WEBINAR: Photographers and COVID-19

A very special episode of TWiP — a replay of last night's webinar titled Photographers and COVID-19. I'm joined by Molecular Biologist Stephen Scharf, and Hospital Administrator Amy Brooks.

Stephen Scharf has a broad scientific background in molecular diagnostics, human molecular genetics, cardiovascular genetics, molecular genetics of cancer, HLA, and DNA forensics, and PCR. He has extensive industrial experience in molecular biological product development.

Amy Brooks has worked for the past 15 years in hospital administration at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center in Portland, Oregon. Amy earned her undergraduate degree at Lewis and Clark College and earned two master's degrees at Portland State University (Geography) and Warner Pacific College (Organizational Leadership).

Some of the topics we discuss…

  • Where did the virus come from? Discuss SARS, Bird Flu, and other Coronaviruses.
  • Why is this one spreading so fast?
  • Is it a foregone conclusion that pretty much everyone will contract this virus?
  • Who is most susceptible?
  • Social responsibility (People not listening and still interacting in groups etc) — impact.


  • Masks – best practices
  • Gloves – best practices
  • The reality of social distancing
  • Should I sanitize my mail/packages? How?


  • How do I know if I'm sick?
  • What do I do if I feel sick?
  • Is contracting the virus a death sentence?


  • When/if things get really bad and we move to a “triage/battlefield medicine” modality, who makes (and how is) the decision made regarding who gets treated, and who doesn't?
  • What does it mean to be “sick enough” for treatment?
  • As a photographer, is it our responsibility to document this unprecedented time in global history? Or should we ride it out and document the aftermath
  • What's the impact on events where large groups gather? Sports, Movies, Parades, etc.
  • Is there such a thing as a “Post Coronavirus world”? And if so, what does that look like?

Notes from Stephen Scharf

  1. COVID-19 is a very dangerous virus. More contagious and pathogenic than SARS.
    • Analysis of viral structure has spike protein that binds to lung cells that makes it more pathogenic than SARS.
    • R0: 2 – 3 “measure of infectiousness” Can be influenced by social distancing
    • Series Interval: 5-7.5 days: People can be shedding virus while asymptomatic
    • Case lethality index: 10-30X higher than Influenza (country, healthcare system & demographic dependent)
    • Very important to use meticulous hygiene and appropriate precautions.
  2. Importance of social distancing (graph from Australian video)
    • Slide 1 from Australian video
  3. States in the Midwest are seeing a very rapid increase in no. of cases in the last week.
  4. Practice social distancing even if the state does not have SoE or stay-at-home policy.
  5. Hypertension: If taking ACE2 up-regulator BP medication, consult with your doctor
  6. Be sure to recover fully. Some people are sick for 5-6 days, start to feel better, resume normal activities and then “crash” suddenly.
  7. Not just a disease for Seniors; 58% of patients are ages 18-54
  8. Check your local country public health web sites for local information on the current state in your vicinity
  9. If on photo assignments, wear gloves and use appropriate protective equipment.
  10. Take notice if you lose the sense of smell or taste.

References and Informative Links

Sonoma County COVID Dashboard

Worldometer Coronavirus Tracker

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