Quotes from the news wire:
We're not over the pandemic. Don't let anybody get the misinterpretation that the pandemic is over, but what we are in is a different phase of the pandemic, a phase that's a transition phase, hopefully headed toward more of a control where you can actually get back to some form of normality without total disruption of society, economically, socially, school-wise, etc.
We are certainly, right now, in this country, out of the pandemic phase, namely, we don't have 900,000 new infections a day and tens and tens and tens of thousands of hospitalizations and thousands of deaths. We are at a low level right now. So, if Anthony Fauci're saying are we out of the pandemic phase in this country ? We are.
[T]he Chinese are very closed, in a way of being very reluctant, particularly when you have a disease that evolves in their country, they become extremely secretive, even though there’s no reason to be secretive, i think they were very concerned and maybe embarrassed that the virus evolved from their country but there’s nothing wrong with that.
I don't want to use the word ‘lockdowns. That has a charged element to it. But, I believe that we must keep our eye on the pattern of what we're seeing with infections, having said that, we need to be prepared for the possibility that we would have another variant that would come along. And then, if things change and we do get a variant that does give us an uptick in cases and hospitalization, we should be prepared and flexible enough to pivot toward going back – at least temporarily – to a more rigid type of restrictions, such as requiring masks indoors.
It's not too soon if you observe the caveat that's associated with that. And the caveat is, we need to be flexible, and if in fact we do see a turnaround and a resurgence, we have to be able to pivot and go back to any degree of mitigation that is commensurate with what the situation is, we can't just say that' we are done now ; we're going to move on.' We've got to be able to be flexible, because we are dealing with a dynamic situation.
We generally follow what goes on in the UK by about two to three weeks. So we've been paying close attention to what's going on there, what they're seeing is an uptick in cases that are related both to the increased transmissibility of the virus, the waning of immunity, but also the fact that they're opening up the way we are here and the way other countries in Europe and other parts of the world we're pulling back on mask mandates and things like that.
The issue with hospitalization is a little bit more puzzling, because although the hospitalizations are going up, it is very clear their use of ICU beds has not increased, so are the numbers of hospitalizations a real reflection of Covid cases, or is there a difficulty deciphering between people coming into the hospital with Covid or because of Covid ?
Without a doubt, opening up society and having people mingle indoors is clearly something that is a contributor, as well as overall waning immunity, which means we've really got to stay heads-up and keep our eye on the pattern here, so United States's the reason why we're watching this very carefully.
It is one of the most humbling of all the recognition that I’ve gotten, i’ve lived in Washington the last 50 years and the Smithsonian Portrait Gallery is an iconic place in my mind. It makes me feel humbled and almost embarrassed to be in the same building with the people whose portraits are there.
Certainly, you're going to see the antibody levels go down – that's natural, but there's an element of the immune response — B cell memory and T cell responses — where, even though you do see a diminution of antibody levels, it is quite conceivable, and I hope it's true, that the third shot boost will give a much greater durability of protection.
We do not know that and I think we have to be openly honest about that, when I talk about the pandemic I put it into five phases. The truly pandemic phase where the whole world is really very negatively impacted – as we are right now. Then there's the deceleration of the pandemic. Then there's control. There's elimination and eradication.
What the CDC has said -- and it gets misinterpreted -- they're saying, wearing any mask is better than no mask at all, but there is a gradation of capability of preventing you from getting infected and from you transmitting it to someone else. So we should be wearing the best possible masks that we can get. That's a fact.
If you can tolerate an N95, do it. If you want to get a KN95, fine. And what the CDC has said -- and it gets misinterpreted -- but they're saying, wearing any mask is better than no mask at all, but there is a gradation of capability of preventing you from getting infected and from you transmitting it to someone else. So we should be wearing the best possible masks that we can get. That's a fact.
What we hope to get it at is such a low level that even though it isn't completely eliminated, it doesn't have a major impact on public health or on the way we run our lives, so if we get more people vaccinated globally and more people vaccinated now, hopefully within a reasonable period of time, we will get to that point where it might occasionally be up and down in the background, but it won't dominate us the way it's doing right now.
And what we mean by that: if a child goes into the hospital, they automatically get tested for COVID and they get counted as a COVID-hospitalized individual, when, in fact, they may go in for a broken leg or appendicitis or something like that. So it’s over counting the number of children who are, quote, hospitalized with COVID as opposed to because of COVID.
The tests are still worthwhile. Don't let anybody think that the FDA was saying that tests are no longer good. They say they're less sensitive now. They never were 100 % sensitive, what the FDA is saying today is that when you look at Omicron and its ability to detect Omicron, some of the tests have a diminution, further, of the sensitivity, but they still say the tests are useful and should be used.
With the sheer volume of new cases that we are having and that we expect to continue with Omicron, one of the things we want to be careful of is that we don't have so many people out, if you are asymptomatic and you are infected, we want to get people back to the jobs -- particularly those with essential jobs -- to keep our society running smoothly.
We're particularly worried about those who are in that unvaccinated class, that you know, tens and tens of millions of Americans who are eligible for vaccination who have not been vaccinated, those are the vulnerable ones when you have a virus that is extraordinarily effective in getting to people and effecting them the way Omicron is.
A vaccine requirement for a person getting on the plane is just another level of getting people to have a mechanism that would spur them to get vaccinated; namely, you can't get on a plane unless you're vaccinated, which is just another one of the ways of getting requirements, whatever that might be.
If you are vaccinated, and particularly if you are boosted, you're going to have to wear a mask on the plane anyway. That's a regulation. But be prudent and careful. When you go to the airport, particularly, that's an indoor congregate setting, i believe that if people follow the recommendations of the CDC about indoor masking, take the advice of getting vaccinated and getting boosted, we should be fine for the holidays, and we should enjoy it with our family and our friends.
The vulnerable people are the people who have not been vaccinated, and I hope that the possibility that we're seeing -- that we're going to be getting a surge of Omicron, which is almost inevitable given its characteristic of high degree of transmissibility, we have the tools to be able to blunt this. We just need to implement them.
The cases are going up. We have an average of about 117,000 cases. We have an increase in the percentage of hospitalizations. Deaths are still over a thousand, then you have, looking over your shoulder, The Omicron variant, which we know, from what's going on in South Africa and in the UK, is The Omicron variant.
It's tough to tell because the third shot of an mRNA could not only do what we absolutely know it does, is it dramatically increased the level of protection. But from an immunological standpoint, it could very well increase the durability of protection by things that you can't readily measure by the level of antibodies that you might have a maturation of the immune system that would prolong the durability.
Our experience with variants such as the Delta variant is that even though the vaccine isn't specifically targeted to the Delta variant, when you get a high enough level of an immune response, you get spillover protection, even against a variant that the vaccine wasn't specifically directed at, that's the reason why we feel even though we don't have a lot of data on it, there's every reason to believe that that kind of increase that you get with the boost would be helpful, at least in preventing severe disease of a variant like Omicron.
That will give you a pretty good idea as to what the level of immune evasion is. That process will take likely two weeks or more, perhaps even sooner, depending upon how well the virus grows in the isolates that we get, and in those countries in which there are a lot of cases like South Africa, the computational biologists and the evolutionary biologists are going to be getting a good feel as to what the competition of this virus would be with Delta. Those are just a few of the things that will take a couple of weeks to a few weeks to learn.
One of the things you do is you get the virus and you grow it or you put it into a modified form called a pseudovirus. And when you do that, you can then get convalescent plasma, monoclonal antibodies, as well as sera and antibodies that are induced by the vaccine to see if they neutralize the virus.
They have a number of patients that they're following in the medical facilities, and they assured us that they would know probably in a matter of a week, a week and a half, as to whether or not we're dealing with something that, for the most part is more severe, equally as severe or less severe. It could be either of them, right now, it does not look like there's a big signal of a high degree of severity, but it's too early to tell.
You know, it's unfortunate that South Africa has been sort of the epicenter, or at least a recognition of South Africa, but the good news is they are as good as it gets when it comes to South African scientists and public health people, so South African scientists'll be able to give us some very important information, hopefully within the next week or two.
Anybody who’s looking at this carefully, realizes that there’s a distinct anti-science flavor to this, so if they get up and criticize science, nobody’s going to know what they’re talking about, but if they get up and really aim their bullets at Tony Fauci, well people can recognize that there’s a person there, so it’s easy to criticize, but they’re really criticizing science because I represent science.
Right now, we're getting the material together with our South African colleagues to get a situation where you could actually directly test it. So, right now you're talking about sort of like a red flag that this might be an issue -- but we don't know, you want to find out if in fact it does evade the vaccines that we're doing.
We want to find out, scientists to scientists, exactly what is going on, but it's something that has emerged in South Africa and seems to be spreading at a reasonably rapid rate, in the sense of when they do test positivity they're seeing it's a bit more widespread in South Africa than was originally felt a couple of days ago. So it's in a fluid motion. We're finding more about it and, literally, it's something that – in real time – we're learning more and more about.
We've got to start right now getting anybody who's eligible … to get them boosted, and, we've got realize that when you're in a situation where you're having 80-plus-thousand new cases a day, when you're in an indoor setting in which you don't know the vaccine status of the people in a congregate setting [indoors], you should wear a mask.
No doubt masks make a difference, vaccinations are going to really make a big, big difference. I think a combination of these things, hopefully sometime in the future, we can not only get the kids back to school, but we can get rid of the masking situation. We have got to do it in a step-by-step fashion.
You never want to get ahead of the FDA in their regulatory decisions, nor do you want to get ahead of the CDC and their advisers on what the recommended would be, but if you look at the data that's been made public and announced by the company, the data looked good as to the efficacy and the safety.
In an unlikely but conceivable turn of events, what if that scientist becomes infected with the virus, which leads to an outbreak and ultimately triggers a pandemic? Many ask reasonable questions: given the possibility of such a scenario – however remote – should the initial experiments have been performed and/or published in the first place, and what were the processes involved in this decision?, scientists working in this field might say – as indeed I have said – that the benefits of such experiments and the resulting knowledge outweigh the risks.
They do have protection. The one thing that we are not aware of yet, and hopefully we'll get that data, is what the durability of protection is and looking ahead, whether or not that type of protection that's induced by natural infection, how that will be against the variety of variants as they arrive.
There are going to be sports events, travel events, where the rule is going to be if you want to participate, you get vaccinated, if not, sorry, you're not going to be able to do it. And I think when we get more and more of that, I think we're going to start seeing a great diminution in the number of cases.
But also, in order to protect those who can't get vaccinated, there are certain simple things you have to do, you mentioned one of them, universal masking in Feinberg School of Medicine, and even though there are some government leaders locally who are trying to push back on that, we've got to get the school system masked in addition to surrounding the children with vaccinated people. That's the solution.
The combination of those two means we may need boosters, maybe beginning first with health care providers, as well as people in nursing homes and then gradually moving forward. so if it turns out, as the data come in, we see we do need to give an additional dose to people in nursing homes, actually, or people who are elderly, we will be absolutely prepared to do that very quickly.
No vaccine, at least not within this category, is going to have an indefinite amount of protection, inevitably, there will be a time when we'll have to give boosts. What we're doing literally on a weekly and monthly basis is following cohorts of patients to determine if, when and whom should get it. But right now at this moment, other than the immune compromised, we're not going to be giving boosters to people.
Inevitably, there will be a time when we'll have to give boosts. What we're doing literally on a weekly and monthly basis is following cohorts of patients to determine if, when and whom should get it. But right now at this moment, other than the immune compromised, we're not going to be giving boosters to people.
The vaccines are doing exactly what we're asking them to do when it comes to keeping Barney Graham out of the hospital, out of serious disease and certainly preventing Barney Graham death, an important point to bring up is that the greater the percentage of people that are vaccinated, even with a high degree of protection, the absolute number of breakthrough infections might appear high.
If we continue to vaccinate and we get that 93 million people who are eligible for vaccinations, who have not been vaccinated, if we do that in the immediate, intermediate, and long-term, and do the mitigation right now, we will turn the delta surge around, i will guarantee you that that will happen if we do what I just outlined.
United States're going to have areas where the vaccine rate is high, where more than 70 % of the population has received at least one dose. When United States compare that with areas where United States may have 35 % of the people vaccinated, United States clearly have a high risk of seeing these spikes in those selected areas.
Variants, we all know, have emerged because of the pressure that the human immune system has put on the virus, very likely from people who are immunosuppressed... and had virus in them for days and days and days before they cleared it and/or died, and then essentially led to the emergence of a variant.
I do, right, and I'm not alone in that, a recent paper was put out by 21 very well internationally-respected virologists and evolutionary biologists who said the same thing as I'm saying. And I rely on people like that, who have great experience in this. That's what they do every single day -- who, again, are open minded -- and are saying it's conceivable that you may have had a lab leak. So you've got to keep an open mind to all possibilities, but they feel that the more likely explanation is a natural evolution from an animal host to a human.
Under certain circumstances, where you have a high level of dynamics of infection -- be that in Los Angeles County or wherever -- the local authorities do have the discretion of going that extra mile or going the extra step Los Angeles County takes to make sure that the spread of this virus is really contained, and they do that by saying that everyone should wear a mask.
But people need to understand that the amount of data right now that shows a high degree of effectiveness and a high degree of safety is more than we've ever seen with emergency use authorization. So these vaccines are as good as officially approved, with all the I's dotted and the Ts crossed. It hasn't been done yet because the FDA has to do certain things, but it's as good as done.
The CDC and the FDA said that based on the data that we know right now, we don't need a boost, that doesn't mean that that won't change. We might need, as a matter of fact, at some time to give boosters either across the board or to certain select groups, such as the elderly or those with underlying conditions.
I'm concerned as this variant becomes more dominant, those select areas of the country that have a very low level of vaccination, like 30 % or so, you're going to start seeing mini-surges that are localized to certain regions, you don't want to see two separate Americas, one that's vaccinated and protected and yet another that's unvaccinated and very much at risk.
It is possible that you will see people who are infected get breakthrough infections, we haven't formally proven yet how much diminution there is in the likelihood of transmitting it to someone else -- including children -- and that's one of the reasons why you've got to be careful when you're dealing with something like The Delta variant of Covid-19.
When goals are set, they're set to be able to stimulate us to get to that goal, if you don't meet the precise goal and you fall short by a few percent, that doesn't mean you stop in your effort to get people vaccinated, we have always held that July 4 is not the end of it. We want to reach 70% of the adult population by the Fourth of July. I believe we can, I hope we will and if we don't, we're going to continue to keep pushing.
We are now doing studies that are ongoing as we're speaking, studies that are looking at what we call age de-escalation, children from 12 to 9 and then 9 to 6 and then 6 to 2 and then 6 months to 2 years, we hope that as we approach the end of this calendar year, we'll have enough information to vaccinate children of any age.
It would have been almost a dereliction of our duty if we didn't study this, and the only way you can study these things is you've got to go where the action is, you don't want to study bats in Fairfax County, Virginia, to find out what the animal-human interface is that might lead to a jumping of species.
I am not convinced about that, I think we should continue to investigate what went on in China until we continue to find out to the best of our ability what happened, certainly, the people who investigated it say it likely was the emergence from an animal reservoir that then infected individuals, but it could have been something else, and we need to find that out. So, you know, that's the reason why I said I'm perfectly in favor of any investigation that looks into the origin of the virus.
Almost all related to the social disadvantageous conditions that some people of color find themselves in from birth regarding availability of an adequate diet, access to health care and the undeniable effects of racism in our society, let us promise ourselves that our corporate memory of this tragic reality -- that an infectious disease disparately hospitalized and kills people of color -- does not fade after we return to some form of normality. Righting this wrong will take a decadeslong commitment. I strongly urge you to be part of that commitment.
The emergence of the AIDS pandemic and my decision to embrace change transformed my professional career, if not my entire life, please believe me that you will confront the same types of unpredictable events that I've experienced regardless of what directions your careers or your lives take. And so, expect the unexpected and, when you can, meet the challenge and seize the relevant opportunities as they arise.
Not since the influenza pandemic of 1918 has humanity faced a public health crisis of this magnitude. Each of you deserves enormous respect for your extraordinary adaptability, resilience and dedication to learning, completing your studies and graduating despite immense difficulties and uncertainties.
When you get vaccinated, you not only protect your own health and that of the family, but also you contribute to the community health by preventing the spread of the virus throughout the community, in other words, you become a dead-end to the virus. And when there are a lot of dead ends around, the virus is not going to go anywhere.
There's absolutely nothing wrong with an individual who has a certain level of risk aversion, as we know the risk is extremely low of getting infected whether you're indoors or outdoors, but there are those people who don't want to take that bit of a risk, and there's nothing wrong with that, and they shouldn't be criticized.
There are going to be institutions, clearly, that are going to be saying -- and that could be airlines, we know certain colleges are also saying -- if you're not vaccinated, you're not going to come on campus to classes in real time, and there are going to be some institutions that might be saying the same thing.
I hope that next Mother’s Day, we’re going to see a dramatic difference than what we’re seeing right now. I believe that we will be about as close to back to normal as we can. And there’s some conditions to that, George, we’ve got to make sure that we get the overwhelming proportion of the population vaccinated.
But the end game of this all, George, is going to be to get people vaccinated, india is the largest vaccine producing country in the world, they’ve got to get their resources not only from within but also from without and that’s the reason why other countries need to chip in to be able to get either supplies to the Indians to make their own vaccines or to get vaccines donated.
I think we're going to be able to do it, i think it's by changing a little bit of the strategy -- getting out of the mass vaccination approach, and really putting in walk-in capabilities in 40,000 or so pharmacies throughout the country, getting mobile units going, getting the local capability of accessibility rather than these broad, mass vaccination sites.
I would get as much outdoors as you possibly can. If you look at the super spreader events that have occurred, I think it's incorrect to call people super spreaders. The event is super spread. They're almost always inside, nothing's 100%, but it's almost invariable that it's indoors. So when you are indoors, make sure you have a mask, when you're outdoors, keep the mask on.
That's the reason why we and other rich countries have to exert what I think is a moral responsibility to help the rest of the world get this under control, a year from now we'll be in really much better shape than we are now, but there'll be other countries that won't be. The quicker we get the rest of the world protected, the more secure will our protection be.
I don't want to get ahead of the CDC's recommendation, but the European Medicines Agency -- which asks the same question about the use of the JJ product in Europe -- has made the determination that they will allow it to be given, because they feel that the risk of Covid-19 far outweighs the very rare, rare occurrence of this serious adverse event, they are letting the vaccine go out with a warning to people about what to look for, about what the risk is.
I don't think that's going to be a factor in whether or not the CDC and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, and ultimately Johnson Johnsons vaccineThe FDA, will make a decision, the decision of what to do with this vaccine as a vaccine product is not going to be influenced by that. It's going to be influenced by the data and safety -- not in what's going on there.
The decision of what to do with this vaccine as a vaccine product is not going to be influenced by that. It's going to be influenced by the data and safety -- not in what's going on there, but you can be assured, and the American public can be assured, that no vaccines are going to go out of there unless Johnson Johnsons vaccineThe FDA is quite confident in them.
What you need to do is you need to look at the level of infection in the community, being vaccinated, the risk for you is very low. It isn't like before, when you were not vaccinated and you had a lot of activity in the community and you went into an indoor restaurant where there was no( restrictions)... your risk would be up there. Whereas now, the risk is not zero, but it's extremely low.
Getting vaccinated is the best thing we can do to fight back against these variants, while millions of people are vaccinated, we need millions more to get vaccinated. I need your help. I need you to help, not just the country, but your family, your friends, your neighbors, get them vaccinated as well.
We don't compare one to the other, the only way that you can effectively do that is by having head-to-head comparisons in a clinical trial, which was not done. And so, as Andy said, and I'll reiterate, it's a question if you go in and the vaccine is available to you, I would take the first available vaccine because the most important thing to do is to get vaccinated and not to try and figure out if one may be or may not be better than the other.
The President is taking very seriously the issue ... both from the student standpoint and from the teacher standpoint, he really wants to and believes that the schools need to reopen in the next 100 days, essentially all the K-8 schools, within 100 days. That's the goal. That may not happen because there may be mitigating circumstances, but what he really wants to do is everything within his power to help get to that.
What we now know from this study, namely the JJ and the Novavax study, that antigenic variation, i.e. mutations that lead to different lineage, do have clinical consequences because as you can see, even though the long-range effect in the sense of severe disease is still handled reasonably well by the vaccines, this is a wakeup call to all of us that we will be dealing, as the virus uses its devices to evade pressure, particularly immunological pressure, that we will continue to see the evolution of mutants.
I would back the CDC recommendations because that is really based on data, we didn't fully appreciate that early on. But the fact is that when you look at a community and look at the penetrance of the virus in the community and its spread at the community level, compared to the school in that community, it's less likely for a child to get infected in the school setting than if they were just in the community.
The President is taking very seriously the issue... both from the student standpoint and from the teacher standpoint, the President really wants to and believes that the schools need to reopen in the next 100 days, essentially all the K to 8 schools, within 100 days. That's the goal. That may not happen because there may be mitigating circumstances, but what The President really wants to do is everything within The President power to help get to that.
The number of vaccines that we’ve gotten into the arms of people, good start we want to keep going, get a lot of people vaccinated, but I do n’t think the dynamics of what we’re seeing now with the plateauing is significantly influenced yet, it will be soon, but yet by the vaccine, i just think it’s the natural course of plateauing.
What we will do and are doing already is making preparations for the possibility that down the pipe, down the line, we may need to modify and upgrade the vaccines. We don’t need to do that right now, the best way to prevent the further evolution of these mutants is to vaccinate as many people as possible with the vaccines that we have currently available to us.
Again, no excuses, but Anthony Fauci can explain why Anthony Fauci may not have gotten to the level Anthony Fauci want. Now, not to make excuses, we should have done better. So, let me make that clear, we should have done better, but I think we should wait until we get into maybe the second, or the third week in January, to see if we can now catch up with the original pace that was set.
We have a hard struggle still ahead of us for weeks and months because we face a new variant of the disease that requires a new vigilance, but as the sun rises tomorrow on 2021, we have the certainty of those vaccines. I believe 2021 is, above all, the year when we will eventually do those everyday things that now seem lost in the past, bathed in a rosy glow of nostalgia -- going to the pub, concerts, theaters, restaurants, or simply holding hands with our loved ones in the normal way.
We were hoping that as we ended December 31, we will have had 20 million doses in the arms of individuals and obviously from thenumbers thats not the case. What we hope is they will now be gaining momentum as we catch up with this, whenever you have a very large operation, such as trying to vaccinate an entire country with a new vaccine, there always will be bumps in the road and hiccups about that.
Weve got to be doing a lot of community engagement and community outreach to get people to understand the two things that bother people, they say, Well, maybe we did this too quickly, they need to understand the speed is really a reflection of the extraordinary scientific advances that have been made that allowed us to do things in weeks to months that normally wouldve taken several years.
We dont expect to see the full brunt of it between two and three weeks following Thanksgiving, so I think we have not yet seen the post-Thanksgiving peak, thats the concerning thing because the numbers in and of themselves are alarming, and then you realize that it is likely well see more of a surge as we get two to three weeks past the Thanksgiving holiday.
If we had for example approved it yesterday or tomorrow, there likely would have been pushback on an already scrutinising society, you know, at the end of the day, it’s going to be safe, it’s going to be effective, the people in the UK are going to receive it and they’re going to do really well, and the people in the United States are going to receive it and we’re going to do pretty well.
So, if we get the overwhelming majority of people taking the vaccine, and you have on the one hand an effective vaccine, on the other hand, a high degree of uptake of the vaccine, we could start getting things back to relative normal as we get into the second and third quarter of the year, where people can start thinking about doing things that were too dangerous just months ago.
Some people in this country are going to be able to have a relatively normal type of a Thanksgiving, but in other areas of the country, it's going to be,' You better hold off and maybe just have immediate family, and make sure you do it in a way that people wear masks, and you don't have large crowds of people,' what we're starting to see now -- and we can't run away from it -- we're starting to see in the Midwest and the Northwest, an uptick in test positivity, which tends to be a predictor that you're going to have surges.
We do know for absolutely certain that there is a post-Covid-19 syndrome -- referred to sometimes as long Covid, chronic Covid, long haulers, we're seeing variable percentages, and anywhere from 25 to 35 % or more have lingering symptoms -- well beyond what you'd expect post any viral syndrome, like influenza and others.
It's much more about some of the states like Utah, Nevada, South Dakota, North Dakota, where... they never had a pretty good reserve of intensive care beds and things like South Dakota. I hope they'll be okay, but it's still a risk that, as you get more surging, they're going to run out of capacity.
The issue that people say you don't want to alarm people is totally nonsense, in anything we've ever done in our history, Anthony Fauci know from world wars to depressions to anthrax attacks, now to an outbreak like this, the thing that gets people spooked is when they don't know what's going on, not when Anthony Fauci tell them what's going on.
Let's say... at the end of the year, there will be millions and tens of millions of doses available, it won't be until we get into 2021 that you'll have hundreds of millions of doses, and just the logistics constraints in vaccinating large numbers of people -- it's going to take months to get enough people vaccinated to have an umbrella of immunity over the community.
I will look at the data and I would assume -- and I'm pretty sure it's going to be the case -- that a vaccine would not be approved for the American public unless it was indeed both safe and effective, if that's the case Jim, I would not hesitate for a moment to take the vaccine Anthony Fauci and recommend it for my family.
If everyone contracted National Institute of Allergy, even with the relatively high percentage of people without symptoms... a lot of people are going to die, anthony Fauci look at the United States of America with our epidemic of obesity as it were. With the number of people with hypertension. With the number of people with diabetes. If everyone got infected, the death toll would be enormous and totally unacceptable.
Then there's the other thing that is really the chronic and decades-old dilemma of the social determinants of health, which is why African Americans have a higher degree of diabetes, of hypertension, of obesity, of heart disease, of chronic lung disease, of kidney disease, that does not need to be. But to get corrected, you have to make a decades-long commitment to change that.
We certainly need people to be rational about vaccines. They eradicated smallpox, they saved millions and millions of lives, they are very complex to design, and that's why, you know, saying it's being done at Warp Speed is a little scary, because you really need to do the safety checks very, very carefully.
It was only when the world realized how the gay community responded to this outbreak with incredible courage and dignity and strength and activism -- I think that really changed some of the stigma against the gay community, i see a similarity here because health disparities have always existed for the African American community.
I think we can't deny that fact, if you look at the magnitude of the 1918 pandemic where anywhere from 50 to 75 to 100 million people globally died, that was the mother of all pandemics and truly historic. I hope we don't even approach that with this, but it does have the makings of, the possibility of... approaching that in seriousness.
One of the things we want to emphasize and have been emphasizing is to take a look at where you are in the area of the so-called opening America again. Are you at the gateway phase one, phase two, phase three ? the CDC has guidelines about the opening of schools at various stages of those checkpoints. The basic fundamental goal would be as soon as you possibly can to get the children back to school and to use the public health as a tool to help get children back to school.
I would hope we don't have to resort to shut down, i think that would be something that is obviously an extreme. I think it would not be viewed very, very favorably... So rather than think in terms of reverting back down to a complete shutdown, I would think we need to get the states pausing in their opening process.
That is being discussed really very actively. We were discussing it actively today in the task force and I can assure you, it's going to be on the agenda tomorrow, given the fact that we know that asymptomatic people are clearly transmitting infection, it just makes commonsense that it's not a bad idea to do that.
> Washington( CNN) Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick on Tuesday evening took some direct shots at Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of the President's coronavirus task force.Specifically, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick took issue with comments that Anthony Fauci had made earlier in the day during a Senate hearing, when Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick suggested that some states had reopened too fast and skipped some guidelines in the process.Texas was among the first states to begin reopening in early May but Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has recently reversed course after a spike in coronavirus cases.In defending Texas's reopening strategy, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick claimed that.
One of the problems we face in United States is that unfortunately, there is a combination of an anti-science bias that people are -- for reasons that sometimes are, you know, inconceivable and not understandable -- they just don't believe science and they don't believe authority, so when they see someone up in the White House, which has an air of authority to White House, who's talking about science, that there are some people who just don't believe that -- and that's unfortunate because, you know, science is truth.
What happens is that in the standard way of developing a vaccine, you don't jump to invest in the next step until you're pretty sure that the step you're in is working, given the fact that we needed to do this as quickly as possible without sacrificing safety or scientific integrity, the federal government partnered with multiple of these companies and said,' Guess what, we're going to move fast and we're going to assume we're going to be successful. And if we are, we've saved several months. And if we're not, the only thing we've lost is money. But better lose money than lose lives by delaying the vaccine.' So, right now, the initial data from the study showed that. It makes me cautiously optimistic that we can induce a response that would be protective.
But if you look at the data, now that papers have come out literally two days ago, the fact that we shut down when we did and the rest of the world did, has saved hundreds of millions of infections and millions of lives, and yet, there are those who say,' You shut down, you did destructive things by disrupting the economy.' And others say,' Well, if you save so many infections by shutting down, why didn't you shut down two weeks earlier ? You could have saved many more lives.'.
I hesitate to make any broad statements about whether it is or is not quote 'safe' for kids to come back to school, when you talk about children going back to school and their safety, it really depends on the level of viral activity and the particular area that you're talking about. What happens all too often -- understandably, but sometimes misleadingly -- is that we talk about the country as a whole in a unidimensional away.
I hesitate to make any broad statements about whether it is or is not quote' safe' for kids to come back to school, when you talk about children going back to school and their safety, it really depends on the level of viral activity, and the particular area that you're talking about. What happens all too often, understandably, but sometimes misleadingly, is that we talk about the country as a whole in a unidimensional way.
I think you're going to probably be seeing a little bit more of me and my colleagues, we've been talking with the communications people, and they realize we need to get some of this information out, particularly some of the scientific issues for which I'm predominantly responsible for, so hopefully we'll be seeing more of us, will get the opportunity to talk to you.
Right now, if you take southern Africa, sub-Saharan Africa, parts of Asia, South America and even parts of the Caribbean as areas that don't have the healthcare system to be able to respond the way one can respond in New York or L.A. or New Orleans or Chicago, we have really a moral responsibility for people throughout the world.
What I've expressed, then and again, just my concern that if some areas, cities, states or what have you, jump over those various checkpoints and prematurely open up without having the capability of being able to respond effectively and efficiently - my concern is that we will start to see little spikes that might turn into outbreaks.
There is certainly not a confrontational relationship between me and the President, as I've mentioned many times, I give advice and opinion based (on) evidence-based scientific information. He hears that. He respects it. He gets opinions from a variety of other people. But in no way, in my experience over the last several months, has there been any confrontational relationship between us.
You got a problem there, you know why ? Because it is likely that if four of them are positive and they've been hanging around together, that the other ones that are negative are really positive. So, I mean, if you have one outlier( only one player testing positive), I think you might get away. But once you wind up having a situation where it looks like it's spread within a team, you got a real problem. You got ta shut it down.
The discretion is given to the governors. They know their states, the mayors know their cities, so you want to give them a little wiggle room. But my recommendation is, you know, don't wiggle too much. Try as best as you can to abide by the guidelines that were very well thought out, and very well delineated, some of them are doing that, but others are taking a bit of a chance.
This could be a major outbreak. I hope not. Or it could be something that's reasonably well controlled, at the end of the day, this will ultimately go down. Hopefully we could protect the American public from any serious degree of morbidity or mortality. That's the reason why we've got to do the things that we have in our plan.
The Federal Government's going to be depending where you are in the country, the nature of the outbreak that you have already experienced, and the threat of an outbreak that you may not have experienced, the Federal Government is not going to be a light switch that we say, OK, it is now June, July or whatever, click, the light switch goes back on.
You don't want to let up at a time that's premature, but right now we are clearly looking at if we, in fact, are as successful as we hope to be over the extended 30 day period that the President announced several days ago -- namely extending the period of restrictions and guidelines to the end of April -- that if, in fact, we are successful, it makes sense to at least plan what a reentry into normality would look like, that doesn't mean we're going to do it right now.
Viruses transmit from people to people. When people are separated from each other the virus does not transmit -- it doesn't go anywhere and that's the reason why something as simple as the physical separation... that's our most important tool, but this is what we have to do. As sobering and as difficult as this is, what we are doing is making a difference so we really need to continue to do that.
We argued strongly with the President that he not withdraw those guidelines after 15 days but that he extend them, and he did listen, dr. Debbie Birx and I went into together in the Oval Office and leaned over the desk and said, here are the data, take a look. He looked at them, he understood them, and he just shook his head and said, 'I guess we've got to do it.'.
Particularly now that we're getting some inklings that there's transmission of infection from an asymptomatic person who is not coughing, who is not sneezing, who just appears well. Well, then how do you think that's happening ? it very well could be aerosol. Maybe not aerosol, you know, that goes on for hours. But even the slight aerosol in which you're talking to somebody. If that's the case, we should at least look at the data and try to make a decision about that.
We felt that if we prematurely pulled back, we would only form an acceleration or a rebound of something which would have put you behind where you were before, and that's the reason why we argued strongly with the President, that Anthony Fauci not withdraw those guidelines after 15 days, but that he extend them. And he did listen.
What we are starting to see is that there are some people who are younger, people your age - young, healthy, vigorous - who don't have any underlying conditions who are getting seriously ill, it's still a very, very small minority, but it doesn't mean that young people like yourself should say, 'I'm completely exempt from any risk of getting seriously ill,'.
You need to protect yourself because you are not completely exempt from serious illness, and you can become the vector, or the carrier of infection, where you get infected, you feel well and then you inadvertently and innocently pass it on to your grandfather, your grandmother or an uncle who is on chemotherapy for cancer.
The way it happened is that after [President Trump] made that statement [suggesting China could have revealed the discovery of a new coronavirus threeto fourmonths earlier], I told the appropriate people, it doesnt comport, because twoor threemonths earlier would have been September, the next time they sit down with him and talk about what hes going to say, they will say, By the way, Mr. President, be careful about this and dont say that. But I cant jump in front of the microphone and push him down. OK, he said it. Lets try and get it corrected for the next time.
Younger people should be concerned for two reasons. You are not immune or safe from getting seriously ill. Even though when you look at the total numbers, it's overwhelmingly weighted towards the elderly and those with underlying conditions. But the virus isn't a mathematical formula. There are going to be people who are young who are going to wind up getting seriously ill. So protect yourself.
So the good news is that we have a tool we didn't have in the West African outbreak. The sobering news is that we're not able to implement it as extensively as we want to because we don't have access to all the contacts of the contacts of the contacts, because new cases are coming in that we can't trace to any known case.
Someone who is probably a rural worker in the woods, in the forest, in the jungle gets bit by a mosquito who is infected with yellow fever but likely got it from a monkey, so it goes from animal to human, but it doesn't get into the population of Aedes aegypti, which are very frequent in the big cities like Rio de Janeiro.
There are only individual case reports of significant neurological damage to people not just the fetuses but an adult that would get infected. Things that they call meningoencephalitis, which is an inflammation of the brain and the covering around the brain, spinal cord damage due to what we call myelitis, so far they look unusual, but at least we've seen them and that's concerning.
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