Sarah Cobey

Associate professor Sarah Cobey at work. (Photography by James Lindley Wilson)

Quick thinking

Researchers across UChicago were fast out of the gate this spring with data, ideas, and guidance for a COVID-19 world.

For more on the thinking of faculty and researchers quoted here, follow the links below. For comprehensive coverage of UChicago research related to the virus and its repercussions, visit

The challenge now is to identify measures that could provide as good or better protection, with less social cost.—Sarah Cobey, Department of Ecology and Evolution

In an era of pandemics, everyone’s access to health care very much affects everyone else. Someone getting sick increases the possibility of other people getting sick—and one’s use of health care resources may reduce the resources available for other people.—Katherine Baicker, Harris Public Policy

I think that the government’s challenges are going to become more acute as we turn towards not just the efforts to shutter an economy, but to responsibly open it up.—William Howell, Department of Political Science

People are so cooped up inside, getting the mental break outside is going to be important. But we have to maintain distancing. Are there organized ways we could do that?—Marc Berman, Department of Psychology

By using machine learning and artificial intelligence methods to screen for drugs across multiple target proteins in the virus, we may have a better pathway to an antiviral drug.—Arvind Ramanathan, Argonne National Laboratory

What every natural disaster does, like Katrina, what every economic downturn does, what every emergent situation does is disproportionately impact the most vulnerable among us who are just scraping by day to day.—Monica Peek, SM’15, UChicago Medicine

Think about the people in your building. Do you know all their general age ranges? If not, who might know? And not just age, but other factors that might make them vulnerable. Are there ways to develop mechanisms to stay connected?—Kathleen Cagney, AM’90, Department of Sociology

The attempt is to keep the economy in a kind of coma—in suspended animation—so it can be woken up as soon as the pandemic is behind us.—Raghuram Rajan, Chicago Booth

Read more about the Universityʼs response to the COVID-19 pandemic in “Together in Spirit.”