economic effects
— Travel & tourism economy will recover from COVID-19, but it will be forever changed

“Those in the industry who get through this will find ways to be more sustainable, use technology to become more efficient, and use data to forecast and prepare for other global phenomena and pivot their skill set to disaster recovery and resiliency,” says  Virginia Tech expert Nancy McGehee. (See expert bio)

Managing stress and anxiety
— Mental health expert available to discuss tips for easing COVID-19 anxiety 

“It is a normal, healthy response to be anxious when confronted with a pandemic such as COVID-19. Our challenge is to remember that there is a lot under our control to reduce risks for ourselves, our families, and our communities,” said Dr. Robert Trestman, head of psychiatry at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine. (See expert bio)

Coping with family stress and social isolation: Virginia Tech expert says one size doesn’t fit all 

“Often the families that might be feeling the most stressed are the families where parents may have less flexibility in their jobs,” said Smith. “With the added stress of caring for children who are not currently in school, everyone is facing a different set of circumstances, says Cindy Smith, an associate professor and the director of graduate studies for the Department of Human Development and Family Science at Virginia Tech, and head of the Children’s Emotions Lab. (See expert bio)

Lessons from history
Mandatory social distancing likely America’s required defense against COVID-19, expert says 

“As the nation stares down a new emergency of global proportions, World War II can serve as a model of how we might address this new challenge,” Virginia Tech historian Ed Gitre wrote. “Leaders then did not rely on good will alone. The challenge was too great and onerous, and human nature, left to its own devices, too fickle.” (See expert bio)

— The changing face of health crisis leadership from Washington

Leadership from the federal government and the White House during times of a national health crisis is very different now than 100 years ago. Virginia Tech professor of history Thomas Ewing studies the history of influenza epidemics, and says crisis management from Washington was almost non-existent a century ago. (See expert bio)

Exposure risk
Minimizing your risk of exposure to the coronavirus is key, expert says

Because the 2019 novel coronavirus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person, Virginia Tech epidemiologist Charlotte Baker says everyone needs to be especially careful about minimizing the risk of exposure to yourself and others. (See expert bio)

Getting around without public transportation 
— Alternative modes of transportation can help with social distancing, good health and wellness, says expert

“While staying at home and following government recommendations for social distancing is the first order of priorities, if you have to take a trip and do not want to ride public transport, or if public transport has reduced service, the bicycle can be a good alternative,” says Ralph Buehler. (See expert bio)

Social media use
Tips for fact checking information sharing about COVID-19 on social media

Virginia Tech’s health communications expert Adrienne Ivory offers the following tips for fact checking online information related to COVID-19. (See expert bio)

Talking to your employees
Rapidly changing pandemic requires extra care in employee communication

“Because this situation is so fluid, you need to be sure that the information you communicate is accurate, said Virginia Tech’s Nneka Logan. “What was true yesterday may not be true today.” (See expert bio)

Cyber threats
— Coronavirus heightens risk of cybercrime in the workplace, expert warns to protect private data

“We are living in a heightened time of cyber risk. Cyber criminals will take advantage of public fear and due diligence health measures to generate coronavirus themed phishing attacks. We should be aware of unsolicited COVID-19 emails with specious links or attachments,” says Virginia Tech expert David Simpson. (See expert bio)

— 6 tips for older adults to avoid scams brought on by COVID-19

“Billions of dollars are lost each year because of fraudulent telemarketers. You are not being rude by hanging up when a solicitor calls,” says Virginia Tech professor Karen Roberto. (See expert bio)

Effect on Chinese and global GDP
— Virginia Tech economics experts detail Chinese and worldwide GDP loss from Hubei province as COVID-19 rattles nations, markets

A Virginia Tech modeling study based on conservative assumptions shows losses for two months of lockdown for the Chinese GDP and worldwide GDP total, respectively, total $80 billion and $140 billion as people in affected regions have stopped going to work or socializing, and as flights are canceled and cross-country travel is restricted. (See experts’ bio

History of epidemics
— Expert who studies history of epidemics: ‘Panic may be the worst possible response’

A professor who studies the history of international epidemics says the United States “should look to history for guidance on how to interpret news reports” about the spread of SARS-CoV-2, previously known as the 2019 novel coronavirus. (See expert bio)

Travel and tourism impacts
— Travel and tourism already feeling impacts of virus, according to Virginia Tech travel expert 

The U.S. travel industry is already feeling the impact of the spread of coronavirus, both by the large and lucrative Chinese market, and by tourists and travelers overall who are becoming more skittish regarding travel, according to Virginia Tech expert Nancy McGehee. (See expert bio)

— Travel expert urges caution when planning summer vacation

Many travelers are concerned about the impact of the coronavirus, staying safe and protecting their vacation investment. Virginia Tech travel and tourism expert Nancy McGehee is available for media interviews discussing dos and don’ts when it comes to planning summer vacations. (See expert bio)

Global supply chain impacts
— Spread of coronavirus to impact the global economic supply chain, says expert

With China being a major supplier of goods to countries around the world, there will likely be short-term, but intense, disruptions to the global supply chain, says Virginia Tech expert Barbara Hoopes. (See expert bio)

— Coronavirus disrupts global supply chain and production of U.S. consumer goods, says expert

“Smart watches, phones, video game consoles, computers, and embedded electronic components in larger goods may see the earliest impact,” says Virginia Tech expert Barbara Hoopes. “These physically smaller, but higher-value goods are often handled on a just-in-time inventory basis due to shorter transit times. These are the components that will likely be missed first in both retail and production assembly operations in the U.S.” (See expert bio)

Economic effects
— Perspectives on jittery financial markets

As the spread of the coronavirus continues to grab headlines, the uncertainty of financial markets leaves investors looking for answers. Virginia Tech’s Derek Klock encourages people not to make rash decisions in the middle of a panicky market. (See expert bio)

Origin of the virus
— Wuhan coronavirus links origin to wild animals, says wildlife epidemiology expert 

“It’s not surprising that the coronavirus first identified in Wuhan has linkages with animals, especially wildlife,” said wildlife epidemiology expert Luis Escobar. “China has important traditions related to the consumption of wildlife products, which elevates the risks for emerging diseases. While other countries and cities have high population densities and massive amounts of tourists, we do not see epidemics like the SARS or Wuhan coronaviruses that emerged in China.”  (See expert bio)

What the public can do
— Proper handwashing technique is more important than ever, says Virginia Tech food safety expert

Experts stress that washing your hands thoroughly and often is the most crucial first step to preventing the spread of illness, especially for those in food service. (See expert bio)

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