COVID-19 Hope is Just Around the Corner
Tune into WBBZ-TV channel 5 on December 16 and 18 for this special program!
By Annette Pinder
It’s all over the news. SARS-CoV-2 vaccines and new treatments for COVID-19 are expected before year’s end, with some already here. This should give us all the hope and determination we need right now to hold on a bit longer. It means that even if we can’t enjoy the holiday season as we did last year, we are not far off from experiencing better days ahead.
Anthony S. Fauci, MD, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, is telling everyone that he is not celebrating the holidays this year with family members who don’t live with him. Instead, he is going to find ways to celebrate with them virtually. I hope others follow his example.
Kenneth V. Snyder, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor, Vice President of Physician Quality at Kaleida, and UBNS Neurosurgeon, assures us that while COVID-19 treatments have improved so that we are saving more lives, we definitely don’t want to catch this disease. In fact, according to Dr. Fauci, the damage caused by COVID may linger for months or even years. Mark Sullivan, President and CEO of Catholic Health, says he is worried about the long-term cognitive effects of COVID that he is seeing in patients that is impairing their ability to think and reason.
The good news is that physicians have learned a lot about treating COVID, and as a result, they are intubating fewer people. They are using antiviral treatments like Remdesivir and monoclonal antibodies to help stop the virus from replicating in its early stages, and the anti-inflammatory drug dexamethasone. “We have learned from experience and we are getting better at treating the disease. We are seeing what works and what doesn’t,” said Dr. Snyder.
The bad news is that we are all growing weary of pandemic life and easing up on simple actions that keep the virus at bay — social distancing, mask-wearing, and handwashing. As a result, we are seeing cases rise throughout the country and throughout our local communities. If we don’t alter this course, we will see more sickness and death. We will also place a tremendous burden on the frontline healthcare workers we count on to care for us.
Fortunately, treatments are on the horizon, as are vaccines. Both the Pfizer BioNTech and Moderna vaccine are said to be 95 percent effective against the virus, exceeding researchers’ expectations. By the time you read this article, the first vaccine may have already received FDA approval for emergency use. Over the next few weeks, we will see more vaccines gain approval. Storage and distribution are already being addressed. We are told that the most vulnerable members of our communities will receive a vaccine by the end of December, and that the remaining population will follow within a couple of months. We are definitely closer than you think and there is significant reason for hope.
Despite all the hope, experts say that how we conduct ourselves over the next few months will be critical. “Our behavior may determine who will live and who may die,” said Dr. Richard Besser, President and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and former CDC acting director for the CDC. CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta says we are experiencing a humanitarian disaster. And Dr. Carlos del Rio, infectious disease specialist at Emory University, says of the more than 1,000 deaths per day we are currently experiencing, “It’s like two jumbo jets dropping from the sky. If every day, two jumbo jets would drop from the sky and kill everybody, don’t you think that everybody would be in a panic?”
Knowing there are many questions surrounding the pandemic, including the safety of COVID-19 vaccines and how they were developed, WBBZ-TV and Buffalo Healthy Living have arranged for expert physicians Kenneth V. Snyder, MD PhD, Vice President of Physician Quality at Kaleida and John O. Sellick, Jr. DO, MS, UBMD Internal Medicine Infectious Diseases to provide you with answers. The program takes place on Wednesday, December 16, 2020 at 8 pm and on Saturday, December 18 at noon. Don’t miss it! If you have specific questions you’d like to ask, email them to email@example.com. Learn more about the show at https://buffalohealthyliving.com/hometown-health-connection/.