Understanding COVID-19 from the front lines

March 26, 2020

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Medical personnel are shown standing in a window wearing protective medical gear and photographed from far outside of the building from below.

Medical personnel watch as French President Emmanuel Macron visits the military field hospital outside the Emile Muller Hospital in Mulhouse, eastern France, March 25, 2020, during a strict lockdown in France to stop the spread of the coronavirus disease.

Credit:

Cugnot Mathieu/Reuters

The novel coronavirus is novel in a number of ways. It's disturbingly easy to spread, often coming from people with no symptoms. Infectious disease epidemiologist Gabriel Leung, who has been at the forefront of understanding the coronavirus, explains what we now know and what remains a mystery about COVID-19. And, we speak with former Pentagon chief Leon Panetta about the challenges that limit the movement and role of US troops to help combat the coronavirus crisis. Also, how do you explain a pandemic to kids so they get the gravity of the situation, but don't freak out?


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Rio's gangs tell residents to stay home as COVID-19 heightens inequality; UN calls for truce in war-torn Yemen, Gaza braces for COVID-19

Drug traffickers in Rio are ordering residents to stay home, and soldiers around the world are taking on the new mandate of enforcing lockdowns. Also, a UN call for an immediate ceasefire in Yemen — which is already facing a dire humanitarian crisis — was welcomed by warring parties. And a Palestinian Canadian doctor warns about the situation in Gaza. And, as Spain continues to be hit hard by the novel coronavirus, hotels are being turned into makeshift hospitals.

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Discussion: The coronavirus pandemic and predicting gaps in healthcare capacity

From a significant lag in testing for COVID-19 to a predicted mismatch between patients and available hospital beds, health care systems around the world are under tremendous pressure. As part of The World's weekly series of live discussions in partnership with Harvard's Chan School of Public Health, reporter Elana Gordon moderated a conversation with Dr. Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute.