A Skeptics Conversation with a Physician Around COVID-19

With

Bill Russell / David Bensema

#ThisWeekinHealthIT we wanted to capture the conversations at this moment in history. David Bensema, MD joins for a skeptics conversation with his physician around COVID-19.
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May 5, 2020: As COVID-19 continues to dominate headlines and shape our reality, there are increasingly polarized views. On one hand, some are pushing to return to normal as soon as possible, while on the other, many feel that the current response is the right one and it should continue. As the devastating economic and social consequences come to the fore, how can we move forward to ensure people get back on their feet while still remaining safe? This is a tough, polarizing conversation, and today’s guest, Dr. David Bensema is here to share his insights with us. This discussion captures some of the current sentiments in the US, with Bill asking the questions a concerned patient may ask, and David responding as a physician. We kick off the show by going through what we do know about COVID-19. The novelty of the disease means that information is continually evolving and ideas around transmission and susceptible populations have continued to change. We then move onto why we shouldn’t remove the New York City fatality rate from the total death count. While high density is a factor in transmission, it is not a determining one. This is clear in pockets of infection in unsuspecting places. We then turn our attention to the knock-on effects that COVID-19 has on other health problems. People are understandably emotional and patients have avoided medical care for serious conditions as a result. We talk about the complexity of tackling this emotional response. Finally, we round the show off by discussing a way forward and why collaboration and care will get us through to the other side. Be sure to tune in today!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Some of the concrete facts that we know about COVID-19 at this point.
  • Conditions that need to be met before mass gatherings such as sports games can resume.
  • Learn more about some of the problems with current testing.
  • Why removing the high New York fatality rate doesn’t decrease the severity of the pandemic.
  • The importance of finding the balance between risk mitigation and elimination.
  • Is there a possibility of designating hospitals as ‘sanitariums?’ We find out.
  • The impact that shutting down has on screening for other diseases like cancer and diabetes.
  • A case for contact tracing and testing despite containment being a lost battle.
  • Getting to the other side: What it takes to get to herd immunity.