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EXCLUSIVE I Our greatest challenges in a post-pandemic Ohio: Cleveland’s hospital CEOs see long-lasting problems from COVID-19

“I’m really afraid for the generation that has had this year stolen from them.”

CLEVELAND — As Ohio’s top priority remains getting more people vaccinated in this time of COVID-19, health leaders are already planning for a post-pandemic reality; our worries are far from over. 

In a 3News exclusive, Senior Health Correspondent Monica Robins hosted an exclusive conversation with CEO’s from Cleveland’s hospital systems. They covered a wide range of topics, including the availability of vaccine appointments, to what we’ve learned from the global health crisis.

Here’s who we featured in the conversation:

  • Dr. Tom Mijalevic, Cleveland Clinic President and CEO
  • Dr. Akram Boutros, MetroHealth President and CEO
  • Dr. Cliff Megerian, University Hospitals President and CEO

During the 52-minute discussion, Robins asked the CEOs to share their biggest fears post-pandemic, and whether we can say we are winning the war on this virus. Here’s what they had to say:

Dr. Megerian: “My biggest concern is the number of folks that have postponed health care for fear of getting COVID. The ultimate risks of delaying care, certainly outweigh the risks of delaying care certainly outweigh the risks of coming into our organizations that are committed to safety.”

Dr. Boutros: “The social isolation that we’ve had to endure for over a year and what the impact on our children and our elderly. The death rate from Alzheimer’s disease has significantly increased. And that’s the result of people not being able to see their loved ones, not having any mental stimulation during this past year. So, I’m really afraid for the generation that now has had this year stolen from them and the continued isolation for our elderly. So, so I think we're going to see a decade of behavioral health impact of this pandemic.”

And Dr. Mijalevic had this to say about whether we are turning the corner in our battle against COVID-19:

Dr. Mijalevic: Obviously the mass vaccination is a challenge. This is an unprecedented challenge. We have never done that, not at a scale and at a speed that is required, but the progress is real. And I'm very optimistic about the vaccination effort in our country. And I do believe that continuing of a continuation of public health care measures, meaning mask wearing social distancing, hand, washing everything that we've been preaching. A mass vaccination effort is going to get us to the point where we will have the resumption of normal life activities. And I do certainly believe in how it's not going to be in a distant future.”

You can watch the entire interview in the player below:

More from our conversations with Cleveland's hospital CEOs:

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