Noted Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness specialist Dr. Peter Marghella appeared on Wednesday’s KGVO Talk Back show to provide an update on the COVID 19 pandemic.

Dr. Marghella began with a bit of good news regarding the pandemic in the United States.

“For the first time since we started to see the very significant peaks that approached us in the late fall around the late November early December timeframes, the morbidity and mortality that is the illness and death associated with the COVID 19 pandemic have either started to plateau and flatten out or actually decrease,” said Dr. Marghella.

Dr. Marghella posited some reasons why some decrease in the infection rate is occurring.

“Why is it happening?” he asked. “Well, one of the reasons could be that people are just by default of being at home are participating at greater levels of social distancing. We also think that people are starting to understand that masks are extremely important to prevent exposure to the disease and we're seeing an uptick in people participating in that single point of important preventive measure.”

Some listeners asked Dr. Marghella to give credit to the Trump administration for ‘Operation Warp Speed’ in which several vaccines were developed and are now being distributed. Dr. Marghella said he could not agree with their viewpoint.

“With Operation Warp Speed, none of the things that I saw go on and witnessed firsthand would allow me to lend any positive credit towards (the Trump administration),” he said. “I can't in good conscience say that I saw anything that would lend to positivity in reflection of what the previous administration did to combat this pandemic.”

Wrapping up the 90 minute question and answer session, Dr. Marghella said the United States is still not ready to combat any serious future pandemic.

“We did not do this well, we are not prepared,” he said. “We were not well prepared and we need to get better prepared. There are ways that can take us forward that will end our management efforts more positively than this one. (A caller was) on point and saying 99% of the people who are exposed to this will survive. There can and will be worse events. It's whether or not we choose as a nation as a government and as a society to take on board the things that we need to do to enhance our survivability and high levels of preparedness.”

Dr. Marghella also emphasized the importance of wearing the right kinds of masks instead of what are called cloth ‘gaiters’, and that masks that do not cover the nose are basically useless.

Dr. Marghella has appeared on Talk Back numerous times both before and during the pandemic.


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