COVID-19: Lawmaker Talks COVID-19 with Emory University Associate Professor of Surgery; Video

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Video by Patty Stocker

State Rep. James Arciero speaks with his older brother, Dr. Cletus Arciero, Associate Professor of Surgery at Emory University School of Medicine’s Winship Cancer Institute in Atlanta. Cletus Arciero gives an insightful account of how hospitals are handling surgeries that are neither elective nor COVID-19 related; how health care systems began preparing for the pandemic months ago; what his perspective is on mass testing, and how contact tracing can help track and slow the spread of the novel virus.

“You have somebody who tests positive and then it quickly becomes, who was that person in contact with,” said Cletus Arciero, explaining how contract tracing is used. “So test those people and their family. If they are going to work and in an essential position, test the people that they’re in close proximity to and then that gives you a circle of influence, so to speak, for the virus. You test all those folks and if all those people test negative, then you know we stopped it.”

James Arciero and the surgeon discuss the idea of mass testing. “If you actually test positive, that’s great from an information standpoint,” said Cletus Arciero. “(If) I have COVID. I probably won’t get it again. I know I need to definitely quarantine myself or go to the hospital if I’m really sick. I need to prevent my virus from spreading to other people. If you have a negative test result, that doesn’t mean that you’re safe and good to go. Most of the test results are very accurate so if it’s negative, in all likelihood, you do not have Coronavirus but it doesn’t mean you can’t get Coronavirus in a week.”

The lawmaker said he believes a lot can be learned from this pandemic in the future. “When we do get out of this, and I’m optimistic we will come back to normal, ” said James Arciero, “When we get to the other side of the mountain eventually, I feel that the debate on issues, on policy, is going to be around response times to pandemics. It’s going to be federal; it’s going to be state, local, and federal government and how they interact with the medical community, with community hospitals, with access to manufacturing. If anything, this is going to start a United States of America manufacturing campaign.”

Arciero encouraged anyone with concerns or questions regarding COVID-19 to contact him by calling 617-722-2012 or by emailing [email protected]

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