Monday, December 13, 2021

How the Pandemic May End: Interview Wih the Director of the CDC

Environmental & Science Education, STEM, Health, Medicine, Nature of Science, History of Science

Ed Hessler

ABC News Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Jennifer Ashton, interviews the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at the CDC's Emergency Operations Center about how the pandemic may end.

Dr. Walensky noted that "We've gotten pretty cavalier about 1,100 deaths per day. ... That's an extraordinary amount of deaths in a single day from this disease. We can't - I can't - be in a position where that is OK." 

In her reporting on this story, free lance journalist, Sony Salzman writes, "The more scientists have learned about the virus, the more they have moved away from (the) concept of herd immunity - the idea that the virus will one day be stopped in its tracks when enough people are immune.

"Instead, scientists agree that some mild breakthrough cases are still likely to happen, even among the vaccinated. In a world where almost everyone was vaccinated, COVID-19 cases would still happen."

So cases would still occur but it would be more like the seasonal flu. This means there would be hospitalizations and deaths, "but dramatically fewer than 1,100 deaths per day."

On November 30, the StarTribune's editorial was titled "Health care leaders must step up now."  This invited to vigorous counterpoints, one from Dr. Granrico Farrugia, president of the Mayo Clinic and one from the president of the Minnesota Medical Association, Dr. Randy Rice.

Farrugia noted that "everyone is on the front lines now and can help bring this to an end if we all step up in three key ways." By now you know those ways:  "mask and practice social distancing in appropriate settings, if we have symptoms, we must be considerate about the risk and get appropriate testing. "Crucially we all need to get vaccinated, including boosters, if eligible."

Rice called attention to a "difficult and uncomfortable truth...that health care--from nurses, doctors, therapists, custodial staff, to executives--have been giving all that we've got since this pandemic began."

He continues by saying "It is long past time for others to step up as well--every Minnesotan and every political, business and community leader. ... Our enemy is the virus, not each other. We have the tools (vaccines, boosters, masking, testing, etc) to emerge from this pandemic. If we use them." (emphasis mine)

I expect viral surprises ahead. There is much to be learned about the biology of COVID-19.  

Here is the video (5m 03s).


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