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  • Pandemic Prognosis with Dr. Jha: Fall Surge, Vaccines, Testing, Treatments, Smart Prevention

    Pandemic Prognosis with Dr. Jha: Fall Surge, Vaccines, Testing, Treatments, Smart Prevention

    Two to four viable vaccines expected by late November or early December

    Chamber President Laurie White recently sat down for a far-ranging conversation with Dr. Ashish K. Jha, MD, MPH, recognized globally as an expert on pandemic preparedness and response as well as on health policy research and practice. A practicing physician, Dr. Jha serves as Dean of Brown University's School of Public Health and Professor of Health Services, Policy, and Practice.

    Dr. Jha has led groundbreaking research around Ebola and is now on the frontlines of the COVID-19 response, leading national and international analysis of key issues and advising state and federal policy makers. He comes to Brown after leading the Harvard Global Health Institute. 

    "The bottom line on this virus is this: Every country that has done well, they have been aggressive and out front. Every country that has done badly has been slow to respond and are trying to play catch up. You don't want to play catch up with this virus," said Dr. Jha. "If you're seeing trouble today, the trouble began two to four weeks ago. You want to act now. That's the lesson of this virus."

    "What we've seen in country after country is that countries that have done a good job controlling the virus, they have had a much more robust economic recovery, far smaller drops in employment, far smaller drops in GDP than countries that have done badly. So it's the old control the virus, and the economy can recover. And the way to do that is to be aggressive," Dr. Jha said
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    Key Points
     
    • Dr. Jha believes that by late November or early December there will be between 2 to 4 viable vaccines.
       
    • The most complete data about COVID-19 in the U.S. is available at covidtracking.com. The COVID Tracking Project collects and publishes the latest and most complete numbers on tests, cases, hospitalizations and patient outcomes from every U.S. state and territory.
       
    • There is no disagreement between public health officials that masks make a huge difference in preventing spread of infection.
       
    • If everyone were diligent about high-quality mask wearing, we could dramatically cut the number of cases.
       
    • Rhode Island is in a difficult place. Spread is occurring indoors, and we need to be more aggressive to contain the virus here. 
       
    • We need to ramp up production on antibody therapies and antiviral medications.
       
    • Antiviral medication that you could obtain from a pharmacy after testing positive would be a game changer.
       
    • Vaccines should be free, and pharmacies should be enabled to immunize patients.
       
    • We can get through this pandemic with humility and kindness.

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