Media Coverage

4/8/20
Thomas A. Russo, MD, professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, is interviewed for a story on when the pandemic might peak in Western New York. He said, “I think that things are gonna get back to normal when the number of new infectious cases approaches zero." Russo added that we just don't know when exactly that will be yet, but that if society stays vigilant, that day will come sooner rather than later.
4/8/20
Jamie N. Nadler, MD, clinical assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine and a Buffalo General Medical Center critical care physician, is quoted in a story on experimental treatments for COVID-19. Some experimental treatments will start with critically ill patients until doctors know more about their effectiveness. “If we’re finding them successful, then we want to start rolling them out to more moderately ill patients to prevent their decline sooner,” Nadler said.
4/7/20
Thomas A. Russo, MD, professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, is quoted in a story on how to properly remove and dispose of protective gloves. The difficulty of taking off and decontaminating gloves is a reason Russo does not recommend them to the general public. “Even if you remember to decontaminate your gloves, you might not be able to do it optimally,” Russo said. 
4/3/20
In Buffalo and its suburbs, the number of coronavirus cases has been doubling every three days. Thomas A. Russo, MD, professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, says Erie County likely has 10 times more cases than reported. The increasing number of cases comes as hospitals in the region have faced downsizing and consolidation in recent years. Before the coronavirus crisis, there were about 275 permanent intensive-care beds — about half of them at three major hospitals in Erie County. So far, about one-fourth of those beds are occupied by coronavirus patients, according to Erie County’s health commissioner, Gale R. Burstein, MD, who is a clinical professor of pediatrics.
4/3/20
There is insufficient research to say that witch hazel can kill bacteria or viruses, says Thomas A. Russo, MD, professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases. “With coronavirus, there’s absolutely no reason to use any sort of product on your skin other than regular soap and water, or if you have one of those hand alcohol based hand sanitizers,” Russo says. He encourages people to follow social distancing and recommends practicing good hand hygiene as well as disinfecting high-touch surfaces. “My recommendation would be 0.1 percent bleach or 0.5 percent hydrogen peroxide. Those are compounds that have been tested that we know inactivates this virus,” he says. 
4/3/20
Articles about a former astronaut who is now a doctor and is more worried about dying in a hospital than in space quoted Timothy F. Murphy, MD, senior associate dean for clinical and translational research and an infectious disease researcher at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. “In order for social distancing to work, everyone has got to do it,” Murphy said. “It’s not going to work unless everyone buys into it.”
4/3/20
Clinical trials by Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences are underway to determine if Sarilumab can be helpful in treating critically ill coronavirus patients. “We are specialists who treat patients with cancer, but we are also specialists in clinical trials, clinical research and developing drugs for patients,” explained Igor Puzanov, MD, professor of medicine at the Jacobs School and director of the Early Phase Clinical Trials Program at Roswell Park.
4/3/20
Thomas A. Russo, MD, professor of medicine and chief of infectious diseases, answered questions about COVID-19 during an extensive interview on the Shredd & Ragan Show on 103.3FM The Edge. “The key point here is people who are infected and can potentially transmit the virus could have symptoms or they could not have symptoms,” Russo said. “Therefore, one needs to be rigorous about not coming into contact with individuals as best as possible, minimally using the six-foot-rule and maximizing distance under all circumstances.”
4/2/20
Stories on an experimental treatment for critically ill COVID-19 patients reported on a clinical study of the drug being co-led by Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center and the University at Buffalo. “We literally heard about this study on Saturday, and what normally takes six months took a matter of four days with an incredible effort,” said Timothy F. Murphy, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine and senior associate dean for clinical and translational research at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, and one of several leading researchers involved in the effort.
4/1/20
A report on understanding the COVID-19 curve quotes Thomas A. Russo, MD, professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases. “The numbers don’t surprise me at all. I think the curve is following what would be predicted. And, as I mentioned earlier, there’s a glimmer of hope that we may be flattening the curve,” says Russo, who says that could change if people don’t practice social distancing. “It’s going to increase the height or the magnitude of that peak. And, though we know most people do very well with the new coronavirus infection, there’s a small but significant population that become critically ill and need health care resources. And, if too many people get infected too quickly, we’re going to overwhelm those health care resources. And, we won’t be able to take care of them optimally. And, as a result, there’ll be increased morbidity and mortality.”
3/31/20
Articles about the chances of people living in apartment buildings contracting COVID-19 quote Thomas A. Russo, MD, professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases. “Theoretically if someone is infected we are pretty confident as long as the person stays in the room the risk [of transmission] should be low,” Russo said. If you feel sick, “you need to go ahead and stay in the house … you should not go out unless you have no other options.”
3/30/20
Thomas A. Russo, MD, professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, was interviewed about the potential impact COVID-19 could have on Western New York. “A common question I’m getting is, ‘I want to have a small group gathering for Easter, can I do it safely?’ ” Russo said. “The answer is no, you can’t do so with 100 percent certainty. There’s the whole asymptomatic issue, which makes it impossible to be sure that you are not infected.” 
3/30/20
A report about two 1-year-old children in Niagara County diagnosed with COVID-19 quotes Thomas A. Russo, MD, professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases. “Nearly all children regardless if they are less than 1 or older are going to get through this without any serious consequences,” he said.
3/27/20
Articles about the fact that while beards may be covered in germs, they are likely not increasing a person’s chances of getting or spreading COVID-19 interview Thomas A. Russo, MD, professor of medicine and chief of infectious diseases, who explained the importance of trimming facial hair for health care workers: “For health care providers, beards present a problem because getting a good, tight fit for N-95 masks is difficult. Certainly, big fluffy beards are a big problem because unless they’re trimmed way back, you might not be able to get a good seal, making it not effective.”