Infectious Diseases

8/4/20
As restaurants and bars open to the public after months of closures, it is important to realize that eating out will increase a person’s risk of exposure to the novel coronavirus. Two of the most important public health measures for keeping illnesses to a minimum — mask usage and social distancing — are nearly impossible to observe while eating in restaurants. Thomas A. Russo, MD, professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, advises on how to reduce risk at restaurants. He discusses table spacing, mask usage for servers, guest screening procedures, disposable utensils, table disinfection and outdoor seating. He also provides insight into whether or not the virus can spread via food.
7/30/20
Thomas A. Russo, MD, professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, is quoted in stories on how New York State is preparing for the flu season in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Russo said many unknowns remain regarding how patients may be affected if they get both the flu and the novel coronavirus at once. “There’s a lot of unknowns here,” he said. “It certainly makes sense that you would want to avoid getting influenza infection while the new coronavirus is circulating around.”
7/29/20
Thomas A. Russo, MD, professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, is quoted in a story on why the CDC is recommending that COVID-19 patients who have mild symptoms isolate for 10 days. “The 10 days is based on making sure that someone who is not infectious can get back into society,” Russo says.
7/29/20
Kevin J. Gibbons, MD, and Thomas A. Russo, MD, were interviewed regarding hydroxychloroquine, and how studies have shown it is not an effective treatment for COVID-19. “It held tremendous promise, and we were all excited about the possibility that this could really help us in this battle against COVID. Unfortunately, the preponderance of evidence to this date does not support that,” said Russo, professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases. “The best evidence we have is that it’s not of benefit,” said Gibbons, senior associate dean for clinical affairs and associate professor of neurosurgery.
7/27/20
A story quotes John A. Sellick Jr., DO, professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases, on the risks that traveling sports teams face and could bring to their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. “If you’re allowing these players and other staff members to be free living in the community, so that they go home to their usual homes and they may have visitors, they may go out to dinner or whatever — the opportunities for someone to get infected and then bring that back into that kind of inner circle, I think, is a real potential problem,” Sellick said.
7/25/20
Thomas A. Russo, MD, professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, is quoted in a story on why people should be skeptical of media reports about people getting COVID-19 twice in quick succession. “I think that it’s somewhat encouraging that we’ve had millions of cases [of COVID-19] around the globe, and the fact that we haven’t had any clear-cut reinfections certainly suggests that the host response to natural infection must be protection at least for a few months,” Russo said. 
7/23/20
A story about Gov. Andrew Cuomo and local officials’ warnings to young people about maintaining social distance during COVID-19, quotes Thomas A. Russo, MD, professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases. Even if many don’t actually feel sick or show symptoms, says Russo, there’s still a concern when it comes to community spread. “These younger individuals that are becoming infected with the new coronavirus are what we call the ‘silent spreaders,’” Russo said. “They’re often asymptomatic so they feel quite well themselves and as a result, they continue to propagate the virus and fuel this pandemic.”
7/21/20
Articles about whether Airbnb hosts can survive the pandemic quote Thomas A. Russo, MD, professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases. Some health experts are giving short-term rentals an edge since people can more easily avoid crowded indoor spaces, according to the reports. “In a hotel, it’s inevitable that you’ll have more interactions than at an Airbnb,” Russo agreed.
7/21/20
An article on how anti-mask protestors are flouting face covering guidelines by wearing masks made of thin material, quotes Thomas A. Russo, MD, professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases. “It’s ridiculous,” says Russo. “This isn’t about personal liberty. This is about public health and keeping everyone safe, so we can get the pandemic under control to have more freedom and liberty.”
7/20/20
John A. Sellick Jr., DO, professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases, discusses the challenges the NFL and teams across the league face in starting a season amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Sellick says it is ill-advised to allow fans to return to stadiums. “Realistically, I just don’t see how we can even be remotely thinking about bringing fans back until there is a submission of the virus, and presumably that is going to involve the availability of a vaccine,” says Sellick. 
7/18/20
Thomas A. Russo, MD, professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, was quoted for a story on the importance of covering the entire hand when using sanitizer. “You get the palm side of your fingers. You’ll get your fingertips, but you won’t get the other side, or between the fingers and the outside of the thumbs. You have to make sure you get all those other parts,” he said.
7/15/20
Thomas A. Russo, MD, professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, is quoted in stories on the recently released guidelines about the safe fall semester return for UB students, faculty and staff. “We want everyone to adopt a culture that minimizes risks of getting infected and maximizes our ability to keep UB open,” Russo said. 
7/15/20
WGRZ-TV quoted Thomas A. Russo, MD, professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, for its story on the recently released guidelines about the safe fall semester return for UB students, faculty and staff. “We want everyone to adopt a culture that minimizes risks of getting infected and maximizes our ability to keep UB open,” Russo said. 
7/14/20
While several states in the south and west are experiencing significant increases in the number of positive novel coronavirus cases, New York has managed to keep its numbers in check. Thomas A. Russo, MD, professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, says the notable contrast is a testament to officials in New York taking a slow and deliberate approach to reopening while consistently urging residents to follow widely accepted public health procedures, such as wearing masks and practicing social distancing.