Dr. Paul Farmer to Axios: ‘Remember the Caregivers’ Amid Coronavirus Response

Posted on Mar 9, 2020

Dr. Paul Farmer at University Hospital in Mirebalais, Haiti
Dr. Paul Farmer, shown here at University Hospital in Mirebalais, Haiti, told the news website Axios on Monday that COVID-19 could strain capacity in intensive care units, particularly in rural or low-resource settings around the world. Photo by Rebecca E. Rollins / Partners In Health

Dr. Paul Farmer told the news website Axios on Monday that the people most at risk for exposure to disease from the new coronavirus are those providing care, citing his experience with the Ebola outbreak in West Africa from 2014 to 2016.  

“Always remember the caregivers,” said Farmer, Partners In Health’s co-founder and chief strategist. “The caregivers need protecting, too, and sometimes the caregivers are going to be family members. This is another caregivers' disease like Ebola.”

In the brief, wide-ranging interview, Farmer talked about how COVID-19 could strain capacity in intensive care units, particularly in rural or low-resource settings around the world; shared his thoughts from a recent visit to Rwanda, and the COVID-19 response there; and talked about how, despite uncertainty about the disease, health resources in the United States give reason for confidence.

“Our public health professionals are really good, and our scientists and researchers are the best in the world,” he said. “If you are critically ill with this disease, even though we don't have a specific treatment, we do have nonspecific treatments — they're called supportive and clinical care. And these nonspecific treatments are lifesaving.”

Read the full interview via Axios, here.

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