Ted Koppel Talks Nightline, COVID-19 and Its Impact on Those with COPD

Posted on April 17, 2020   |   
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This article was written by Bret Denning, JD and Kristen Willard, MS


Forty years ago, Ted Koppel was chosen to host Nightline, a television show focusing on a growing international story: the Iran hostage crisis that gripped the nation for 444 days. As he recently looked back on that time in an interview with ABC News, Koppel compared it to the current COVID-19 crisis and how the virus is affecting the COPD community. His wife, Grace Anne Dorney Koppel, has lived with COPD for nearly 20 years. She previously served as the Interim President and Board Member of the COPD Foundation and she and her husband remain fierce advocates for individuals with COPD and their families.

COPD is an umbrella term that includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis. In the interview, Koppel emphasized the need for more attention to COPD and connected for viewers how COVID-19 is particularly relevant to those living with COPD. COPD is a respiratory illness that kills more than 155,000 Americans every year and COVID-19 is a disease with substantial impact on the lungs. Koppel states that there may be no group more vulnerable to COVID-19 than those people affected by COPD.

He noted that many people only begin to take a public health threat like COVID-19 seriously when it affects someone close to them and that people will, as the weeks and months pass and more people are impacted, “wake up” and attend to the evolving threat. He stated that more people will be directly affected as the virus spreads; he hopes that the country will understand how serious and how damaging this virus is and take steps to prepare and act accordingly.

Koppel pointed out that unlike the Iranian hostage crisis, the crisis of COVID-19 more directly impacts the daily lives of the American people. He also focused on the importance of individuals seeking out high-quality, trusted information regarding COVID-19 and the necessity for journalists to do be able to provide factual information to the population. Too much false information is being spread, Koppel states, particularly over the internet. Now is the time to not only respect but to reinforce the legitimacy of the media and the important role they play in our society.

Ted and Grace Anne Dorney Koppel have been passionate advocates for those living with COPD for almost two decades. The COPD Foundation appreciates the work they are doing and thanks Ted Koppel for speaking out about the impact COVID-19 is having on the COPD community. This interview was intended to be a celebration of 40 years of Nightline; in his usual way, Koppel made this an educational and informative experience as he brought more attention to the critical issues facing all people affected by COPD.

Ted Koppel, 'Nightline's' first anchor, talks show's 40th anniversary, fighting COPD | Nightline | Click to watch the video.

The COPD Foundation provides evidence-based information on the coronavirus and COVID-19 disease that has been reviewed by members of its medical and scientific advisory committee. To access this information, please visit the Coronavirus Information page on the COPD Foundation website.

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