Have a question about COVID-19? Email the question, your name, and your city to our experts at firstname.lastname@example.org to have it answered on “Coronavirus House Calls.” Watch the next episode on Saturday, May 16 at 3 p.m. CT!
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — As the death toll from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to rise in the U.S., we’re looking past statistics. With parts of the country reopening, confusion surrounds our ever-evolving situation. We’re here to talk about your concerns, differentiate between fact and fiction, and move from fear to hope as we navigate this “new normal” together.
[WATCH: Coronavirus House Calls | May 2-3]
That’s why we’ve assembled a panel of the nation’s top doctors to answer your biggest questions about COVID-19 in the Nexstar digital original, “Coronavirus House Calls,” hosted by Emmy award-winning CBS 42 Anchor Art Franklin.
Some of the questions addressed this weekend include:
Will and should anti-vaxxers and their children be allowed in schools? How can I possibly answer all of my child’s questions about the coronavirus? How many strains of the coronavirus are there? How does virus mutation factor into vaccine development and antibody testing? Are there tell-tale signs of COVID-19, or does it vary? Should workers be required to return to the office? Should I hold off on planning a wedding until the pandemic is over? How long could it be before I can travel again? Are U.S. government leaders and doctors working together to devise a thorough plan for reopening and post-coronavirus living? Will the repercussions of this virus last for decades? How will vulnerable people be protected during in-person doctor’s appointments? Will reopening the country now erase all of our progress over the past few months?
If you have a fever or cough, you might have COVID-19. Most people have mild illness and are able to recover at home. Keep track of your symptoms. If you have an emergency warning sign (including trouble breathing), get medical attention right away.
MEET THE DOCTORS
Craig Spencer, MD, MPH (New York City, NY) | Twitter: craig_a_spencer
Director of Global Health in Emergency Medicine, Columbia University Medical Center
Dr. Craig Spencer, MD, MPH, is a world-renowned ER doctor working on the frontlines of the COVID-19 response in NYC, known also for contracting, and surviving Ebola while performing aid work. He is the Director of Global Health in Emergency Medicine and an Assistant Professor of Medicine and Population and Family Health at the Columbia University Medical Center. He divides his time between providing
clinical care in New York and working internationally in public health and humanitarian response.
Dr. Spencer has worked in Africa and Southeast Asia as a field epidemiologist on numerous projects examining access to medical care and human rights, including measuring mortality and maternal health in Burundi, access to legal documentation in Indonesia, child separation in emergencies in D.R. Congo and South Sudan, and coordinating Doctors Without Borders’ (MSF) national epidemiological response in Guinea during the Ebola outbreak.
In addition to his international public health work, Dr. Spencer has provided medical care in the Caribbean, Central America, West and East Africa, and most recently abroad onboard an MSF medical search and rescue boat in the Mediterranean. In 2019, he was elected to the Board of Directors for Doctors Without Borders USA.
Follow Dr. Spencer on Twitter.
Esther Choo, MD, MPH (Portland, OR)
Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine, Oregon Health & Science University
Esther Choo, MD MPH, is an emergency medicine physician, health services researcher, and founder of Equity Quotient. She started the hashtag #GetMePPE to draw national attention to the shortage of critical equipment for health care workers, and has been outspoken about COVID-related medication shortages, health inequities, and gaps in public health strategies. She is Chief Medical Advisor for Jupe Health, which is building mobile housing and healthcare units to expand care capacity in crisis times. Her podcast, Doctor’s Log, presents observations about the pandemic from the healthcare perspective.
Dr. Choo’s media appearances include MSNBC ( Rachel Maddow, Ari Melber) and CNN (Wolf Blitzer, Don Lemon). She has in participated in the following interviews and podcasts: TED Talk, Aspen Health #ACTIVATE, and Hysteria. Dr. Choo has also written for The Lancet and NBC Think. She has been quoted in the following publications: The Atlantic, Vox, The Washington Post, The New York Times, and Forbes.
Follow Dr. Choo on Twitter.
Dara Kass, MD, FACEP (New York City, NY)
Yahoo News Medical Contributor & Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine, Columbia University Medicine
Dr. Dara Kass is a tireless ER doctor and advocate for underrepresented groups in healthcare policy and medical leadership. She is also a Yahoo News Medical Contributor. As the Founder of FemInEM, Dr. Kass is a leader in building a community for women in emergency medicine.
She is a graduate of SUNY Downstate Medical School and Kings County Hospital’s residency program. Previously the director of undergraduate medical education at NYU, she now serves as an Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine at Columbia University Center in NYC. She has been recently featured on CNN, The New York Times, Chicago Tribune and Vogue.
Through her own COVID-19 diagnosis and recovery, she continued to work with patients via telemedicine and broadly share the realities of healthcare workers during this crisis.
Michael Saag, MD (Birmingham, AL)
Director of the Center for AIDS Research, University of Alabama at Birmingham
Dr. Saag received a B.S. in chemistry with honors in 1977 from Tulane University, earned his medical degree with honors from the University of Louisville, and completed his residency and infectious disease and molecular virology fellowship training at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. During the last six months of his fellowship, Dr. Saag conceived the concept of a comprehensive HIV outpatient (1917) clinic dedicated to the provision of interdisciplinary patient care in conjunction with the conduct of high quality clinical trials, translational science, and clinical outcomes research. Within the clinic structure, he established a clinical trials unit, a data management center, and a Clinical Specimen Repository designed to support the activities of the newly established Center for AIDS Research at UAB. In essence, the clinic became a “hub” for the clinical, basic science, and behavioral science investigators by creating a dynamic interface between the patients and the investigators.
Dr. Saag has participated in many studies of antiretroviral therapy as well as novel treatments for opportunistic infections. He has published over 450 articles in peer-reviewed journals, including the first description of the use of viral load in clinical practice (Science, 1993), the first description of the rapid dynamics of viral replication (Nature, 1995), the first guidelines for use of viral load in practice (Nature Medicine, 1996), and the first proof of concept of fusion inhibition as a therapeutic option (Nature Medicine, 1998). He directed the ‘first-in-patient’ studies of seven of the 30 antiretroviral drugs currently on the market.
Dr. Saag co-edited a textbook entitled AIDS Therapy (now in its 3rd edition) and currently serves as an Editor of the Sanford Guide for Antimicrobial Agents and the Sanford HIV Guide. Dr. Saag serves on the International AIDS Society-USA Board of Directors, is a past president of the HIV Medical Association, is Chair of the IAS-USA Antiretroviral Therapy Guidelines panel, was a founding Co-Chair of the AASLD / IDSA Hepatitis C Guidelines Panel, and is a past-member of the HHS Guidelines Panel on Antiretroviral Therapy and the WHO Antiretroviral Therapy Guidelines panel.
In 2014, he was the Castle-Connolly National Physician of the Year and was inducted into the Alabama Healthcare Hall of Fame. An accomplished teacher, Dr. Saag has been awarded Argus awards annually by the UAB medical students as Best Lecturer in the Patient, Doctor, and Society module. Dr. Saag recently published a memoir entitled “Positive: One doctor’s encounters with death, life, and the US Healthcare system,” now in its second printing.
Follow Dr. Saag on Twitter.
Gail Saltz, MD (New York City)
Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at The New York Presbyterian Hospital & host of the “Personology” Podcast on iHeart Radio
Dr. Gail Saltz is best known for her work as a relationship, family, emotional wellbeing, and mental health/wellness contributor in the media. A go-to for all of the major news organizations, Dr. Saltz is a fantastic expert to provide commentary on the mental health aspects of current/breaking issues and news. She is a bestselling author of numerous books and key expert on a variety of important psychological issues. She also serves as a Medial Expert for the Physicians for Human Rights. Her most recent book, The Power of Different: The Link Between Disorder and Genius, is a powerful and inspiring examination of the connection between the potential for great talent and conditions commonly thought to be “disabilities.” Dr. Saltz is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the NY Presbyterian Hospital Weill-Cornell School of Medicine, a psychoanalyst with the New York Psychoanalytic Institute and has a private practice in Manhattan. Dr. Saltz launched her brand new podcast, “Personology” with iHeart Media in March 2020.