Wake Forest Baptist Physicians Explain the Unpredictability of COVID-19 Pandemic

July 16, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic is one of the defining moments in history for this generation’s health care leaders.

In an article written by a group of Wake Forest Baptist physicians and leaders, led by Chi-Cheng Huang, M.D., executive medical director of general medicine and hospital medicine, and recently published in The Hospitalist – the news magazine of the Society of Hospital Medicine – the authors explained that in 2019 most experts wrongly assumed that this virus would be similar to past viral epidemics and pandemics.

At that time, many did not expect that SARS-CoV-2 would reach the shores of the United States and it was difficult to imagine its effects would be so devastating from an economic and medical perspective.

Around the beginning of 2020, Wake Forest Baptist Health, along with health systems across the country, began preparing for the wave, surge or tsunami of inpatients that was coming. Based on predictive models developed by epidemiologists and biostatisticians, health care leaders spent countless hours planning and mobilized resources for the anticipated needs related to inpatient bed capacity, ventilators, supplies and staffing.

Thankfully, “a surge did not hit our institutional shores at Wake Forest Baptist Health,” Huang and his colleagues said. “We are grateful that there were fewer deaths than expected. The dust is settling now and the question, spoken or unspoken is: ‘How could we be so wrong with our predictions?’”

But, while we may have seen the first wave, “we expect a second wave sooner rather than later,” they cautioned. However, “there is still time for social distancing, contact tracing, testing, isolation and treatment. There is still time for us, for our loved ones, for our hospital systems and for our public health system.”

Read the entire article in The Hospitalist.

Media Contacts

Joe McCloskey, jmcclosk@wakehealth.edu336-716-1273

Marguerite Beck, marbeck@wakehealth.edu336-716-6841