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Thursday, March 05, 2020

Coronavirus & Academia

The Coronavirus is everywhere, offline and online. I have been following the developments closely since the beginning, especially because I had talks scheduled this month in Singapore and Japan, and since January have been deciding whether to cancel them. I did cancel and my hosts have been generous in reimbursing my cancellation costs. I also recently received emails from American and Israeli universities where I am set to give talks in the upcoming months asking if I'd like to reschedule for a later date. So far, I have decided to proceed with domestic travel and to travel to Tel-Aviv in June. 

As academics we travel quite a bit, probably too much for what is responsible energy wise. So cutting back air travel seems like a wise idea even under normal circumstances. But I am wondering how others are deciding about their upcoming professional travels. 

There are also so many questions that can and should be asked about the viral spread that law professors can put on their agenda. Here are some:

  1. decisions about closing borders to certain nationalities because the virus has spread earlier and more quickly in those countries. 
  2. decisions to quarantine citizens.
  3. decisions to cease exports of vital health supplies.
  4. cancellation policies of the travel industries.
  5. the role of whistle blowers in disease control enforcement, including both blowing the whistle on government action or inaction and on other citizens that are not complying with self-quarantine orders.
  6. prosecution of super-spreaders 
  7. WHO and global health collaborations
  8. surge pricing of various products and hoarding; platform intervention (like Amazon's) in the case of false advertising and surging.
  9. the huge range of decision-making processes on whether to cancel or not public gatherings, conferences and events.
  10. testing priorities and CDC thresholds; local/national cooperation and disputes over testing.

Thoughts? Stay healthy and safe this spring!

Posted by Orly Lobel on March 5, 2020 at 12:04 PM | Permalink


I've cancelled all air travel, and am happily (well, unhappily, but someone's gotta do it) eating the costs associated with doing so. There's no reason to believe that this is primarily a problem associated with foreign countries, indeed, given the trump admin's head-in-the-sand behavior it's almost certain that it's spreading more widely in the U.S. than heretofore detected. Airplanes and airports are densely crowded gathering spaces with people from all over the place. And I don't want the deaths of the elderly and the previously sick on my conscience if I become a disease vector.

Posted by: Paul Gowder | Mar 9, 2020 9:44:09 AM

It looks like you are very much interested to write posts on this topic. And you have gained ample of knowledge in this subject.

Posted by: Daniel | Mar 9, 2020 6:25:17 AM

Here the latest update of the UN, concerning the virus and its impact ( especially on students and schools):


Posted by: El roam | Mar 5, 2020 5:31:29 PM

You can read the English version of the ruling here:


Posted by: El roam | Mar 5, 2020 4:12:05 PM

By the way Orly, you may find great interest here( and links therein):

"France top court recognizes right of Uber drivers to be considered employees"


Posted by: El roam | Mar 5, 2020 4:09:35 PM

Important post of course. He who wants to learn about world cooperation, can read here for example ( the blog itself: " UN dispatch" very recommended ):


And speaking of Amazon:

"Coronavirus: Amazon removes overpriced goods and fake cures"




Posted by: El roam | Mar 5, 2020 1:58:21 PM

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