COVID-19 Alumni Stories: Abraar Karan

Abraar Karan (Diploma in Tropical Medicine & Hygiene, 2019) works as an Internal Medicine and Global Health Physician within Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. Here, he discusses how life has changed since the COVID-19 pandemic and what his thoughts for the future are.

At the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, I worked as a medical fellow to the Massachusetts State Commissioner of Public Health. In this role, I was able to assist with a number of initiatives, including crisis standards of care, ventilator allocation, and remdesivir allocation, as well as writing health policy. I have continued working clinically seeing patients, a number of them with COVID-19.

“Currently, my days are mainly spent in the hospital seeing patients and reading COVID-19 literature, as well as helping to author a few different op-eds. Hopefully, I’ll soon be back to work at the public health department!

“The response in the US has been fragmented; unfortunately, many states have been left to respond without the level of national leadership I would have hoped for. Clinically, we were overwhelmed earlier in April and May during the peak in our city and state. But, things have certainly slowed down since then. I am concerned that we will see the same again this winter.

“The Diploma in Tropical Medicine & Hygiene at LSHTM covered outbreak response, with a focus on Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which at the time was the major global outbreak people were focused on. From this, I learned important skills in epidemiology, biostatistics, and ecology which has helped me during this pandemic.

I am optimistic that we will eventually drive COVID-19 transmission down and keep it there through a multitude of strategies — but we have a long way to go.”

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