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Harvard president, wife test positive for coronavirus after developing symptoms

Harvard President Larry Bacow announced today:

Earlier today, Adele and I learned that we tested positive for COVID-19. We started experiencing symptoms on Sunday - first coughs then fevers, chills, and muscle aches - and contacted our doctors on Monday. We were tested yesterday and just received the results a few minutes ago. We wanted to share this news with all of you as soon as possible.

Neither of us knows how we contracted the virus, but the good news - if there is any to be had - is that far fewer people crossed our paths recently than is usually the case. We began working from home and completely limiting our contact with others on March 14 in keeping with recommendations to adopt social distancing measures. In line with standard protocols, the Department of Public Health will be in touch with anyone with whom we have had close contact over the past fourteen days.

We will be taking the time we need to rest and recuperate during a two-week isolation at home. I am blessed with a great team, and many of my colleagues will be taking on more responsibility over the next few weeks as Adele and I focus on just getting healthy.

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Comments

How special.

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While I am glad for them that they got tested and wish them a speedy recovery, there seems to be testing for the upper crust with no delays...whereas the rest of need to wait.

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Same as the NBA players - there's ton of tests available globally, it's just our standard healthcare structure which can't provide them. So if someone pays to get a test through a private vendor, personal physician, that's not actually taking away some more deserving person's test I think? Still fucked up though...

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Why is this considered news

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What would you prefer? It's appalling that everyone isn't getting tested, but how exactly would it improve things if he and his wife didn't get it either?

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And every day we hear new stories of the rich and privileged getting tests, while others can not. Pence even managed to say , in the same press conference, that people without symptoms should not get tested, followed up a few minutes later that he had no symptoms but he got tested.

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He said he and his wife basically holed up starting March 14, but only got tested after they developed symptoms.

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Test all the people on the front lines first: doctors, nurses, hospital staff, EMTs, police, firefighters, grocery store employees and anyone else whose business is actually open and was deemed essential.

The President of Harvard and his wife aren’t even remotely on the front lines, but they’re rich so they get to get away with this and the rest of us just have to take it.

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Voting closed 32

They are now testing hundreds of people a day in Massachusetts. It's not just the rich and famous. The Harvard president would be in the high risk group due to his age so would be eligible for testing if showing the symptoms.

Do you think they shouldn't be tested just because they are wealthy?

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i mean, you have eyes and ears right? you can plainly see that people with money were prioritized for testing in the early stages. isn’t that problematic?

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The fact prominent people started testing positive is when the general public started taking it seriously. Had the NBA players not been tested they wouldn't have closed the stadiums and it would have spread even faster.

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we had just trusted health professionals from the beginning of the crisis instead of waiting for prominent people to get sick?

regardless, my point is that asking “well would you prefer the rich to not not get tested” is fallacious. critics of the process would prefer that everyone who needs to get tested would be able to.

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There are people with symptoms who cannot get a test and cannot get treatment since they have no positive test. They are sent home.

Granted we can't test everybody. But since we only have a few tests, we need to test frontline healthcare providers first.

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Where are you getting this information from? How do you know how many tests are available, and who is getting turned away? From where?

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the news?

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...people that it's happened to.

What's YOUR source?

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I'm glad he got tested.

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There are a lot more labs processing tests now. I had a patient get tested, results within 24 hours.

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I know first-hand that people who are not Larry Bacow but have the same symptoms can't get tested at Harvard-affiliated hospitals.

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I work at the BI and the folks here have done an extraordinary job of getting testing for the virus validated and running here at the main hospital. I believe the hope is to be doing about 1000 tests/day with about a 24 hour turn around time. We will be testing all the specimens collected and BI/Leahy facilities. Maybe their provider is one of ours. It was an amazing effort by people from all departments, I am very proud and inspired.

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Appalled or taken aback abot the fact they have been staying home all this time and still developed symptoms? What chance do those of us out here working still have?

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The article states that they began staying home and practicing social distancing on 3/14, that was 10 days prior to testing positive, the incubation period for the virus can be up to 14 days. They could have contracted it in the 4 days prior to staying home and only began showing symptoms 9 to 10 days later while they were home.

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This guy did nothing wrong. In fact it sounds like he did everything right. The fact that everyone who needs a test can't necessarily get one is a problem with the system. People hating on this guy for being able to get a test is out of line.

[No Harvard connection.]

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Voting closed 44

He knows the general population needs these tests and can't get them. He knows the multitude of Harvard-affiliated hospitals can't make tests on their own because they lack critical supplies for making them.

Yet he refrains from advocating for the vast majority of people who desperately need these tests but can't get them.

Yes, we can blame the guy. We can, and we must.

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Voting closed 5

I did work for Mr. and Mrs. Bacow on several occasions. They always treated me (and everyone else) with kindness and respect. They are gracious and humble. They're not the type to ask - or expect - special treatment. Get off your high horses.

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Voting closed 33

a bad guy. I certainly have no idea about him. But what we are saying is that there is a clear favoritism for testing that favors the privileged. Correct me if this is not an example of privilege. Perhaps there is a better word I could have chosen.

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... hate him now just because you said that.
And because I can.

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Extra stress is good for the soul.

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I haven’t got a soul.

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in most cases where we are not talking about egregious abuses but just privilege, it is appropriate to blame the system--not the individual.

except from this grace of course would be people like, Madoff, Trump,etc---they need to be blamed, and tried in court.

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Those with power and privilege.

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There is no conspiracy -- nor is there some special preference for the rich and or famous

What there is -- A set of Guidelines from the CDC about who is to be tested and why:

Criteria to Guide Evaluation and Laboratory Testing for COVID-19
Priorities for testing may include:

Hospitalized patients who have signs and symptoms compatible with COVID-19 in order to inform decisions related to infection control.

Other symptomatic individuals such as, older adults and individuals with chronic medical conditions and/or an immunocompromised state that may put them at higher risk for poor outcomes (e.g., diabetes, heart disease, receiving immunosuppressive medications, chronic lung disease, chronic kidney disease).

Any persons including healthcare personnel, who within 14 days of symptom onset had close contact with a suspect or laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 patient, or who have a history of travel from affected geographic areas ... within 14 days of their symptom onset.

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/clinical-criteria.html

Massachusetts has done almost 10,000 tests so far -- almost all based on the above criteria and nearly all which came up NEGATIVE

So the average person with symptoms consistent with the COVID-19 -- DOES NOT HAVE IT -- as 90% of the Tests are NEGATIVE for the SARS-COV-2 virus

Now this so far -- is the test of stuff in your nose and sinuses -- there is as yet no approved good and reliable test for the antibodies to the SARS-COV-2 virus in your blood -- the standard way of testing for the Flu and other viruses.

The serological test which is much faster, perhaps more sensitive, selective and also is essentially proof that you have been infected.
As opposed to the currently approved test of your nasal-pharyngeal secretions which is looking for the virus itself [or some components] and sometimes it even comes up negative despite you having the symptoms -- even a day or so after you have symptoms

For reference here's today's Massachusetts summary:

MASSACHUSETTS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH
These data will be updated daily by 4pm.
Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Cases in MA
As of March 23, 2020

Confirmed Cases Reported = 777
Total Patients Tested 8922
Total positive tests 777

These data are cumulative and current as of 12:30PM.
These data will be updated daily by 4pm.

Exposure
Biogen conference attendees and household contacts 99
Local transmission 104
Travel related 75
Under investigation 499
Deaths Attributed to COVID-19 9
Total Patients Tested 8922
Total positive tests 777

Hospitalization
Patient was hospitalized 79
Patient was not hospitalized 286
Under Investigation 412

Deaths Attributed to COVID-19 9

https://www.mass.gov/doc/covid-19-cases-in-massachusetts-as-of-march-23-...

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but your posts always lack context.

those policies were in place, but all states were sent the same amount of tests without regard for population. im sure i don’t need to explain the challenge there.

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For those interested
courtesy of the Boston Herald here's a late PM update on MA Tests and Results
with comparison to the previous day courtesy of the official MA site

Note all information unless otherwise indicated is cumulative from the day testing began

Official 03/23/20 Summary [as of 4 PM]
https://www.mass.gov/doc/covid-19-cases-in-massachusetts-as-of-march-23-...

03/23/20:
Total Patients Tested 8922
Total positive tests 777 8.7%
Patient was hospitalized 79 10% of positive tests
Patient was not hospitalized 286
Under Investigation 412
Deaths Attributed to COVID-19 9 1.15% of people with positive tests or 11% of those hospitalized

Boston Herald info Summary [as of March 24, 2020 at 7:22 p.m.]
https://www.bostonherald.com/2020/03/24/two-more-coronavirus-deaths-in-m...

03/24/20:
Total Patients Tested 13,749
Total positive tests 1,159 8.4%
Patient was hospitalized 94 8.1% of positive tests
Patient was not hospitalized 313
Under Investigation 752
Deaths Attributed to COVID-19 11 0.94% of people with positive tests or 11.7% of those hospitalized

DELTA [24th - 23rd data]
Total Patients Tested 4,827
Total positive tests 382
Patient was hospitalized 15
Patient was not hospitalized 27
Under Investigation 340
Deaths Attributed to COVID-19 2

Bottom Line -- MA is not NY and Boston is not NYC when it comes to COVID-19

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Take a step back for a minute.

The *real* problem is the shortage of tests. If there was an abundant supply of tests, this argument about who gets tested wouldn't exist. And why is there a shortage of tests? Because the current administration handled this very poorly, from decimating the very agencies whose job it is to look for possible pandemics, to denying it's very existence and even calling it a hoax. Valuable time has been wasted and we're now in a much worse place than we should be.

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