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U.S. Surgeon General, HHS Deputy Secretary hold COVID-19 roundtable in Cleveland with local health, political leaders

Dr. Jerome Adams believes the virus could be under control by Thanksgiving if people follow the rules.

CLEVELAND — Two key members of the federal government's medical team were in Cleveland on Thursday afternoon to hold a roundtable meeting with local health and political officials at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center. 

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Deputy Secretary Eric Hargan and U.S. Surgeon General Vice Admiral Jerome Adams, MD, MPH, held a discussion on local efforts to combat COVID-19, among other topics. 

The roundtable meeting discussed the latest developments on Operation Warp Speed and COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials status along with efforts to ensure minority community access to the trials. They also touched on the future of Telehealth, patient confidence and safety in returning to care, and the rise in opioid use disorder in the midst of the pandemic.

Also scheduled to attend the roundtable were: 

  • UH President Cliff Megerian, MD
  • UH Cleveland Medical Center President Dan Simon, MD
  • UH Roe Green Center for Travel Medicine Robert Salata, MD
  • UH Chief Quality & Clinical Transformation Officer Peter Pronovost MD, PhD 
  • CWRU School of Medicine Interim Dean Stan Gerson, MD
  • Cleveland Clinic CEO Tom Mihaljevec
  • Congressman Anthony Gonzalez 
  • Congressman Dave Joyce 
  • Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson   

With five possible COVID vaccines now in the final stages of their clinical trials, Dr. Adams also conveyed a wishful message.

"I just talked with Tony Fauci. We still feel pretty darn good that we will be putting vaccines in arms before the end of 2020," he said.

RELATED: COVID-19 vaccine likely to come next year, not before, Fauci says

University Hospitals has been at the center of trials, with doctors saying they have never seen anything like it.

"Science moves so quickly," Dr. Robert Salata said. "From the time that this was first really recognized in China to where we're at now, eight, nine months later."

Dr. Adams believes the virus could be under control by Thanksgiving if people follow the rules, adding that Governor Mike DeWine has done a good job at handling the pandemic.

You can watch a post-roundtable briefing in the player below.