Dear Members of the Baylor College of Medicine Community,
This week, the death of a great statesman, Colin Powell, was announced. He died from COVID complications though he was fully vaccinated. Immediately, there were questions about how this could happen. Gen. Powell had multiple myeloma, a type of cancer of the blood system that would make him immunocompromised. The people who refuse to get vaccinated are threats to people who are immunocompromised. I talk more about this topic in this week’s video.
In the United States, we are doing OK with COVID but not great. The numbers are improving but fall short of celebration when more than 1,500 people on average are dying from COVID each day in our nation. It is astounding that we have lost more than 726,000 lives to this virus. Particularly when we have vaccines to prevent it.
Some concerning numbers reported this week are that the death rates from COVID, which have always been higher for those over 65, are seeing increases in younger age groups. For the month of September, COVID-19 was the No. 2 leading cause of death in the United States, trailing only heart disease. Cancer was third. COVID was also the No. 1 leading cause of death for people ages 35-54 years old in September.
So, while numbers are improving, let’s hold off on the celebrations until we can get more people vaccinated. An analysis of the period from June 2021 to now shows that 90,000 deaths likely would have been prevented with vaccinations.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, I have suggested some plans for how to defeat the virus and move on with our normal lives. I am now working on a new plan on how to live with COVID. Look for that in the coming weeks.
And finally, Lily held a press conference this week to discuss her upcoming space launch that you will want to be sure and watch.
Have a great weekend. Stay safe. Go Astros!
Paul Klotman, M.D.
President & CEO