Archives August 25, 2020

Let’s Be Careful Out There

by Barry P Chaiken, MD

The Sunday announcement by FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen A Hahn that convalescent plasma has received emergency approval quickly sparked much controversy and serious concern in the medical community. While stating that the treatment reduced deaths by 35%, the data does not support such a claim.

We have two choices to crush this pandemic: 1) Vaccination of a large percentage of our population, and 2) Herd immunity. This latter option is a poor choice due to its increase in COVID-19 deaths, morbidity, and associated chronic disease, and the prospect that infection may offer only short-lasting immunity. Just this past week we had our first documented case of reinfection in a patient in Hong Kong.

With close to 50% of the U.S. population reluctant to be vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine, inexact statements by our public health officials only increase the probability that we will not be able to get enough people vaccinated to stop the pandemic. The responsibility of all of us in healthcare is to follow the science, share what we know with the public, and be careful in how we do so. This is now more important than ever.

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