Media Coverage

3/26/20
Thomas A. Russo MD, professor of medicine and chief of infectious diseases, was quoted in a  story in which he says Western New York is “at a critical tipping point.” Russo also said that “Even with optimal testing, it’s been estimated that detection of positive cases represents about 10 percent of the overall caseload. I think it’s quite certain that we probably have close to 2,000 plus cases.”
3/25/20
A Buffalo News story on New York State’s need for ventilators interviews Sanjay Sethi, MD, professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, who explained what ventilators do. “They assist the lungs to get air in and out. You can control the volume of air, what rate it goes in, how much oxygen you add to it,” Sethi said.
3/24/20
On the Shredd and Ragan show, Thomas A. Russo, MD, professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, gave an update on COVID-19. “Cases are still on the rise in New York state, the country and globally,” Russo said. It’s important to note that documented cases are an underestimation of total actual cases, he explained, adding: “Our testing hasn’t quite been optimal.” Russo emphasized that if a person develops symptoms of the coronavirus, they should stay home to prevent spreading it. He recommended that if a person experiences shortness of breath, they should contact their health care provider to find out if they need further evaluation. Russo also briefly discussed clinical trials, a potential vaccine and the biology of coronaviruses. 
3/24/20
Healio Primary Care asked experts what the greatest weakness is in the country’s capacity to counter COVID-19. Alan J. Lesse, MD, said: “The lack of testing and inability to prepare for the large number of tests that we’re going to need to track and identify COVID-19 cases and prevent its spread is perhaps the United States’ greatest weakness when it comes to pandemic preparedness.” Lesse is senior associate dean for medical curriculum and an associate professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases. He is chief of infectious disease for the VA Western New York Healthcare System.
3/23/20
MD Magazine carried a piece by Richard D. Blondell, MD, professor emeritus of family medicine, regarding steps that America can take to deal with the opioid epidemic through treatment and prevention.
3/23/20
Steven L. Dubovsky, MD, professor and chair of psychiatry, provides expertise in an article discussing how the coronavirus pandemic has the potential to make people feel as if they are hypochondriacs. Hypochondriasis, what we typically call hypochondria, can be a serious illness, in which case it consists of “a preoccupation with the idea of being ill and spending so much of your time and effort looking for a diagnosis and treatment that you can’t function normally,” explains Dubovsky. “In more minor forms, hypochondriacal preoccupations are common in all of us when we feel stressed,” he says. His advice to anyone struggling with anxiety about how they physically feel: “Shut off the 24-hour news.” Dubovsky notes that for peace of mind, and for physical well-being, it’s crucial to take precautions including social distancing and proper hand washing.
3/23/20
Sanjay Sethi, MD, answers COVID-19-related questions about testing, the measures medical professionals are taking to protect themselves while treating COVID-19 patients, and the length of the contagious period. He also provides insight into whether it’s helpful to have an up-to-date pneumonia vaccine and whether smoking has an effect on the body’s ability to fight the virus. Sethi is a professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine.
3/20/20
Thomas A. Russo, MD, professor of medicine and chief of infectious diseases, fielded viewer questions related to the coronavirus on WKBW-TV. He covered potential resistance to the virus among those who have already been infected and how to deal with non-virus related medical care. He noted that someone who is scheduled for routine follow-up appointments who is not experiencing any problems or symptoms should stay home. “But if an acute problem develops or you have underlying disease and symptoms, then you should call your health care provider,” he said.
3/19/20
Thomas A. Russo, MD, professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, is quoted about supermarkets offering special hours for shoppers over 60 as a way to reduce the risk of exposure to the population most susceptible to the novel coronavirus. The well-intentioned concept is not necessarily safe, according to Russo. “Albeit a grocery store is fairly expansive in terms of airspace, it’s still an enclosed system,” Russo said. “It’s not quite as close quarters as a cruise ship, but it’s a variation of the model in my mind.”
3/19/20
Thomas A. Russo, MD, professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, was interviewed about a recent study that found coronavirus could remain viable in the air for hours and on some surfaces for days. “I think the greatest risk remains if that person coughs or sneezes when you’re in close proximity. And that close proximity we’ve been talking about now to the best of our knowledge is six feet,” Russo explained. The findings suggest that the virus is detectable up to four hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to two or three days on plastic and stainless steel. “It survived less well on cardboard and copper. Copper does have some potential anti-viral activities. It survived longer on stainless steel and on plastic,” Russo said.
3/19/20
WGRZ-TV relied on the expertise of Thomas A. Russo, MD, professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, for its story on the shortage of the multifaceted coronavirus test. There are multiple steps to accurate testing, according to Russo. “It’s a little more complicated than some of the basic tests that we do,” he said.
3/19/20
An editorial in The Buffalo News by Timothy F. Murphy, MD, senior associate dean for clinical and translational research at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, cites a recent study that demonstrates the effectiveness social distancing had on curbing the spread of infections during the 1918 influenza pandemic. “For social distancing to be effective, each of us needs to commit to it,” he wrote. Murphy, SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases, added: “The evidence is clear that a community-wide effort will reduce transmission of coronavirus infection and save lives. But, it will only work if we all do it.”
3/18/20
As the coronavirus continues to spread globally, Nancy H. Nielsen, MD, PhD, discusses how the virus could affect female health-care professionals. Nielsen, senior associate dean for health policy and clinical professor of medicine, says many women in health care are balancing a demanding work life and home life. Female health care workers “also have responsibility to take care of parents, who are older, and school-aged children … So their lives are enormously impacted by worrying about elderly relatives and by school closures.” Additionally, Nielsen explains that when people from the general public hoard N95 respirator masks, it prevents health-care workers — who are at the greatest risk — from accessing them.
3/18/20
Timothy F. Murphy, MD, senior associate dean for clinical and translational research, was quoted in stories on the risks Florida’s crowded beaches have in potentially spreading COVID-19. “This is how it is going to spread,” said Murphy, an infectious disease expert who is SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine and director of UB’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute. “In order for social distancing to work, everyone has got to do it. It’s not going to work unless everyone buys into it.”
3/18/20
A story on the burden carried by the state’s health care system in response to the coronavirus situation quotes Thomas A. Russo, MD, professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, on the possible lack of ventilators in the area. “I’m concerned we could be in the negative,” Russo said.