On August 31st, Committee of 100 presented the fourth installment of our fireside chat series with members Dr. David Ho, world-renowned virologist who helped develop drug therapies for AIDS patients, and Richard Lui, prominent journalist and author of the book Enough About Me: The Unexpected Power of Selflessness.
In the latest discussion, Dr. Ho and Richard discussed the evolving science and status on COVID-19 that will help inform personal and public decisions, including matters pertaining to returning to school.
Richard asked Dr. Ho about the key issue relating to Covid-19 today: the Delta variant. Dr. Ho started the conversation by elaborating on the Delta variant, which is now the dominant variant throughout the globe. “Currently, over ninety percent of the viruses that are circulating in the United States are now the Delta variant. We should also expect future variants to emerge from it.” Dr. Ho explained, “We may not have reached the peak of what this virus could do.” He also notes that nobody knows when we will reach the maximum strength of these variants.
As part of this conversation, Dr. Ho strongly emphasized the importance of vaccination. Currently, over ninety-seven percent of COVID-19 hospitalizations and over ninety-nine percent of deaths are of those who are not vaccinated. Dr. Ho explained, “If we continue to give the virus a chance to spread, to replicate, to mutate, new forms will emerge. The ones with an advantage will come to dominate. That’s why there’s such great urgency to vaccinate much of the population as quickly as possible.” Dr. Ho also predicted the American population could possibly start to get a vaccine booster shot starting in late September.
As the talk came to a close, Richard asked Dr. Ho about key points as we look to the future, “This pandemic is not going to wane anytime soon. In the US, we’re seeing the fifth wave. Globally it’s multiple waves…. All indications suggest it’s going to be with us for a long time.” Dr. Ho does note that he sees progress with the vaccine, however, we do not know what exactly is coming next.