Harvard University President Lawrence S. Bacow has tested positive for the coronavirus, according to an email sent to the Harvard community Tuesday.
“We were tested yesterday and just received the results a few minutes ago. We wanted to share this news with all of you as soon as possible,” he wrote in the email.
Bacow said they are not sure how they contracted the virus, but recent social distancing protocols limited their exposure to others.
“We will be taking the time we need to rest and recuperate during a two-week isolation at home,” Bacow said. “I am blessed with a great team, and many of my colleagues will be taking on more responsibility over the next few weeks as Adele and I focus on just getting healthy. Thanks, in advance, for your good wishes. Thanks also for your understanding if I am not as responsive to email as I normally am.”
The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide is nearly 400,000, according to Johns Hopkins’ Coronavirus Resource Center. The United States currently has 49,768 confirmed cases and 600 deaths, including 125 in New York City alone.
Bacow stressed the importance of social distancing and to remain vigilant during the outbreak.
“This virus can lay anyone low. We all need to be vigilant and keep following guidelines to limit our contact with others,” he said. “Your swift actions over the past few weeks—to respond to the needs of our community, to fulfill our teaching mission, and to pursue research that will save lives—have moved me deeply and made me extraordinarily grateful and proud. I hope to see as few of you in our situation as possible, and I urge you to continue following the guidance of public health experts and the advice and orders of our government officials.”
Seventeen Harvard affiliates have tested positive for the coronavirus, according to The Harvard Crimson, citing Harvard University Health Services.