July 29, 2020

Coronavirus: Critical Choices

The pandemic is surging in the U.S., with record-breaking numbers of coronavirus infections and a climbing death toll. For over six months, policymakers have debated how to stop the spread of the virus, and most safety measures were left up to the states to implement. Leana S. Wen, an emergency physician, visiting professor at the George Washington University’s Milken School of Public Health and the former Baltimore health commissioner, and David J. Skorton, a medical doctor and Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) president and CEO, will join Washington Post senior writer Frances Stead Sellers on Wednesday, July 29 at 12:00 p.m. ET to discuss the critical choices leaders will need to make in order to stop the destruction of COVID-19.
A study found children over 10 could spread COVID-19 just as equally as adults while children under 10 are half as likely to spread it. Leana Wen, MD says the difference in risk doesn’t reduce the chances that children could spread the virus. ‘The problem is this -- half of a lot of transmission is still a lot of transmission.’
  • 4 days ago
Leana Wen, MD wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post explaining what it could look like if schools reopened today. She said she wrote the piece because she wanted to address some concerns that haven’t been addressed, including the backlog for test results. ‘I think there are lots of these questions that we just haven’t thought about.’
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When asked what the truth is about wearing masks, Leana Wen, MD said there’s a lot of misunderstanding and misinformation surrounding masks, but people should think of them like ‘medication.’ “There was a Lancet study that found that if everyone wears masks we can reduce the transmission by five-fold. I just think of it like a medication. Imagine if we found a pill that could reduce your chances of transmitting or getting COVID-19 by 5 times, we would all want to take that pill.”
  • 4 days ago
The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) has released a road map to ‘reset the nation’s approach’ to the coronavirus. AAMC president and CEO David J. Skorton says the road map shares some actions the country should take, including a ‘unified national view’ on face coverings.
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Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) president and CEO David Skorton, MD says the medically vulnerable, as well as health care and essential workers, should be among the first to receive the coronavirus vaccine when it’s available. He adds we should begin planning now on how to distribute the vaccine. ‘The first thing we need to do in planning the distribution of vaccines is to decide and make it very clear…which agency, which part of the government will be in charge of developing and enforcing those distribution rules.”
  • 4 days ago
Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) president and CEO David Skorton, MD says while health inequities affecting patients of color need to be addressed, medical professionals also need to examine disparities among their staff. ‘These health inequities that have been uncovered by the coronavirus weren’t caused by the coronavirus.’
  • 4 days ago
Leana S. Wen, MD
Professor, Milken School of Public Health at George Washington University
Dr. Leana Wen is an emergency physician and visiting professor of health policy and management at the George Washington University’s Milken School of Public Health, where she is also a distinguished fellow at the Fitzhugh Mullan Institute for Health Workforce Equity. She is an expert in public health preparedness and previously served as Baltimore's Health Commissioner. A contributing columnist for The Washington Post and author of the book When Doctors Don't Listen, Dr. Wen is a frequent guest commentator on the COVID-19 crisis. 
David J. Skorton, MD
President and CEO, Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC)
David J. Skorton, MD, is president and CEO of the AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges), a not-for-profit institution that represents the nation’s medical schools, teaching hospitals, and academic societies. Dr. Skorton began his leadership of the AAMC in July 2019 after a distinguished career in government, higher education, and medicine. Most recently, Dr. Skorton served as the 13th secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, where he oversaw 19 museums, 21 libraries, the National Zoo, numerous research centers, and education programs. A distinguished professor at Georgetown University, Dr. Skorton is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society, as well as a lifetime member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He also served on the AAMC Board of Directors from 2010 to 2013, and was the charter president of the Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs, Inc., the first group organized specifically to accredit human research protection programs.
Frances Stead Sellers
The Washington Post
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