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Connections in the Time of Coronavirus

Global stories of caring and compassion.

We are asking the Cornell community to share inspiring stories during these challenging times. Share a brief story (up to 200 words) describing an event, moment, act or relationship that touched you, demonstrating the power of human connection, even in this time of social distancing. Submit using our form.

Stories will be preserved as part of the University Archives.

Woman holding a teddy bear in from of a full book shelf Book Retrieval Effort Gives Grad Student Welcome Relief
Benedetta Carnaghi, PhD candidate
Olin Library, Ithaca
Benedetta Carnaghi, an Einaudi-funded doctoral student, found help from the Cornell Library when she needed it most. Thanks to a double-time effort by Cornell University Library staff to reunite graduate students and faculty with their research materials, she received all her books and study materials so that she could continue working from home. | You’ve been working on your dissertation for what seems like forever, doing research abroad when you’re not teaching or holed up in the library... READ MORE »

Yao Yu Yeo video conferences with his brother and sister Siblings Band Together to Model the Progression of COVID-19
Bruce Ganem, faculty
Ithaca, Seattle, Philadelphia
Yao Yu Yeo, a Cornell sophomore from Singapore in Professor Bruce Ganem's organic chemistry class, is intent on pursuing an academic career as a virologist. Yao came to his office in early February, seeking long-term career advice. "What path did you follow to become a Cornell faculty member?" he asked. "Coronavirus is here and now; go for it!" recommended Ganem. When classes abruptly ended, he sheltered with his two siblings, both Ph.D. candidates. Yao Rui, Yaos' older brother, is studying... READ MORE »

hands of an older person taking the temperature of a girl The Importance of Managing Coronavirus Anxiety
Ziv Cohen, faculty
Weill Cornell Medicine, New York City
Given all the dire news, it's natural to feel concerned and anxious—but it's also important to not let those feelings overwhelm you and to develop ways to manage your stress, says Dr. Ziv Cohen, a clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City.  "With the coronavirus pandemic, there are realistic concerns we all have about our health and the health of our loved ones," Cohen says. "People are worried about their physical health and... READ MORE »

woman working in a lab wearing blue protective gloves Research interrupted: Lab groups find their way together
Mariana Wolfner, faculty
Ithaca, New York
When Mariana Wolfner, a Cornell geneticist and molecular biologist, learned March 15 she needed to suspend all noncritical research as part of the university’s effort to stem the coronavirus outbreak, she had two main concerns. The first was how best to help her students."Everyone is just stunned ... obviously because of the coronavirus, but also because of their research suddenly stopping or slowing down," said Wolfner, the Goldwin Smith Professor of Molecular Biology and Genetics... READ MORE »

Fathers and Sons
Karim-Aly Kassam, faculty
Uzbekistan and Ithaca
A father reached out to say his son was stuck in Uzbekistan and could we help. Faculty who work in the region jumped on it and within two days had notice of a plane being chartered by the U.S. consulate. Karim-Aly Kassam, the faculty member in Natural Resources who sent word of the plane said ‘Wonderful! I am relieved. I have a son doing fieldwork in Tasmania, so I know how the father must be feeling. ■

Man dressed in green clothing, hat, glasses with shamrocks Cornell Staff Act to 'Stay Nimble, Resilient'
Cornell Chronicle
Ithaca, New York
Marcus Goines, the manager of North Star dining hall, provides a little cheer on March 17 to students at lunchtime. As the Cornell campus responds to the global pandemic, North Star dining hall manager Marcus Goines brought a hint of cheer on March 17: He dressed to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day."It's a sad time, but we need joy," Goines said. "I do it for the students. I do it for the staff. It's about putting a smile on somebody's face, especially since we're all going through a hard time... READ MORE »

Students in classroom setting Cornellians Rally to Support Each Other During Transition
Manisha Munasinghe, PhD candidate
Ithaca, New York
After Cornell’s March 10 announcement that it would move to virtual instruction due to the coronavirus, Manisha Munasinghe circulated a spreadsheet on Twitter inviting fellow graduate students to help undergraduates grappling with the transition. When she checked the Google document the next day, she was stunned: More than 100 graduate students and university staff had volunteered support, offering spare rooms and couches, basement and attic storage space, and rides to the grocery store or... READ MORE »

Front of a building with lettering on facade reading Weill Cornell Medicine Supplies for Weill Cornell Medicine
China and New York City
A Chinese parent (class of ’23) learned about the shortage of supplies at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City and donated 1,800 sets of desperately needed personal protective equipment. Cornell China Advisory Board chair Jonathan Zhu and the Cornell China Center are currently working with the parent to get all 1,200 pounds of supplies from China to Weill to support the work of the medical staff. ■

View from outside of Becker House Blood Drive Donations Double Expectations
Neema Kudva, House Professor-Dean
Carl Becker House, West Campus
More than 70 people, mostly students, showed up at Becker House on West Campus yesterday to donate blood as the House Deans put out word that blood supplies were running critically low. Some of the students donated and jumped on flights home after. At the end of the day, a visibly moved coordinator for the American Red Cross told us they had double of what they expected. They had to turn students away because their staff needed to get home after drawing blood nonstop for five hours and... READ MORE »