Message from Rusty
Dear Salk friend,
As a Salk supporter, I want to share with you the steps we are taking to minimize the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) that has taken a grip on the world and has resulted in the city of San Diego declaring a state of emergency. And I’d like to offer a message of hope to you as well.
It is difficult to ignore the parallels between the fear and anxiety we are experiencing today with the fears of a prior generation who faced the polio virus, though the situations are very different in many ways. At its height, polio paralyzed or killed half a million people globally each year. In the two years before a vaccine was made widely available, the average number of polio cases in the United States was more than 45,000.
Today, polio is 99 percent eradicated globally.
Just as our founder, Jonas Salk, discovered a polio vaccine and saved countless lives, scientists around the world are hard at work in a unified response to develop a vaccine and effective treatments for COVID-19. During these sobering times, we are reminded of how crucial basic science research is to our health.
Last month, the Institute activated its emergency response team made up of scientific and administrative leaders who have monitored this rapidly evolving issue and implemented contingency plans to adapt to the changing nature of this crisis:
We have closed the Salk campus to the public.
All public events planned through April have been canceled.
Travel restrictions have been adopted on international and domestic business travel.
We have asked staff who can work from home to do so.
Contingency plans have been developed if it becomes necessary to close the Institute and our labs.
Salk personnel needed to ensure all essential services are maintained will remain onsite.
We will continue to monitor the situation and take appropriate actions during these uncertain times.
This new virus is challenging us today in new and different ways. I firmly believe that basic science and a strong public health response will help us prevail as it did when Jonas helped the world defeat polio. Thank you for your ongoing support. Please take care of yourself, your family and loved ones during this difficult time for our community, country and the world.