Are We Winning the War Against Coronavirus?

Gloved hands holding a face mask

A virtual event provides a status report on the fight against COVID-19 and suggestions for next steps.

“This is an 18-month process,” said Ezekiel J. Emanuel, Penn’s vice provost for global initiatives, in a webinar on April 7 cohosted by Perry World House and the German Marshall Fund for the United States, titled “Are We Winning the War Against Coronavirus?”

In the hour-long session, available to stream at the Perry World House YouTube channel, Emanuel—an oncologist who helped formulate US response to the H1N1 influenza in 2009-10 while serving as special advisor for health policy to the Obama administration—emphasized that the earliest timeline for producing a vaccine for general use was sometime in the summer of 2021. In the meantime, the public must be prepared for successive waves of the virus—perhaps less intense—to emerge, even if social distancing measures prove effective in flattening the curve of cases to avoid hospital systems being overwhelmed. Thus far, Emanuel said, US efforts to respond to both the public health and economic impacts of the crisis have failed to take the long-term focus needed.

Emanuel began the webinar with a summary of the nature of the virus and how the infection operates, and also addressed issues including the balance between public health and privacy concerns in using technology to collect information on the virus, the limited prospects for international cooperation in the absence of US leadership, and the potential impact of warmer weather on slowing the spread (“I wouldn’t bank a lot on it,” he said).

View the entire webinar by clicking the image below.

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