bookmark_borderConversation with Tom Frieden on Coronavirus

On April 13, 2020, Helen Branswell, senior infectious diseases and global health reporter for STAT, hosted a chat with Tom Frieden, current president and CEO of the global public health initiative Resolve to Save Lives. Dr. Frieden is a former director of the CDC and commissioner of the NYC Department of Health.

I highly recommend watching this chat including the Q&A session at the end. It is about a 40 minute investment of your time. Notable takeaways:

  • We need to continue working together around the world and learn best practices from each other
  • The time we have been sheltering in place was buying us time to prepare to continue fighting it so we can BOX IT IN* – widespread testing, isolate the infected, find the exposed, quarantine the exposed
  • Current state of testing for disease – tests are pretty good although difficult to get a good sample, but still need to ramp up testing
  • Current state of antibody testing – most of the tests out there are “junk” – we need reliable tests and also, we don’t know whether everyone gets antibodies nor whether or how long they confer immunity – however, it would give us good epidemiologic information on how much it has spread in the population
  • MASKS – outside of healthcare front line or anyone taking care of the sick, more important for actively sick to use to prevent spread (but they should be staying home anyway)
  • MASKS for general public is a judgment call – but important to ensure that they aren’t being taken from healthcare workers, they don’t give undue increased confidence of protection – still more important to WASH YOUR HANDS AND NOT TOUCH YOUR FACE
  • Don’t ask “when can we reopen” – this is about data, not dates – we have to maximize public health protection while minimizing economic dislocation.
  • This virus is here to stay – we need to learn how to live with it. There will be waves of outbreaks, we need to keep them small and contained clusters so we don’t have to come back to this type of lockdown.

*BOX IT INclick here for the briefing document (downloaded April 19, 2020) for more detailed information.