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Coverage of Mullan Institute COVID-19 Initiatives
GWMI's COVID-19 Contact Tracing Workforce Estimator is cited in Steven Findlay of Kaiser Health News recent piece.
Staffing is the most significant challenge. Researchers at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., evaluated contact tracing needs and how states and counties performed. Their bottom line, based on the most recent surge in cases: The nation would need 928,000 contact tracers to keep up with the current number of cases — or 281 per 100,000 people. Read the full article.
Yahoo Finance’s Julie Hyman, Brian Sozzi, and Myles Udland discuss COVID-19 and hospital staffing outlook with Dr. Patricia Pittman, director of the Fitzhugh Mullan Institute of Health Workforce Equity and George Washington University Professor of Health Policy at the Milken Institute School of Public Health. Watch the full interview here.
Twenty-nine states told NPR they have hired more contact tracers to meet rising demand, and 20 said they would hire more soon. But none of the states that responded with updated contact tracing staff numbers currently has enough staff to keep up with case numbers.
The analysis, based on state case counts over the past 14 days, was done using an estimating tool developed by the Fitzhugh Mullan Institute for Health Workforce Equity at the George Washington University. As in June, August and October, NPR assumed workers are calling 10 contacts per case and that tracers reach 45% of contacts and follow up with them every other day — a conservative estimate, to reflect the real-world challenges health workers face. Read full article.
Ed Salsberg was recently featured in this Nature article by Dyani Lewis where he discusses how a national or regional health workers could service different communities and bolster contact tracing efforts as COVID-19 hotspots occur.
When Ebola ripped through communities in West Africa between 2014 and 2016, Tolbert Nyenswah saw at first hand how health workers extinguished the epidemic by finding and quarantining contacts of those who caught the disease. The former director of Liberia’s public-health institute thought contact-tracers would again rise to the challenge this year, keeping COVID-19 in check as it swept the globe. “Contact-tracing is one of the greatest tools that countries should deploy and use effectively to contain the outbreak,” he says.
But nine months after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic, few countries are wielding contact-tracing effectively. “By now, what I was expecting is that 100% of people coming in contact with COVID-19 would have been traced,” says Nyenswah, now an infectious-diseases researcher at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland.
Read the full article here.