UW Health doctor reflects on Coronavirus pandemic -- and all of 2020 -- ahead of new year

NOW: UW Health doctor reflects on Coronavirus pandemic -- and all of 2020 -- ahead of new year

MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) -- UW Health Doctor Jeff Pothof said the Coronavirus pandemic made the unexpected possible in 2020.

He said early struggles with nationwide testing forced quick thinking and action by UW health leaders.

“If you remember, we had to send things down to Atlanta to the CDC," Pothof, chief quality control officer for UW Health, said. “I remember us talking with our ambulatory leaders and saying, hey we need this testing site, it’s got to do like hundreds of people per day. And I think they didn’t have any idea if they were going to be able pull that off or not but they did.”

He said there are lessons in how other countries strategized to fight the virus.

In the United States, he said it was a more individualized approach, pushing decisions to the local level.

“A pandemic is just far too complex, there’s too much information. It’s just hard to make a good decision whereby the countries and other places, where they had more of a national strategy they seemed to be more successful. They were able to get this under control much more quickly, and they had less cases, less death," he explained.

Overall, he believes most people came together to fight the virus.

But, Pothof admits this was a tough year, of monumental requests, for people, from stay-at-home orders to shutdowns, to wearing masks.

“Early on in the pandemic, we were saying the opposite. That’s been one of the things that’s changing, the science, the facts that we know about this virus changed from when we first knew it existed to now where we know a lot about it.”

Pothof was also positive about the vaccine, but said it will take time before everyone who wants it can get it.

He hopes that by next New Year’s the virus will be under control.

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