Smart Talk: COVID-19 and the heart

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Airdate: Thursday, February 18, 2021

February is Heart Health month and typically a time to investigate new treatments and approaches to heart disease. This year, however, COVID is top of mind and impacting heart health in ways few would have predicted.

The American Heart Association highlights a number of studies suggesting that some COVID-19 survivors may experience some type of heart damage, even if they didn’t have underlying heart disease and weren’t sick enough to be hospitalized for COVID. This understanding has health care experts worried about a potential increase in heart failure.

Their concern also has to do with the fact that many people have avoided going to the doctor over the past year due to COVID concerns. Their reluctance has the potential for long term health impact.

Dr. Rhondalyn McLean, MD., is a Cardiologist and the Medical Director for Heart Transplantation with Penn Medicine and she joins Smart Talk to discuss what is now known about COVID and the heart.

China facing allegations of committing genocide

In one of his last official acts, Trump administration Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused the People’s Republic of China of committing genocide against one of its minority, ethnic populations. 

He was referring to the policies directed toward ethnic Uighurs who are predominantly Muslim and living in Western China. 

The term genocide is fraught with political, humanitarian and moral implications and leaves the Biden administration with the onerous task of proving the allegation. China, on the other hand, has stated emphatically that the charges are false and an attempt to discredit their government. 

Joining Smart Talk to put the complicated situation into context is Zhiqun Zhu, PhD, Professor of Political Science and International Relations and Chair of Department of International Relations at Bucknell University. Professor Zhu travels frequently to China and will discuss the ethnic composition of the PRC, and the difficulty confirming what is occurring there.

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