Front Line Community Members Combat COVID-19

What members of the UPrep community are doing to make a difference during this crisis


Photo: cottonbro/

This photo is symbolic of what members on the front lines against COVID-19 are doing make sure we all stay healthy and safe.

We are all contributing to the fight against COVID-19 simply by staying home. These are just a few of the UPrep community members on the front lines who are making a difference in this crisis.

Hal Blumberg is a parent of former UPrep student Joshua Wah-Blumberg (’17) and has been volunteering at the Family Works food bank in Wallingford for one and a half years. 

“For most of the time I was volunteering one day a week, but a lot of volunteers dropped out because of COVID-19. So I decided to add an extra morning a week to try to help out and fill the gap because people still need the resources of the food bank,” Blumberg said.

The volunteers at the food bank are risking their lives to compensate for the extra people in need of food and ensure that they do not go hungry. But, the volunteers are staying strong and more positive than ever in the food bank.

“I think the spirit is really good,” he added. “Even more so than usual now and they’re doing something important because we are in a tough time locally and for the whole world really.”

Bonnie Tilghman is a parent of UPrep students Esme (7th) and Adaire (11th) and a local labor and delivery nurse. She is working tirelessly to ensure that the only thing her patients have to focus on without the support of their family and friends in the delivery room is bringing their children into the world.

“All of my patients I’ve looked after have had really great experiences. We have made it as nice as possible for them, even though it’s very different than they were expecting,” Tilghman said.

She mentioned that this joyful experience can feel very isolating to some of her patients right now due to the current situation. That’s why Tilghman is working hard to ensure that these women still feel supported.

“I actually had a patient the other day that said to me her mother wasn’t able to see her there,” she added. “But since her mother wasn’t able to be there, I made the experience so positive that it was the next best thing—which was really nice and the appreciation that everybody is showing nurses and doctors right now is really helping.”

Carl Bergstrom is a parent of UPrep students Teddy (7th) and Helen (11th) and a professor in the Department of Biology at the University of Washington. 

Bergstrom is an infectious disease expert and has been studying epidemiology for 20 years. He was involved with outbreaks from SARS in 2003 and 2004, the swine flu in 2009, and Ebola in 2014 and 2015. A few years ago he began looking at how misinformation spreads and recently co-authored, “Calling Bullsh*t: The Art of Skepticism in a Data-Driven World.”

Since this crisis first broke, Bergstrom has been quoted frequently in the New York Times, helped popularize the phrase “flatten the curve,” appeared on “All In with Chris Hayes” on MSNBC, combated health misinformation on social media platforms, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

“When this broke out it became all hands on deck. Everybody who has anything they can contribute wants to do everything they can. So I dropped everything else I was doing, and just said, ‘Okay I’m going to spend all my time working with COVID.’”

Bergstrom said he has been spending close to 100 hours a week working on mathematical modeling, monitoring and combating misinformation with COVID-19, and working with economists to figure out how we are going to get everybody back to work safely.

“It’s your chance to do something constructive,” he added. “You could have a 50-year career, and you have one chance in that 50-year career to do something that really helps people, and I think some of the things we’ve done have already saved a huge number of lives.”