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UW health experts discuss lessons learned during the last year of the COVID-19 pandemic

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(WAOW) -- On January 29, 2020 a panel of experts from UW School of Medicine and Public Health gathered in front of a crowd to discuss what could potentially come of a new coronavirus spreading across the world. One year later, on January 27, 2021 those same panelist gathered, this time virtually, to discuss the lessons learned during the last year of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The panel discussed everything from testing and vaccines, to preventative measures, how the virus spreads and the sharing of misinformation.

Experts on the panel said that while last year they had a good sense of the epidemiology and the biology of raspatory viruses, they didn't know how much asymptomatic spread would become a factor with COVID-19.

In terms of testing, Assistant Director of the Wisconsin State Lab of Hygiene Allen Bateman said the initial issues were early on.

"CDC developed a test really quickly, which was good. But then when they rolled it out to public health labs it didn't work initially," Bateman said.

He also said that as testing progressed, it maybe got too much attention over the ways to help slow the spread of the virus.

"Occasionally there's been too much focus on testing to the detriment of other things, like emphasizing how it's really precautions that prevent transmission and prevent infections. It's the masking, distancing and limiting spending time indoors with people outside your family," Bateman said.

You can watch the full panel meeting here.

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Sarah McGrew

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