Aug 4, 2020 - Health

New York ER doctor on pandemic advice: "We know what works"

Dara Kass, an emergency medicine physician and professor at Columbia University Medical Center, said at an Axios virtual event Tuesday that the coronavirus outbreak in New York should be a lesson to governors and federal leadership that there are ways to effectively flatten the curve from crisis levels.

Why it matters: New York was once the epicenter of the global pandemic, peaking at as many as 11,000 new cases and over 900 deaths per day in April. Today, thanks to a stringent lockdown, the state is consistently reporting fewer than 1,000 cases and 10 deaths per day.

What she's saying: "The interesting part about New York City is that we saw the effects of our work — of social distancing and starting to mask wear even as early as April — take effect pretty dramatically. So we had a massive surge of cases and an unbearable number of patients die, but we also saw the peak come down almost as quickly as it went up," Kass told Axios' Caitlin Owens.

  • "So my first advice is actually not to the hospitals," she continued. "It’s to the governors and leadership of the states and actually to the federal leadership, which is to say, we know what works. And what we really need to do is see it implemented consistently and with regulation and with force. Consistent effort to say, if you’re not wearing a mask, you can’t enter a store."
  • "You can’t have bars opening and gyms opening when you have a positive test rate of over 15-20%. We know that’s what works and unfortunately it comes down to the health care workers on the front lines to deal with the consequences of poor leadership at the federal and state level."
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