We must do better. That’s the message Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease expert, has delivered many times about public and governmental response to the coronavirus. It’s something he spotlighted in a video meeting with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus on Wednesday, addressing a minority group that has been disproportionately affected by COVID-19. He outlined what we can do, and delivered his latest predictions about the availability of a vaccine and how soon everyone will be able to get it. Read on, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had Coronavirus.
“One of the prevailing issues in all of this is the extraordinary disparity, both in incidents and prevalence of infection, as well as the serious and severe consequences” among minorities who contract COVID, said Fauci, name-checking many minority groups and spotlighting the Latinx community. “If you look at the number of hospitalizations per 100,000, it was 359 among Latinx [people] compared to 78 in whites. If you look at the deaths per 100,000 related to COVID-19, it is 61 in Latinx compared to 40 in whites.”
He concluded: “Clearly, we have an extraordinary problem.”
Fauci outlined what is necessary to address this health inequality, now and in the future. “Making sure that the right resources regarding testing and immediate access to care are focused with the distribution of resources among the Latinx community,” he said. “But also, I think this must now set and reshape a light on this extraordinary disparity related to the social determinants of health that are experienced by the Latinx community. The fact that they have a higher incidence of comorbidities which put you at risk—that’s something you do not fix in a month or a year. It’s something that requires a decades-long commitment to change those social determinants, which make that community more susceptible to diabetes, to obesity, to hypertension, to kidney disease.”
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President Trump recently said a vaccine would be approved in “weeks,” but Fauci stuck to his previous, more conservative predictions about a timeline. “There were five vaccine candidates that are in Phase III trial in the United States,” he said. “I believe we will have an answer sometime at the end of this year, the beginning of next year, as to whether it’s safe and effective. I’m cautiously optimistic that we will get an answer, but the way we get it is by doing the scientific approach.”
“I believe we can be cautiously optimistic that it will be available by November, December,” said Fauci. “It’s not gonna be, have all 700 million doses available at that time. That will take until about April. But in December, there will be over a hundred million doses that are available.”
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Seeing as vaccine doses will be limited to start, Fauci described the priority order in which people will likely be able to obtain the vaccine. “We don’t have a final determination, but if things work out the way they usually do with vaccines that initially are in shorter supply, it will be healthcare workers first, because they put them at risk right away to care for people,” said Fauci. “Then it will be the most vulnerable, the elderly, those with underlying conditions. Then it will be people who have essential jobs in society to keep society going, and other elderly people who don’t necessarily have underlying conditions. And then finally, everybody else—the young, healthy people.”
As for yourself, do everything you can to prevent getting—and spreading—COVID-19 in the first place: Wear your face mask, get tested if you think you have coronavirus, avoid crowds (and bars, and house parties), practice social distancing, only run essential errands, wash your hands regularly, disinfect frequently touched surfaces, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don’t miss these 35 Places You’re Most Likely to Catch COVID.