Doctor on coronavirus testing after holiday travel

Here & Now


As we officially entered the holiday season public health officials are warning of a new crisis in the pandemic the centers for disease control tens of thousands of new deaths in the weeks before christmas as people. Return home from ill-advised thanksgiving travel. Let's bring in lena when she's an er doctor and visiting professor at george washington university school of public health. Dr win. it's nice to have you back and thank you for making time for us on a holiday weekend of course. Happy to join you in. What's your prediction for. What's ahead after we saw so many people traveling and gathering over this holiday weekend. We have an impending calamity on our hand because we know that. Kobe is already everywhere and out of control. And now we're facing a surge upon a surge we already had surge in cases of coping nineteen and we also know that every time people come together over the holidays we even saw this over memorial day fourth of july labor dame that there was a surge after that and of course we have unprecedented in numbers of people travelling when we already have a very high baseline level of infection. And all of this. I think is just so incredibly tragic because we are not that far from the finish line here. We do have things that are on the horizon and. I really hope that everyone would just help us to hang in there for bit longer term because our hospitals are already getting overwhelmed. Where already to the point that we could see our healthcare systems collapsing. And we really need to hang in there and get through this very very challenging winter. The cdc is projecting the by december nineteenth the number of americans dead from covid nineteen will total more than three hundred twenty thousand. That's before christmas with this surge upon surge as you say do you think the death toll is about to jump dramatically. Yes i hate to say this. But this is what happens because death is a lagging indicator. Meaning that i. We're going to see an increased level of infections. Then we're going to increase hospitalizations even more than we currently have been. Icu's getting more overwhelmed and then after that death will spike and not only deaths from kobe. Nineteen but when hospitals become so full that physicians and nurses are unable to provide optimal care. Then we also have other patients. Patients come in with heart attacks strokes for cancer care for car accidents who are not able to get ideal care as well and we're going to see mortality increase from these other causes. Well now. i just hope that people will keep in mind. None of this at this point is inevitable. They are things that are in our power. I know ultimately this failure of our federal policy and the administration should have done a much better job but there are things that we as individuals can do and that includes continuing to wear masks continuing to avoid indoor gatherings and really doing our best through this challenging period. Again it's not full forever. But we have to get through this. Winter will in fact there's one projection from the university of washington that says we could save forty thousand lives over the next two months. If ninety five percent of people wore masks and yet we're still seeing cases for example this week governor mark gordon of wyoming tested positive for the coronavirus. After months of resisting a statewide mask mandate. What's not clicking for people here. I mean i think for us in public health. It's really challenging to see this when something that is a basic public. Health measure is being politicized end fact as a partisan symbol a cultural touch point for many people and we need to enlist credible messengers. In many cases prominent republican leaders business leaders pastors religious leaders We know in public health at the messenger is often even more important than the message and so the more people can help us out with. That message is absolutely central.

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