Where do things stand in the US and around the world with Covid-19? How is the vaccine rollout affecting the course of the pandemic? How concerned should we be about new variants? When will we get kids back in school and the country open for business again? To discuss these and other questions, we are joined by Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health. While noting the possibility of threats from new variants, Jha shares a guardedly optimistic perspective on a path to relative normality over the spring and summer, and into the fall. Jha argues we should focus on essential things: leading with the vaccine rollout, complemented by efforts to ramp up testing capacity to make crowded venues safer—and that we should devote ample energy and resources to resuming in-person learning as soon as possible. According to Jha, we can do better than the recent CDC guidance suggests and should be able to reopen most schools this spring.

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  1. Lois Lane Coolidge
    Lois Lane

    So, I listened to this podcast, and I’m glad that there are some hopeful indicators here. However, I think some of the things said don’t track at all with information that is out there, i.e. the guy sounds pretty political, which I guess is what one expects from a policy expert. 

    On one hand, the guy thinks schools should totally be in session in the fall, but he kept going on about safety for teachers, when they really aren’t in an “unsafe” position. Schools are not major vectors for infection, and we have lots of evidence of this. Second, more money isn’t needed for schools until they’ve actually spent their old money. Why do they need so much money? Third, why do kids have to wear masks, his number one thing, for this endless Covid thing and not the flu, which is, actually, a bigger risk to kids under 17? And the teachers are vaccinated with now tee-tiny risks of infection???????

    And no, I do not want a “new normal” to be the forever-mask or some endless testing regime when I go to “nice” restaurants–not those lower kind that can’t afford this!!!–or having to have viral boosters for flights or work or whatever when my risks were already worth taking with little mitigation per my age group and general health. 

    Most people, by the way, don’t go to $50 plate dinners and Broadway plays either, though I guess we can have wealthier folks be the only people to dine out/go out per constant testing? It’s just another $5 on a play ticket, after all! Not that I don’t love plays, but I think my husband spent a grand for each of us to see Hamilton for my anniversary, so yeah. We wouldn’t have noticed that. But shall I just point out I could see in my mind this doctor holding his stethoscope while dressed in a top hat???? Shall we add $5 to each movie ticket for the “little people” who find cinemas expensive for a typical family of four? 

    I’ve also been going to restaurants now since the very first one reopened in my area in April… on the very first night such a thing was possible. And this guy thinks that opening restaurants would be somehow too fast? Too dangerous????? He talks like that’s a crazy prospect, yet there is no evidence that there’s much “restaurant spread” after many states have been essentially reopened. I guess it’s those masks we wear when we walk the five feet to a table that protects us, though I loved having to stand out in the snow the other day while waiting for a table–SNOW–because waiting inside a restaurant with a mask might be bad for my health.

    Gosh. I actually found this interview pretty frustrating. I’m glad the doctor supports people washing their hands though. And playing outside. 

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