Months Into Pandemic, Physician Reflects on Developing Coronavirus Knowledge

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Photo courtesy of Monica Bhargava.

In March, Dr. Monica Bhargava, a pulmonary critical care physician at the county hospital in Oakland, predicted on “Civic” that the novel coronavirus would deeply affect the region’s health care system for many months to come. That, and some of her other observations, turned out to be correct. In recent months, scientists and doctors have learned much more about how the virus spreads and what makes patients vulnerable to serious complications. Bhargava returned to “Civic” to follow up on her earlier observations and discuss how the conversations doctors, patients and whole communities are having about managing the coronavirus pandemic have changed.

“A lot of my patients live five or six patients to a one-bedroom. Also they are unable to not work because they are worried about putting food on the table. A lot of them are essential workers. They work in groceries and restaurants, et cetera. So they’ve been exposed and then they bring it home to a crowded environment, and then other people get infected, so we’ve been seeing a lot of family clusters of infections, which is striking.”

— Dr. Monica Bhargava

A segment from our radio show, “Civic.” Listen daily at 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. on 102.5 FM in San Francisco.