Covid-19 By the Numbers

December 1, 2021

From directing research that informs policy to volunteering in our communities, Columbia Mailman School faculty, staff, and students came together like never before to become leaders in the pandemic response.


Number of vaccine awareness public service announcements (PSAs) featuring Columbia University Irving Medical Center employees (including from Columbia Mailman School) created in partnership with the New York State COVID-19 Vaccine Equity Task Force. PSAs were broadcast on networks through the tri-state area and shared widely on social media.


Number of PSAs the School did in partnership with the cast and filmmakers of the movie Contagion.


Number of videos created by CopeColumbia to provide insight into how to manage stress and anxiety during the pandemic and other difficult times.


Number of students who joined volunteer organizations via the COVID-19 Student Service Corps (CSSC), sharing information on preventing the spread of the virus, tutoring children, helping to alleviate food insecurity, and otherwise supporting communities.


Number of health facilities worldwide receiving COVID-19related support from ICAP. .


Number of COVID-19-related scientific manuscripts published by Columbia Mailman School researchers since the pandemic began.

$35 million

Amount of funding from federal grants, foundation grants, and personal philanthropy that supported the School’s research.


Level, on a scale of 1 to 4, of the Biosafety Lab at the Center for Infection and Immunity (CII) where W. Ian Lipkin, MD, Nischay Mishra, PhD, and a team of researchers developed their C3 test for SARS-CoV-2 infection. At press time, it had been used in the U.S. more than 7 million times.

3 million

Number of immune markers, covering proteins of all known human coronaviruses, used in CII’s HCoV-Peptide test, which can detect antibodies against all coronaviruses, including all SARS-CoV-2 variants, and can distinguish between immunity from infection vs. vaccination.


Ranking, out of an estimated 7,000+ articles in Nature Medicine, of a paper published by Lipkin and co-authors on the origins of SARS-CoV-2, as of September 2021, making it the journal’s most cited article to date.


Ranking, out of an estimated 70,000+ articles in Science, of a paper by a team of Columbia Mailman School researchers, led by Jeffrey Shaman, PhD, professor of Environmental Health Sciences.


Number of meetings of Columbia University President Lee C. Bollinger’s Advisory Task Force on COVID-19 held as of June 30, 2021. Dean Linda P. Fried, MD, MPH, and Wafaa El-Sadr, MD, MPH ’91, MPA, represented the School on the Task Force, helping to shape the University’s multifaceted response, including its health and safety protocols.


Amount raised by the School community for the Community Support Fund that helped students cover their expenses when they needed to rapidly move off campus after the shutdown began.


Number of hand sanitizing stations and touchless restroom devices installed by the Facilities staff in the Allan Rosenfield Building.

$3.5 million

Additional cost of the pandemic to the School, which spent funds on cleaning, remote operations, the transition to online instruction, and pandemic-related financial aid, among other items.


Number of times the Columbia Mailman School’s faculty were cited in top-tier news outlets.


Number of countries in which those stories appeared.

"This is a moment in which the School shines because the whole world is looking to public health for help in how to deal with this enormous crisis."

Columbia University President Lee C. Bollinger speaking to Columbia Mailman School’s Board of Advisors about the School’s role in the pandemic response in October 2020.



Number of questions about COVID-19 answered by the women scientists and health professionals behind Dear Pandemic/Querida Pandemia, a digital-media public service effort co-founded by assistant professor of Epidemiology Sandra Albrecht, MPH ’04, PhD.


Number of community initiatives, including food relief efforts, public education outreach, and economic empowerment programs, that the School’s students, faculty, and staff took part in during the pandemic.


Number of classes that urgently made the transition to online learning when the pandemic forced the campus to shut down in March 2020.


Number of Columbia Mailman School classes that can take place simultaneously on Zoom.


Number of guest appearances by punk rock drummer Marky Ramone in Zoom classes held by professor of Epidemiology Andrew Rundle, MPH ’94, DrPH ’00.


Number of students who participated in online Commencement ceremonies in 2020 and 2021, completing their Columbia Mailman School degrees at a time when their expertise, leadership, and passion are especially needed.

Alejandra Villanueva, MHA ’20, is a hospital management fellow with the Trinity Health System in Albany, New York.