Dear Members of the Baylor College of Medicine Community,
The fourth wave of the COVID pandemic is hitting many parts of the world, and the overall death toll has topped 4 million people. In administering vaccines, Chile, Canada, Israel and the United Kingdom are doing the best job. Canada was way behind but has done a terrific job recently and is now ahead of the United States in vaccinations.
In the United States, the Delta variant now represents 83 percent of the virus in the country. Almost all of the COVID deaths in the country are in the unvaccinated. Arkansas, Missouri, Florida and some western states are experiencing full outbreaks of the virus. The problem is the vaccination campaign has stalled. We are administering about 550,000 each day, down from more than 3.3 million at the peak.
In this week’s video, I take a look at what is behind these numbers and go over the hot spots in the United States and the world. In the Texas Medical Center, the virus is back to winning, with numbers continuing to creep back up.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has called for all children over 2 years old to wear masks in school, regardless of vaccination status. That differs from CDC advice, which calls for the wearing of masks indoors for all individuals over 2 years old who are not fully vaccinated. Communities are returning to mask mandates, including Los Angeles and San Francisco, and states considered hot spots are discussing mask mandates.
An interesting study on vaccine hesitancy by the Kaiser Family Foundation asked those who had been determined not to get the vaccine, what changed their minds. It was friends and family, employers, physicians, the desire to safely visit friends and family. So the lesson there is not to give up on those you know who do not want to get vaccinated. Keep bugging them until they get the shot. I provide a list of supportive statements for you to use in the video.
And of course, included is an update on the Olympics, where the number of positive cases continues to increase. The Games this year are more about a COVID count, than a medal count.
Stay safe. Have a great weekend.
Paul Klotman, M.D.
President & CEO