The big concern is that the virus may be more patient than we are. By December, we are going to go through this again

‘By December, we are going to go through this again’

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As the United States faces down the dual crises of the Covid-19 pandemic and a widespread shortage of medical supplies and equipment, Dr. Janis Orlowski is working 13-15 hours a day trying to mitigate the damage.

As the chief health care officer of the Association of American Medical Colleges, she talks with senior government officials daily. She listens to the concerns of some of the biggest hospitals in the country — the shortages of masks and ventilators and ICU beds and doctors and nurses. And she’s sober-minded about the weeks and months ahead.

“I believe that we’re going to return to a semi-normal life at the end of May — Memorial Day,” Dr. Orlowski said in an interview for a special coronavirus-focused episode of POLITICO’s Women Rule podcast. “But the other thing that I would say is that we have to prepare ourselves to go through a similar exercise in the fall, in the late fall. If you take a look at the 1918-1919 influenza pandemic, and if you take a look at how coronavirus is acting, this is not just the winter and spring of 2020. Probably late November, by December, we are going to go through this again.

On Monday, Dr. Orlowski spoke with POLITICO’s Anna Palmer. What follows are excerpts of that interview, edited for length and readability. For more, listen to the interview on the newest episode of Women Rule.


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