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A conversation with Stanford epidemiologist Dr. Steve Goodman

Image: Andriy Onufriyenko/Getty Images

Back in March when the Covid-19 outbreak was in its early days, I asked my brother Steve to join me on , a radio show and podcast that I host, to talk about what we could expect with this new virus. Steve Goodman, MD, MHS, PhD, is an associate dean at Stanford Medical School, where he is also a professor of epidemiology and population health and of medicine. When we spoke in March, Steve described the coronavirus as a tsunami about to overwhelm us. His words were prescient: nine months later, over 350,000 Americans have died from Covid-19…

Harvard social epidemiologist Nancy Krieger breaks down excess deaths and workplace safety findings

Customers wear face masks to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 as they line up to enter a Costco store on April 16, 2020 in Wheaton, Maryland. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

To call the state of coronavirus affairs in the United States grim feels like the understatement of the year. As the nation rounds the bend on Thanksgiving amid skyrocketing infection rates, we again find ourselves in a protracted moment of anxious chaos, which reliably erupts like clockwork in lieu of a coordinated response to an incredibly severe public health emergency.

The virus has America in its grip in part because we’re an easy target. …

A framework from two epidemiologists

People enjoy the beach amid the coronavirus pandemic in Huntington Beach, California on April 25, 2020. Photo: APU GOMES/Getty Images

In many communities in the United States, government restrictions designed to curtail the spread of Covid-19 are being lifted, despite rising rates of infection. Many of the messages to the public about how seriously to take Covid-19 and how to stay safe are confusing. Some people are returning to their activities as if the pandemic is over, while others are avoiding in-person interactions. How can you make sense of it all and figure out how and when to safely proceed with your life?

Recently, several visual guides have been circulating on social media in…

A conversation with Stanford epidemiologist Dr. Steve Goodman

CImage: zhangshuang/Getty Images

This is an overreaction.

That was my first thought upon receiving an email from my son’s college earlier this week informing me that he had to leave campus within five days due to the threat of Covid-19, or coronavirus. All of his college classes are being moved online, and all students are to leave their dorms for the duration of the school year. His long-anticipated freshman year in college will now be completed in his bedroom — upstairs in my house.

Is this really necessary?

Exasperated, I called my older brother…

An infectious disease epidemiologist on why we need to act now

Photo: CDC/Unsplash


In the West, we watched the Covid-19 outbreak develop in Wuhan as though it were happening on another planet. But this disease moves fast. Italy had just 21 cases on February 21, and now the entire country is on lockdown. Deaths in Italy increased by 60% in the last two days from 631 to 1,016, and overwhelmed Italian doctors are now faced with having to choose which patients to treat with breathing equipment and who should be left to die.

There’s no reason to think that the spread of Covid-19 will…

But also, forget standing desks. Try ‘active sitting,’ according to a trauma surgeon who wants to cure sitting disease.

Photo courtesy of Dr. Turner Osler

Dr. Turner Osler was perfectly content working as a trauma surgeon at the University of Vermont — then he received a grant for researching biostatistics from the National Institutes of Health, which required him to regularly sit down at a desk for the first time in his career. That’s when his back pain started. “All the chairs I tried made my back worse, so I took a deep dive over the course of the year to figure out a better and affordable solution,” he says.

Now, Osler, who’s currently a research epidemiologist at the University of Vermont, channels his health…


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