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Experts tackle masking (again), delta variants and compelling vaccine skeptics




The rampaging variants of the COVID-19 Delta pose a deadly threat in the United States and elsewhere, threatening to undo much of the progress made in the past few months as vaccines have led to reduced hospitalizations. ..

As infection rates rise again, two Duke Health experts talked Wednesday about Delta Variant, vaccination efforts, a return to masking, and how to convince skeptics to vaccinate.

Watch the briefing YouTube..

An excerpt from a virtual media briefing with a reporter.

Cameron Wolf, MD, Infectious Disease Specialist

Increasing hospitalization due to COVID

“We expect that number to increase, at least in the coming weeks.”

“Looking at North Carolina’s hospitalization trends, a few days ago, it exceeded 1,000 for the first time in quite a few months. It’s built into a system of increasing numbers for at least a few weeks … for example, everything exposed yesterday. People are unlikely to get sick for a few days. “

“The Delta variant has a slightly more condensed timeline. In fact, it has a faster infection and therefore a faster impact on hospitalization.”

About current vaccine technology

“These are not brand new vaccines. In fact, they are built on advanced technology and on science that has evolved over decades. Even relatively new designs have been built for 10 years. It has been built up to this point for 15 years. “

“We didn’t start this in 2020. This is the way we’ve reached this point for decades.”

About Delta causing the latest hospitalization

“There is no doubt that Delta variants are most common in most, if not all, hospitals. It’s more infectious. You get sick a little faster. And frankly, this variant. Has a little more serious severity. It makes you more ill. “

About school masks

“In fact, masking was a very simple and effective strategy in the school context.”

“After all, returning children to school has this implicit value. I don’t think anyone doubts that it’s the right place for their education, but it’s safe. Must be able to do. “

“Last year I got used to masks. We were all familiar with how to wear them. We were all able to wear them in a way that made the school viable.”

About morale of medical staff

“It’s a sacrifice to see that many unvaccinated people in hospitals are really struggling and at that point in their decisions they are very regretful of the situation in which they have come to find themselves. It would be wrong to say that some of my nursing staff, some of my medical staff, and colleagues have not internalized some of their hardships with fatigue. That’s true. “

About viral fatigue and the need for patience

“To be honest, I think we’re all tired. One of the things we tried to tell people early on is hoping that people understand that this has evolved. First, we are monitoring evolutionary progress, so this is a new virus for us, so it will decline and continue to flow in ways that are difficult for us to predict, Try as much as we can. If we are good at responding, we need to be prepared to give and accept any kind of mitigation effort we are making. “

“That flexibility is really very important. If you didn’t have the ability to bend, give, tighten, or relax when you needed it, it would be much harder to control. “

“This is because we don’t control it globally … and we need that flexibility because we haven’t eliminated it domestically. People to be patient with scientists. It would be wrong for me not to beg for. “

Changes in opinion about vaccines about infected people

“It has happened absolutely many times. I hope it doesn’t cause an infection to change someone’s mind. But you’ve seen this all over the country.”

“It changes people’s opinion. There is no doubt about it. Hypoxia in the hospital is not fun. It’s a terrible situation to face.”

“If those people are born of that experience and are supporters of active vaccination campaigns, they can really be influential.”

DAVID MONTEFIORI, PH.D, Director, AIDS Vaccine Research and Development Laboratory

About Delta Variant

“It is important to recognize that this virus has evolved to become more and more contagious since the beginning of the pandemic.”

“The delta variant outperforms the other variants very quickly. It is now at a much more contagious level than before. If this pandemic cannot be stopped, the virus will be more contagious. , Can be more problematic. “

Message to Vaccine Repellents

“There are multiple reasons people hesitate to get vaccinated. When I talk to people, I first try to find out what is the reason for their hesitation. In most cases, it is lack of information or false. Informed. One of the things I often hear is that they are interested in new technologies. It hasn’t existed for a very long time, and they have some about it. I have a fear of. “

“I tell these people that vaccines have been around for a long time. Like most technologies, vaccine technology has evolved and improved over the years. There is a relatively new technology for COVID vaccines that are being administered to billions of people. “

“These new technologies can be thought of as the new iPhone for vaccines. You want to be one of the first rows to get one for the duration of the supply. Fortunately, for the COVID vaccine. Supply was not an issue. They are readily available and free. “

“Most people never refuse the opportunity to use a free iPhone or internet service. The opportunity to get a free vaccine that will help save your life and the lives of your loved ones and end this pandemic. Why do you refuse? “

How many shots in the arm are enough for herd immunity?

“We are still learning what that number is. When you reach this so-called herd immunity and you really start to turn things around. What you are learning from the delta variant is still herd immunity. It means that you haven’t reached that point. “

“It looked like it might have been before the Delta variant came out, and it changed the dynamics.”

“We need to take a more rigorous approach to immunizing people. We also need to immunize young people.”

“One of the nice things about Delta variants is that the vaccine still works against it.”

“This delta variant has evolved to be more contagious, but it has not yet evolved to the point where our vaccine has escaped to a large extent.”

About breakthrough infection

“They occur. What we know is that they are mostly mild or asymptomatic cases …. But vaccinated people can become infected. There are. They tend to be mild cases. However, those people are shedding the virus and can be infected. But they shed the virus more than unvaccinated people. They are less contagious and excrete in a shorter period of time. They are contagious, but much less contagious than unvaccinated people. “

About the dangers of delta variants to children

“I don’t know any data that suggests that (children) are more susceptible to delta mutations than adults.”

Whether people infected with COVID need a vaccine

“Yes, they do. About one-third of infected people do not have a very strong immune response to this virus. These tend to be people who have asymptomatic or mild symptoms. They do not initiate a very strong immune response. When they are vaccinated, their immunity becomes very high. They really have a really strong immunity. To infected people Is highly recommended to be vaccinated and, in the case of two doses, to be vaccinated with both. “

How the vaccine limits the outbreak of the virus

“Every time the virus is transmitted from person to person, there is an opportunity to mutate or change. The more we can stop this pandemic and slow down the spread of the virus, the more mutated, change, and the opportunity to spread. The mutation rate depends on the infection rate, which is the number of times the virus is transmitted from person to person. The period during which it continues to replicate in the population. It causes mutations and multiples. It allows the accumulation of mutations. “

About boosters

“I think that’s the direction we’re heading. The question of when and why to boost is an open question.”

“We’re probably very close to knowing when and when we need a boost. I think we need a boost. It’s very likely to enhance the immune response to the mutant. is.”

What about the potential for more resistant variants?

“These are the questions we are trying to answer. Is it possible for this virus to actually mutate in a way that escapes the vaccine and survives?”

“No one has identified such a variant. Hopefully the virus will not be able to evolve to evade the vaccine altogether. But that is an open question that is currently being widely studied. is.”


Dr. David Montefiori
David Montefiori Professor and Director of the AIDS Vaccine Research and Development Institute at Duke University Medical Center Study of efficacy of COVID-19 vaccine Against new variants of the virus.

Cameron Wolf, MD
Cameron Wolf He is an infectious disease specialist at Duke Health and an associate professor at Duke University School of Medicine. His areas of research include infectious diseases and the biological and emergency preparation of hospital systems.




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