U of I Experts: Physical Activity, Business Adaptability, Expanded Broadband Key During COVID-19 Battle
April 13, 2020
MOSCOW, Idaho — April 13, 2020 — Physical activity, business adaptability and expanded broadband are among the ways University of Idaho faculty say will help America recover from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Telemedicine is critical for rural communities during a crisis, said Lorie Higgins, professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology. Rural residents tend to be older than the general population so outbreaks can quickly overcome small hospitals.
“Rapid expansion of broadband in rural communities should be considered by Congress,” she said.“Rural areas are digital deserts, and that affects the ability of children to access educational programs. On the brighter side, it is easier for rural residents to effectively practice social distancing. But, the way trends look, that just means some rural communities will get hit later than many urban centers.”
Physical Activity and Mindfulness
Humans are wired to pay close attention to threats, said Jamie Derrick, associate professor in the Department of Psychology and Communication Studies. That’s a survival instinct that activates fear and self-protective emotions such as hoarding and blaming.
“We need to use our resiliency to avoid being flooded by these instincts and make mindful choices,” Derrick said. “We need breaks from the cycles of preparing and worrying so our nervous system can calm and to find clarity. One way to break the cycle of worry is to do something physical.”
Derrick also recommends taking a break from the news and social media and pursuing “wholesome distractions” such as reading a book or watching a comedy.
Some people are coping with challenges presented by the pandemic relatively smoothly, while others are slipping into old patterns such as substance abuse or eating disorders.
“Some of us cope by working hard or working out, and with this taken off the table, we may not know how to stay resilient,” she said.
People will be out of work longer if consumer spending doesn’t recover, said Stefanie Ramirez, assistant professor in the College of Business and Economics, said. However, she also sees silver linings.
“Some communities have rapidly pivoted to these changes, offering delivery, online ordering and changes in products offerings,” she said. “Our rapid transition to online shopping is a signal that as a population, we still want to consume, but we will do so under safe and certain conditions.”
More messages related to the pandemic from U of I experts are available on the U of I COVID-19 website.
About the University of Idaho
The University of Idaho, home of the Vandals, is Idaho’s land-grant, national research university. From its residential campus in Moscow, U of I serves the state of Idaho through educational centers in Boise, Coeur d’Alene and Idaho Falls, nine research and Extension centers, plus Extension offices in 42 counties. Home to nearly 12,000 students statewide, U of I is a leader in student-centered learning and excels at interdisciplinary research, service to businesses and communities, and in advancing diversity, citizenship and global outreach. U of I competes in the Big Sky and Western Athletic conferences. Learn more at uidaho.edu