METROFOCUS: MARCH 20, 2020

Starting Monday March 23rd, New York City classrooms will be going virtual. Kristina Kirtley, Senior Producer of Content and Youth Engagement at WNET, spoke to MetroFocus about what remote learning in NYC is likely to look like, and about the free resources PBS stations including WNET are making available to support this new educational paradigm.

 

This period of self-isolation during the coronavirus health crisis is an anxiety-provoking one.  A rogue cough that might otherwise go unnoticed, can cause tremendous concern.  Dr. Brian Fallon, Psychiatry Professor at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, specializes in illness anxiety/hypochondria.  Dr. Fallon shares his recommendations on how to manage anxiety while remaining safe. Correspondent Maddie Orton reports.

 

Aired on March 20, 2020. 

TRANSCRIPT

> THIS IS 'METROFOCUS' WITH RAFAEL PI ROMAN, JACK FORD, AND JENNA FLANAGAN.

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- JAMES AND MERRYL TISCH, SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, THE SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM.

BERNARD AND IRENE SCHWARTZ, ROSALIND P. WALTER, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, AND BY --

> THIS IS 'METROFOCUS' WITH THE LATEST NEWS ON THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC AFFECTING THE TRI-STATE.

WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

I AM JACK FORD.

AS WITH MANY OF YOU IN OUR NEW REALITY HERE, WORKING FROM MY HOME.

BUT WITH SOME OF YOU, IN ADDITION TO WORKING FROM HOME, SOME OF YOU MIGHT FIND YOURSELVES WITH YOUR CHILDREN LEARNING FROM HOME.

IT'S AN ENORMOUS CHALLENGE FOR THE SCHOOLS, CERTAINLY FOR THE TEACHERS, FOR THE STUDENTS AND FOR THE PARENTS.

SO HOW DO YOU GET THROUGH ALL OF THAT?

WELL, OUR NEXT GUEST IS GOING TO GIVE US SOME IDEAS HOW TO GET THROUGH THAT, ALSO TALK WITH YOU A LITTLE BIT ABOUT WHAT WNET AND PBS ARE DOING TO HELP PROVIDE SOME TOOLS.

WE'RE DELIGHTED TO HAVE CHRISTINA TO TALK ABOUT ALL THAT.

WELCOME TO YOU.

THANK YOU.

THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.

THESE ARE STRANGE TIMES.

THEY ARE STRANGE TIMES INDEED, WHICH IS WHY YOU AND I ARE TALKING TO EACH OTHER FROM OUR HOMES.

FOCUSING ON NEW YORK CITY IF WE CAN, THEY HAVE DECLARED THE SCHOOLS WILL BE CLOSED AND WE'LL BE SHIFTING OVER TO ONLINE LEARNING.

GIVE ME A QUICK DEFINITION.

WHAT DOES THAT ACTUALLY MEAN?

SO, YOU KNOW, REMOTE LEARNING, AS YOU MENTIONED, IT STARTS ON MONDAY.

AND OUR TEACHERS HAVE HAD THREE DAYS OF PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT BOOT CAMP TO PREPARE FOR THIS MOVE TO TEACHING ONLINE.

YOU KNOW, A REAL SHOUT-OUT TO ALL OF OUR TEACHERS.

IT'S KIND OF AMAZING WHAT THEY'VE DONE IN THREE DAYS.

THEY'VE HAD TO TOTALLY, LIKE, CREATE A VISION OF WHAT THIS IS GOING TO LOOK LIKE.

AND AS YOU CAN IMAGINE, THERE ARE TEACHERS WHO ARE VERY TECH SAVVY, AND THERE ARE TEACHERS WHO THIS IS ALL NEW TO THEM.

THEY'VE ALL COME TOGETHER.

THEY'VE BANDED TOGETHER, AND IT'S INCREDIBLE WHAT THEY'VE TRIED TO DO IN THE LAST THREE DAYS.

YOU KNOW, AS A PARENT, I HAVE TWO KIDS.

I HAVE A SIXTH GRADER AND A THIRD GRADER.

I SHOULD MENTION YOU ARE ALSO A FORMER HIGH SCHOOL ENGLISH TEACHER.

SO YOU'RE AT BOTH ENDS OF THE SPECTRUM, TEACHER AND PARENT HERE.

I HAVE A KIND OF UNIQUE PERSPECTIVE BECAUSE I'VE BEEN IN A CLASSROOM.

I TAUGHT HIGH SCHOOL ENGLISH IN THE BRONX FOR A NUMBER OF YEARS, AND I'M ALSO A PARENT.

SO I CAN DEFINITELY -- LIKE I FEEL I'M EXPERIENCED ON BOTH ENDS.

I CAN UNDERSTAND WHAT THE TEACHERS ARE GOING THROUGH, AND I CAN IMAGINE -- IT'S HARD BECAUSE ONE OF MY DAUGHTER'S TEACHERS WAS SENDING PICTURES OF HER EMPTY CLASSROOM AND TELLING THE STUDENTS HOW MUCH SHE MISSED THEM.

IT'S HEARTBREAKING FOR SO MANY.

LET ME ASK YOU AND WE'LL TAKE THOSE DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES HERE FOR A MOMENT AND ASK YOU FOR SOME TIPS FOR US.

I'LL MENTION TO YOU WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT TEACHERS STRUGGLING, I TEACH A SEMINAR, AN UNDERGRADUATE SEMINAR AT YALE.

I HAVE FOR 14 YEARS NOW.

IN THE SPRING, IT'S ONE TIME A WEEK FOR 2 1/2 HOURS, AND STARTING NEXT WEEK, WE'RE ONLINE.

AND IT IS A STRUGGLE, AND THAT IS WITH A SELECT GROUP OF 18 STUDENTS.

I CAN'T IMAGINE HOW DIFFICULT IT IS FOR THE TEACHERS.

LET'S START OFF WITH SOME IDEAS FOR TEACHERS, ADVICE THAT YOU MIGHT OFFER TO THEM.

SURE, SURE.

YOU KNOW, OUR TEAM AT WNET -- I'M IN KIDS MEDIA AND EDUCATION AND PBS STATIONS ACROSS THE COUNTRY HAVE REALLY BEEN WORKING AROUND THE CLOCK TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO BEST SUPPORT BOTH FAMILIES AND TEACHERS.

YOU KNOW, WE HAVE A LOT OF RESOURCES FOR EDUCATORS AND, YOU KNOW, WE'VE BEEN TRYING TO FIGURE OUT HOW CAN WE BEST SUPPORT THEM IN PROVIDING ACCESS TO OUR VAST TREASURE OF ONLINE RESOURCES.

SO OUR JEDUCATION WEBSITE IN NE YORK, WE HAVE THOUSANDS OF ACTIVITIES AND GAMES AND RESOURCES TO SUPPORT AT-HOME LEARNING FOR OUR TEACHERS AND FOR PARENTS AS WELL.

I MEAN I THINK THIS IDEA OF HOW WE'RE SUPPORTING TEACHERS, IT'S ALMOST LIKE AND SUPPORTING PARENTS AT THE SAME TIME BECAUSE I FEEL LIKE A LOT OF PARENTS ARE FINDING THEMSELVES IN THIS ROLE VERY SIMILAR TO THAT OF TEACHERS LOOKING FOR RESOURCES.

AND THERE'S A LOT OUT THERE TOO, SO IT CAN BE A LITTLE OVERWHELMING FOR BOTH TEACHERS AND PARENTS.

LET ME ASK YOU ABOUT SOME OF THE TOOLS, THE TYPES OF THINGS THAT WILL BE MADE AVAILABLE.

WE CAN TALK ABOUT FOR TEACHERS AND ALSO FOR PARENTS AND STUDENTS.

SO THERE IS A LOT.

FOR YOUNGER KIDS, PBS KIDS, WHICH IS VERY FAMILIAR TO A LOT OF PEOPLE, YOU KNOW, THEY HAVE THEIR USUAL OFFERINGS, THEIR 24/7 CHANNEL, THEIR GAMES, THEIR APPS.

BUT THEY'RE ALSO CREATING A DAILY PBS KIDS NEWSLETTER STARTING THIS WEEK, WHICH WILL PROVIDE PARENTS AND TEACHERS ACTIVITIES AND TIPS TO KEEP KIDS LEARNING AT HOME.

WE HAVE A TEXTING PROGRAM CALLED BRIGHT BY TEXT, WHICH IT'S FOR PARENTS, BUT IT'S LIKE THEY CAN THEN SIGN UP BY SENDING HERO, HERO TO 27748.

THAT'S FOR OUR LITTLE ONES.

FOR PRE-K TO 12, WE HAVE PBS LEARNING MEDIA IS THE MAIN PLATFORM TO USE.

IT'S A FREE SITE FOR DISTANCE LEARNING.

THERE'S THOUSANDS OF RESOURCES THAT WILL INCLUDE A SHORT VIDEO AND SUPPORT MATERIALS FOR EASY CURRICULUM INTEGRATION.

YOU KNOW, TO HELP TEACHERS RAPIDLY ADAPT.

PBS LEARNING MEDIA AND WNET ALONG WITH PBS STATIONS ACROSS THE COUNTRY HAVE CURATED SPECIAL COLLECTIONS OF LEARNING SOURCES THAT CAN BE USED WITH TV BROADCASTS OR ON THEIR OWN.

YOU CAN GO TO THE SITE AND LOOK FOR ELA RESOURCES FOR THIRD GRADERS FOR INSTANCE AND FIND SOMETHING OR SOCIAL STUDIES CONTENT FOR EIGHT GRADERS.

IT'S FOR TEACHERS, PBS LEARNING MEDIA, THE AUDIENCE IS TEACHERS.

BUT LET'S BE HONEST A LOT OF PARENTS AT HOME FEEL LIKE THEY'RE LIKE TAEACHERS LOOKING FOR CONTENT.

SOME OF THE THINGS YOU FOCUS ON ARE THE NOTION OF ROUTINE.

YES.

AND EXPECTATIONS.

TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT BOTH OF THOSE ELEMENTS.

SURE.

I MEAN I THINK ONE THING THAT WE REALLY HAVE TO DO AS PARENTS AND TEACHERS IS JUST REALIZE AND TEMPER OUR EXPECTATIONS IS REALIZE THIS ISN'T GOING TO BE LIKE SCHOOL.

IT'S GOING TO BE A DIFFERENT ANIMAL.

BUT WE CAN STILL DO THINGS THAT ARE GOING TO ENGAGE OUR KIDS AND KEEP THEM LEARNING AT HOME.

I, MYSELF, SET UP SOME DAILY ROUTINES FOR MY KIDS, AND I THINK ALL OF US ARE TRYING TO FIGURE OUT HOW BEST TO MAKE THAT WORK, ESPECIALLY THOSE OF US WHO ARE ALSO TRYING TO WORK FROM HOME WHILE WE'RE ALSO TRYING TO MANAGE OUR KIDS' LEARNING.

AND WHILE NEXT WEEK THEY'LL HAVE THEIR TEACHER ON BOARD AS WELL TO HELP THEM WITH THAT PROCESS, WE KNOW AS PARENTS WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO STEP IN AND HELP TO KIND OF MODEL THIS PROCESS.

AND I THINK ONE THING I THINK IS THAT, YOU KNOW, A LOT OF PARENTS ARE CONCERNED ABOUT THE AMOUNT OF SCREEN TIME THAT THEIR KIDS MIGHT HAVE DURING THIS TIME, YOU KNOW?

I THINK WE NEED TO KEEP IN MIND THAT WHILE WE NEED TO BE MINDFUL OF WHAT OUR KIDS ARE WATCHING, WE NEED TO REALIZE IT'S OKAY IF THEY WATCH A LITTLE MORE TV THAN USUAL, OKAY?

THAT WE'RE ALL TRYING TO DO OUR BEST.

BUT WITH THAT SAID, TO KEEP A FEW THINGS IN MIND.

SOME TIPS THAT WE'VE DEVELOPED ARE THINGS LIKE BE CHOOSEY ABOUT THE SHOWS THAT YOU WATCH WITH YOUR CHILD OR THAT YOUR CHILD IS WATCHING.

BUT, YOU KNOW, PICK A SHOW AND THEN TURN THE TV OFF AFTER THE SHOW ENDS, YOU KNOW, INSTEAD OF HAVING IT ON ENDLESSLY.

BUILD A SPECIFIC SHOW INTO YOUR DAILY ROUTINE.

MAYBE YOUR KIDS LOVE DANA TIGER.

WATCH THAT SHOW EVERY DAY AND USE THAT EPISODE TO JUMP START OTHER ACTIVITIES AT HOME.

THEY CAN DO A RESEARCH PROJECT ON SOMETHING THEY WATCH AND JUST USE THAT MEDIA AS SORT OF A JUMPING OFF POINT TO OTHER THINGS THAT MAYBE ARE NOT ON A SCREEN.

SOMETHING ELSE I THINK IS REALLY IMPORTANT, IF YOU CAN, EVEN IF YOU'RE WORKING FROM HOME, TRY TO BUILD CO-VIEWING INTO YOUR DAY.

EVEN IF IT'S JUST 15 MINUTES THAT YOU WATCH TOGETHER, IMAGINE YOU'RE TAKING YOUR COFFEE BREAK.

INSTEAD OF GOING TO THE WATER COOLER, YOU'RE GOING TO SIT DOWN AND MAYBE WATCH SOMETHING WITH YOUR KIDS.

BEFORE YOU WATCH THE SHOW, YOU CAN KIND OF TALK WITH THEM.

YOU KNOW, WHAT IS THIS EPISODE GOING TO BE ABOUT?

WHAT ARE SOME THINGS WE KNOW ABOUT IT?

HAVE THEM WATCH AND MAYBE JOT DOWN NOTES.

AFTER THEY WATCH, HAVE THEM DISCUSS WHAT THEY LEARNED.

TODAY I HAD MY KIDS WATCH A NATURE SHOW CALLED 'WHALE DETECTIVES.'

THEY PICKED IT OUT.

I KNOW THAT ONE.

I'VE GOT A COUPLE OF GRANDSONS, 1 1/2 AND 1 1/2.

ONE LOVES DANIEL TIGER AS WE ALL DO.

SO I KNOW THE RANGE OF THEM OUT THERE.

I SAT DOWN WITH THEM AND I WATCHED FOR LIKE TEN MINUTES, YOU KNOW.

THEN I LEFT TO GO WORK, AND I HAVE THEM COME AND REPORT BACK TO ME SOME THINGS THAT THEY LEARNED, YOU KNOW?

I THINK RIGHT NOW IT'S IMPORTANT TO LEAN IN TO OUR CHILD'S INTERESTS.

AS A PARENT, IT'S LIKE IF YOUR KID IS REALLY INTO WHALES, YOU KNOW, ENCOURAGE THAT.

THERE'S A LOT THEY CAN DO AT HOME WITH PROJECT-BASED LEARNING.

MY DAUGHTER IS REALLY INTO HISTORY, AND SHE LIKES SHOWS LIKE 'FINDING YOUR ROOTS' WHERE SHE LEARNS ABOUT HISTORY OF SOMEONE'S FAMILY.

SO SHE DECIDED TO DO A PROJECT ON HER GREAT-GRANDPA, MY GRANDFATHER WHO SHE NEVER MET.

HE SERVED IN WORLD WAR II.

SO SHE'S BEEN CALLING FAMILY MEMBERS AND ASKING THEM QUESTIONS ABOUT MY GRANDFATHER.

AND THEN SHE, YOU KNOW, IS TRYING TO FIND -- OF COURSE SINCE I WORK FOR PBS, I'VE BEEN ENCOURAGING HER TO GO TO PBS LEARNING MEDIA AND LOOK FOR RESOURCES ON WORLD WAR II SO SHE CAN UNDERSTAND WHAT WAS GOING ON WHEN HE WAS THERE SERVING.

WELL, YOU MENTIONED SOMETHING BEFORE, AND I THINK IT'S IMPORTANT FOR US TO UNDERSCORE THAT.

YES.

AS WE'VE SAID, THIS IS A NEW REALITY FOR ALL OF US, AND WE'RE DOING THINGS DIFFERENTLY, AND WE'RE TRYING TO IN MANY WAYS BENEFIT FROM THE DIFFERENT STRUCTURE TO OUR LIVES.

AND I KNOW TALKING WITH MY OWN DAUGHTER, WHO IS A CANCER SURGEON AT THE UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA HOSPITAL, BUT THEY ARE DRAMATICALLY REDUCED IN TERMS OF SURGERIES THEY'RE DOING.

SO SHE IS DOING A LOT FROM HOME ALSO.

YOU KNOW, SHE HAS MENTIONED THAT UNDERSTANDING THE BACKDROP OF THIS CRISIS, THERE'S SOME JOY TO BE FOUND HERE.

THIS OPPORTUNITY TO SPEND TIME WITH YOUR CHILDREN EVEN, AS YOU SAID, IF YOU'RE WORKING WHILE YOU'RE DOING THAT, YES?

EXACTLY.

I MEAN, AGAIN, IT CAN BE LIKE TEN MINUTES.

YOU KNOW, THINK OF IT AS A BREAK IN YOUR WORKDAY.

I THINK ONE THING THAT JUST REALLY IS INCREDIBLE ABOUT WHAT PBS HAS TO OFFER IS IT'S ALMOST LIKE A -- YOU KNOW, PBS IS LIKE AMERICA'S CLASSROOM IN A WAY.

YOU KNOW, EDUCATION IS BUILT INTO THE DNA OF THE CONTENT THAT WE PRODUCE.

SO, YOU KNOW, THERE'S KIDS' CONTENT DURING THE DAY, BUT THERE'S ALSO PRIME TIME CONTENT FOR OLDER KIDS.

AND OLDER KIDS, THEY'RE ALSO LIKE LOOKING FOR ACCURATE INFORMATION ABOUT WHAT'S GOING ON RIGHT NOW, YOU KNOW?

AND THAT'S SOMETHING THAT WE CAN DO AS A TRUSTED NEWS SOURCE, RIGHT?

THERE'S A LOT THAT WE CAN OFFER FOR FREE.

I THINK, YOU KNOW, WE HAVE A LOT OF ONLINE RESOURCES OF COURSE.

WE ALSO HAVE A LOT OF EDUCATIONAL GAMES THAT STUDENTS CAN PLAY, MATH GAMES, CYBER CHASE HAS A LOT OF MATH GAMES.

WE HAVE AN ONLINE IMMERSIVE HISTORY SERIES WHERE STUDENTS ARE PLACED IN THE SHOES OF FIGURES FROM THE PAST.

AND THEY'RE PUT IN THESE IMPORTANT MOMENTS OF AMERICAN HISTORY LIKE THE BOSTON MASSACRE AND THE GREAT DEPRESSION.

IT ALLOWS THEM TO DO THESE SORT OF ENRICHMENT ACTIVITIES AT HOME THAT THEY MIGHT NOT NORMALLY GET TO DO IN THE CLASSROOM.

YOU KNOW, WE ALSO HAVE TO RECOGNIZE THAT NOT EVERYONE IS GOING TO HAVE INTERNET ACCESS.

YOU MIGHT HAVE INTERNET ACCESS AND ONLY ONE LAPTOP AND THREE KIDS, SO WHAT DO YOU DO?

ONE THING THAT'S KIND OF EXCITING TO ANNOUNCE IS STARTING ON MONDAY, THE PBS WORLD CHANNEL IS ACTUALLY GOING TO CHANGE THEIR WHOLE BROADCAST SCHEDULE FROM 12:00 TO 5:00, AND THEY'RE GOING TO BE OFFERING MIDDLE AND HIGH SCHOOL CONTENT.

FROM 12:00 TO 5:00, THEY'RE GOING TO OFFER CONTENT.

THEY'RE GOING TO AIR PROGRAMS, LIKE OLDER PROGRAMS FROM OUR ARCHIVES, THINGS THAT MAYBE YOU'VE SEEN A COUPLE YEARS AGO.

RECYCLE THOSE FOR THE PURPOSES NOW THAT ARE SO NECESSARY.

YEAH, AND THEY'LL MAKE SURE THAT THOSE PROGRAMS ALSO HAVE MATERIAL ON PBS LEARNING MEDIA.

SO TEACHERS CAN USE IT.

THEY COULD ASSIGN SOMETHING TO WATCH OR, YOU KNOW, PARENTS CAN ALSO DO THE SAME.

AND THEN THE FOLLOWING WEEK, WLIW, OUR STATION ON LONG ISLAND, IS GOING TO OFFER A REVISED SCHEDULE TO PROMOTE AT HOME LEARNING FOR THIRD THROUGH SIXTH GRADERS.

AS YOU SAID, THERE'S A LOT THAT CAN BE DONE.

WE ARE CERTAINLY THANKFUL TO WNET, WLIW, THE PBS STATIONS FOR THEM JUMPING IN AND ALL THE THINGS THAT YOU MENTIONED TO US THAT THEY'RE GOING TO DO TO HELP EVERYBODY GET THROUGH THIS.

AND, CHRISTINA, WE'RE CERTAINLY THANKFUL TO YOU ALSO FOR SPENDING SOME TIME WITH US AND FOR SHARING YOUR THOUGHTS AND ADVICE AND YOUR TIPS ON ALL OF THIS.

SO WE HOPE THAT YOUR JOURNEY WITH YOUR KIDS, BOTH WORKING AND TEACHING, GOES SMOOTHLY AND ENJOYABLY FOR YOU.

CHRISTINA, THANKS SO MUCH.

WE'LL TALK WITH YOU AGAIN SOON.

YOU BE WELL.

THANK YOU.

YOU TOO.

> GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

I'M MADDIE ORTON.

AS YOU CAN SEE LIKE MANY OF YOU, I'M WORKING FROM HOME.

THIS PERIOD OF SELF-ISOLATION DURING THE CORONAVIRUS HEATH CRISIS IS AN ANXIETY-PROVOKING ONE.

A ROGUE COUGH THAT MIGHT OTHERWISE GO UNNOTICED CAN CAUSE TREMENDOUS CONCERN AND IT'S EASY TO GET PANICKY.

THAT'S WHY I'M SPEAKING WITH A PROFESSOR OF PSYCHIATRY AT COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY, IRVING MEDICAL CENTER, WITH AN EXPERTISE IN ILLNESS ANXIETY AND HYPOCHONDRIA.

THANKS FOR YOUR TIME.

MY PLEASURE.

CAN YOU TELL ME A LITTLE BIT ABOUT HOW THE BRAIN WORKS UNDER A CIRCUMSTANCE LIKE THIS?

THERE'S A PANDEMIC.

YOU HEAR THINGS ALL OVER THE PLACE, AND IT DOES MAKE YOU ANXIOUS.

LET ME SAY A FEW THINGS JUST TO START.

SURE.

I THINK IT'S TOTALLY GOOD THAT PEOPLE ARE ANXIOUS RIGHT NOW.

THEY SHOULD BE ANXIOUS.

WE'RE FACING A VERY SERIOUS PANDEMIC AROUND THE WORLD.

THIS IS A VERY SERIOUS INFECTION, AND I'M ACTUALLY QUITE HAPPY THAT THERE ARE A LOT OF PEOPLE OUT THERE VERY ANXIOUS AND PANICKING SOMEWHAT.

AND GOVERNOR CUOMO IN NEW YORK HAS DONE QUITE A GOOD JOB CONVEYING HOW SERIOUS THAT WE HAVE TO TAKE THIS.

AND IF WE DON'T TAKE IT SERIOUSLY, WE'RE GOING TO -- WE ALREADY HAVE A MAJOR PUBLIC HEALTH CRISIS, BUT IT'S GOING TO GET DRAMATICALLY WORSE.

SO WHAT I'M SAYING RIGHT NOW IS NOT TO REDUCE ANXIETY BECAUSE PEOPLE SHOULD BE ANXIOUS.

THAT'S A GOOD RESPONSE TO A SERIOUS INFECTIOUS DISEASE AND EPIDEMIC.

SURE.

PEOPLE HAVE TO TAKE IT SER SERIOUSLY.

SO THE FIRST WAY YOU REDUCE ANXIETY IS TO UNDERSTAND SOMETHING ABOUT THIS ILLNESS.

SO WHAT WE UNDERSTAND IS THAT IT'S RAPIDLY SPREAD AMONG INDIVIDUALS, AND THEREFORE IT'S IMPORTANT TO AVOID CONTAGION.

IT'S IMPORTANT TO AVOID EXPOSURE TO PEOPLE WHO MIGHT BE INFECTED.

WE KNOW THAT RIGHT NOW WE DON'T KNOW WHO IS INFECTED AND WHO ISN'T INFECTED BECAUSE PEOPLE MIGHT HAVE INFECTION AND HAVE NO SYMPTOMS AT THAT PARTICULAR TIME.

SO THAT CREATES A LEVEL OF AN UNCERTAINTY THAT'S QUITE HIGH.

WHO HAS THE INFECTION, AND WHO DOESN'T?

AND AT THIS POINT WE DON'T KNOW.

SO YOU DO HAVE TO ASSUME THAT YOU MIGHT BE A CARRIER, I MIGHT BE A CARRIER.

WE JUST DON'T KNOW.

SO WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?

THAT MEANS THAT WE HAVE TO ENGAGE IN PERSONAL PRACTICES THAT ARE VERY IMPORTANT TO PRESERVING THE HEALTH CARE OF OTHERS AS WELL AS OURSELVES.

THAT INCLUDES HAND-WASHING.

THAT INCLUDES SOCIAL DISTANCING.

THAT DOESN'T MEAN SOCIAL ISOLATION, BUT IT MEANS KEEPING YOURSELF AT A DISTANCE FROM ONE ANOTHER.

AND EVEN THOUGH IT'S NOT PLEASANT TO DO THAT, WE HAVE TO DO THAT.

SO THAT'S VERY IMPORTANT BECAUSE EVEN THOUGH I AN EXPERT AND HYPOCHONDRIA AND ANXIETY, I ALSO HAVE AN EXPERTISE IN INFECTIOUS DISEASE, PARTICULARLY LYME DISEASE, WHICH I ALSO TAKE SERIOUSLY.

SO I THINK IT'S IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND THE IMPORTANCE OF ALL THE PUBLIC HEALTH MESSAGES THAT ARE OUT THERE.

ABSOLUTELY.

YOU BRING UP AN INTERESTING POINT, WHICH IS THAT IT IS A VERY REAL CIRCUMSTANCE, BUT IT ALSO DOES PLAY ON ANXIETY, PARTICULARLY PEOPLE WHO ARE PREDISPOSED TO EITHER OBSESSIVE COMPULSIVE DISORDER, ANXIETY DISORDER, HYPOCHONDRIA.

SO HOW DO YOU WALK THAT LINE OF DOING WHAT'S RIGHT FOR YOU AND FOR THE COMMUNITY BUT ALSO NOT GOING TOO CRAZY WHILE YOU'RE IN ISOLATION?

YEAH, I THINK THAT'S REALLY IMPORTANT.

SO ISOLATION IS VERY DIFFICULT FOR PEOPLE.

SO THERE IS A TREMENDOUS AMOUNT THAT CAN BE DONE TO REDUCE PERSONAL ANXIETY.

NUMBER ONE, AVOID CHECKING.

AVOID CHECKING THE NEWS OVER AND OVER AGAIN, AND WE'VE ACTUALLY DONE STUDIES IN THE CONTEXT OF ILLNESS AND ANXIETY TO TEST DO PEOPLE WHO CHECK THE INTERNET, DO THEY HAVE MORE ANXIETY AFTERWARDS OR LESS ANXIETY?

IF YOU'RE A PERSON WHO DOESN'T HAVE AN ANXIETY DISORDER, SOMETIMES HAVING THAT INFORMATION CAN BE HELPFUL AND IT REDUCES YOUR ANXIETY.

ON THE OTHER HAND, IF YOU'RE SOMEONE WITH A PRE-EXISTING ANXIETY PROBLEM SUCH AS GENERALIZED ANXIETY OR OCD OR A PANIC DISORDER, IT WILL DRAMATICALLY INCREASE YOUR ANXIETY, AND YOU'LL FEEL THAT YOU HAVE TO KNOW MORE AND MORE.

SO YOU'LL BE CHECKING THE INTERNET OVER AND OVER AGAIN, AND YOU'LL BE HEARING ALL OF THESE SCARY STORIES, AND IT WILL LEAD YOU INTO A RABBIT HOLE OF PANIC.

SO IT'S VERY IMPORTANT TO LIMIT THE AMOUNT OF INFORMATION THAT YOU'RE GETTING, ESPECIALLY IF YOU HAVE A PRE-EXISTING ANXIETY PROBLEM.

IF YOU HAVE SERIOUS MOOD DISORDER OR AN ANXIETY DISORDER AND YOU'RE NOT GETTING HELP, WELL THEN YOU SHOULD GET HELP.

THERE'S SOME WONDERFUL TELEPSYCHIATRY AVAILABLE IN THE GREATER NEW YORK AREA AND AROUND THE COUNTRY.

IT'S VERY EASY TO ACCESS, AND YOU CAN GET A LOT OF HELP FROM MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONALS AND TIPS ON HOW TO REDUCE ANXIETY.

SO WHY IS IT THAT I CAN BE ON VACATION AND GET A COUGH, AND I THINK, OH, I HAVE A LITTLE TICKLE IN MY THROAT, AND RIGHT NOW I GET A COUGH AND I THINK, OH, MY GOODNESS, THIS IS TERRIBLE?

THIS COULD BE THE CORONAVIRUS.

THAT'S A REALLY GREAT QUESTION.

ONE THING WE KNOW IS THAT CONTEXT IS SUPER IMPORTANT.

JUST AS YOU SAID, IF YOU'RE OUT SKIING ON A SLOPE AND YOU BANG YOUR LEG, YOU PAY ABSOLUTELY NO ATTENTION TO IT.

BUT IF YOU'RE AT WORK, AT HOME OR EVEN IN YOUR OFFICE AND YOU BANG YOUR LEG, YOU MIGHT SUDDENLY START PAYING ATTENTION TO IT BECAUSE OF THE CONTEXT, WHICH IS THAT YOU HAVE TIME TO THINK ABOUT IT, AND IT'S CAUSING A LOT OF DISTURBANCE BECAUSE YOU'RE FOCUSING.

SO IT'S BEEN WELL KNOWN FROM MULTIPLE STUDIES THAT THE MORE YOU ATTEND TO YOUR SYMPTOMS, THE WORST IT WILL BE.

AND IN THE CONTEXT OF THIS VIRUS THAT'S GOING AROUND, IT DOES MAKE SENSE TO ATTEND TO YOUR SYMPTOMS TO A CERTAIN EXTENT, BUT BE CAREFUL NOT TO CA TASS TRO FIEZ.

EVERYONE HAS UNEXPLAINED PHYSICAL SYMPTOMS.

EVERY WEEK WE HAVE THOSE.

SO IF YOU TAKE EVERY SYMPTOM SERIOUSLY, YOU'RE GOING TO GO PACK AT EVERY LITTLE SIGN.

THERE'S A CLUSTER OF SYMPTOMS THAT ARE SIMPLE.

GRADUALLY INCREASING FEVER, COUGH, RESPIRATORY PROBLEM THAT ARE CERTAINLY THE KNOWN SIGNS OF CORONAVIRUS.

IF YOU DON'T HAVE THOSE, IT'S MUCH LESS LIKELY.

FOR EXAMPLE, IF YOU'RE SO ANXIOUS THAT YOU'RE NOT SLEEPING, THEN YOU'RE GOING TO WAKE UP FATIGUED.

YOU'RE GOING TO WAKE UP PERHAPS WITH HEADACHES, PERHAPS WITH MUSCLE PAIN.

YOU'RE GOING TO THINK, OH, MY GOD, I'M GETTING A VIRUS.

SO YOU JUST NEED TO RATION THE AMOUNT OF MEDIA THAT YOU EXPOSE YOURSELF TO AND BE REALISTIC IN THE ASSESSMENT OF RISK.

WE KNOW, FOR EXAMPLE, THAT YOUNGER PEOPLE ARE LESS AT RISK THAN OLDER PEOPLE.

THAT DOESN'T MEAN YOUNGER PEOPLE AREN'T AT RISK.

THEY ARE.

BUT THE RISK OF GETTING A SERIOUS ILLNESS IS LESS THAN WITH OLDER PEOPLE.

SO YOU NEED TO ASSESS THE RISK REALISTICALLY.

EVEN THE NUMBER OF CASES ARE STEADILY INCREASING AND THEY WILL DEFINITELY DRAMATICALLY INCREASE OVER THE NEXT SEVERAL WEEKS AS THE TESTING IS MUCH MORE WIDELY AVAILABLE, THE RISK IS NOT EVERYBODY GETTING INFECTED AT THIS POINT AND EVERYBODY DYING.

THAT'S JUST NOT THE CASE.

THE MORTALITY RATE FROM THIS INFECTION IS NOT KNOWN CLEARLY EXACTLY WHAT IT IS, BUT IT'S ROUGHLY AROUND 1% FOR PEOPLE LESS THAN AGE 60.

FOR PEOPLE ABOVE AGE 60, IT GETS HIGHER.

WE SHOULD AVOID FORECASTING INTO THE FUTURE.

SO, FOR EXAMPLE, PEOPLE -- SOME PEOPLE WITH HIGH ANXIETY WILL START THINKING, WHAT'S IT GOING TO BE LIKE TWO WEEKS FROM NOW?

WHAT'S IT GOING TO BE LIKE TWO MONTHS FROM NOW?

OH, MY GOD, IT'S GOING BE A TOTAL DISASTER AND THE WORLD IS GOING TO FALL APART.

THE TRUTH IS WE DON'T KNOW WHAT IT'S GOING TO BE LIKE IN FOUR WEEKS OR EIGHT WEEKS, BUT WE KNOW WE CAN DO THINGS RIGHT NOW TO HELP REDUCE THE SPREAD OF THIS INFECTION.

THAT'S REALLY NICE BECAUSE WE ALL NEED PERSONAL CONTROL.

SO THE CONTROL THAT WE CAN EXERT IS BY TAKING ALL THOSE MITIGATION STEPS TO REDUCE THE SPREAD OF THIS INFECTION.

THAT MEANS STAYING AT HOME, NOT GOING INTO CROWDED PLACES, SOCIAL DISTANCING, HAND-WASHING AND THOSE ARE ALL WAYS TO HELP OURSELVES AS WELL AS TO SHOW COMPASSION TO OTHERS IN OUR POPULATION.

IT'S NOT A COURAGEOUS THING TO BE BRAVE RIGHT NOW IN THE FACE OF ADVERSITY.

WHAT'S APPROPRIATE RIGHT NOW IS TO BE COMPASSIONATE IN THE FACE OF ADVERSITY TO OUR NEIGHBORS AS WELL AS TO OURSELVES.

AND THAT COMPASSION MEANS NOT SHAKING HANDS, NOT TOUCHING OTHER PEOPLE.

BUT IT DOES MEAN -- COMPASSION DOES MEAN REACHING OUT TO OTHER PEOPLE, CALLING UP YOUR RELATIVES, CALLING UP YOUR FRIENDS, CALLING UP THE ELDERLY NEIGHBOR ACROSS THE STREET.

IF SOMEONE CAN'T GET FOOD BECAUSE THEY'RE TOO INFIRM TO GET FOOD, FIND A WAY TO HAVE FOOD DELIVERED TO THEM.

SO THERE ARE LOTS OF THINGS THAT WE CAN DO THAT WILL HELP US FEEL BETTER BECAUSE WE'RE HELPING SOMEONE ELSE.

ANOTHER THING ABOUT PEOPLE WHO ARE ANXIOUS IS THAT THEY TEND TO FOCUS VERY MUCH ON THEMSELVES.

SO THE MORE YOU CAN FOCUS ON OTHER PEOPLE AND GET THE BENEFIT ACTUALLY OF DOING THAT BECAUSE IT MAKES YOU FEEL GOOD, THE BETTER.

DISTRACTION TECHNIQUES ARE ANOTHER IMPORTANT WAY OF REDUCING ANXIETY, AND THAT MEANS TURNING OFF YOUR PHONE OR TV.

IT MEANS ENGAGING IN PLEASURABLE ACTIVITIES.

IT MIGHT MEAN STARTING UP A NEW LEARNING ADVENTURE.

SO, FOR EXAMPLE, THERE ARE LOTS OF LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES ONLINE, ON YOUTUBE THAT ARE FREE.

YOU CAN LEARN HOW TO PLAY THE GUITAR OR TAKE A COURSE.

THERE'S OPPORTUNITIES OUT THERE FOR YOU TO USE THIS TIME IF YOU'RE STUCK AT HOME IN A PRODUCTIVE WAY.

MOST CHILDREN RIGHT NOW ARE HOME FROM SCHOOL.

SPEND TIME WITH YOUR CHILDREN AND PLAY SOME MONSTER AWFUL JIGSAW PUZZLE THAT HAS 3,000 PIECES.

THAT'S RIGHT.

YOU'LL HAVE TIME TO FINISH IT.

FOR THOSE WHO ARE ALREADY SORT OF CYCLING AND THINKING ABOUT THE POSSIBLE THINGS THAT CAN HAPPEN OR FOR THOSE WHO FEEL THEMSELVES GOING INTO A BIT OF A PANIC, WHAT ARE SOME ANXIETY MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES THAT YOU WOULD RECOMMEND IN ADDITION TO TELECONFERENCING A PROFESSIONAL?

SURE.

ALL THE GOOD PERSONAL SELF-HELP CARE MEASURES ARE IMPORTANT.

SO EXERCISE IS REALLY IMPORTANT.

MEDITATION OBVIOUSLY IS VERY VALUABLE.

THERE ARE LOTS OF GOOD MEDITATION PROGRAMS ONLINE THAT CAN HELP YOU.

HEADSPACE, FOR EXAMPLE.

JOURNEY IS ANOTHER ONE.

THERE'S A WHOLE BUNCH OF GOOD ONES.

YOGA, YOU SHOULD CONTINUE GOOD HEALTH STRATEGY IN TERMS OF FOOD, IN TERMS OF SLEEP.

ALL THOSE ARE KEY.

SPIRITUAL SUPPORT FROM YOUR FAITH-BASED COMMUNITIES CAN BE VERY HELPFUL.

EVEN THOUGH YOU CAN'T GO TO THEM BECAUSE SO MANY OF THEM ARE CLOSED AT THIS POINT AND YOU DON'T WANT TO GO TO THEM BECAUSE THOSE ARE PLACES WHERE PEOPLE ARE GATHERING IN MASSES, OFTENTIMES YOUR SPIRITUAL COMMUNITY MIGHT HAVE SOMETHING ONLINE THAT YOU CAN ATTEND.

OR YOU CAN CONNECT WITH YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS AND HAVE -- SAY, OKAY AT 9:00 THIS EVENING, WE'RE ALL GOING TO PRAY AT THE SAME TIME.

YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE IN THE SAME ROOM, BUT CAN BE PRAYING FOR ONE ANOTHER, AND THAT'S WHAT I'VE HEARD SOME PEOPLE DOING.

SO THOSE ARE ALL IMPORTANT STEPS THAT YOU CAN TAKE.

AND BASICALLY COGNITIVELY REFRAME WHAT'S GOING ON.

SO JUST TRY TO THINK OF A POSITIVE ASPECT OF WHAT'S GOING ON RATHER THAN ALWAYS FOCUSING ON THE NEGATIVES.

DOCTOR, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR TIME.

I REALLY APPRECIATE IT.

STAY SAFE OUT THERE.

THANK YOU.

SAME TO YOU.

THANK YOU.

> FOR THE LATEST NEWS ON THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC AND YOUR COMMUNITY, VISIT US AT METRO FOCUS.ORG, FACEBOOK, AND TWITTER.

GOOD NIGHT AND STAY SIFF.

->-> 'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY JAMES AND MERRYL TISCH, SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, THE SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM.

BERNARD AND IRENE SCHWARTZ, ROSALIND P. WALTER, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, AND BY --

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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