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COVID-19 Update: Newswise Live Expert Panel
Topics: How the media is covering the COVID-19 pandemic, How are we managing stress during crisis, Innovative ways tech is being used to help healthcare industry, and what is on the horizon for the U.S. economy.
This Newswise Live Virtual Press Conference invites media to ask our Expert Panel their questions about the COVID-19 pandemic and the effects on all aspects of daily life around the world. Panelists include experts from institutions such as University of Southern California,University of Utah, University of Pennsylvania.
- Allissa Richardson - Assistant Professor of Journalism - USC, Annenberg School of Communication. Allisa can speak about public faith in media and science as it relates to the COVID-19 pandemic. Are we getting an accurate picture of the severity? What about claims that the media is "exaggerating" the public health crisis? How are minority communities being representative in pandemic coverage?
- Kelly Baron, PhD, MPH - Associate Professor in the Division of Public Health, Department of Family and Preventive Medicine - University of Utah Health. Kelly can answer questions on the impact of social distancing on sleep heath. She can also speak about diet and exercise during the pandemic.
- Christine Reilley - Senior Director - The American Society of Mechanical Engineers. Christine can answer questions about how the Society is: convening manufacturers; providing online resources for educators, students and parents; and offering the latest technical new to support its community in the fight against COVID-19.
- Mauro Guillen - Holder of the Zandman Endowed Professorship in International Management at University Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business. Mauro can discuss when it is safe to "re-start" the economy. Will retail ever recover fully? What are some growing economic possibilities in a post-lockdown world?
When: April 23, 2:00PM EDT
Where: Newswise Live event space on Zoom - https://newswiselive.zoom.us/j/7459578068
This live event will also be recorded and transcribed for use by media and communicators after it is concluded.
The transcript of this expert panel is available below.
Thom Canalichio: Welcome to this Newswise live expert panel. We have a group of professors and researchers from a number of different Newswise member organizations here to take questions from the media. We have Mauro Guillen, he’s professor of management at the Wharton School of Business. We also have Kristen Riley, from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. We have Kelly Baron, she’s associate professor in the division of public health and also the department of family and preventive medicine at the University of Utah Health. And we have Allissa Richardson, she’s assistant professor of journalism at the Annenberg School of Communication. Thank you all very much to the panelists for joining us and I want to go ahead and get started with a couple questions for Professor Guillen here right away.
Professor Guillen as a business expert, as an economist, your views here on this crisis and the pandemic…what would you say is the best measure for it being safe to reopen the economy and how should the plan for that be implemented? Especially concerns about opening too soon and if that means we maybe have to do social distancing again, would that be worse or not as bad? What are your thoughts about the debate of reopening the economy?
Mauro Guillen: Well I think it’s obviously a debate that hinges on this trade off between lives and livelihood. We have to save lives we also have to save the economy from complete collapse. We need to listen to the public health experts and we have several on the panel here, as to how much progress we’re making in terms of not only achieving the flattening of the curve, but also perhaps to achieve herd immunity as well. And the last thing that I would mention that I think is really really important as well, is that we don’t want to have a false start with the economy. We don’t want to send people back to the shopping malls and back to their workplaces only to a few months later have to pull back and go back to lockdown of some sort or another. So no false starts. That’s why we need to listen very carefully to the experts, the public health experts on this. And also listen to companies. Many of them including your company and my company, we’re operating from home and perhaps we should continue to do so even when the economy reopens. So we also need to listen to companies. How prepared are they to start having workers back in the offices or in their factories?
Thom Canalichio: That’s a very important set of factors to consider. I wonder if you can also tell us in terms of this pause that the economy is sort of under while we do social distancing, what are your predictions about this being a recession, how long that recession may last, and also your take on some views from others in the media that have put out the idea that this is a depression level event at this moment?
Mauro Guillen: Well technically a recession is two consecutive quarters of negative evolution of GDP, or GDP decline, so quarter one this year, January, February, March, it’s going to be a mild decline in GDP, maybe in the order of five percentage points, so negative. The second quarter, which we just started in the month of April is going to be brutal from the point of view of GDP and we may see a decline of as much as 30 or 35 percent declining in GDP. So most economists and most forecasting services are not saying that the third quarter and fourth quarter will be a recovery. If that were to happen then we wouldn’t have a depression. A depression would be four consecutive quarters, an entire year of GDP decline and I think right now we’re unlikely to go there, but it all depends on two things. Can we control the pandemic? And then number two, can we reopen the economy in an orderly way? Right? In a way that essentially puts people back to work.
Thom Canalichio: And is there a particular phasing or process that you’d recommend with your background in international business and things like this where supply chains get rebooted, rehiring starts? What are the most important things to have first and what other things come later?
Mauro Guillen: So I think three basic points. Number one is we need to have a clear plan as to logistics. How are people going to go to work or how are they going to go to their place of study? Number two is what’s going to happen in those locations? Are we going to have social distancing? How are we going to handle the situations? And then what happens when people get back home and where are the protocols for ensuring that we’re not recreating a second wave or the virus? That’s the first point. The second point, very quickly, that I think is extremely important is to broaden the distinction between essential and non-essential parts of the economy. So we need to start broadening the parts of the economy that can be open for business again. And then number three is we need to avoid, at a global level, temptations concerning protectionism. So we have to avoid this idea that was devastating in the 1930’s during the Great Depression of, “Oh I want to save my economy, I want to reserve all of the jobs for my workings so I’m going to protect. Therefore I’m going to seal off the country from the rest of the world”. That in the kind of economy that we have today would be devastating for the future. We need to avoid that temptation at all costs.
Thom Canalichio: Thank you professor. If any of the attendee’s, especially media who are registered with us to attend, if you have questions for Professor Guillen about any of the economic and business impacts of this crisis, please chat those to us. We’ll invite you to go ahead and ask your question to the panel yourself if you’d like or we can just read them for you. Please let us know what you’d like to do with those questions please, media attendee’s. Thanks Professor Guillen. I want to move on next to talk about some of the technology and what engineers are doing to aid in fighting this pandemic, so Kristen Riley at ASME, what can you tell us about how different industries as well as educators and academic researchers are all partnered together to come up with some good solutions for these really unprecedented challenges? We’re all heard about the stories of PPE shortages and other types of issues like that, so what can you tell us from the tech and engineer side of that fight? What are we doing to solve these issues?
Christine Reilley: So one way that ASME, which is the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, is working with our networks is that we have joined forces with our collaborators, a group called American Makes which is creating a repository of designs that people from all around the different communities are submitting ideas for designs for new devices, new types of PPE. ASME is connecting with it’s broad network of those in the computational modeling and simulation community and really sending a call to action to have those experts help model some of the designs that have come through to really give a little bit of a test to say, “Okay this is going to to be viable, this one maybe not so viable” so we’re working to help vet some of the designs that are coming through. And really the community is coming together and there’s really an overwhelming submission of those designs. In another way, ASME is also on a weekly basis convening those in our 3D printing community with experts from around the country, folks from Mayo Clinic and hospitals, manufacturers, and really just having an informal discussion about the various problems that they’re encountering and really working together to try and brainstorm some solutions.
Thom Canalichio: And tell us more so we can understand how the engineers and people in biomedical engineers work together with physicians. So these people are not physicians themselves, but they understand a great deal of what physicians are facing and they work together to tackle these problems. How do they communicate first of all? And what types of greater possibilities happen when you get physicians and engineers to work together this way?
Christine Reilley: Correct. So it’s really important for engineers and physicians to talk to one another right from the start. What we’ve found is that when engineers and physicians get together in the same room they can effectively determine the problem very quickly upfront and engineers can create a solution that’s much more effective much more quickly. So this has been something that ASME has been working with even before the Covid19 crisis hit. We’ve created something called “The Lexicon” that helps engineers speak the same language as physicians. So what we’ve found is that sometimes physicians and engineers may have a different definition for the same terms. We really want to get those lines of communication open, so that’s something that ASME has been promoting for quite some time now.
Thom Canalichio: If any of the media in attendants have questions for Kristen or any of the other panelists people do chat those to us, we’d be happy to invite you to ask the questions yourself or I can relay them to the panel for you. One more question for Kristen before we go on. Tell us a little bit more about what else ASME is doing to make access to information more easy, especially for researchers and students?
Christine Reilley: Certainly. So one thing that ASME has done is that we’ve opened up our journal articles and proceedings to make them freely available, specifically those articles that are relevant to the Covid19 crisis. So one such example is a group of researchers published an article related to custom fitting for a Bipap mask. So these are very specific, technical type of journal articles that would be of interest to those in the community. Also working with students, ASME has made it’s Inspire Program freely available and that’s an online interactive learning program for students grade four through ten that helps educate them about the various engineering careers that are out there. And then one more item is that we’ve made our online courses for post graduate -
Thom Canalichio: Just sharing some info about that Inspire program that you shared with me on here -
Christine Reilley: Yep. Those are some screen captures from the Inspire Program. Also we’ve made our technical online courses for post-graduate engineers also available at a deeply discounted price, some of those online courses deal with design for edited manufacturing, cell manufacturing for engineers, and some other items related to our codes and standards.
Thom Canalichio: Thank you for that info and Monica from ASME has also shared in the chat some links to some resources that our attendees may be interested in. We’ll come back to Kristen for some more about the tech and engineering as part of the fight, but I want to go next to Kelly Baron at University of Utah Health. Professor Baron is studying sleep hygiene as well as a few other factors so I’d like to ask you, first of all, how are we sleeping during this crisis? Second of all, how do you go about researching this kind of thing? How do you go about getting people to report? And what variables and other kind of data are you studying to monitor our health and fitness in response to a crisis like this?
Kelly Baron: Being that this is the first pandemic that we’ve been through we don’t yet know exactly how this is going to affect people’s sleep and other health behaviors like diet and exercise, but based on emerging data so far we really see that people are under a great deal of stress. And stress is something that we know disrupts sleep and then it can create a cycle of having poor sleep, leading to more stress, more stress leading to poor sleep, and we’re certainly seeing this clinically as well as in the patients coming into our office among healthcare providers and the general public. There’s a lot of increased worry about what’s going to happen as well as the financial impact of job loss or furloughs and that sort of thing has significant impact on sleep. So what we’re studying is that we’re interested to look at what’s going on with people's sleep, their diet and exercise patterns because we know that as a society this is really the first time we’ve had our lives totally disrupted like this. And it’s likely to have a major impact both on psychological distress having all of these aspects of our life disrupted, but also on long-term health. If people are getting into worse exercise patterns for example, eating more poorly, sleeping more poorly, that’s likely leading to increased risk of Diabetes, weight gain, and that type of thing. As well as, we know from emerging data from China that people who are more psychologically distressed also have poorer prevention behaviors. So what we’re hoping to understand is, “can we learn how to help people lead healthier behaviors under these circumstances?” and that can also lead to better psychological outcomes as well as prevention behaviors and that have implications for public health of the community.
Thom Canalichio: You mentioned underrepresented groups and people with other sorts of disadvantages, either racial disparities and socioeconomic ones being complicating factors here. I want to dig into that a little bit more, especially as we get ready to talk to Professor Richardson who has a lot to say about those areas. I think having that be part of your study as well is really remarkable and I’d like to understand a little bit more about what predictions or what hypotheses are being tested there about poverty being a preexisting condition for worse outcomes under these kinds of strains and stress during a pandemic like this.
Kelly Baron: We already know that health disparities exist for sleep and sleep disorders and that’s because the exposures that lead people to have poor sleep are not equally distributed in the population. These are things like job and job shifts and housing conditions and neighborhood conditions as well, stress of crime, and co-morbid conditions like cardiovascular disease, obesity, and diabetes. So these are things that lead people to have worse sleep, but also lead to increased risk for Covid complications. So we’re probably -- we have already seen an increase of death in minority patients. So there’s probably a disproportionate impact on these health behaviors that could help you stay healthy during the pandemic. One of the things that we’re hoping to do in our research is really reach outside of the University community even more than we typically do in our sleep research and reach out to communities and have a broad representation of people participating in our study. Because we know for a fact that this is not impacting all communities equally, that different communities that a different percentage of essential workers, warehouse workers, people who rely on public transportation, and they’re going to have a different exposure than a professor like myself who can stay home and do our job from home.
Thom Canalichio: Thank you so much Professor Baron for illuminating more of that. I want to go ahead and then turn it to Professor Richardson. As an expert on the media, communications, journalism, and your focus on issues affecting minorities; How do you view this crisis in terms of activism and equality and representation of those underrepresented groups?
Allissa Richardson: Thanks for that question. I study how marginalized communities create their own news network, especially during times of crisis and what my team and I are finding most fascinating at this time is that the folk that we interviewed for my first book that just came out, is that the very folks who are at ground zero for the racial profiling fights or for ice detention or indigenous movements and the Dakota for the Dakota access pipeline are at the very forefront of misinformation and disinformation campaigns to create their own news networks to dispel some of the myths that we’re seeing. So I’m really excited to see that some of the activism that they’ve tried to highlight this long has now come in the form of discussing labor or who is deemed essential as front-page news. I’m also really excited to see that a lot of these folks who are taking up this mantle are expanding platforms. So whereas for instance Black Lives Matter folks on police brutality, they’re now expanding that to senses awareness and making sure that people are still taking the senses, making sure that people are still going out to vote if they can, or know about mail-in voting. So all of these different kinds of activist pots if you will, are becoming activated in many cool ways that we’re finding out about on either Twitter, Instagram and all of these other platforms that they experimented with on the front lines before.
Thom Canalichio: I want to ask you about two kinds of hot button news developments in the last week or so, one of them being President Trump and his statement on Twitter about halting all immigration. I’m curious what you think about that, whether that’s a sound policy at this time or it is not. Also these protests that are popping up in certain areas of the country about reopening the economy, and what’s your comparison of the treatment of other activism that’s more focused on groups that are underrepresented? These things have been discussed a lot in recent days in the news. I’m curious about your take on that.
Allissa Richardson: Yes, one of the most fascinating and distressing things that I’ve found when interviewing that activists for the book was that I had to expand an entire chapter about surveillance as well as violence that occurred while they were trying to peacefully protest. So the coverage that they got when things escalated many times, when the militarized response to be perfectly candid, black protests or indigenous protests as we saw in the Dakota’s was violent. That became a televised spectacle that we watched over and over and over again and in many ways it’s our collective memory of those protests and not the peaceful way that they started. So to see now that a lot of the requests that they were asking for, a lot of the demands were not met. And to see this time whiteness preform and a lot of the things my team study is how whiteness is on display at a lot of these protests and things getting done really quickly in terms of reopening almost within days of these protests is very distressing for communities of color who have been protesting about these things for a number of years now and still haven’t gotten headway in the way that they would like. So what my team and I are studying is, what are the visual rhetoric? What are some of the signs they’re holding up? What are some of the other things that are making these campaigns successful? Is it just race? Is it a way that they’re presenting? Is it just our reluctance or us not wanting to deal with people of color when they bring these things up? What is the proper way to protest? And what does all of this discourse lead to? And so that’s kind of what my team is up to now is kind of picking apart and doing comparative studies between communities of color, the LatinX community, African American community, and indigenous communities specifically, compared to this one. We’re also very curious to see if some of these same communities that complained or protested this last time about reopening the country are the same communities that spoke up in the Tea Party. So are these factions the same? Are these the same Tea Party kind of candidates? Is it a right wing effort? Or is it broader than that? That’s what we’re trying to determine right now. And so I think when anyone speaks up of course we should listen, but we’re finding that some groups are still more important than others and were effective than others and our discipline is very concerned about that.
Thom Canalichio: It’s interesting the parallels between racial disparities and health measures as well as these sort of rhetorical disparities where the protests are not necessarily given the same amount of attention or credence when they’re led by African Americans compared to some of these recent ones. I want to ask you about one more aspect of this because following some trends on social media, I’m not sure if you are familiar with this or if some others on the call are familiar with this, but a group in Idaho connected to the Bundy family, who many people may remember from the occupation of an Oregon wildlife refuge, the national park I think - A coordinated protest effort against these stay at home orders - a group of these activists when to a playground, they were confronted by police for violating the orders against these public lands being used at the moment, one of them gets arrested. A group of protestors actually showed up at the police officers home who arrested this activist. And there’s a lot of controversy and a lot of discussion, it’s trending on Reddit right now. What are your thoughts about that? If a black protest showed up at a police officers home what would the reaction be compared to what we’re looking at right now where they’re getting a lot of support from their factions of social media.
Allissa Richardson: I think two images really stuck out in my mind when I saw that come across social me dia is that 12-year-old Tamira Rice went to a playground to play, to do like many boys do, to play with a toy gun like many boys do. He’s no longer with us. So the fact that even a boy who looked like him were in danger and still are is quite disturbing. And to see that there are certain groups who get that privilege to confront power in that way and are still seen as nonthreatening or still able to negotiate with them is distressing to many communities. I think that if African Americans were protesting in that same way they would definitely be met with violence. When they were peacefully protesting in Baltimore or in Ferguson, they were met with violence, which then escalated to the things that we typically remember. And so collective memory of events is very important, not just for polarizing and politicizing situations, but it’s to move conversations forward so that we have a set of facts. What are the communities demanding and how can we be better as a nation? And I think if the country still doesn’t respond to those tensions, be it racial, a health disparity, a racial disparity, we’re going to be in the same spot that we were before this whole pandemic began. So one of the things that I really like about what one of my team members said as we were discussing this is that this instance has made neon what was in watercolor before in terms of all of the issues that these various factions were fighting for. And while the first amendment is important and it is something that should definitely be protected, we have to be very careful about who we’re allowing to go to onto private property to speak their claim about certain things if we’re not willing to deal with varied groups of other backgrounds doing the same. It just should be an equitable response.
Thom Canalichio: Thank you so much. There’s so much to look at in terms of how all of these little inequalities are thrown into such contrast by a crisis like this and there’s a lot to learn from it. Thank you so much. For the media in attendance, please do let us know your questions. We’ll invite you to ask them to the panelists yourself or I’ll ask them for you. We have a question for Professor Guillen that I want to get through here from Debra Whit and Linkwell Health. Professor Guillen, does it make economic sense for each state to have it’s own plan? This is already kind of happening with some of the places that Professor Richardson was talking about. That these protests are getting results from Governors agreeing to start to open the economy. What are your thoughts about that? A state-by-state plan, does that make sense?
Mauro Guillen: Well, absolutely not. The fragmentation of decision making during this pandemic, not just within the United States, but I would say also in this interconnected world, is something that we should be very concerned about. At the very least I think that certain states in the Union should come together and make decisions in a joint way, especially when they are very tightly integrated economically and in terms of residence in one state working in another. So think about the Tristate area, New Jersey, Connecticut, and New York. Think about Delaware and Pennsylvania, and so on and so forth. So I can see how states that are more isolated from others could go their own way, but I would agree with the general principle that we need way more cooperation. The federalism in this case is maybe hurting us rather than helping us. It’s good to have decision-making based on local conditions, but not in the case of this pandemic because obviously there connections, travel, people movements, and so on and so forth, matter a great deal. And once again we want to avoid a false start. What if for example this week is opening up gradually, what if things go wrong there? Well that’s not going to be good. We don’t want to have any false starts here.
Thom Canalichio: Thank you. On the subject we were talking about with Professor Richardson about with these “re open the economy” protests, what’s your take on this? Do you think that these protestors have some points to make? Concerns about jobs? Concerns about being to access services maybe? Or if they don’t, what is it that you see as kind of being behind their fervor and what would you want them to understand better about this situation?
Mauro Guillen: Yes, well I see most of the protests as being politically motivated rather than motivated by people running out of patients or people essentially having a different take or a different view on what is the best way to contain the virus. I think that they are relatively small and that they definitely do not represent the balance of American public opinion. As you know most surveys indicate that between 60-80% of Americans support the containment measures that have been put in place and a part of them, a certain percentage, also believe that measures should perhaps go even further. So people are concerned about their health, people are concerned also about their jobs of course, but most Americans right now understand that we need to address the public health emergency first, right? And bring the pandemic under control.
Thom Canalichio: Thank you, Professor. I’d like to ask a question here of Kristen Riley. We have a question in the chat from Andy Pye. Andy Pye says, “Greetings from London”, he asks about ventilator manufacturers. Would it be possible and desirable to make existing designs open source so that more manufacturers can make them more quickly and how that would affect things like approval?
Christine Reilley: Okay so, Andy thank you for the question and I would say that it is desirable for manufacturers to make their existing designs open source. The designs have already been approved by the FDA so therefore it really makes for an expeditious manufacture of improved designs. For example Medtronic has already made one of its ventilator designs freely available for other manufacturers and that’s underway actually, the ramping up of that production. So that is a viable and desirable option.
Thom Canalichio: And what if any misinformation or myths are you seeing, anything that people could understand from an engineers perspective and shed some light on those?
Christine Reilley: We have been hearing a lot from very well-intentioned, very well-meaning engineers who want to contribute and help during the Covid19 crisis and those engineers may not even be in the medical engineering space, but what we do encourage them to do… we want to sort of harness that enthusiasm… is to submit their designs through the avenues, through the resources that we’ve made available so that those designs can be reviewed by the FDA and that those resulting products, whether they’re medical devices BPE, ventilators or so forth, can be used safely to the benefit of both patients and physicians.
Thom Canalichio: Thank you. If anyone else has any questions here for Kristen or any of the other panelists please do chat them to us. I want to go ahead and ask Professor Baron some more questions about your sleep and health research. First of all, any predictions about people’s behavior over the course of this crisis? You’re cleaning looking at the data and we’ll have more solid information. From what you’ve seen so far and your informed guess, the early on stages people adjusting a little bit, the other stressors adding into it… What are we seeing in terms of people’s activities and health generally? Nutrition? Health wise? Sleep wise? Fitness?
Kelly Baron: Well at this point we’re really just beginning to collect data, but we really predict that it’s going to be a rapidly changing situation. That how people are doing now may be different than how they’re doing a month from now and it all just depends on how the job situation is changing, work, school, so you know our situation is really rapidly changing at this point. We have seen an increase in insomnia so people are having trouble getting asleep, staying asleep, waking up too early. And this is most likely being caused by increase in stress and worry about what’s going on. On the other hand there are individuals who are having the opportunity to work from home opens up a wide range of opportunity for them to increase their exercise and be able to sleep at their times that is better for their bodies. For example people who have had long commutes may be able to not have to go to bed at 9:00 PM, they can stay up until the normal average time of 10:00 or 11:00. Or even super night owls who are always having to force their way to an early schedule just to go to work and keep their job, they may be able to live at their natural time. This is particularly true for high school students, for example. There’s been movements across the nation trying to delay school start times because adolescents normally sleep later and wake later. So starting up school at 7:30 in the morning is illogically at odds with adolescence physiology. Now with school starting later or being more on their own, teenagers can wake up at 8:00, 9:00, 10:00 AM and do their school work later in the evening when they feel more alert instead of being total zombies at 7:00 in the morning.
Thom Canalichio: Now I’d like to build on that a little and ask you first of all, the premise being, modern life has a lot of challenges to a good relationship with sleep hygiene and this major disruption, people working from home, and like you said about students and the ability to maybe work a different schedule for their school work and get better sleep. Do you see that this experience may be an opportunity for some transformation about our relationship with these self-care issues? And coming out of the crisis we may collectively have a better set of habits?
Kelly Baron: We don’t know yet for sure which way people are going to go, but based on my clinical observations that I see with patients who come into our practice is that some people are able to succeed in this situation of having less structure, and other people it’s been terrible for. They don’t know when to go to bed and when to get up. They don’t know when to eat their meals. Losing that structure has a bigger impact on some other people than others, and we don’t really know why. We do know that for night owls being able to live on your natural rhythm may be better because you can sleep longer, but on the other hand, especially for people who live alone and don’t have these other time givers from their family on when to have your meals and, “Hey honey lets go to bed”, they lose the structure and then what happens is if you’re sleep and awake and your eating are out of sorts, people feel lethargic, they gain weight, they can eat worse foods. It has implications downstream for health and for mental health. So we’re recommending that people stay on a consistent schedule and to think about it. It doesn’t necessarily have to be the schedule that you were on when you were going to high school or when you were going to your job, but we’re designed biologically to have a regular rhythm that’s linked into the light and dark cycle and that sort of thing and by watching Netflix until 3:00 in the morning, you’re going to disrupt that cycle.
Thom Canalichio: Okay, words of caution. Don’t watch Netflix until 3:00 in the morning unless you’re a night owl, is that okay?
Kelly Baron: Unless you can sleep in until 10:00 am.
Thom Canalichio: There you go. Okay, thank you very much Kelly. We have a question from the chat. I want to turn again to Professor Richardson…from Debra Whitt and Inkwell again with her question for Professor Richardson. The news networks that you mentioned, are these groups focusing solely on health information? The ones that you’re seeing some marginalized communities create their own networks, are they focusing on health information or are they also more broad in scope and do you consider them to be well reported?
Allissa Richardson: I do. I think that one of the things that they’re doing very well is tying in their existing message with new messages for health. For instance, they’re looking for those intersections. One of the best stories that I saw being pushed to the national stage if you will, was a story about an African American doctor in Miami who was trying to distribute masks and things to the homeless and tried to make sure that they had the proper hygiene. Well he was harassed by police outside of his house. He was trying to unload his van and he was trying to make sure that he had enough supplies. His wife actually had some come outside, show his ID, he was already handcuffed and against the car, and so a lot of the communication that I saw online was “this is the Black Lives Matter effort the Covid edition” and so a lot of these same fights that had been occurring before are now just occurring in this same climate that we’re all living in but with the added pressure of the police gaze if you will, or the over policing or certain communities. So I think that these groups that I’ve been studying are doing a great job of identifying where those intersections are and keeping the pressing message going that although front-page news isn’t the uprising of the week, it is still occurring. These kinds of injustices and slights are still occurring and so I think that pointing those things out where we can and also noticing that there are communities that are not being serviced as well, in terms of health, and that there are people out there who are doing it, serves two different purposes. So I’m finding out about a lot of medical hero’s who are out in - I’m in La - so in Skid Row where they are, I’m finding out a lot of leaders who are in the corners of America where we don’t really look who are helping people who aren’t thought about at this time. And I think those kinds of news networks are really important for those reasons because journalists can tap into those and find those subject matter experts and do those kinds of stories from home as it becomes incredibly difficult to go out.
Thom Canalichio: Thank you Professor. We have another question from Daniel Sharp and I think this is one to potentially ask all of the panelist’s so we’ll start with you Allissa. What would you see as an ideal process going forward? Everyone working together doing what they have to do. And how long it might theoretically take to return to normal? You may not have thoughts about that in terms of public health, but in communication about the crisis in the media and how these communities that you’re focusing on together.
Allissa Richardson: Sure, I think one of the things that I’m most encouraged by is the fact that we’re covering uprisings differently. We learned a lot in the communications world and in the journalisms world about how we covered Ferguson or how we covered uprisings in Baltimore. We sensationalized them in a lot of ways and didn’t cover the more peaceful interactions that occurred or that started many of the escalations that we saw. But now we’re starting to deemphasize the sensation and really drive down into okay, “How many people were actually there?” And then we’re coming away with this communal knowledge of these protests from the right wing aren’t large, and that’s a huge shift. Before I believe we would have gone for a bigger lead or a bigger more brassy, yellow journalism if you will, an extra extra screaming headline. But I think now we’ve learned that it’s okay to have small gatherings and pick those apart and say, “What does that mean for us as a country?” And so I think that shift from having to have a fire and brimstone angle rather than a very small and nuanced look at a riot or an uprising is a really big change. I’m also hopeful because I see a lot of language about race entering how we talk about coverage of protests. Before we would be very nervous to talk about whiteness versus blackness on display, or indigenous or brown people on display at a protest, but now it seems we’re more comfortable since those uprisings to talk about race and how we cover that as a journalism community and what it can mean for how we validate or invalidate groups requests.
Thom Canalichio: Same question to Professor Baron. What would you see as an ideal situation from the perspective of what you’re studying, but more broadly if you’d like, for people to work together, what’s needed, and to get the country back on track to come out of this? What are your thoughts about what would be needed there?
Kelly Baron: One of the things I’m most excited about is that I’m still working full-time, I’m seeing patients, and I’m doing this through telehealth. And in states that border Utah, there are a lot of rural states like Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Nevada, all of the states around us are quite rural areas and they’ve had some emergency actions that opened up licensure and so I’ve been able to maintain seeing my patients who previously they've had to drive in for two or three hours to come into their visit. But I've been able to talk to them through video chat. And so I think this has a huge opportunity for opening up the ability for me to do my job in a more effective way with people in work, rural communities, with people who have disabilities. So I'm very very excited about that. You know when it comes to people's sleep patterns. I do hope that people are more aware, those people who work from home, of their internal rhythms and perhaps theres gonna be more flexibility and understanding in the workplace. You know the joke is always about professors. How we come in late and go to bed late, and work until three in the morning but, you know, we, as professors, we know that creativity is on a circadian rhythm, and that there are certain times of day you’re gonna be more productive but you know, I want our culture to change, and that we respect that we need night workers. We need early morning workers, that people should have some ability to choose their shift or to have the productive hours when they feel the most productive in line with their circadian rhythm, when it's possible. And so that's another possible outcome coming out of this.
Thomas Canilichio: Wonderful. And Christine Reilley at ASME. What are your thoughts about ideal cooperation amongst these different groups and communities, and getting the country back on track with the ability to overcome this crisis? What would you see as an ideal situation?
Christine Reilley: So ASME’s been taking a good look at this, and there are many ways that we see ourselves and engineers, really helping in the long term. So, there are a few different fronts here. Number one, it's the 3D printing community that we continue to convene, working with physicians in the long term. We're looking to have guidance in place for 3D printing at point of care, at hospitals. We're also continuing our modeling and simulation efforts, again in the long term to help expedite development and approval of not only medical devices but also pharmaceuticals. And finally, we're taking a look at the supply chain, improving the supply chain, perhaps in the future using data analytics and artificial intelligence to manage that more closely, and also looking at perhaps instituting redundancies in the supply chain so that if something goes down in one location, we don't have to worry about the supply chain going down. So those are three areas where we would like to see improvements.
Thomas Canilichio: And Mauro, to you, same question from Daniel Sharp here about the ideal process. Economically speaking, business and international trade. What does that look like to you? What would be ideal?
Mauro Guillen: Well, I think, let me focus my comments on work, and the nature of work after this pandemic. And how, you know, both companies and employees are rethinking the way in which they work. So we can use this opportunity to perhaps come up with better ways of, you know, managing or haggling our daily routines, and at the same time working. And I say this with a little bit of concern for something that Professor Richardson was mentioning earlier, which is how inequality is affecting this, and especially inequality by race. So let's not forget that, you know, African Americans and Hispanics at the Nexus in the United States, fewer of them can actually work from home. Because they happen to, you know, be in occupations where they have to be on the job. They have to go to their workplace. So I say this with a, with that caveat. But I think out of this big experiment, maybe we can come up with an economy that is more gentle towards workers. Where people can find better arrangements in which to be productive, while at the same time, be able to also enjoy other facets of life.
Thomas Canilichio: Yeah, I think there's a, we're in store for a real realignment of how we value those essential workers that do more manual jobs that you cannot do from home. And they're the ones that are still going to work every day to do all these things. And I think there's a lot of good discussion going on about how we value that form of work, and maybe need to reassess that. Thank you. We have another question from the chat that I think is a good one for Christine. This is from Rupinder Tara from, I believe, who writes for engineering dot com. I'll summarize it a little bit. You can see it in the chat if you're interested. Essentially, the question is kind of about, are there too many cooks in the kitchen? And how to coordinate, you know, all these differing groups that wanna chip in and be a part of this - What do you think about that? How can that be managed effectively?
Christine Reilley: So that's exactly why SME is working with its collaborators at America Makes, which as I mentioned earlier in the call, we're joining forces with FDA, National Institutes of Health, and the Veterans Health Administration. Because American Makes is creating a repository where all these engineers who really wanna help. There is one central location to have all these designs submitted. And then ASME working with its collaborators, can vet these designs so that there is sort of an orderly review of what's being submitted. So we do see the value in coalitions and collaborations happening.
Thomas Canilichio: Great. That’s good to know. Professor Baron we have a question from the chat that I think is best directed to you, about sleeping and feeding disorders in pedia- pediatrics. And so, Andy Pie here asking about this as is it possible that children of today may have some real long term effects to this pandemic in lockdown, either in terms of sleep health or other kinds of issues? Are we looking at a kind of collective mild PTSD out of this that would affect some groups more than others? And what do you think of that, how do you think that would look, in children especially?
Kelly Baron: We certainly know that the pandemic is creating symptoms of trauma for some individuals. You know, for example, children of first line, frontline workers may be experiencing some stress and trauma, disrupted routines, and that sort of thing. So I think it is really important to consider both acute and long term effects. Now, children are by far very resilient. And we hope that this is temporary. And that the parents, the recommendation really is to do the best they can to keep a routine, to, you know, emphasize safety, and right here and now. And also help children with physical activity, maintaining good diet. We know certainly schools across the country are offering their food programs, even when the school, the classes themselves are not being offered. But you know in terms of sleep, our recommendation is that the parents keep their kids on a regular schedule. It doesn't have to be exactly the same schedule as they are during school. But staying on a consistent schedule is really key to keeping everything else in line in their daily rhythm, and can be very important for helping them with their mental health.
Thomas Canilichio: Professor Richardson, for you, a question about how we kind of come out of this crisis, and in particular, faith in certain public institutions. And how the public in general, views the media, scientists, academics, things like that. Are we potentially looking at kind of continuing this theme of, the sort of transformational things that this whole pandemic may result in? Are we seeing trust in media and science, on the rise potentially?
Allisa Richardson: We are. My team and I are looking at the fact that before this pandemic, less than 40% of Americans trusted the American media. And as someone who teaches journalism, that is very disturbing. Because I didn't know what to tell my students. But now we're seeing a resurgence in trust. People are turning to us in doses, because they are anxious, and don't want 24-hour gloom and doom. But they do want quality, high quality information. And I think that is hopeful for the journalism industry as a whole. One of the other things I am really excited about is the fact that there are opportunities for the public to partner with journalists in ways that we perhaps haven't seen before, specifically at Annenberg. What we've started this week is a partnership with the LA Times. And our students are going to be working with the Times as well as the public, to do the superhuman effort of documenting every single person who has passed away from COVID-19. There are an incredible amount of obituaries to be written here in LA. There's more than 1000 as you all know. In New York, there are more than 14,000 to be written. And this is not something that was even seen in 9-11. There were not this many that needed to be documented. And so we'll be working with our students as well as others to make sure that everyone is respectfully honored in that way. And I think that journalism has an incredible opportunity now to do more of that, to reach out more and speak with those who are actually in the community, and in the trenches, to help do some of this work. We don't have to take it all on ourselves.
Thomas Canilichio: Thank you. Another question for Professor Guillen. How are different governments around the world shaping up and comparing the best ways to respond to this. And in particular, I think people wanna know whether or not democratic nations are doing better or worse. There was a lot of talk early on in the US of, “Oh. Americans have just a little bit too much freedom to really tolerate these kinds of lockdowns.” But we've seen that be extremely effective in some places, and maybe not in all. But what are your thoughts about different kinds of governments around the world and how they're approaching this? And who's being successful and who's not?
Mauro Guillen: Yes. So historically, we know that when dealing with epidemics, localized outworks of disease or pandemics, democracies tend to have an advantage. They're more transparent. And they can muster resources to the cause much faster. And that is adjusting for the degree of development. So at every level of development, democracies historically happen to do better. In this pandemic where we're seeing in my own analysis is that dictatorships tend to have a better chance of making the compa- population comply with stay at home measures, and so on and so forth. But of course they get hurt by the lack of transparency. And we've seen this in several cases already. So, around the world. So I think that's really important to keep in mind but the other factor that is really important is income inequality. So countries in the world that have higher levels of income inequality are having more trouble coping with this pandemic, for the obvious reason which is that they have more disadvantaged populations, but also because those people at the bottom of the social and economic scale, they need to continue working. They don't have savings. They don't have, you know, perhaps the luxury that we do have working from home, and so on and so forth. So that's one aspect of the question. Just in 10 more seconds. What we also see is very different kinds of strategies to cope with the situation. At one extreme, we have Sweden. They haven't shut down the country. People are still going to restaurants and bars. And we still don't know. It's too early to tell whether that strategy of perhaps reaching community immunity will be successful or not. And then we have the case of South Korea, which I think is the best example of a successful approach to all of this. Very few cases, very few deaths. And notice on the map where South Korea is located. Very close to China. Very integrated with China in so many different ways economically. And that they manage to even stage an election a week ago. Here in the United States, we've had to postpone. You know more than a dozen primary contests. So I think there's a great diversity of experiences out there. And we should certainly try to learn from each of them in terms of their advantages and their disadvantages, when it comes to coping with this pandemic.
Thomas Canilichio: Thank you. To Professor Baron. As you get this study underway and you're tracking people's sleep and other health behaviors, will you have some information available on that soon? What's your plan for publishing? And how can any of our media attendees here today, get additional information from you about that study as it progresses?
Kelly Baron: Well, we're going to be studying that change sleep, and diet, and exercise over the next six months. And so this data will be coming out and emerging over the next six to nine months, in terms of scoring it and analyzing it. And so, you know we will be going through the traditional peer review measures. You know in scientific journal articles and conferences, you know, you tend to do the analyses and then have them refereed before you release, but we will certainly be releasing press releases as well as publishing on the website, once those results are ready. And we're really hoping that what we learn from this, it will not be immediately leading to changes in this pandemic, but we know that what we learned from this experience will lead to better prevention behaviors, helping people improve their psychological response, and stay healthier. In the aftermath of this pandemic, as well as if we have to experience something like this in the future. And we certainly know this isn't going to be over, super fast. And so we're gonna have to support people for the long haul, in terms of maintaining health and psychological wellness.
Thomas Canilichio: As you have that report and recommendations, and then the study, if there's any media that want to get in touch and get that, I'm sharing in the chat, the contact information for the Communications at Professor Baron's university. Julie Kieffer, if you're interested in that, please contact Julie. And I'm sure they can follow up with you with more information. Thank you Professor. I wanna ask, oh also to Professor Richardson, who's made some very interesting comments in the chat. if you haven't taken a look at that, please take note there. I want to invite you professor Richardson to tell us about your forthcoming book that's informed so much of, you know, what you've shared with us about this pandemic, and obviously was written before this, and focuses on some other areas, but I think we'd all be interested to know more about it.
Allisa Richardson: Yeah. It’s entitled, Bearing Witness While Black. African Americans, Smartphones and the New Protest #Journalism. And it really looks at three overlapping eras in our American history. In terms of African American oppression and what some may call domestic terrorism. And it looks at slavery, lynching, and police brutality as overlapping forms of oppression. And as those morphed, the reaction to them in terms of African American journalism being used as a tool for activism had to morph too. So the book really documents everything from slave narratives to abolitionists newspapers, to the black press appearing or staging sit-ins, so they will be seen on television, to now smartphones being the tool of choice to document oppression. And so from that timeline that I've created, I then talked to 15 exemplars from the field right now who are leaders in this effort, and who are using mobile and social media in really incredible ways. And so they range from TED speakers to people who are on the front lines at Ferguson, to people who were on the former President Obama's 21st Century Policing commission. It really runs the gamut, even to the woman that you all may remember who had the iconic faceoff with the Baton Rouge Police Department when she was protesting. And so I really tried to capture as many voices who were on the frontlines as possible. I have the attorney for Walter Scott's family, Alton Sterling's family, those kinds of things. And so it really is a time capsule, if you will, from 2013 to 2018, and it's a five year document that will continue to be added upon. There's all kinds of legal ramifications that occurred after the book was printed. Lots of progress. Lots of setbacks. And now COVID-19 is an additional layer that will be coming soon, more probably very quickly, because everything is just changing so fast.
Thomas Canilichio: Absolutely. Thank you very much. We're just about at the hour mark. I wanna give Professor Guillen the last word in particularly on, in particular, on the subject of things like food supply and other kind of supply chain concerns. As these stay at home orders and the so called lockdown continues, people may be more and more concerned about the availability of important products. What can you tell us Professor Guillen about the stability of the supply chain when it comes to things like food or other aspects of the economy that people might wanna understand more about how things can continue to move around, and in markets even under these conditions?
Mauro Guillen: So as far as I can tell, based on the data that we have available to us right now, there's yet no problem with the production of food itself. In fact on TV, many of us have seen footage showing farmers destroying milk or destroying other kinds of produce. And the reason is that we have bottlenecks in the supply chain. We have bottlenecks in logistics. And in particular we have a very, you know, difficult problem to solve overnight, which is that, prior to this crisis about half of the food in United States was consumed at home. And the other half was consumed at restaurants, or perhaps at work, you know, people would go to the cafeteria, and so on and so forth to get a sandwich. But now we've gone from 50 50 to 95 5%. And therefore, there are rigidities along the supply chain. So a lot of farmers, you know, package the food for restaurants or for cafeterias, but not for personal consumption, not for supermarkets. So, we need another few weeks for those adjustments to be made at the point of distribution, initial point of distribution, and then at the other retail. And but I don't think we should be fearful about a broken supply chain when it comes to foodstuffs. It's just that we've moved very very quickly almost overnight. From, only you know having one meal, perhaps, a meal and a half on average at home, to pretty much many of us having all of our meals at home. And, you know, the supply chain adjusts only slowly to such a dramatic, such a drastic change.
Thomas Canilichio: Well thank you for the reassurance about food supplies. I'm curious, what can you tell us about any areas that have particular vulnerabilities or weaknesses? We all probably saw the headlines in recent days about oil. I guess future's going negative. Pretty, pretty unprecedented. Is that a potentially bad sign for something else? Or are there other areas where there are weaknesses or vulnerabilities like that?
Mauro Guillen: Well you might think that a negative price for oil, as happened earlier this week, or a, you know, continuing, you know decline in the price of energy might be a good thing for the economy. But the problem of course is that we also have jobs in those industries. Here in my state of Pennsylvania, we're very reliant in some communities on the energy sector. So this is a, you know, adding to the economic problems, adding to the unemployment, and adding to the uncertainty. It's better to have more stable prices for in particular for end products. As you know, part of the reason to why the prices they're negative was a technicality about the lack of a storage facilities for all of the oil that is being produced in the world. And also the fact that you pay for oil today but you take delivery several weeks or months later. So the markets will adjust. But again, I feel for the people who are losing their jobs because of all of these ups and downs, because of the decline in the demand for energy. It would be much better not to have such low gas prices, right now. It would be much better to you know be in a situation in which all of those people who have lost their jobs in the energy sector would be continuing to be able to work and to earn their money.
Thomas Canilichio: Thank you, professor. With that, I think we'll prepare to conclude today. I wanna remind all the media that you are going to get an update from us when we have the video and the transcript of today's event available, along with contact information for the PIOs, the communicators at each of our panelist’s institutions. If you are not on the list and haven't registered, and somehow came to this meeting through another way, please send us an email and let us know if you'd like to receive those materials. Info at newswise dot com is an easy way to get in touch with us. And we'll make sure to put you on the list to get that information once we have it available. My colleague Jessica Johnson here, she's the CEO here of newswise, and has been observing today's session. I wanna turn it over to Jessica for any thoughts as we get ready to close up.
Jessica Johnson: Hi everyone. Thank you so much for joining experts. We covered business, and engineering, and health, and communications. it's all the areas that COVID is impacting us. It’s kind of unbelievable but I really appreciate everyone's feedback, and hearing and learning so much about your areas of specialty. So, thank you for joining us today.
Thomas Canilichio: Thank you, Jessica. With that, we'll go ahead and close. For Professor Guillen, Christine Riley at ASME, Professor Baron, and Professor Richardson, thank you all very much for your wonderful comments and participating today. Thank you everyone. Stay safe. Stay healthy and good luck.