Fourth-year Ohio State University medical student Amy Xie just returned to the CDC headquarters in Atlanta after conducting an investigation of the coronavirus outbreak in Arizona.
Xie works at the CDC as part of a epidemiology elective program through Ohio State.
“Our role was to do an outbreak investigation surrounding the one confirmed case as well as any potential exposures,” she says, “as well as persons under investigation who have symptoms or travel histories that might line up with a new diagnosis of the case.”
The confirmed case in Arizona is one of 15 cases in the country, according to the CDC. Globally, more than 2,000 people have died from COVIDO-19. Hundreds of Americans have been quarantined at military bases after returning from travel abroad.
Xie says person-to-person transmission in the U.S. seems to come from very close contact, like among spouses.
The experience will inform how she thinks of her role as a doctor, she says. She says it taught her about the importance of working with a team of health professionals to communicate accurate information to the public.
“My work in the future cannot be just limited to working in a hospital or in a clinic,” she says, “but that physicians are needed as part of the public health workforce.”
Xie will return to campus in March.