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Anchor lead: What are the factors that lead certain groups of people to higher COVID-19 risk? Elizabeth Tracey reports

Black and Latino people, although they constitute a minority of the US population, are experiencing COVID-19 illness and death out of proportion to their numbers, data shows. Sherita Golden, Johns Hopkins vice president and chief diversity officer, says a number of factors are involved.

Golden: Many of these individuals live in crowded housing conditions that really creates a challenge to implementing social distancing. We really should call it more physical distancing just to prevent the spread of the infectious particles. Many of these individuals are in essential job areas, so cleaning and environmental services, food services, public transportation services, home health care. They don’t have the luxury of being able to work at home. On top of that many of these people are in jobs that don’t have paid sick leave.  :32

Golden says because of that, people will continue to work while ill. She recommends immediate multifactorial support from public health and government. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.

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Anchor lead: How can balance be struck between clinical trials and patient care? Elizabeth Tracey reports

Should an unproven drug or treatment be used in a person with COVID-19? While many potential therapies have been identified, the best way to assess them is in a clinical trial, where one group of people is treated with the therapy under investigation while in the other that therapy is not used. Yet for critically ill people trials may not bring results fast enough. Brian Garibaldi, a critical care medicine expert and researcher at Johns Hopkins, comments.

Garibaldi: I think it’s very easy to say we’re not going to give any therapy outside of a clinical trial, but then when you’re talking to a patient or their families, and there is nothing available that we know works, and there’s a lot of media support for certain therapies, that doesn’t justify giving that therapy but it certainly has led to the conversation of hey, this thing might be available I’m not sure if it works, there are potential side effects which we also don’t understand yet. That has to be a shared decision between the physician and the patient or their surrogate.  :29

At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.

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Anchor lead: How can clinicians develop best practices for treating COVID-19 patients? Elizabeth Tracey reports

COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus Sars-CoV2, manifests differently in different people, making it more difficult to manage and treat. Brian Garibaldi, a critical care medicine expert and researcher at Johns Hopkins, says gathering individual patient data into a large database may help.

Garibaldi: While we’re trying to look for patterns of disease that can help us classify patients, recognize patients who might have higher risk factors to have a bad outcome, figure out how better to mobilize care for those patients at higher risk to improve outcome, I think we still have to recognize that this is never going to be a one size fits all mechanistic link, but we have to start somewhere. We’ve formed a COVID precision medicine center of excellence that’s going to house some of this data and really figure out how do we bring in all these streams of data.  :30

Hopkins Centers of Excellence aim to employ many tools to gather, analyze, and integrate research results into the best individualized care for patients. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.

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Anchor lead: What can we do about the rate of COVID-19 among healthcare workers? Elizabeth Tracey reports

CDC data on Sars-CoV2 infection among healthcare workers is sobering, with many thousands either sick or quarantined so unable to provide care. And since a large swath of both physicians and nurses are over 60 years of age and many more are being asked to come out of retirement, this is even more concerning since this population is at high risk for infection. Patricia Davidson, dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing, says targeted refreshers may help.

Davidson: When we talk about taking on and off a gown, N95 masks, much of this is adopting a specialized technique. Probably the majority of the healthcare workforce, knowledge and understanding and teaching of donning and doffing and other infection control principles go back to the time they were in medical school or nursing school. It’s not just putting on the gown, taking off the gown can represent just as much risk as being in the room with an infected patient.  :30

At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.

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In this next podcast, we bring back our guest from the Center for the Practice of Collaborative Leadership, Carolyn Cumpsty-Fowler, Ph.D., MPH. First, Carolyn provides an overview of what is meant by evaluative thinking. We review how evaluative thinking is related to evaluation. Next, Carolyn shares tips for how you can notice when you or your colleagues are approaching inquiry projects with an evaluative thinking mindset. Finally, Carolyn shares ways to introduce the practice of evaluative thinking to project teams.

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Anchor lead: You can help your children feel they’re helping with the pandemic, Elizabeth Tracey reports

Staying at home is helping everyone in the pandemic by reducing the chances for more people to become infected.  Rachel Thornton, a pediatrician at Johns Hopkins, says that’s just one message parents can give their children to help reduce their anxiety about COVID-19.

Thornton: Helping them understand all the things they can do to help keep everyone in their family safe is empowering. And they’re simple things that a lot of kids are already familiar with from childcare settings for those kids who are in childcare settings because every winter during flu season they get the hand sanitizer out, everybody practices washing their hands a lot, the sneezing in the elbow, all of those kinds of things are things even the young children can start to work on and master. And it gives them a sense that they’re also helping to keep everyone they care about safe.   :31

Thornton says pointing out all the things kids are doing right, such as having virtual play dates or sharing with siblings, also helps. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.

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Anchor lead: What’s the best way to talk with your children about the pandemic? Elizabeth Tracey reports

COVID-19 is a scary disease, perhaps even more so for children, who have witnessed the world transform in short order. Helping parents to support their children during the pandemic starts with frank conversation. That’s according to Rachel Thornton, a pediatrician at Johns Hopkins.

Thornton: I’m a proponent of developmentally appropriate, open, honest communication with children. We should give children credit that they’re very insightful in a way that’s consistent with their understanding of the world, so they know things are different than they normally are. If they had a routine, going to school, going to child care, having play dates, they know at this point that that’s not what’s happening. So one place potentially to start is to ask your child what they already understand about why things are different in our daily life these days.  :32

Thornton says providing children with adequate time to express themselves is key, as well as assuring them that they can revisit the issue as needed. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.