Updated: May 6, 2020

As countries begin to reopen, various spikes in infection rates show that the fight against COVID-19 will be a long-fought one.

From the time Dr. Li Wenliang sounded the alarm bells after the Chinese authorities worked to hide information, the world has looked to doctors and healthcare professionals to make sense of this pandemic. Pervading headlines that mix in politics and conspiracy theories make what actual healthcare professionals have to say indelible to the international discourse.

We interviewed Medical Doctors and other healthcare professionals directly involved with COVID responses around the world, and this is what they had to say:

UNITED STATES: Dr. Lisette Bizzochi (Motefiore Medical Center, New York) and Dr. Elias Naser, MD (Presbyterian Medical Group, New Mexico)

With more than 19,000 deaths, New York emerges as the epicenter for the coronavirus outbreak in the United States. The New York Times headlines like “'There's No Way We Can Bury or Cremate Them Fast Enough’” and “‘We Ran Out of Space’: Bodies Pile Up as N.Y. Struggles to Bury Its Dead” invade the public consciousness. Dr. Lissette Bizzochi, MD in Montefiore Hospital in Bronx, New York despairs from the human struggle and the faces behind those deaths. She empathizes with all of the victims and their families: "The most difficult parts is that families are not allowed to see their loved ones.”

Positive things and uplifting human acts can also felt all around New York. Dr. Bizzochi sees New Yorkers “...are uniting to fight these unprecedented times. Most people are paying attention and quarantining per recommendation. Healthcare professionals are giving their all to help people. Many are donating PPE’s, food, and even clothing to healthcare providers so they may be able to care for their patients.”

New Mexico, in contrast, has only had more than 3,400 cases with 123 COVID-related deaths but a recent rise of cases reported beginning of May has caused road closures and curfews among hotspots in the state. Dr. Elias Nasr, noted that changes may be “too early to tell” in the state as it looks to be in a much different stage of the disease.

Which country has had the best response against COVID-19?

  • Dr. Bizzochi: “Argentina has been very strict in regards to quarantining since after seeing outbreaks in Italy. People are not allowed in the streets. Period.”

  • Dr. Nasr: “Besides South Korea and Germany, I’m not aware of how good the other countries are doing.”

What is the best advice you can give to people around the world?

  • Dr. Bizzochi: “Don’t be selfish. Think about others. Protect the more vulnerable.”

  • Dr. Nasr: “Follow the task force guidelines if your government has not established guidelines of its own.”

What is the worst or untruthful thing you’ve heard about COVID-19?

  • Dr. Bizzochi: “Suggesting the use of disinfectants was the worst and most dangerous statement I have heard.”

  • Dr. Nasr: “The WHO should be held accountable for its lack of early warning. You can’t play politics with the well-being of the world population. China will eventually have to come to explain and admit its error. The world will never forget what it did.”

MEXICO: Dr. Emmanuel Alejandro Garcia Lopez (Mexico City, Mexico)

Dr. Lopez had an up-close and personal battle with COVID-19 when his father contracted the disease and became "incredibly sick." He observes that it has become increasingly difficult to create a consciousness about the disease as people are still leaving their homes and not following social distancing. He continues, “because of the paranoia, depression and stress, we are not just fighting one disease here. There are other medical areas affected by COVID-19.”

The failure in information dissemination and getting people to believe and understand the disease led Dr. Lopez to surmise Mexico's biggest shortcomings. “We are struggling with ICU beds, as not all hospitals are designated as COVID hospitals."

In Mexico, policies have been applied to stop massive social interactions including closing of businesses at 2pm. The use of facemasks are obligatory in Mexico and there are a reduction of cars in the streets per day designated by the numbers on their license plates.

Much criticism has been aimed at Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Dr. Lopez points culpability at the government “not taking the threat seriously in the beginning. He [President Obrador] was encouraging people to go outside their houses and visit public places. He was doing the same and giving the worst example for Mexicans.” He infers that with a better initial government attitude, there could have been better preparation for ventilators, PPE’s and staffing against COVID-19.

Which country has had the best response against COVID-19?

  • Dr. Lopez: “Those that closed their borders and quarantined in time, those testing a bigger proportion of their population, and the governments that are providing clear information. South Korea, Israel and Norway are some worth noting.”