During the COVID-19 pandemic, Associate Professor Erin Bromage (Biology) created a blog to help friends and family understand the practical ways that the virus can spread through a community. On May 6, 2020, he posted “The Risks – Know Them – Avoid Them”, an explainer that showed how people breathing and talking spread particles in the air in common locations like restaurants, churches, and offices. As the world grapples with how to safely reopen society, Dr. Bromage’s post started to become widely shared on social media. Fast forward a week and the post has been viewed more than 13 million times and Bromage has become a fixture on national nightly news shows.
Dr. Bromage, who teaches in the UMassD Biology program, researches the evolution of the immune system and the immunological mechanisms responsible for protection from infectious disease. In spring 2020, his course Ecology of Infectious Disease allowed students to track the emerging COVID-19 outbreak in China and beyond. These classroom experiences, informed by Bromage’s research, have given his students a real-world look at the topics they are studying and led to the creation of his blog.
Bromage was first featured in The New York Times for his “impressively clear explanation” of how COVID-19 can spread as states reopen their economies. He has since appeared on MSNBC’s The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, CNN’s Erin Burnett OutFront, the NBC Nightly News, the BBC, and many more news outlets.