Monday, March 23, 2020

Pakistani-American Woman Featured in Netflix Documentary "Pandemic"

Dr. Syra Madad, Pakistani-American head of New York City’s Health and Hospitals System-wide Special Pathogens Program, is featured in a 6-part Netflix documentary series "Pandemic: How to Prevent an Outbreak". She had warned of a deadly pandemic in December, 2019, just days before China reported to the World Health Organization that it was treating dozens of patients for a novel virus of unknown origin.  We now know it as coronavirus or Covid-19. The series debuted in January 2020, but recent events have pushed it into Netflix’s “Top 10 in the U.S. Today.”

Dr. Madad says the novel coronavirus is "about 10 times more virulent than seasonal flu". “Whether it is somebody you come into contact with or touching door handles or something that’s a high touch surface,” she says. “We want to make sure we are applying everyday measures.”

Both COVID-19 coronavirus and the flu can be transmitted through water droplets in coughs or sneezes. However, tiny particles of COVID-19 may linger longer in the air even after the infected person leaves the room. It can also linger on different types of surfaces: up to one day on cardboard, and up to three days on wood and stainless steel, according to experts who have studied COVID-19.
Dr. Syra Madad

The cast of “Pandemic” includes government officials such as Dr. Dennis Carroll, director of the Emerging Threats Unit of USAID, to physicians in locations as far-flung as Oklahoma and India. It also features San Francisco researchers looking for a universal flu vaccine.

The series opens with a US government official standing in a field north of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, last fall beside a mass grave dating back to the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic that killed 50-100 million people. It then moves to a scene showing Dr. Syra Madad leading a simulation exercise of New York City's response to a future hypothetical outbreak.

Dr. Syra Madad, 34, is a devout Muslim. The Netflix series shows her praying at her home in Long Island, New York. She says, "I live and breathe being a Muslim. It shapes my daily life. I don't drink I don't eat meat that's not halal.....I do no harm and I help others".

Dr. Madad takes breaks to say her prayers at the Islamic Center of New York University. Before entering the prayer room, Madad stops to perform wudu, and washes her hands, mouth and face as well as her feet, according to a Washington Post report.

Dr. Syra Madad Speaking at NIH, Islamabad, Pakistan

The last time she visited Pakistan was in August 2018. She took time out to speak at the National Institute of Health, Islamabad, on Emergency Preparedness and Response to Public Health Emergencies, like Ebola and CCHF outbreaks.

On December 27th 2019, Dr. Syra Madad co-wrote a Washington Post op ed with Ronald A. Klain, former White House Ebola response coordinator in Obama Administration, warning lawmakers that a vital federal program to fight deadly pandemics was set to expire in May of 2020 and urged Congress to renew funding for the system that helps keep Americans safe from a sudden epidemic. “Failure to act would be penny-wise but pound-foolish,” it read. “The day will come when a dangerous pathogen will arrive in the United States once again.”  A few days later, the government in Wuhan, China, reported to the World Health Organization that it was treating dozens of patients for a novel virus of unknown origin. We now know it as coronavirus or Covid-19. It has caused a deadly pandemic that is raging around the world with devastating consequences.

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Pakistan's Sadia Zahidi Leads WEF Gender Parity Program

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Riaz Haq said...

American Immigration and Ethnicity by Gerber and Kraut.

Historically, Indians have rejected foreign ways and foreign people as profoundly corrupting, even polluting, as they endured centuries of foreign domination. In the 19th century, Indians who went abroad were obliged to undergo elaborate purification rituals when they returned. Today the problem is identified not as loss of ritual purity but as loss of culture. Immigrants, by leaving the motherland, and immersing themselves in an alien cultural contexts, have lost their Indian-ness. Overseas Indians are thought to have lost their language, their morals, their religion, their sense of community, and their connectedness to India. In pursuit of foreign wealth, they have adopted the soul-less, anomic, and licentious ways of the alien.....they are not considered "real Indians".


Today, new arrivals, legal and undocumented alike, find ample opportunities for employment in the United States. Migrant workers cross the Mexican border plant and harvest. Their low-cost labor keeps the prices of fruits and vegetables inexpensive for Americans. They often take jobs in the service sector that are either so low-paying or undesirable that native-born workers refuse them. However, at the other end of the scale, well-educated newcomers from China, India and Pakistan are transforming America's high-tech industries, especially in the areas of computer technology. The computer has rejuvenated home work. Men and women can support their families, working in a variety of industries that require online labor.

The expansion of hospital based medical care, and the institutions of broad-based social programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid in 1965, resulted in the need for thousands of skilled professionals. The 1965 Immigration Act, which abolished national quotas in favor of those based on professional status, aimed to encourage the immigration of professionals. Thousands of unemployed professionals from India and Pakistan flocked to the United States............Medical graduates especially were encouraged , with offers of free apartments and secure jobs at hospitals.

Riaz Haq said...

Eight #UK Doctors Died From #Coronavirus . All Were Immigrants from former #British colonies: #Egypt , #India, #Nigeria, #Pakistan, #SriLanka and #Sudan


The coronavirus has taken a devastating toll on migrant doctors across Britain, leaving at least six others dead: Dr. Habib Zaidi, 76, a longtime general practitioner from Pakistan; Dr. Alfa Sa’adu, 68, a geriatric doctor from Nigeria; Dr. Jitendra Rathod, 62, a heart surgeon from India; Dr. Anton Sebastianpillai, in his 70s, a geriatric doctor from Sri Lanka; Dr. Mohamed Sami Shousha, 79, a breast tissue specialist from Egypt; and Dr. Syed Haider, in his 80s, a general practitioner from Pakistan.

Barry Hudson, a longtime patient of Dr. Zaidi in southeastern England, recalled their exam table conversations about England’s cricket team.

“He was a big figure in the community,” Mr. Hudson said. “He had a proper doctor’s manner. He didn’t rush anybody.”


It is a story tinged with racism, as white, British doctors have largely dominated the prestigious disciplines while foreign doctors have typically found work in places and practices that are apparently putting them on the dangerous front lines of the coronavirus pandemic.

“When people were standing on the street clapping for N.H.S. workers, I thought, ‘A year and a half ago, they were talking about Brexit and how these immigrants have come into our country and want to take our jobs,’” said Dr. Hisham el-Khidir, whose cousin Dr. Adil el-Tayar, a transplant surgeon, died on March 25 from the coronavirus in western London.

“Now today, it’s the same immigrants that are trying to work with the locals,” said Dr. el-Khidir, a surgeon in Norwich, “and they are dying on the front lines.”

By Tuesday, 7,097 people had died in British hospitals from the coronavirus, the government said on Wednesday, a leap of 938 from the day before, the largest daily rise in the death toll.

And the victims have included not just the eight doctors but a number of nurses who worked alongside them, at least one from overseas. Health workers are stretched thin as hospitals across the country are filled with patients, including Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who this week was moved into intensive care with the coronavirus.

Britain is not the only country reckoning with its debt to foreign doctors amid the terror and chaos of the pandemic. In the United States, where immigrants make up more than a quarter of all doctors but often face long waits for green cards, New York and New Jersey have already cleared the way for graduates of overseas medical schools to suit up in the coronavirus response.

But Britain, where nearly a third of doctors in National Health Service hospitals are immigrants, has especially strong links to the medical school systems of its former colonies, making it a natural landing place.

That was true for Dr. el-Tayar, 64, the oldest son of a government clerk and a housewife from Atbara, Sudan, a railway city on the Nile.

He had 11 siblings, and one left a special impression: Osman, a brother, who became ill as a child and died without suitable medical treatment. Though Dr. el-Tayar rarely spoke of his brother’s death, he gave the same name to his oldest son.

“In my mind, I think that’s what led him to medicine,” Dr. el-Khidir said. “He didn’t want anyone else in his family to feel that.”


By recruiting foreign doctors, Britain saves the roughly $270,000 in taxpayer money that it costs to train doctors locally, a boon to a system that does not spend enough on medical education to staff its own hospitals. That effectively leaves Britain depending on the largess of countries with weaker health care systems to train its own work force.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistani American pulmonologist Dr. Saud Anwar celebrated as hero in Connecticut for his dangerous frontline work to help coronavirus patients


State Sen. Saud Anwar, whose day job as a medical doctor specializing in lung disease and critical care has kept him extremely busy over the past several weeks, shared what may be a big breakthrough Saturday in the effort to prepare for a surge in acute cases of COVID-19.

In a video posted to his Facebook page from Manchester Memorial Hospital, Anwar details a new, open-source 3D-printed valve – the Ventilator Quad Splitter – that could allow a single ventilator to treat up to seven patients per unit.

“We’ve been working collaboratively together as a group of people from different backgrounds to get this done,” Anwar said.

Ventilators – which keep people alive when their lungs have failed – are in high demand at acute care hospitals with the spread of COVID-19. Manufacturers of many types are working around the clock to convert their production lines with a goal of making new ventilators.

But that may take too long, so Anwar posted a request for help last week with a goal of increasing the capacity of the ventilators that are already in use.

Anwar’s request was posted in some user groups online and was seen by Kevin Dyer, CEO at InterPRO Additive Manufacturing Group in Deep River, which uses 3D printing to create new parts and products.

Things moved pretty quickly from there.

Dyer also did some outreach and said he would print a prototype if someone would help with design. He found Robert Conley, a mechanical design engineer who is an associate professor at Three Rivers Community College and also has his own design firm, Interactive CAD Solutions. Conley, of Lebanon, started designing the new valve apparatus Wednesday, completing it Thursday and transmitting the specifications to Dyer.

Conley said Dyer then printed the valve overnight and handed it to him outside Manchester Memorial Hospital on Friday morning.