The coronavirus pandemic has us all asking a lot of questions: How long will I have to practice “social distancing”? Will there be a cure for COVID-19? Can I ever touch my face again?WABE health reporter Sam Whitehead and guests will try to answer those questions. He’ll talk with experts, public officials, journalists, and everyday people about how the coronavirus is affecting their lives.
Paul Root Wolpe, a medical ethicist at Emory University, says it's not easy for health care workers or everyday people to navigate the ethical challenges presented by the coronavirus--but it can be done.
Dr. Jonathan Wortham, an epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says a study of more than 10,000 COVID-19 deaths showed members of minority groups were more likely to die from the disease at younger ages.
The HIV epidemic can teach us a lot about how to handle the coronavirus, especially how to carry on our lives while minimizing risk, says Dr. Eric Kutscher from NYU Langonne Health. He recently co-authored an essay on the topic (https://jamanetwork.com/channels/health-forum/fullarticle/2766837) in the Journal of the American Medical Association's Health Forum.
Stephannie Stokes, who covers housing for WABE, says evictions haven't been happening since courts closed to stop the spread of the coronavirus. But they could reopen soon, and many are worried about a looming eviction crisis.
Dr. Audrey Arona, who leads the Gwinnett County health department, says an increased demand for coronavirus testing means it takes longer for people to receive results. That makes it trickier for public health officials to track people who are sick and who they've been in contact with.
Van Johnson, mayor of Savannah, Georgia, says a rise in coronavirus infections led him to issue a first-in-the-state requirement that people wear face masks in his city. It seems to violate a state order that prevents local governments from making their own public health rules.
Dr. Lynn Paxton, director of the Fulton County Board of Health says the rise in COVID-19 cases should prompt officials to look at "dialing back" continuing to lift restrictions intended to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Dr. Anne Spaulding, who studies healthcare in jails and prisons at Emory University, says these settings can be perfect incubators for a highly contagious virus and can have major impacts in the communities where they're located.
Andy Miller, editor of Georgia Health News, says pressure from federal officials has led two medical device sterilization facilities in metro Atlanta to ramp up operations in the midst of the pandemic. The two facilities had previously reduced operations because of elevated emissions of the toxic gas, ethylene oxide.
Dr. Carl Reddy, from the Task Force for Global Health, shares some of the challenges developing countries face when it comes to responding to the pandemic and discusses the COVID-19 outlook for the rest of the world.
Ryan Breshears, chief of behavioral health for the Wellstar Health System, says the coronavirus pandemic is a stressful situation that could have both short-term and long-term impacts on peoples' mental health.
Johnny Edwards, an investigative reporter with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, has been speaking with people inside and outside the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who worry the agency's response to the COVID-19 pandemic has harmed its public reputation.
Jenesta Hadley, who works at a healthcare laundry facility in south Georgia, is one of the many people who's job keeps the healthcare industry running in the midst of the pandemic. She says her job has become even more dangerous in the time of the coronavirus.
Kathleen Hartnett, an epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says visits to hospital emergency departments dropped sharply in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, and patients delaying emergency care could face serious health complications.
Dr. Howard Markel, physician and historian of medicine at the University of Michigan, says recent protests and the tactics used to stop them could spread the coronavirus. He says similar situations occurred during the 1918 flu pandemic.
Ivan Oransky has been tracking questionable studies on COVID-19 for the blog "Retraction Watch", which he co-founded (https://retractionwatch.com/retracted-coronavirus-covid-19-papers/). He shares his tips on telling the good research on the coronavirus from the not-so-good.
Turgay Ayer, who studies healthcare analytics at Georgia Tech, helped build The COVID-19 Simulator (https://covid19sim.org/), which predicts how the coronavirus will spread as states start to lift restrictions on movement and activity. It predicts, the more states open, the more COVID-19 will spread.
Dr. Andi Shane, Medical Director of Infectious Diseases at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, says physicians are still learning a lot about Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C), a new condition possibly linked to the coronavirus. Also, how the pandemic is affecting childhood vaccination rates.
Willoughby Mariano, a reporter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, says the Georgia Department of Public Health's handling of coronavirus data has made it harder for people to trust public officials.
Dr. Kathleen Toomey, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health, talks about her agency's efforts to hire an army of disease detectives, to track down the contacts of everyone in Georgia who tests positive for COVID-19. She also addresses recent issues with her agency's COVID-19 data.
Earlier in the year, as hospitals started to see more and more COVID-19 patients, many put elective procedures on hold. That put Barbara Russell in a tough spot. Her surgery was meant to hold off cervical cancer.
Scott Steiner, CEO of Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital, shares what he thinks is behind a recent rise in COVID-19 cases in Albany and how his hospital is watching for a potential second surge in patients.
Dr. Camara Phyllis Jones, an epidemiologist with the Morehouse School of Medicine .and the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University, says COVID-19 has "ripped the sheets off the basic inequity, structured inequity by race in this country."
Liz Essley Whyte, a reporter for the Center for Public Integrity, has obtained an internal government document that shows federal officials are worried about Georgia's ability to handle a surge of COVID-19 patients even as the state continues to loosen shelter-in-place restrictions.
More on the story here: https://publicintegrity.org/health/coronavirus-and-inequality/as-georgia-reopens-its-intensive-care-beds-are-largely-full/
Melita Nichols tells the story of losing her 27-year-old daughter, Qunia "Nia" Roberts, to the coronavirus after her own fight with COVID-19. Roberts remains one of the youngest people to die of the disease in hard-hit southwest Georgia.
Isaac Fung, an epidemiologist at Georgia Southern University, walks through some of the COVID-19 data compiled by the Georgia Department of Public Health (https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-19-daily-status-report) and discusses what it tells us (and what it doesn't).
Michelle Nunn, president and CEO of CARE USA, says the international humanitarian organization CARE is offering aid in the U.S. for the first time. That as the non-profit faces a potential downturn in donations as the nation's economy suffers.
Dr. Natalie Lane, medical director for the emergency department of the Children's Hospital of Georgia, says its not totally clear why kids seem to be less affected by the coronavirus, but cautions the pandemic could still affect them profoundly.
Dr. Brendan Jackson, medical epidemiologist for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, talks about a new report that finds African-Americans are more likely to be hospitalized for COVID-19, and some adults could expect severe illness even without underlying risk factors.
The Atlanta History Center has launched a project to collect documents, stories, and artifacts that show how everyday people are living through the COVID-19 pandemic. Sheffield Hale, president and CEO of the organization, says it's not always easy to know what will have historical value.
Lis Hernandez, owner of Venezuelan restaurant Arepa Mia, says she doesn't feel safe opening her two locations for dine-in service, despite the fact that she has permission from state officials to do so. She's been completely closed for the last month and says it's taken a toll on her business.
Dr. Marcus Plescia, chief medical officer for the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, explains the basics of contact tracing--and lays out some of the challenges of tracking and isolating people with COVID-19.
Dr. Aneesh Mehta, with the Emory University Vaccine Center, says antibody testing could help public health officials get a better sense of who's been infected by the coronavirus. It's less clear, however, what kind of immune protection those who've recovered might have.
Devon Orland, legal director with the Georgia Advocacy Office, a federally-mandated advocacy group for people with disabilities, says COVID-19 has cut her off from her clients in nursing homes and state hospitals. That has her worried for their safety.
Joshua Weitz, a quantitative biologist at Georgia Tech, says models can't give us certainty about what will happen with the coronavirus pandemic, but they can still help tailor interventions to keep people safe. Plus, his thoughts on Governor Brian Kemp's decision to start re-opening Georgia's economy.
Governor Brian Kemp will allow some Georgia businesses to resume operations at the end of the week, less than one month after issuing a statewide shelter-in-place order to fight COVID-19. Emma Hurt, WABE government and politics reporter, talks about what the move could mean for the economy and the spread of the pandemic.
Lots of people have had their employment situations changed by the pandemic. Many have lost jobs. Many are working in different hours or different settings. A long-time custodian at the Atlanta airport and a long-haul truck driver share how their work has changed.
COVID-19 has led Georgia officials to delay the state's presidential primary election multiple times and to push vote-by-mail in new ways. Emil Moffatt, who covers voting for WABE, talks about what the changes could mean for November's general election.
Dr. Chirag Patel, Medical Director for Population Health at Wellstar Health System, says the coronavirus isn't going away any time soon and shares his thoughts on what's needed to ride out the pandemic in the long-term.
The effort to fight the spread of the coronavirus has lead to massive economic upheaval, and it won't be easy to recover from says Tom Smith, economist with Emory University's Goizueta Business School.
As Easter approaches, how one metro Atlanta church has transitioned to online services because of the coronavirus. A conversation with the Rev. Joseph McBrayer, associate pastor of Oak Grove United Methodist Church.
Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta is facing the COVID-19 pandemic short on beds and receiving the same amount of regular patient traffic. Dr. Robert Jansen, Grady's chief medical officer, on how the hospital is coping and what doctors are learning about how the coronavirus affects those it infects.
Schools across the state have sent students home for the remainder of the year to stop the spread of COVID-19. Martha Dalton, WABE education reporter, says making the transition out of the classroom has come with challenges.
Dr. Sandra Ford leads the boards of health for both Fulton and DeKalb counties, which each have more COVID-19 cases than almost anywhere else in the state. A conversation about testing capacity, workforce shortages, and much more.
Georgians shouldn't worry about getting access to coronavirus testing or treatment--even if they don't have insurance, says John King, state insurance commissioner. But taxpayers are likely to be on the hook for some of the cots of that care.
After facing weeks of pressure, Governor Brian Kemp has asked the entire state of Georgia to stay home to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Emma Hurt, WABE government and politics reporter, on the reasons behind the decision and the latest on the situation in Albany, Georgia.
Piedmont Healthcare, like many other hospital systems, is doing what it can for a potential flood of patients with COVID-19. Scott Hill, the system's chief operating officer, says dealing with the surge won't be easy.
A look at how Emory University Hospital is preparing for a surge of COVID-19 patients with Dr. Colleen Kraft. The member of Governor Brian Kemp's coronavirus task force also shares her thoughts on Georgia's approach to fighting the virus.
Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says a lack of investment in the country’s public health system has “significant consequences.” He shares what his agency has learned about the virus, his take on the best tools to fight it, and much more.
This week, Congress passed a $2.2 trillion dollar relief package aimed at blunting some of the economic pain caused by the coronavirus. U.S. Senator David Perdue digs into the contents of the bill and shares his thoughts on the country’s lack of preparedness for a pandemic.
From enforcing "stay-at-home" orders to reducing arrests to keep people out of jails, the coronavirus pandemic is changing how the Atlanta Police Department handles things. A conversation with WABE criminal justice reporter Lisa Hagen.
Governor Brian Kemp has issued an executive order calling for people “with an increased risk of complications from COVID-19” to isolate themselves. Dr. Carlos del Rio, who studies public health and infectious diseases at Emory University, says it might not be enough to slow the spread of coronavirus.
People without stable housing are especially hard to help during a pandemic, even though they’re particularly vulnerable. Stephannie Stokes, WABE housing reporter, discusses how the city of Atlanta and its non-profit partners are trying to protect them.
This week, Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms issued an executive order closing bars, gyms, and movie theaters--and ordering restaurants to transition to take-out service only. A look at how one coffee shop is trying to adapt.