Rutgers Expert Available to Discuss How to Reduce Risk on Vacation During COVID-19 Pandemic

New Brunswick, N.J. (May 18, 2020) – Rutgers University–New Brunswick Professor Donald W. Schaffner is available for interviews on how to reduce the risk of coronavirus infection on vacation, at vacation rentals and while traveling during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Even though everyone in the country is ready for summer vacation, this virus will not be taking a vacation,” said Schaffner, an extension specialist in food science and Distinguished Professor in the Department of Food Science in the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences. “The most important thing to remember is that almost all documented cases are spread by person-to-person transmission, either from symptomatic or pre-symptomatic people. Any contact with people who are not part of your immediate household has the potential to spread the virus.”

“It’s more important than ever to maintain appropriate social distancing, and wear masks or cloth face covers to reduce spread of the virus should you be infected,” Schaffner said. “Washing your hands and using hand sanitizer are still a great idea after returning home or to your vacation rental after being out in the world and potentially picking up the virus on your hands.”

If no one has been in a vacation rental home, condo or apartment for several days, the property is unlikely to contain infectious virus particles, based on what’s known about how the virus survives, according to Schaffner. In this case, he recommends the normal cleaning practices used during non-pandemic times. But if someone has been in a vacation rental with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 or related symptoms without a diagnosis, people should use cleaning practices recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

When going on vacation, everyone should follow the recommended self-isolation practices in their destination state or location and practice appropriate social distancing, wear disposable masks or cloth face coverings and follow good handwashing and hand sanitizer practices, according to Schaffner.  

Professor Schaffner is available to comment at [email protected]


Broadcast interviews: Rutgers University has broadcast-quality TV and radio studios available for remote live or taped interviews with Rutgers experts. For more information, contact Neal Buccino at [email protected]

Rutgers University–New Brunswick is where Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, began more than 250 years ago. Ranked among the world’s top 60 universities, Rutgers’s flagship is a leading public research institution and a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. It has an internationally acclaimed faculty, 12 degree-granting schools and the Big Ten Conference’s most diverse student body.

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