COVID-19: Johns Hopkins University Experts Discuss Pandemic Response, Social Distancing, and More

to this special broadcast from Johns Hopkins University. Thank you for joining us. I’m Joshua Sharfstein, a faculty
member at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School
of Public Health and former Secretary of
Maryland’s Department of Health. We’re here to talk
about COVID-19, which is now a global pandemic. As we know, the coronavirus
is dramatically affecting life around the world. There have been more than
185,000 cases and 7,300 deaths because of this disease. In many places, events and
gatherings are being canceled. In 37 US states,
schools are closed. And that may increase. Millions of people in the United
States, in Europe, in Africa, and other parts of
the world are heeding recommendations and guidelines
to practice social distancing. And health care
systems are working to manage incoming patients. To understand the very
latest on the virus and what we can all do together
to help stop its spread and impact, we will hear
first from a virologist who is an expert in
infectious diseases and who has been studying
the virus in the lab. Then we’ll talk about
social distancing with an expert from the
Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security,
what it is, why it works, and whether governments and
organizations are making the right decisions today. Our goal is to bring their
knowledge directly to you. We’ll also answer questions
from our audience submitted both before and
during the broadcast. You can listen to more
interviews with experts on a new podcast called
Public Health on Call which is available wherever
you get your podcasts. With that, let me introduce our
first expert, Dr. Andy Pekosz. Dr. Pekosz is a professor here
at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. He’s an expert on the
basic biology of influenza and other emerging
viral infections as well as a leader in the field
of infectious disease research. He is co-director
of the Johns Hopkins Center of Excellence
for Influenza Research and Surveillance. Dr. Pekosz, thanks so
much for being here today. ANDY PEKOSZ: Thanks
for having me. JOSH SHARFSTEIN: So
I just want to start with this one question. I understand there is a vaccine
trial that started this week. Can you tell us what’s
going on with that trial? ANDY PEKOSZ: Yeah, so
one of the, I think, amazing things that has
happened scientifically with this outbreak is the
speed in which vaccines have been designed and brought
into at least the first phase of testing, which
is the safety phase. So one of those vaccines
started trials this week. And a second one is scheduled
to start clinical trials. Again, these are for safety. So these are just the very early
stages of vaccine development. But it’s only been
two months that we’ve known what this virus was. And we already have a vaccine. I think it’s a
tremendous statement to the science behind this. JOSH SHARFSTEIN: And what is
the science behind vaccines for this new virus? What are they trying to
do with this vaccine? ANDY PEKOSZ: Well,
with coronaviruses, we have pretty good
evidence from the SARS and the MERS outbreaks, which
are related to coronaviruses, to the virus that causes
COVID-19, that if we generate a good antibody response
that recognizes the virus, then we can be relatively sure
that we can protect people from infection. So the goal of these
vaccine studies is to generate those
kind of vaccines, things that look like the virus that
can generate antibodies that can then recognize the virus and
stop it from infecting cells. JOSH SHARFSTEIN: How
long do you think it will take to know whether
these initial vaccines being tested are able to generate
that antibody response that’s necessary for an
effective vaccine? ANDY PEKOSZ: Yeah, a very
difficult thing to predict. After phase one, they
have to go into trials that actually measure how
well the vaccine is working. Best estimates are that
12 months to 18 months is probably a time frame
in which a vaccine would come into use, providing
everything goes well. JOSH SHARFSTEIN: Got it. So bottom line– it’s good
that studies are starting, but we still have a lot to learn
to see whether they’ll work. ANDY PEKOSZ: Yeah, the vaccine
won’t be a short-term solution. JOSH SHARFSTEIN: OK, well,
let’s back up a little. And since you’re a
virologist and expert in viruses, what
do you think people need to know about this virus? ANDY PEKOSZ: Well, you know, it
came into the human population with an ability to spread
quite efficiently, much more efficiently
than SARS or MERS, again, the related
viruses that we’ve seen in the human
population beforehand. And I think the second
thing is this virus does cause mild disease
at a rate that’s much higher than SARS or MERS did. And so all that has contributed
to some of the issues in terms of being able
to control the virus. Because it’s no
longer people that are so sick that they’re
looking for medical care that are being
reported as being sick. There’s a large
number of people that are showing mild symptoms
that maybe don’t feel the need to go seek medical care that
are driving the transmission chains with this virus. JOSH SHARFSTEIN:
Right, so it makes for a very interesting and
challenging response which we’ll be talking about a
lot with Dr. Rivers soon. As a virologist,
what do you want to know about the virus
that is not yet known? ANDY PEKOSZ: Well, some of
the really important questions are understanding the immune
response to infection. So we just talked
about vaccines, wanting to boost
an immune response. What we really
want to know is now that we’ve got people that have
survived the infection that have generated
antibody responses, we want to understand what
the virus is doing in terms of inducing antibody responses. Because we want the
vaccine to mimic that. We also want to know if people
who have gotten infected can be re-infected,
so understanding how strong their responses
are to that infection is going to help us
understand the chance of being re-infected. JOSH SHARFSTEIN: So you ran
a basic science lab here at the school. What are you going to do or
people who are also studying the virus going to do in
the lab to understand more about this virus in
a way that will help with the ultimate response? ANDY PEKOSZ: Well, one of the
really important questions that we have is why is this
virus causing this mild disease when its related virus SARS
caused a very severe disease. And there’s good data
suggesting that both of these viruses
COVID-19 and SARS can enter cells and get
into the same cells. So it’s probably not
something that the virus does to the cells after
getting in that is different between the two. And understanding what
that is will be important. Because, you know, we still get
severe diseases with COVID-19. But if we can understand how the
virus drives the mild disease, we may be able to
come up with better treatments for
those infected that are showing severe disease. JOSH SHARFSTEIN: Do you think
you and others will be studying like the receptors that
the virus attaches to and how it moves inside the
cells, those sorts of things? ANDY PEKOSZ: Absolutely. And my lab uses a
cell culture system that mimics the upper
respiratory tract of humans. And so we’re really
going to be studying how the virus replicates in
that environment, that cooler environment of the
upper respiratory tract that may give us hints as to
why this virus is spreading so efficiently. JOSH SHARFSTEIN: And
then in the process, is it possible you’ll
understand, like, key places to design
treatments or possibly inform the development of vaccines? ANDY PEKOSZ: That’s
our hope, yes. By understanding
some of the processes that the virus uses to infect
cells in the upper respiratory tract, that may
give us some hints as to weak points
in the life cycle that could be the targets
for interventions. JOSH SHARFSTEIN:
Great, I’m going to take some questions from the
people who have been listening. ANDY PEKOSZ: Absolutely. JOSH SHARFSTEIN:
And the first one is, how long can the
coronavirus live on a surface and what kind of
surfaces can it live on, how to think about
that kind of question? ANDY PEKOSZ: Yeah, so there’s
a lot of ongoing data on that. Certainly, it’s
clear that it can live on surfaces such as
tables and stainless steel for anywhere from a few
hours up to about 24 hours. The other important
thing to understand is that this virus is
very sensitive to a lot of normal disinfectants,
alcohol, bleach solutions. Almost anything that
says microbicidal will probably kill this
virus relatively quickly. So it is important
to practice good wiping down of common surfaces
and disinfecting areas. Because if the virus
does get deposited there, nothing better than wiping
the surface to kill the virus. JOSH SHARFSTEIN: Those are
the kinds of guidelines, for example, the CDC
has been putting out for like how businesses can
clean areas, for example, and probably are also
guiding health care facilities and hospitals
in how they’re assuring that surfaces are safe. ANDY PEKOSZ: Absolutely,
and that people should be looking at and
using at home as well. JOSH SHARFSTEIN: Got it. Another question is, could
you talk a little bit about how this
virus is transmitted from person to person? And, you know, there are
all kinds of articles out there about, is it
contact transmission? Is it airborne transmission? You know, and you’ve studied
not just this coronavirus, but other coronaviruses. So tell us a little
bit about how you think as a virologist
this is happening. ANDY PEKOSZ: Yeah,
well, you know, there’s a whole field that
studies droplets and how they behave
in air and in rooms. But I think the simple
message is, you know, droplets are things
that you cough or sneeze that are rather large and can
deposit on surfaces relatively quickly. When people say
airborne or aerosol, technically that
means droplets that are so small that they
can actually float around in the air a little bit. A good example is if you use
a pump liquid that sprays air freshener in the room. You’ll see those small droplets. And they’ll actually float
around in the air a little bit because they’re so small that
they don’t deposit right away. JOSH SHARFSTEIN: I see. ANDY PEKOSZ: Everything
we know right now says that the virus is most
efficiently transmitted through those droplets, the
ones that are large that are deposited within three
to six feet of people and that can stay on surfaces. JOSH SHARFSTEIN:
OK, and going back to how to clean those surfaces. What if you go to the store
and you can’t find any cleaning supplies? Is there something around
the house that people can use to wipe things down? You mentioned a dilute
bleach solution. I don’t know if that’s
one of those things. But what else would
you recommend? ANDY PEKOSZ: Yeah, so very
dilute bleach solution does wonders in terms of
eliminating these viruses. Any alcohol-based
solution that’s roughly 60% to 70%
alcohol will work as well. JOSH SHARFSTEIN: Like
Scotch, will that work? ANDY PEKOSZ: Scotch won’t work. JOSH SHARFSTEIN: OK. ANDY PEKOSZ: So this
is one of those myths out there that your
Tito’s vodka turns out to be a little bit
below 60% alcohol. JOSH SHARFSTEIN: OK, all right. I just figured I would ask. ANDY PEKOSZ: So it
should not be used, yeah. JOSH SHARFSTEIN: OK. All right. ANDY PEKOSZ: But many
people have rubbing alcohol in their medicine cabinets. That’s something that you
just have to look at it to see if it’s the
90% or the 70%. JOSH SHARFSTEIN: I see. ANDY PEKOSZ: And if it’s
70%, you use it straight. If it’s 90%, you can
dilute it a little bit to let it go a little farther. JOSH SHARFSTEIN: Great, and
in terms of diluting bleach, is that like 1 to 10? Or what would you
recommend there? ANDY PEKOSZ: At least 1 to 10,
you can go a little bit more than that to wipe off surfaces. JOSH SHARFSTEIN: So it
can be pretty dilute. ANDY PEKOSZ: Yeah. JOSH SHARFSTEIN: OK, great. There are a number
of questions people have about the temperature
and whether we’ll get a respite from what’s going
on when the temperature warms up. Is there any clues from
coronavirus viruses generally or from your perspective as a
researcher into whether that might happen? ANDY PEKOSZ: You
know, the short answer is we don’t know
with COVID-19 virus how it’s going to behave
in the warmer weather. Many respiratory viruses
spread less efficiently when it gets warmer and
the humidity goes up. But we don’t know if that’s
going to apply to COVID-19. And I think the other thing
that’s important to know is that most of us are
susceptible to infection because we have no
pre-existing immunity. And that makes it easy
for the virus to spread. So if we look back to
the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, there was some spread of
that virus in the summer simply because there were so
many susceptible people around then even though conditions
weren’t optimal for spread, it was easy enough for
the virus to find people. And I think the same thing
is what we’re assuming is gonna happen with this virus. JOSH SHARFSTEIN:
So really we have to prepare that
there is not going to be a big benefit
in warmer weather. And maybe we’ll be pleasantly
surprised, but right now that shouldn’t guide
anybody’s actions. ANDY PEKOSZ: Yes,
prepare for having to deal with this
during the summer months and there will be no respite. And hopefully there will be,
but prepare that we won’t. JOSH SHARFSTEIN: Great, I
have one other question, which has been out there, which
is some people are wondering whether antibodies from
people who have recovered from infection might be used for
either prevention or treatment. Is that something that
is worth studying? And could you tell a little
bit about why that might be? ANDY PEKOSZ: Yes, and it
absolutely is worth studying. My department chair here
at the Bloomberg School of Public Health,
Arturo Casadevall, is leading an effort to
try to use antibodies from people who have
survived infection and give those as a treatment
to individuals who are either suffering from
disease or perhaps to prevent people from
getting infected if they’re in high risk situations. There’s a long history
of using antibodies from people who have survived
infection as a treatment. There are some studies
coming from China that suggest that there is
some utility to this treatment. So there are a number of
institutions in the US that are gearing
up to try to see if they can get this in place. JOSH SHARFSTEIN: Got it. Well, I really appreciate
your walking us through that. I mean, it’s been
a string of kind of very tough news for people
as schools have been closed, gatherings have been
canceled, sports are off TV, all these different
things that have happened. But I appreciate the
work that you’re doing and the message that you’ve
had that there is a lot to be learned and a lot to
be done to really fight back against the coronavirus. Thank you so much
for joining me. ANDY PEKOSZ: You’re
very welcome. JOSH SHARFSTEIN: Thanks
very much Dr. Pekosz. We’re now going to take a
short three-minute break before moving into
our conversation with Dr. Caitlin Rivers
from the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. We’ll be right back. ELLEN MACKENZIE:
There’s one and only one Johns Hopkins Bloomberg
School of Public Health. We were the first,
and we’re number one. We work around the clock and
around the globe on the world’s biggest health problems. And we’re restless, always
looking for new ways to secure a healthier
future for everyone. With five strategic
priorities and the support and hard work of a
diverse global community, we’re pushing forward. We’re reimagining our
educational programs to help our students
become the chief health strategists of the future. We are training students to be
interdisciplinary thinkers who are skilled in team science
and creative problem solving and always committed
to the fundamentals of good scientific practice. We are also extending our reach
by creating new opportunities to pursue coursework
online, in the field, and in the workplace. We’re transforming
our research ecosystem to accelerate
lifesaving discoveries. And we’ve dedicated $4 million
to our new SCIBAR initiative which builds on our excellence
in both basic and applied sciences to solve the most
challenging public health problems. We amplify our impact by
nurturing new partnerships with communities
and organizations outside the traditional
boundaries of public health. We’re working across
sectors such as housing, criminal justice,
and transportation. In the US, the Bloomberg
American Health Initiative is working with more
than 150 organizations to tackle five urgent health
challenges facing the country. And globally, our collaborations
reach from Baltimore to Uganda and India. To fuel creativity
and excellence, we’re investing in a diverse
body of students, faculty, and staff. Our new dean for diversity,
equity, and inclusion is helping to foster
an environment where people of all backgrounds
can succeed and thrive. We’re finding new
ways to communicate across more channels. We aim to make sure
our knowledge is shared, understood,
and applied in policy and in everyday practice. New leaders in advocacy
and communications are infusing all of our efforts
with new energy and direction. Our strategic priorities
inform everything we do as we seek a healthier
future for everyone. Thank you for being part
of this amazing community. JOSH SHARFSTEIN: Welcome back. And thanks again for
joining us for this webcast. Moving into our
second conversation, I’m going to be speaking
with Dr. Caitlin Rivers, a senior scholar at the
Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security here at the
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Dr. Rivers, thank you
so much for coming. CAITLIN RIVERS:
Thanks for having me. JOSH SHARFSTEIN: So
where are we right now in the epidemic, globally
and in the United States? CAITLIN RIVERS: I think
we’re getting to a point where we’re starting to
understand the situation here in the US. As testing capacity has expanded
and as public awareness has increased, WE are seeing
quite a few cases in the US. And I expect that to
continue for a while longer. I don’t think people should
be surprised or alarmed more than they might
be otherwise if we continue to see cases increase. And the reason for that
is because any change that we make now is not
going to show up in the data for probably seven to 10 days. So I expect we’ll
continue on that course. JOSH SHARFSTEIN:
And why is that? Why does it take a
while for us to see changes in what we’re doing
impact the number of cases of COVID-19? CAITLIN RIVERS: The
incubation period or the time from
when someone gets infected until when they
start showing symptoms is around five days. And then it will
take a few more days for people to go to their
doctor, to get a diagnosis, and for that to really
show up in our numbers. JOSH SHARFSTEIN: I see, so
we need to do things and not expect to see results tomorrow. CAITLIN RIVERS: It
does take a while, but we need to
maintain vigilance. Because these actions that
I’m sure we’ll discuss today really do help. JOSH SHARFSTEIN: OK, so
people have heard by now probably about this concept
of flattening the curve. Can you explain what
flattening the curve is? CAITLIN RIVERS: Flattening
the curve is this idea that if we slow transmission,
we can extend or change the shape of the curve. And the curve that
we’re talking about here is the number of new cases
that we see every day. So it may or may not be
possible to prevent infections. That is always our number
one goal in public health. But even if we are not able
to do that, just supposing, it would be better to extend
those number of new cases over a longer period of
time so that our health care system can accommodate
everybody who’s sick. So just as a toy
example, if 100 people are going to get sick
from this disease, we would rather have that occur
over 10 weeks than one week. Because then our hospitals
will be able to manage that more easily. JOSH SHARFSTEIN: So
as we’re thinking about flattening the curve,
where are we on the curve right now, do you think? Are we at the top part? Are we halfway up? Where do you think we are? CAITLIN RIVERS: I do
think, in some respects, that we are just getting
started in the United States. But that doesn’t mean that
we need to keep going. And so we, only in the
last couple of weeks, have begun to recognize
community transmission in the United States. And so I don’t think that we
have turned the corner yet. But there is widespread
awareness and widespread action that we need to take measures
to protect our communities. And so I think we can
turn things around. JOSH SHARFSTEIN: Let’s
talk about those measures. What does it take to
flatten the curve? CAITLIN RIVERS: On
a personal level, it’s all about what we
call social distancing. And that is a suite of measures
that prevent infection. So you and I are
sitting quite far apart. And that is so that we do
not have an opportunity to transmit to one another. And of course, we are not sick. If we were, we would stay home. But keeping six feet apart– JOSH SHARFSTEIN: That’s another
social distancing measure– CAITLIN RIVERS: Absolutely. JOSH SHARFSTEIN: –staying
home when you’re sick. CAITLIN RIVERS: Stay
home if you are sick. JOSH SHARFSTEIN: Right. CAITLIN RIVERS: Right. Keep physical distance
between people. Wash your hands. Good times to do that are
when you come in from outside, like when you arrive at home
or at work, before you eat and before you spend
time with people who are very old or very young. And you also want to make
sure to wash your hands or avoid contact with
high touch surfaces. So when I go to
the grocery store, I’m always grabbing those little
wipes and wiping down my cart. JOSH SHARFSTEIN: Got it. Are we doing enough right
now in the United States? Some places have said no bars
or restaurants can stay open. In San Francisco at the
moment, they said, you know, shelter in place basically. Where do you think
we are in terms of whether this country is
taking this threat seriously enough and responding
appropriately? CAITLIN RIVERS: I am encouraged
by measures by communities to close down public
spaces where people gather. In general, I do not recommend
movement restrictions. So I think that’s a step
beyond where I would recommend. But things like closing
schools, gyms, mass gatherings, I think those are
the right moves. But I think we all
should continue to understand the spirit
of those interventions. They are really to encourage
and enable people to stay home. And so that’s what I
want people to focus on, staying home and
washing your hands and conducting
good hand hygiene. JOSH SHARFSTEIN: Could
you help us understand the different experience
that different countries have had with this disease? Because we’ve heard
that there’s some places where it
hasn’t been so bad. But then we see and hear about,
for example, Italy or France where there’s so many different
patients who are coming in very sick to the hospitals. You know, what’s
the difference there and what are the lessons
for the United States? CAITLIN RIVERS:
Some Asian countries have had a less
severe experience than European countries. And to some degree,
it’s speculation, but I would say their experience
with SARS in 2003 really helped to inform their response. JOSH SHARFSTEIN: Because
that infection really hit Asia very hard. CAITLIN RIVERS:
It hit Asia hard. And it was very
scary, rightfully so. And so I think
people there really understand what social
distancing means. And when news of a new
SARS-like coronavirus emerged out of China,
I think they really were able to lean in to
these kinds of measures that we are now taking
in Europe and the US. JOSH SHARFSTEIN: I see. So the lesson may be
to really pay attention to this social
distancing concept. CAITLIN RIVERS:
The lesson there I want to underscore is that
social distancing really does work. So in those Asian
countries, we’re not just seeing less COVID-19, we’re also
seeing less diarrheal illness and conjunctivitis,
which is like pinkeye. Those are diseases that are
also spread person to person. And so if the things
they were doing were specifically for
COVID-19, we wouldn’t really see a change in those diseases. But we do, so social distancing
does seem to be a driver. JOSH SHARFSTEIN: Got it. That helps. Let’s take a couple
of questions. Here’s a question
from someone who says that the young people
that they know in their life aren’t taking this
very seriously. They say, well, it’s
very unlikely I’m gonna get very sick, so why
do I have to worry about that. What would you say to a young
person with that attitude? CAITLIN RIVERS: It’s
true that young people are at lower risk of severe
disease, which is good. But young people
are also a bridge to older people and those
who are most vulnerable. The disease can
only spread if there are people to spread it to. And so young people play
a really important role in breaking that
chain of transmission. JOSH SHARFSTEIN: So young
people are– and on the podcast, you describe them as a bridge. CAITLIN RIVERS: Right. JOSH SHARFSTEIN: What
do you mean by that? CAITLIN RIVERS: I mean, even
if older adults and people who are vulnerable are able to
stay home as much as possible, they are still going
to need groceries and they’re going to need
to get their medicines and maybe have visits
from loved ones. If young people
are in the places where those are happening,
they could come in contact with older adults. And that’s a
transmission opportunity. JOSH SHARFSTEIN: So really
it’s certainly protect yourself because there can be severe
disease in younger people. But really it’s to protect
other people in your life, too. It could be your parents,
grandparents, neighbors, teachers, other people who you
might wind up in contact with. CAITLIN RIVERS: We all have
an important role to play. JOSH SHARFSTEIN: Great. Here’s a question about
recommendations for doctors, dentists, other
professionals, acupuncturists. What do you recommend
now about how they go about caring for patients? CAITLIN RIVERS:
Even if you’re not in a practice where you expect
to see COVID-19 patients, it’s a good idea to really
step up your infection control and prevention measures. There’s great guidance
on the CDC website about what that involves. But I would encourage
all providers to think about how they
can reduce transmission opportunities among their
patients and their staff. JOSH SHARFSTEIN: Like what kind
of opportunities are there? CAITLIN RIVERS: I think
providing alcohol-based hand sanitizer and masks
in your waiting room are valuable opportunities. Masks are not recommended
for healthy people out in the community,
but they are recommended for people who are sick. And so you want to
make sure if you’re someone who sees
sick people, they have an opportunity
to access a mask. You can also ask people, if
you are in a practice that may see people who
are symptomatic, to call ahead so that
you know they’re coming and you can maybe
take them directly to a room instead of having
them in the waiting room, things like that. JOSH SHARFSTEIN:
What about if it’s sort of a very
elective kind of visit? Do you think some of those
might be best canceled now? For example, for
like a 75-year-old who might have
something on their skin that is not going to
become a problem, but maybe is just cosmetic. CAITLIN RIVERS: I do think for
elective procedures like that, it’s a good idea to check with
your doctor or your provider about canceling. It’s going to depend
based on what it is and the risk of the provider. And I know that providers
are thinking a lot about what the right moves are right now. But if you are at high risk
of COVID-19 severe illness, it would be a good
idea to step back from those care environments. JOSH SHARFSTEIN: Yeah, and so
some physicians or dentists or others might be thinking
about which patients really need to be seen and which don’t. That would be a reasonable thing
for them to be doing right now. CAITLIN RIVERS: Exactly right. And another thing that
hospitals are thinking about is how they can
expand their capacity to care for people
who are very ill. And elective procedures are one
area that they might scale back in order to make that space. JOSH SHARFSTEIN: Got it. There’s a question about schools
and maintenance, you know, how to clean surfaces. We heard from Dr. Pekosz about
the various types of things that do and do not, you
know, actually kill the virus or eventually sanitize areas. What kinds of
recommendations are there for scaling that up
to a whole building? Or how do you think about that? CAITLIN RIVERS:
I think it really underscores the importance of
environmental services staff. Focusing on high touch areas is
going to be important, so light switches, door handles, desks. We wiped down this desk before
Dr. Pekosz and I switched. That’s a great opportunity. There are, once again,
disinfection guidelines on the CDC website that
I would point people to, but really focusing on using
alcohol-based microbicidal products on high-touch
surfaces will be important. JOSH SHARFSTEIN: Got it. And then there’s a question
about whether state parks and trails should be shut down. We often get questions like,
can I go outside for a walk? You know, how do you
think about that? CAITLIN RIVERS: I think
going outside is still a great opportunity. You want to make sure that you
keep that six feet of space. Contact sports are probably out. But going on a hike,
a jog, a bike ride, those are really important, not
only for your physical health, but also for your
mental health as we all face these challenging times. JOSH SHARFSTEIN: So
maybe one last question about mental health. You know, this is a stressful
situation for a lot of people. Some people have, you know– really, none of us
have experienced something quite like this. This is a unique event. But even something
that approaches this level of stress, some
people have not experienced. How can we address
that so that people are able to really
change their lives, but maintain their equanimity,
maintain their composure to be able to do the things that
they need to do for themselves and their families? CAITLIN RIVERS: Yeah, that’s
an important question, especially since so many of us
are scaling back the activities that we do with our friends and
family that don’t live with us. I think this is a great time
to turn to online resources like Skyping, Zooming,
talking on the phone to stay connected with people,
especially those who are older and have underlying health
conditions who might really not be going out very much at all. I think we should
all be supporting each other as best as we can. JOSH SHARFSTEIN: So
social distancing really just refers to social distancing
in the physical space. CAITLIN RIVERS: That’s
absolutely right. JOSH SHARFSTEIN: But it’s
not psychological distancing. CAITLIN RIVERS: That’s right. And in my office, a
lot of what we’re doing is moving our normal
around the water cooler office chat to online spaces. So you can still have
those casual interactions. They just should be
online or over the phone. JOSH SHARFSTEIN: But yet
they may be recorded forever, so you have to be a
little bit more careful. CAITLIN RIVERS: Also that. JOSH SHARFSTEIN: OK, all right. Thank you very much, Dr.
Rivers, for joining me. I really want to thank
Dr. Pekosz and Dr. Rivers for a candid discussion
on the very latest of the COVID-19 pandemic. This webcast is just one of
the many ways Johns Hopkins University experts are
sharing their knowledge on this global
public health issue. You can see a lot
more about information from Johns Hopkins at And we also have a podcast
called Public Health on Call where we have conversations
with experts, including Dr. Pekosz and Dr. Rivers everyday. I think Dr. Rivers’
podcast just posted today. Please subscribe wherever
you get your podcasts. Also I should mention that at
that resource center online, you can see the global
tracker map which shows the spread of the
coronavirus across the globe. And you can sign up for
a daily situation report from the Center for
Health Security. You can follow Johns Hopkins
and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
channels on Twitter and elsewhere to stay
up to date with all of the latest information
about the situation. And if you have
questions to address in future programs, either
webcast or podcasts, please email
[email protected] We answer these questions
on the Friday Public Health on Call podcast as
well as on these webcasts. Thank you very much
for joining us. [MUSIC PLAYING]

92 thoughts on “COVID-19: Johns Hopkins University Experts Discuss Pandemic Response, Social Distancing, and More

  1. Greetings from Temamatla Estado de México. Thank you for your explanations about SARS-CoV2 and COVID-19. 🇺🇸 🇲🇽

  2. Thank you for continuing to keep us updated with real medical and epidemiology details. Makes me especially proud to have graduated from JHU!

  3. Insurance companies need to loosen up restrictions on patients being able to get prescriptions now. Patients need to stock up with at least six month supplies to avoid preventable medical crisis while patients are isolated in their homes during the COVID-19 crisis.

  4. In Japan the authorities are only testing people for covid-19 if they have pneumonia-like symptoms. They are telling people with mild symptoms that they do not need to tested, only have a cold, and that they can go out in public. This is madness! Would anybody in a relevant position of authority please contact your counterparts in Japan and talk some sense into them. I suspect the problem is not with Japanese doctors and scientists, but with the politicians and government officials.

  5. calm and expert information, I pray for our scientist, doctors nurses and carers, and tho's who are on the front line, we love you and stay safe.

  6. Once a quarenteen ends, wont a single infected individual be enough to restart the spread once again? Do all infected need to be located during the quarenteen…How does the post-quarenteen work?

  7. Pence (VP) is saving the day. He has been in the background..but so needed now. Our President can't ensure us trust. Pence needs to speak more. And guide us now at this time. He is the man we need at the helm.

  8. There was a mention of 2 strains a week ago (S & L if I remember correctly). Does this mutation have different RO and CFR than the original strain? Will the vaccine protect both strains? What if the virus mutates again after the vaccine is made?

  9. Great video! I would love to see the United States Curve, put on top of the "flatten the curve" chart. Do we know what our healthcare capacity is and where our curves lies in relation to it? I know there is not materiality in life and death, however, I would like to know where we stand in reference to our population. I don't see this information anywhere out there. Does anyone have any insight?

  10. Not much faith in the slow response from the CDC and the earlier policy of not revealing the numbers infected. The delay will show when testing is ramped up the exponential rate of infection as is the case with many other countries that adopted the slow approach. It is not the share market stupid, it is lives that counts!

  11. 😿
    There Are Now 247,688 Confirmed Cases Of Wuhan Coronavirus "China Virus" Including 10,194 Fatalities – 14,429 Cases In The US, 228 Confirmed Deaths!

  12. The one woman said they just want to flatten the Curve so the virus won't spread to everyone which means they just want it to spread to some of the population. If they wanted people to be safe they would mandate a quarantine and lock down.

  13. @Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

    Thank you for the concise information. I wish that the discussed preventive measures had been presented more sternly and aggressively to your viewing public. I understand that you do not want to come across as sensationalists, but I feel that you needed to present a more aggressive tone and stance.

    And why not provide Direct LINKS to to the Podcasts and to the Worldwide COVID-19 Virus Tracking Statistics web site directly in this video's Description, and/or in a Pinned-to-the-top Comment???

  14. Thank you for this video, I have watched the news daily updates but I feel this has been broken down very calmly and in a very none scaremongering way. Although I have heard this now a hundred times, I feel at times things on the news get rushed so you seem to miss bits, but this has been really helpful

  15. The virus is in Australia, started in Summer and pretty hot weather and also in Sud- America is just going into fall.

  16. Isolate the vulnerable and elderly, spend money on keeping them up to date with meds and home visits etc and let us go to work and feed our kids

  17. I have taken this virus crisis seriously from the start but nothing drummed home how devastating this virus is than a family that lost four members within two weeks. CNN profiled a woman who lost her mom, two brothers and a sister after a family get together. The siblings were all in their fifties. Combined with the mass deaths in Italy and now the UK, we all have to do our part and work together to stop this virus in its’ tracks. God bless the front line workers. All the best from Canada 🇨🇦.

  18. Could the 'severe' diseases actually be a reinfection. Could people have had a mild first exposure, almost asymptomatic, and the 'severe' disease is a cytokine storm type of over reaction after a second exposure. Has anyone with a more sever disease been checked for anibody titre upon presentation.

  19. great video would be very grateful for a "table of contents" in the description that lists the questions that were asked and at what point in the video they come up

  20. what does one do who might have this and tested positive feeling tired but sent home from a hospital how quickly can a younger person in 20s say expect to recover?

  21. Since it will take 12-18 months to develop a vaccine, will we need to perform social distancing until then?

  22. This is a short but effective explanation of just what covid19 virus is all about. I have to applaud the Doctor in his straight forward presentation of just what this virus is all about and how to we can treat it and bring it under control. The lack of preparedness at the beginning of this pandemic does explain why we are having issues in trying to bring it under control and treatment.

  23. Nice to see a reasonable and scientifically informed video. Have heard the first half so far and some of second half. Some acknowledge that in Japan, Tokyo, with 25 million in the area, for example, with a tradition of politeness and what we might call “social distancing”, despite density and people continuing to enjoy izakaya and other social places (although large events were curtailed) seems now to be relatively healthy, as also is Asia as noted in this video. So, most with the pathogen are manifesting mild symptoms or none at all. Would they not constitute a population that was better off, with stronger general immunity rather than specific immunity induced by vaccine? Seems a good idea to explore the use of antibodies from those who have had the pathogen, good to hear that is being looked into. Also, is the strain that has made it across the oceans to the US attenuated, having to be less debilitating to the host or milder so as not to kill the host before it can be transmitted?

  24. I can't find an answer to what I feel is possibily the most important question: "Due to lock-down we will have nothing close to herd immunity, what will happen next winter?"

  25. So you're telling us this centralized bureaucracy can't be improved to speed this archaic clinical approval process. The world needs to find an improved framework for a more efficient process, eliminating gatekeeping..

  26. Let's all just hope that if there is a God, he'll keep frontline medical staff save. Good luck to everyone who ever they be.❤

  27. SF doesn't call it shelter in place but does call it staying home. And the WHO has now changed it from "social distancing" to "physical distancing"

  28. Mmmm all those lovely unexaggerated facts, absolutely perfect, this is so much nicer than watching the Mainstream news channels bs.

  29. A rough table of contents:

    Dr. Andy Pekosz, Professor of Molecular Biology and Immunology
    2:40 What’s going on with the new vaccine trial?
    4:36 What do people need to know about this virus?
    5:34 What do virologists want to know about the virus that isn’t already known?
    6:14 What is being done in the lab to better understand this virus?

    8:07 How long can the coronavirus live on surfaces?
    9:21 How is this virus transmitted from person to person?
    10:40 Common household cleaners
    11:51 Will there be a respite when it gets warmer?

    13:16 Can antibodies from recovered individuals be used in prevention and treatment?

    Dr. Caitlin Rivers, Senior Scholar, Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security
    18:08 Where are we right now in the epidemic, globally and in the U.S.?
    18:43 Why does it take a while to see results of interventions?
    19:14 What is flattening the curve?
    20:00 Where are we on the curve, currently?
    20:33 What does it take to flatten the curve?
    21:20 Is enough being done in the U.S.?
    22:12 Experiences of other countries + lessons to be learned
    23:05 Social distancing works!!!
    23:39 Young people’s role

    24:55 Recommendations for healthcare professionals
    26:53 Scaling up sanitizing and maintenance for large buildings, e.g. schools
    27:46 Parks and trails
    28:14 Mental health

  30. its fucking 80 degrees in florida and we got the darn thing so it doesnt look like hotter temps in summer months is gonna mean a damn thing.

  31. In 11:50 they discuss whether the temperature rise in the Spring will affect the situation. There are cases in countries like Australia, Brazil and so on in the Southern Hemisphere where it is summer time and the number of these cases are increasing as well. Why do not they take this into consideration?

  32. Thank you for your calm, logical explanation, I will recommend this podcast to my family and friends. Social distancing and hand washing plus clean antiseptic surfaces

  33. I live in Thailand. The current temperature is around 40 degrees C and humidity is high. The virus is still active in Thailand with new cases daily. This would assume that the virus is not affected by high temperature or humidity.

  34. What major film corporation will make this movie…better yet will CBS make a made for t.v drama on this pandemic….or is it a big mis information campaign as Fox news has reported it…..

  35. The treatment with the plasma has been around for a century!! Why are they just now trying it?! Why haven't there been more stories about this treatment? Does someone own the patent on this treatment or something? They tried it in China with positive results? Is this why China is the only one with improvement? Don't mean to be negative but a CENTURY!??

  36. Symptoms do not show sometimes, people can get infected and spread the virus without having symptoms, so stay home when you are sick might not be good advice in this case.

  37. I really wish it was only a bad dream but sadly, every day it reminds me of the existential threat we're currently facing everywhere we go. We're in this together and it's up to us to help one another and prevent the COVID-19 spreading. Stop panic buying, stay at home except for essential needs, wash hands, at least that's what we can do. Stay strong people!

  38. Vaping – I haven't heard this mentioned anywhere.

    I wonder how vapers are doing: are they experiencing more COVID-19 symptoms?

  39. excellent subject matter, too bad the "DONALD" wasn't paying attention, he could have had a better finnish to your next election…

  40. I get infusions for low IgG (immune deficiency). Is the blood product they give me being tested for Covid 19?

  41. "When you're in the grocery stores, grab the complimentary wipes to sanitize the cart." Are there any stores left in the country with those left?

  42. Wouldn’t it have more to do with gene expression differences? The reason why that is some people have low grade response and others critically ill. As a veteran RN in the US I’ve worked in tertiary and small semi rural hospitals and I’ve seen how little reserves most hospitals have. Bare bones staffing and increasing difficulty getting enough supplies we needed was common in the past decade. I’m bitterly disappointed in the preparation I feel we trusted our government and health departments to be ready for that “superbug” that we were told was inevitable. So here we are, plunged into darkness reeling from the realization we have no help, we suddenly are home bound and having a true global shutdown.

  43. If it went away in China it'll go away everywhere else. Everything will work itself in the end. Patience my friends!!!! Patience 🤞👍🤞
    The World will Prevail over this!!
    The World will get thru this!
    Nothing to fear but fear itself!
    Pray for the sick and the unwell🙏

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *