Dr. Uché Blackstock: What Life Is Like on the Front Lines of Battling the Coronavirus
In Conversation with Andrew Keen on the Keen On
The coronavirus pandemic is dramatically disrupting not only our daily lives but society itself. This show features conversations with some of the world’s leading thinkers and writers about the deeper economic, political, and technological consequences of the pandemic. It’s our new daily podcast trying to make longterm sense out of the chaos of today’s global crisis.
On today’s episode, Uché Blackstock, Associate Professor at NYU School of Medicine and founder of Advancing Health Equity, discusses the government’s response to battling the coronavirus pandemic.
From the episode:
Uché Blackstock: Being a health care worker and being someone who is concerned about having the appropriate resources, including testing and personal protective equipment, is being very, very disappointed by the Trump administration’s response to to coronavirus, especially given that we had adequate time and knowledge about the virus and we’d been notified by the World Health Organization about this coming out of Wuhan Province.
So when I think about the number of deaths that we’ve seen at this point in the United States, and I think about if we had shelter in place weeks earlier, if we had had the ability to have widespread testing, which we know is really key to mitigating the spread of the virus and pandemics like this, it’s really painful. It’s really painful to think about the number of lives that could have been saved. I think what’s also painful is just the acknowledgement now that we are going to be in this new abnormal, so to speak, until we have a vaccine, and I think that was just settling into my mind in the in the last week, because we really failed on so many fronts, especially in terms of testing and contact tracing, which is when you trace all of the people and infected person has come in contact with and make sure that they self-isolate. So these are just basic public health interventions that some countries like China have, and were able to enforce right away and that the United States did a very poor job doing.
I would say in terms of my own governor here, Governor Cuomo, I would say definitely overall I’ve been pleased with his leadership, but in this time, I think that there’s some issues with how he addressed the the homeless in our subways. I don’t know if you’ve heard, but in the subway system in New York City now, it’s being closed between 1:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. And as a result, thousands of homeless people now have nowhere to go, and so that really should have been thought through, I think, a little bit better.
But overall, Governor Cuomo has done an excellent job, and I think you can even see that in the trends now in terms of the cases, hospitalizations and death rates from coronavirus in New York City. We are actually doing very, very well. We are trending downwards and in the right direction, whereas the bulk of the rest of the country, their cases are going up. So I’m really proud of New Yorkers and leadership in this state as well.
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Uché Blackstock, MD is an Associate Professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at NYU School of Medicine, where she is also the Faculty Director for Recruitment, Retention and Inclusion in the School of Medicine’s Office of Diversity Affairs. Dr. Blackstock is the CEO and Founder of Advancing Health Equity LLC, which partners with healthcare organizations to address several of the critical factors that contribute to health inequity, through educational trainings and racial equity culture analytics. Dr. Blackstock received both her undergraduate (1999) and medical (2005) degrees from Harvard University. After serving as chief resident in Emergency Medicine at SUNY Downstate Medical Center/Kings County Hospital Center in 2009, she completed a subspecialty fellowship at St. Luke’s–Roosevelt Hospital in 2010. Dr. Blackstock has been a faculty member at NYU School of Medicine since 2010.