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Healthwatch: Dr. Leana Wen on the COVID surge and omicron's spread

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(GWU)
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Dr. Leana Wen is an emergency room physician, a professor at George Washington University's Milken Institute School of Public Health, and a regular contributor to The Washington Post and CNN. The former Baltimore City Health Commissioner joins us each month on the Midday Healthwatch.

The trends in the coronavirus pandemic are heading up again, and this is before any possible uptick that may or may not happen with the new omicron variant. The positivity rate here in Maryland has been above 5% for about a week, and the number of daily new cases in our state has hovered around 17 or 18 hundred each day, many more than in the past several months.

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With only about 60% of Americans fully vaccinated against COVID-19, community transmission of the disease continues to be a major public health concern. (credit Marco Verch/FLickr/CC by 2.0)

Children over the age of five are now eligible to get a jab, and everybody over the age of 18 qualifies for a booster. Nationally, nearly a year into vaccine availability, only about 60% of Americans are fully vaccinated, well behind 60 other countries. Places like Portugal, Cuba, Cambodia, Iceland, and Australia all have much higher rates of fully vaccinated people. And of course, now, with booster shots recommended for those who have received the original dose, the definition of what “fully vaccinated” is may have to change.

Today on Midday, it’s the Midday HealthWatch with Dr. Leana Wen, who is always so generous with her time and willingness to answer our questions about COVID-19. Dr. Wen is an emergency physician and former Baltimore City Health Commissioner.  She teaches at the George Washington University School of Public Health. She’s also a columnist for the Washington Post, a medical analyst for CNN, a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution and the author of Lifelines: A Doctor's Journey in the Fight for Public Health.

Dr. Leana Wen joins us on Skype…

And, as always, we welcome your questions and comments.

Host, Midday (M-F 12:00-1:00)
Malarie is Midday's Supervisory Producer.
Rob is Midday's senior producer.