Harvard’s Bacow, wife test positive for COVID-19
‘Neither of us knows how we contracted the virus,’ he says
HARVARD UNIVERSITY President Larry Bacow said on Tuesday that he and his wife tested positive for COVID-19.
In an email sent to the Harvard community on Tuesday, Bacow said he and his wife began experiencing symptoms on Sunday, contacted their doctors on Monday, and subsequently were tested for the disease. Bacow, 68, said he received the results of the test confirming he and his wife, Adele, had the disease on Tuesday.
“Neither of us knows how we contracted the virus, but the good news—if there is any to be had—is that far fewer people crossed our paths recently than is usually the case,” Bacow said in the email. “We began working from home and completely limiting our contact with others on March 14 in keeping with recommendations to adopt social distancing measures. In line with standard protocols, the Department of Public Health will be in touch with anyone with whom we have had close contact over the past fourteen days.”
“This virus can lay anyone low. We all need to be vigilant and keep following guidelines to limit our contact with others. Your swift actions over the past few weeks—to respond to the needs of our community, to fulfill our teaching mission, and to pursue research that will save lives—have moved me deeply and made me extraordinarily grateful and proud. I hope to see as few of you in our situation as possible, and I urge you to continue following the guidance of public health experts and the advice and orders of our government officials.”
The son of Jewish immigrant parents – his mother survived the Auschwitz concentration camp – Bacow grew up in the working-class Detroit suburb of Pontiac.He’s been a prominent voice advocating for expanded access to higher education for students from lower-income families. One of his first trips after assuming the Harvard presidency was to Pontiac and Detroit, where spoke with high school students and other groups about the vital role played by higher education in the country.
Though he leads the world’s most prominent — and wealthiest — private university, Bacow has been outspoken on the crucial role of public higher education, which accounts for the overwhelmingly share of US post-secondary degrees. Underscoring that are two solutions-oriented partnerships Bacow launched between Harvard and the University of Michigan, one focused on poverty issues in Detroit and the other on the opioid addiction crisis.