COVID

Here’s how a current and former Boston doctor think Biden should address the new surge

"I would reinstate mask mandates for high risk, indoor transmission, particularly public transit."

As COVID-19 cases continue to surge, a current and former Boston doctor are calling on U.S. health officials to be more consistent in their messaging and to take further steps to protect high risk communities.

Dr. Abraar Karan, an infectious disease fellow at Stanford who previously worked on the COVID-19 response in Massachusetts, and Dr. Jeremy Faust, an emergency physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and author of Inside Medicine on Bulletin.com, appeared on The Mehdi Hasan Show this week.

Hasan, a British-American political journalist, acknowledged that both Karan and Faust have been critical of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other health authorities.

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“If Dr. Ashish Jha or Dr. Anthony Fauci were to ring you up and say, ‘What is the one thing we should be doing that we’re not doing? You’ve criticized on Twitter – what would you do if you were in our position?'” he asked the doctors.

Karan, who previously worked as a research consultant to the WHO-commissioned Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response on COVID-19 epidemiology, emphasized the importance of masking and proper ventilation.

“First, I would reinstate mask mandates for high risk, indoor transmission, particularly public transit and I would be focusing on high quality, comfortable N95s,” he said.

“Secondly, I would be very transparent on what are we doing about ventilation efforts,” he continued. “How are we getting the air changes per hour in indoor buildings up? What is the progress on that? What is the timeline? What’s the funding? How is this going to happen and when is it going to happen? Those are two key things I would want to know and want to be done right now.”

Faust, who also serves as editor-in-chief of MedPage Today, said health officials should focus time and resources on going door-to-door to get people in high risk communities vaccinated and boosted.

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“We still have not reached communities of color,” he said. “Last year, we had this massive rollout of the vaccine and then by the time the booster came around; a lot of these mega sites were gone, so we didn’t get into communities who were the most at risk.

“So we have to go literally door-to-door to find the highest risk people, older folks, immunocompromised, people of color,” Faust said, adding that he agrees with Karan, saying N95 masking is “huge because that’s a real difference with these variants.”

Watch the full answers from the doctors below:

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