Columbia Public Health Now Podcast host Maria Andriella O’Brien, deputy chief of staff at the Mailman School of Public Health, interviewed ICAP global director Wafaa El-Sadr, MD, MPH, MPA, about how health systems are—or are not—handling the COVID-19 outbreak.

“Initially when there are a few cases, then the public health workforce seeks how to find those cases, quickly identify who has the disease, quickly isolate them, and then of course quarantine their contacts. You can do that while the numbers remain small,” Dr. El-Sadr said. “At the same time, what happens is that the large number of cases overwhelms the public health workforce, and that’s when you need to go to more of the social distancing kind of interventions, for example asking people not to congregate and avoid crowded spaces.”

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