Two highly regarded figures in Miami's medical community examined the global impact, economics, management and future course of COVID-19 during the first Paul Ransom Digital Podium, a series of remote roundtables designed to bring together, engage and inform the Ransom Everglades community.
Dr. Allan Feingold, Director of Occupational and Environmental Medicine at Baptist Health South Miami Hospital, and Dr. Steven Ullmann, Director of Health Management and Policy at the University of Miami, addressed some 230 virtual attendees on April 28 with a talk that can be found here. RE parent Dr. Stephan Baker and Head of School Penny Townsend moderated the discussion.
The doctors provided historical context for the virus and brought the audience up to date with the latest statistics: three million cases and 213,000 deaths worldwide, with one million cases and 57,000 deaths in the United States. Feingold discussed disparities in case incidence in various regions of the country, as well as the challenges COVID-19 poses to those who are older and have pre-existing medical conditions.
Ullman noted the debilitating financial impact on hospitals and other healthcare institutions, as well as state governments that are seeing decreases in tax revenue. He discussed the ethical trade-offs involved in and potential consequences of putting off elective procedures and other medical treatment to provide sufficient COVID-19 care.
The doctors advocated for a gradual easing of certain restrictions – such as opening beaches – but cautioned against moving too fast, and noted that containment measures such as contact tracing would be critical to a successful reopening. Feingold added that senior citizens and those with medical conditions should remain extremely vigilant, taking additional measures to protect and even isolate themselves.
Both speculated that it would be safe for children to return to school in the fall.
Feingold lauded Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and Deborah Birx, the coronavirus response coordinator for the White House, calling them heroes for providing sound direction during the crisis. He stated that the dramatic measures taken since mid-March have been were "really correct. We did the right thing."
The key going forward: Let solid data and science dictate the course. "Science will inform politics," Feingold said. "If we allow politics to inform science, we're going to be in trouble."
Founded in 1903, Ransom Everglades School is a coeducational, college preparatory day school for grades 6 - 12 located on two campuses in Coconut Grove, Florida. Ransom Everglades School produces graduates who "believe that they are in the world not so much for what they can get out of it as for what they can put into it." The school provides rigorous college preparation that promotes the student's sense of identity, community, personal integrity and values for a productive and satisfying life, and prepares the student to lead and to contribute to society.