Saturday started out with a Fireside Chat with Stephanie Lee, MD, MPH, from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center who talked with U.S. Allergy & Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci, MD.
They discussed the most current information about the coronavirus pandemic and the effects the SARS-CoV2 infection has on hematologic conditions.
The program began with a moment of silence to remember all those we’ve lost from this devastating disease and to recognize what the world is going through and the human devastation of this pandemic.
Some key points discussed were:
- “How does this SARS-CoV2 pandemic compare with other threats the world has faced?” In some respects, the coronavirus pandemic is similar with any of the others with the commonality of jumping species that led to the unexpected outbreak. But that’s where the similarity ends. This is historically unprecedented in the impact it’s had on the entire world. We are still not near the end and the spike and record numbers of cases per day, hospitalizations, and more than a quarter of a million deaths, and 13 million infections. History will be written of Covid-19, and we are living through something medically and historically unprecedented.
- “How long do you think immunity will last after clinical infection?” Dr. Fauci was humble in his response stating ,“We don’t really know.” Will it be like an influenza virus and last one year, or like a virus that has a vaccine that lasts for years?
- “Vaccines: Will people let their guard down prematurely?” The answer: “Hopefully not.” It will take months and months to have the veil of herd immunity. Many people are skeptical, and we need to convince people that the vaccine is safe. It is extraordinary and unprecedented for the speed of going from an unrecognized pathogen to having a safe and highly efficacious vaccine. Dr. Fauci wants to change the conversation from “Not if I get it, but when I get the vaccine”.
- “For Patients on Chemotherapy – Since no patients in the vaccine trials were on chemotherapy, what do we tell patients?” Get vaccinated! If you are on immunosuppressants, you will not have as robust a response, but some degree of immunity is better than no degree of immunity.
There IS light at the end of the tunnel! So keep taking all those precautions we’ve been hearing about:
Listen to a replay of this interesting conversation with Dr. Fauci.
I also highly recommend that you read Dr. Brian Durie’s most recent blog:
In this blog, Dr. Durie discusses vaccines, when can you get one, and even provides a great handy tool to help gauge where you stand in line to receive the vaccine, based on your age, health, occupation and location.