GEE AND URSULA

UW Dr. Rabinowitz: ‘We’re headed for the worst part of the epidemic’

Mar 25, 2020, 6:50 AM | Updated: 7:36 am
Rabinowitz, coronavirus...
Only essential business and services remain open in Washington state after Gov. Jay Inslee announced the "Stay Home, Stay Healthy" order to help slow the spread of coronavirus. (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

As the numbers across the country of those who have tested positive for COVID-19 continue to rise, Dr. Peter Rabinowitz, director of the UW MetaCenter for Pandemic Preparedness, issued a warning.

How to get groceries without leaving your home

“We’re heading for the worst part of the epidemic,” he told KIRO Radio’s Gee and Ursula Show. “If you look at the curves of how the cases are adding up, we are still adding up, we are not at the top yet. I feel we are heading into the worst of it right now.”

In other words, the curve has not yet started to flatten.

As of Tuesday morning, the state of Washington had reported more than 2,000 confirmed cases with 225 new cases in the previous 24 hours. With more testing comes more positives, and Dr. Rabinowitz cautioned that it should be assumed there are a lot more cases out there.

Will the newest measures Washington is taking with the stay-at-home order be enough to make an impact? Dr. Rabinowitz believes there is work to be done.

“I still think that people are not taking it quite seriously enough, and understanding young people need to know that they can get sick as well,” he said. “Some people are getting really sick in all ages. I’m seeing some progress and certainly less traffic but I think we are still not quite at the point, if you look at the Washington cases, they go up every day, and we are not at the top of the peak for Washington state. So I think that hopefully everybody is going to take this latest order seriously and do something about it.”

A two-week shutdown is viewed by those in the medical community as merely a start.

President Trump in recent days has indicated that his preference is to pull back on the orders and get people back to work. Co-host Gee Scott asked for the doctor’s reaction to Trump’s declaration that “America will soon be open for business, a lot sooner than the three or four months somebody was suggesting,” and that what the country is currently dealing with is a “medical problem” that he will not allow to turn into a “financial problem.”

“I think that this is a problem where the economy and the health are very closely tied together,” Rabinowitz said. “You can’t really say it’s a medical problem, not a larger societal problem. If the epidemic is not controlled, that has a really bad effect on the economy in many ways that are really drastic versus the impact on the economy, which is significant.”

The solution? Keep moving forward, as painful as it may be. However, that does not mean battles cannot be fought to improve the economy while most Americans are at home.

“This is not the time to start relaxing the measures,” Rabinowitz said. “At the same time, I think we have to take the advantage now at shifting the way we are working being the idea that the U.S. is not closing down for business, but we have to shift to different types of working very aggressively so that we can handle something like this in case it takes a while. We can’t just assume that life is going to go back to normal exactly the way it was in two weeks, that’s just not realistic. We have to get ready for a longer period of containment measures and find ways to do everything we can to support people and keep the economy going.”

Dr. Rabinowitz sees a long road ahead but there are examples to strive for.

Quarantine complete: How Taiwan quickly contained the coronavirus

“In China, they went two months of hard measures to produce results of the epidemic really slowing down and coming to a halt,” he said. “Now they have to be very careful as they open up again that this is not going to come back. … We have to follow some of the lessons from other countries and not relax things too early or we are just going to be in the situation that all of the effort that has already been done will just have been for naught. But we have to up our game, not pull back at this point, but find a way to do everything we can to keep the economic health of people, and unemployment, and everything because health and the economy really are intertwined.”

Listen to the Gee and Ursula Show weekday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

Gee and Ursula Show

Gee and Ursula

students...
Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin Show

Gee & Ursula: Data shows pandemic has impacted learning for Washington students

Test scores in Washington have dropped during the COVID-19 pandemic, with just 30% of students in grades 4-11 meeting standards in math.
2 days ago
dan price...
MyNorthwest Staff

Gee interviews CEO Dan Price on latest episode of ‘Leaving a Legacy’

On episode three of “Leaving a Legacy,” Gee Scott interviews Gravity Payments CEO Dan Price, who famously paid all his employees a $70,000 minimum salary.
2 days ago
Free speech, election fraud...
Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin Show

Gee & Ursula: No winners in battle over limiting free speech in Washington

Proposals that seek to limit aspects of free speech are coming from both sides of the aisle during the current legislative session in Washington state.
3 days ago
Bruce Harrell inaugural address...
Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin Show

Seattle Mayor Harrell looks to form third public safety department for unarmed responders

Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell wants to supplement the city's police and fire departments with a third public safety department.
7 days ago
grocery...
Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin Show

Gee & Ursula: Report shows most Kroger grocery workers struggle to afford food

A new report shows that more than two-thirds of Kroger grocery workers are struggling to afford food, housing, or other basic needs.
8 days ago
amanda knox...
MyNorthwest Staff

Gee interviews Amanda Knox on new podcast

On “Leaving a Legacy,” Gee interviews Amanda Knox -- an author, activist, and journalist who was wrongly convicted in the murder her roommate.
9 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]
...

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]
...

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
...
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
...

Delayed-Onset PTSD: Signs and Symptoms

Lakeside-Milam Recovery Centers SPONSORED — You’re probably familiar with post-traumatic stress disorder. Often abbreviated as PTSD, this condition is diagnosed when a person experiences a set of symptoms for at least a month after a traumatic event. However, for some people, these issues take longer to develop. This results in a diagnosis of delayed-onset PTSD […]
...

Medicare open enrollment ends Dec. 7. Free unbiased help is here!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]
UW Dr. Rabinowitz: ‘We’re headed for the worst part of the epidemic’