Good morning. It’s time for me to go to work. So I wanted to share what I believe about the pandemic at this moment, 17 August, with you as a kind of conclusion to the craziness of the last 5 months.
1) I believe that, with the exception of masks and perhaps the closing of social establishments like bars, we have done little to stop this virus, and the things we did do were not the correct choices.
2) I believe that the media and the government put epidemiologists like Drs. Osterholm, Hotez, Lipsitch, and Mina in terrible positions. We asked them to be virologists and immunologists and to predict the spread of a virus that was being hyper-measured, which inevitably led to an overemphasis on testing and test-positive rates. I am concerned that the credibility of the epidemiological discipline has been irreparably damaged.
3) I believe our government began with an excessively-dire message about the virus, unaware of how difficult such a message would be to de-program once it became accepted as “truth.”
4) I believe that if case counts climb again in the fall and winter, hospitalizations and deaths will continue to occur at a lower and lower percentage.
5) I believe that most Americans already possess sufficient innate immunity to this virus that, if infected, they would be able to clear the virus successfully, as evidenced by several immunological studies and the increasing ratio of non-hospitalized to hospitalized cases over time.
6) I believe that there will be viral transmission in most schools, and that we will be unaware of the majority of it unless the saliva test becomes broadly available.
7) I believe a vaccine will be successful and made available to the most vulnerable in our population first. While this will “officially” end the pandemic, it is likely that the American population will reach a consistent symbiosis with the virus (R-naught less than 1) before then.
8) I believe that this virus should teach us two very important lessons: ONE – humans are much less invulnerable than we tend to think we are. TWO – our general health should be a top priority for everyone, and our health care system should be designed to improve our health, not just fix it after it’s broken.
It’s a wild ride we are on, and this dance with hCoV-19 will never really end. But I do believe it is nearing a reasonable conclusion. Stay positive and hopeful.