By Ngakiya Camara | WURD Radio
Dr. Ashish Jha, medical physician and Dean of Brown University, joined Nick Taliaferro on Evening WURDs to discuss the future of this pandemic as well as vaccine rollout initiatives.
Analyzing the potential of yet another rise in cases, Dr. Jha stresses that although there will be an increase in hospitalizations and deaths, this surge will be nowhere near as deadly as those we’ve witnessed over the course of the year due to more folks getting vaccinated. In fact, Dr. Jha clarifies that the vaccine not only prevents serious symptoms and outcomes of the disease, but that it “reduces the risk of transmitting it to somebody else,” by up to 90%. Thus, very few people who are vaccinated will end up being asymptomatic carriers, which protects not only ourselves, but our families, our loved ones, our neighborhood, and the overall community. And while it is possible that we will need a “booster shot,” to maintain immunity as new variants and strains of the COVID virus emerge, the necessity for these booster re-vaccinations could be as far down the line as 2 years from now. This, as Dr. Jha explains, is because the COVID virus does not mutate as quickly as viruses like the flu or the common cold, and thus may only need updated vaccinations every couple of years until, “longer lasting vaccines,” are made available with the advent of new medical technology.
And although Dr. Jha remains optimistic about this pandemic coming to an end soon, he doesn’t overlook the fact that all of this could have been prevented from the beginning. In fact, while discussing how politics essentially mitigated effective treatment when it first came to the fore, Dr. Jha explained that under the Trump administration, the White House COVID task force was more focused on optics than they were on American lives, and that their decisions centered on what would politically help them or hinder the success of Blue states. As a result, not only have lives been compromised in the name of garnering political power, but the United States has lost most footing and credibility on the global stage of medical leadership. Dr. Jha ends this conversation by stating that the United States should take notes from remarkable leadership initiated by organizations like the African CDC, who has, “distinguished itself in this pandemic.” He emphasizes that, “America no longer gets to lead alone,” but should both follow the footsteps of these organizations and establish itself as a trustworthy partner to them in order to drive an agenda of global vaccine, and overall medical equality.
Listen to the full interview below: