Lawrence S. Bacow, 29th president of Harvard University, with his wife Adele at a party following his inauguration. (Photo: Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard staff photographer)

Harvard’s president told the community on Tuesday that he and his wife have tested positive for Covid-19 – and in Cambridge terms, Lawrence and Adele Bacow test positive for coronavirus is a bit like having Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson test positive for the rest of the country.

“We started experiencing symptoms on Sunday – first coughs, then fevers, chills and muscle aches—and contacted our doctors on Monday. We were tested yesterday and just received the results a few minutes ago,” Bacow said in an afternoon email. How they contracted the virus was unknown, but the Bacow said they had been working from home and limiting contact with other people as of March 14, making for “good news – if there is any to be had.”

The Department of Public Health will be in touch with anyone they had close contact with over the past 14 days, Lawrence Bacow said, and the couple will be recuperating during a two-week isolation at home. “I am blessed with a great team, and many of my colleagues will be taking on more responsibility over the next few weeks,” he said.

He praised Harvard’s “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,” saying it had moved him deeply and “made me extraordinarily grateful and proud.” There were 18 positive tests for coronavirus among Harvard affiliates, The Harvard Crimson said Tuesday.

Bacow, the institution’s 29th president, was installed in October 2018.


This post took significant amounts of material from a press release.