MetroFocus: July 13, 2021

Encore: July 23, 2021

DANGERS OF THE DELTA VARIANT

The Delta variant that was first found in India and is now in at least 104 countries, is now the dominant COVID strain in the United States and it appears its projected track in New York City will be the same in short order. The WHO says Delta is the “fastest and fittest” variant yet and expects it to become the dominant form of the disease worldwide. Its spread means it is perhaps the most dangerous time to be unvaccinated which is why NYC is proceeding with as much urgency as possible to get people vaccinated. So tonight, Dr. Bob Arnot joins us to explain what the Delta variant is. Why is its spread so vast and fast? Who is most susceptible and at risk? How concerned should you be? And how could the many young people refusing to be vaccinated affect you? Plus what does the city, state and federal government plan to do about it?

TRANSCRIPT

> THIS IS 'METROFOCUS' WITH RAFAEL PI ROMAN, JACK FORD, AND JENNA FLANAGAN.

> 'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III.

SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM.

THE PETER G. PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY FUND.

BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ.

BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG.

THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION.

AND BY -- JANET PRINDLE SEIDLER.

JODY AND JOHN ARNHOLD.

CHERYL AND PHILIP MILSTEIN FAMILY.

JUDY AND JOSH WESTON.

DR. ROBERT C. AND TINA SOHN FOUNDATION.

> WHILE THERE ARE SIGNS THAT LIFE IS FULLY GETTING BACK TO NORMAL, THERE IS A NEW THREAT THAT REMINDS US THAT IT IS FAR FROM OVER.

THE CDC ESTIMATES THAT MORE THAN HALF OF ALL NEW COVID-19 CASES WERE TRACED TO THE HIGHLY TRANSMISSIBLE DELTA VARIANT.

AS FOR NEW YORK, NEW NUMBERS SHOW THAT AS OF LAST FRIDAY, DELTA WAS FOUND IN 26% OF POSITIVE CITY-WIDE SAMPLES THAT WERE STUDIED, TIEING IT WITH THE ALPHA VARIANT FOR THE MOST DOMINANT STRAINS IN THE FIVE BUREAUS.

IN STATEN ISLAND THERE IS AN UPTICK IN CASES PARTLY BECAUSE IT IS SPREADING AMONG THE UNVACCINATED.

PUBLIC HEALTH EXPERTS ARE STILL CONCERNED ABOUT DELTA'S RISE.

SO WHAT COULD HAPPEN IF THIS VARIANT CONTINUES TO SPREAD UNCHECK EED IN SOME COMMUNITIES?

COULD WE SEE THE CORONAVIRUS EVOLVE INTO SOMETHING EVEN MORE THREATENING?

AND HOW WOULD THE VARIOUS VACCINES DOING IN THEIR PERFORMANCE AGAINST THE DELTA VARIANT?

ALSO, WHAT SHOULD BE DONE?

THIS IS ESSENTIAL.

WHAT SHOULD BE DONE TO ENCOURAGE MORE NEW YORKERS TO GET VACCINATED?

WELL, TO HELP US BETTER UNDERSTAND ALL OF THESE CRITICAL ISSUES, IT IS OUR PLEASURE TO WELCOME BACK TO 'METROFOCUS,' A GOOD FRIEND.

FORMER CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT OF NBC NEWS AND ALSO NOW SERVES AS A BOARD MEMBER FOR LOCAL COMMUNITIES.

AS ALWAYS, PLEASURE TO WELCOME YOU.

GOOD TO SEE YOU.

THANK YOU SO MUCH, JACK.

LET'S START WITH THE NOTION OF A VARIANT, IF WE COULD.

YOU DID A WONDERFUL JOB EXPLAINING IT.

WE HAD A COURSE ON THIS VERY SUBJECT.

THE INTERESTING THING IS THEY CALL THESE RNA VIRUS THE KING OF ERRORS, RIGHT, BECAUSE THEY MAKE A LOT OF MISTAKES.

DNA HAS TWO STRAINS.

THAT'S AN A.

THAT'S A B.

OKAY.

I GOT IT.

OKAY.

THERE IS NO QUALITY CONTROL ON RNA.

IT MAKES AN ERROR ROUGHLY EVERY TWO WEEKS.

SO YOU GET ALL THESE STRAINS AROUND THE WORLD, ALL THESE INFECTIONS AROUND THE WORLD.

AND EVERY TWO WEEKS YOU HAVE AN ERROR.

NOW, ORIGINALLY WE THOUGHT IT WAS A GREAT WAY OF TRACKING THIS.

BETA WAS IN SOUTH AFRICA, AN INITIAL STRAIN.

SO IT IS CHANGING EVERY TWO WEEKS.

AND USUALLY WHEN YOU HAVE A VARIANT IT IS LIKE NONSENSE.

IT IS LIKE A CHANGE AND IT'S NOT EFFECTIVE.

BUT WHAT'S INTERESTING ABOUT THIS IS IF THIS IS THE RECEPTOR THAT YOU HAVE THE VIRUS ATTACHING TO, IT USED TO COME ALONG AND IT WAS BLUNT COMING LIKE THIS TO ATTACH.

NOW THE TALLONS ARE OUT.

THAT'S WHY IT IS 60% MORE INFECTIOUS THAN THE OTHERS.

WHEN YOU LOOK AT INDIA AND AFRICA WHERE WE DON'T HAVE THE VACCINATIONS, YOU CAN EXPECT MORE AND MORE VARIANTS.

THE CDC WAS IN ALL THESE AFRICAN COUNTRIES AS A FIRST LINE OF DEFENSE FOR US HERE IN THE U.S.

AND IT IS INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT NOT JUST FOR HUMANITARIAN REASONS, BUT FOR SELFISH REASONS.

IF WE DON'T CONTROL THIS, WE WILL DEAL WITH MORE AND MORE OF THESE VARIANTS THAT MAKE THE WORLD AN INCREASINGLY DANGEROUS PLACE.

AND SO THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION DESCRIBED THIS DELTA VARIANT AS, THEIR WORDS, THE FASTEST AND THE FITTEST.

WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?

SO IT'S UNBELIEVABLE.

YOU KNOW, WE WERE READING A MONTH AGO ABOUT NEW DELHI AND INDIA.

AND NOW 50% OF THE VIRUS IS HERE.

IT'S UNBELIEVABLY QUICK IN TERMS OF THE SPEED WITH WHICH IT'S BEEN ABLE TO TAKE OVER THE OTHER VARIANTS BECAUSE IT IS SO MUCH MORE INFECTIOUS.

IS THIS -- ONE MORE BIG PICTURE QUESTION.

IS THIS -- WHEN WE TALK ABOUT THE CORONAVIRUS, IS THIS PARTICULARLY UNIQUE IN HOW QUICKLY IT CAN CREATE THESE VARIANTS BASED UPON OTHER VIRUSES THAT WE'VE SEEN IN THE PAST?

WELL, IT'S A WONDERFUL QUESTION, JACK, BECAUSE TAKE A LOOK AT INFLUENZA.

YOU KNOW, INFLUENZA CHANGES OVER THE COURSE OF THE YEAR.

YOU HAVE AN H1N1 ONE YEAR AND YOU GET AN EARLY SENSE OF WHAT WAS HAPPENING IN CHINA.

SO IT WAS A MUCH LONGER TIME HORIZON.

THIS IS A VERY, VERY SHORT TIME HORIZON, ESPECIALLY IN TERMS OF THE CHARACTERISTICS INFECTIOUS DISEASE PROVOKING PARTS OF THE VIRUS THAT IT IS BOTH MORE INFECTIOUS IN SCOTLAND.

MORE PEOPLE IN ICUs AND UNFORTUNATELY FATALITIES THAN OTHERS.

SO IT IS A GREAT QUESTION.

YES, IT IS MUCH FASTER THAN ANY OTHER VIRUSES.

LET'S TALK ABOUT THE EFFECTIVENESS OF THE VACCINE SO FAR WITH REGARD TO THE DELTA VARIANT.

GIVE US A SENSE OF WHAT WE'RE SEEING HERE, PFIZER, MODERNA, JOHNSON & JOHNSON AND HOW EFFECTIVE THEY HAVE BEEN UP UNTIL NOW?

SO I'M THE ADVISER FOR THE LOCAL SCHOOL BOARD HERE, AND THEY ASKED ME WHAT MY RECOMMENDATION WAS.

I STRONGLY RECOMMENDED BOTH MODERNA AND PFIZER AS THE FIRST LINE AND NOT JOHNSON & JOHNSON BECAUSE IT APPEARED LESS EFFECTIVE.

ALTHOUGH, THERE IS SOME DISCUSSION ABOUT THAT.

THEY WOULD BE SLOWER IN TERMS OF HAVING BOOSTER SHOTS THERE.

AND NOW IN VARIANCE STUDIES, NOT ALL OF THEM, IN VARIOUS STUDIES, IT APPEARS THERE ARE FEWER ANTIBODIES BEING GENERATED BY JOHNSON & JOHNSON WHICH IS WHY PEOPLE ARE NOW PROTECTING ABOUT A BOOSTER FOR JOHNSON & JOHNSON.

JUST LIKE IN ENGLAND NOW THEY'RE TALKING ABOUT THE LESS EFFECTIVE ASTRAZENECA VACCINE AND ADDING THE PFIZER AS A BOOSTER.

BUT THE MOST TROUBLING THING IS THIS.

IF YOU LOOK IN ISRAEL, REMEMBER, THEY WERE THE FASTEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD TO GET TO THE HIGHEST PERCENTAGE VACCINATION.

THEY OPENED UP QUICKLY.

THEY DID FANTASTIC.

BUT NOW THESE VACCINES ARE PROVING ONLY 64% EFFECTIVE.

SO SOMETHING IS GOING ON HERE THAT IS, AS YOU START TO LOOK DOWN THE ROAD, OUR BIG MISTAKE IS NOT LOOKING AT WHAT HAPPENED IN NEW DELHI.

THEY OPENED UP.

THEY HAD POLITICAL RALLIES, HUGE WEDDINGS AND WHATNOT.

SO YOU LOOK DOWN THE ROAD AT THEM.

YOU LOOK AT ISRAEL, AND YOU HAVE TO SAY TO YOURSELF, I'M REALLY WORRIED ABOUT WHAT'S HAPPENING HERE IN THE UNITED STATES.

AND FOR A COUPLE REASONS.

THE UNVACCINATED PEOPLE ARE A HUGE POOL WHERE THE DELTA VIRUS WILL BE ABLE TO TAKE HOLD.

AS YOU SEE IN SOUTHWEST MISSOURI RIGHT NOW AND NEVADA, THERE ARE MORE CASES, MORE DEATHS.

MANY MISSOURI, IT IS THE HIGHEST CASE LOAD THEY HAVE HAD SINCE FEBRUARY.

SO VERY HIGH CASE LOAD.

SO VERY DANGEROUS.

I REALLY WORRY THAT THE UNITED STATES IS GOING TO BE DIVIDED INTO TWO COUNTRIES.

HERE I AM IN VERMONT, RIGHT?

WE HAVE THE HIGHEST VACCINATION RATE.

IT IS A GREEN ZONE.

YOU KNOW, ECONOMIES OPENED UP, PEOPLE ARE HEALTHY.

AND THEN TRAGICALLY YOU GO DOWN SOUTH TO MISSOURI AND MISSISSIPPI AND LOUISIANA, ARKANSAS, WE HAVE A VERY LOW VACCINATION RATE THERE AND YOU ARE STARTING TO SEE, OBVIOUSLY, YOU KNOW, MORE ICU VISITS AND DEATHS AND WHATNOT.

IT IS TRAGIC THERE ARE HOT ZONES LIKE THE SOUTH AND YOU ARE GOING TO HAVE GREEN ZONES.

SO PRACTICALLY SPEAKING, WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO SOMEONE, SAY TO ME, RIGHT, I HAVE A PFIZER VACCINE.

I GOT MY SECOND SHOT A NUMBER OF MONTHS AGO, BACK IN FEBRUARY, END OF FEBRUARY.

WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO ME IN TERMS OF WHAT MY CONCERNS SHOULD BE WITH REGARD TO THE DELTA VARIANT?

WHAT SHOULD I BE DOING?

HOW SHOULD I CHANGE IF AT ALL MY CONDUCT HERE?

SO I LOVE THE WAY YOU POSE THE QUESTION, JACK, BECAUSE I THINK IT IS THE CORRECT WAY OF POSING IT.

TOO MUCH OF THIS IS HERE'S THE GREATER COMMON GOOD AND HERE IS WHAT THE GOVERNMENT SAYS.

YOU KNOW, JUST GO AHEAD AND DO THIS BECAUSE, YOU KNOW, THIS IS WHAT THE GREATER GOOD IS.

WE NEED TO MAKE THESE DECISIONS OBVIOUSLY BASED ON THE COMMON GREATER GOOD.

SO I WOULD SAY THE FOLLOWING: FIRST OF ALL ANY TIME YOU ARE IN A CLOSED INDOOR SPACE I WOULD STILL BE WEARING A HIGH FILTRATION MASK.

I THINK THAT'S ONE OF THE BIGGEST THINGS THE CDC MISSED.

THE OTHER THING THE CDC MISSED, AND THEY MISSED A LOT, WAS THE FACT THAT THIS IS AN AIRBORNE VIRUS, AND YOU NEED TO TAKE VERY CAREFUL MEASURES IN TERMS OF THE VENTILATION IN BUILDINGS.

AND OUR SCHOOLS UP HERE, WE WENT AROUND WITH A CO2 METER, MEASURED THE HALLS AND BATHROOMS AND WHATNOT.

SAFER IN SCHOOL THAN HOME, AND WE PROVED IT BECAUSE OF THE VENTILATION.

SO TO YOU I WOULD SAY DON'T GO INSIDE WITHOUT A HIGH FILTRATION MASK STILL BECAUSE THERE IS SOME SENSE THAT PEOPLE ARE FULLY VACCINATED AND MAY TRANSMIT A VIRUS.

THAT COMES OUT OF ISRAEL.

NOT KNOWN YET.

THE CDC LOOKS WITH BLINDERS ON.

THE OTHER THING I'M DOING IS THAT IF YOU ARE OLDER, IF YOU ARE ON MEDICATIONS, IF YOU ARE THINK YOU HAVE AN AUTO IMMUNE DISEASE, DO GET WHAT THEY CALL A SPIKE ANTIBODY TEST.

NOW I HAD THIS TEST DONE OUT OF INTEREST.

THAT IS HOW MANY ANTIBODIES DO I MAKE?

4% OF THE POPULATION IS IMMUNE COMPROMISED AND NOT MAKING THEM.

SO WHAT COULD YOU DO?

IT IS NOT SANCTIONED BY THE GOVERNMENT YET, BUT SHOULD YOU HAVE LOW ANTIBODY LEVELS, YOU COULD GET A VACCINE.

YOU HAVE SEEN, TOO, THAT THOSE THAT HAD THEIR VACCINATIONS IN JANUARY AND IT IS NOW SIX MONTHS OUT, MANUFACTURERS LIKE PFIZER ARE SAYING IT IS GOOD FOR A YEAR, BUT THERE IS SOME CONSIDERATION AS TO WHETHER YOU GET AN EXTRA SHOT OR WHEN WE GO INTO THE FALL, WHETHER YOU GET A BOOSTER.

THE CDC MADE AN INTERESTING GAMBLE.

AND THE GAMBLE WAS LET'S TELL PEOPLE IF THEY GET THE VACCINE, THEY DON'T HAVE TO WEAR MASKS.

BUT INSTEAD OF HAVING VACCINE PASSPORTS, WHICH I'M A HUGE FAN OF THESE, IT MEANS THE UNVACCINATED COULD WONDER AROUND WITHOUT MASKS AND YOU WOULD NEVER KNOW.

IN CHINA THE CONTACT CASES WERE FEROCIOUS.

PUTTING THEM IN MOBILE CAMPS, RIGHT?

AND HARBORING THE HOPELESS.

THEY WERE ALSO VERY STRICT.

IF YOU HAVE BEEN EXPOSED, THEY PUT YOU IN A SPECIAL LITTLE ROOM WITH A SINK AND WHATNOT.

THEY TOOK CARE OF YOU IN ORDER TO KILL THIS PANDEMIC.

WE ELECTED NOT TO DO THAT BECAUSE OF PERSONAL FREEDOMS FOR WHICH WE SACRIFICE LIVES.

AND, SO, BY NOT HAVING VACCINE PASSPORTS AND NOT KNOWING ARE WE GOING TO SACRIFICE ANOTHER 100,000 PEOPLE ON THE BACK OF, YOU KNOW, QUOTE, PERSONAL FREEDOM, I THINK PERSONALLY THAT THERE IS A LITTLE RESPONSIBILITY HERE.

WEAR HIGH FILTRATION MASKS.

YES, I THINK IT IS IMPORTANT TO WEAR A MASK.

I THINK IT'S LUNACY NOT TO HAVE THEM.

LET'S TALK ABOUT NOTION OF FOLKS CHOOSING NOT TO GET VACCINATED.

YOU ILLUSTRATED IN SOME ASPECTS IT IS POLITICAL, WHICH YOU HAVE TO SAY HOW WILL WE POLITICIZE THIS DEADLY DISEASE?

SADLY, WE HAVE.

I'M LOOKING AT THE YOUNGER COHORT.

AND I SAW STATISTICS SAYING 24 AND YOUNGER GEN Z FOLKS, AN ENORMOUS NUMBER OF THEM SAYING THEY'RE NOT SURE THEY WILL GET VACCINATED OR THEY'RE NOT GOING TO GET VACCINATED.

AND THEN WE HAVE SENIOR RESPONDING NUMBERS.

I SAW SOMETHING LIKE 99% OF THE RECENT DEATHS IN THE MONTH OF JUNE WERE AMONG THE UNVACCINATED.

WHICH BY ITSELF YOU WOULD THINK WOULD RING A BELL.

APPARENTLY NOT.

ONE OF THE THINGS I HAVE HAD PEOPLE SAY TO ME, ESPECIALLY YOUNGER PEOPLE IS, WELL, THIS HAS NOT EVEN BEEN FORMALLY APPROVED YET.

RIGHT.

WE KNOW WE'RE WORKING ON AN EMERGENCY AUTHORIZATION.

SO MY QUESTION TO YOU IS AS A SCIENTIST, AND I DON'T KNOW IF YOU KNOW THE ANSWER TO THIS, WHEN MIGHT WE EXPECT TO GET THAT FORMAL FINAL APPROVAL SO THAT YOU CAN SAY TO AT LEAST THAT COHORT OF DOUBTERS, NO, IT HAS BEEN NOW FORMALLY FINALLY APPROVED.

SO PLEASED.

THERE IS NO REASON TO WAIT ANYMORE.

DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHEN THAT MIGHT HAPPEN?

I WAS THINKING IN THE FALL TO BE ABLE TO DO THAT.

THAT IS, YOU KNOW, PFIZER IS STARTING TO PUT ALL THE TAPER WORK TOGETHER, STARTING TO LOOK AT MAKING THIS A FORMALLY APPROVED VACCINE.

THEY MAKE A GREAT POINT WHICH IS WHAT'S HAPPENED IN AMERICA NOW IS EVERYBODY WANTS TO PUT TOGETHER A NARRATIVE, RIGHT?

IN OTHER WORDS, THEY TAKE THREE, FOUR POINTS, PUT THEM TOGETHER, MAKES A NARRATIVE.

OFTEN WE SEE THE LEFT NARRATIVE AND THE RIGHT NARRATIVE.

AND WE'VE SEEN THEM.

THEY'RE TREMENDOUSLY DAMAGING.

LET ME GIVE YOU AN EXAMPLE.

I WAS TELLING A LOCAL CYCLE SHOP HERE, THERE WAS A WOMAN THERE WITH A MASK ON.

I SAID, WHAT DO YOU HAVE A MASK ON?

SHE SAID BECAUSE I'M NOT VACCINATED.

SHE SAID IT COULD CHANGE YOUR MENSTRUAL CYCLE.

SHE SAID FOR YOUNGER MEN IT MIGHT CAUSE MYOCARDITIS.

FIRST OF ALL, THE CHANCE OF GETTING MYOCARDITIS FROM COVID OUTWEIGHS WHATEVER THE VACCINE MIGHT FACTOR.

AGAIN, SHE'S NOT A YOUNG MAN.

SO WHAT PEOPLE DO, THE ANTI-VAXXERS ARE INTERESTING.

THEY'RE NOT TERRIBLY WRONG.

THERE HAVE BEEN THESE NEUROLOGICAL PROBLEMS, CARD LOGICAL PROBLEMS, THE BLEEDING COMPLICATIONS, THE BLOOD CLOTS.

TINY IN TERMS OF RISK.

BUT THEY HAVE A COLUMN OF WHY NOT.

THEY DON'T HAVE A COLUMN OF WHY THEY SHOULD.

YEAH, I'LL GRANT YOU THAT.

BUT YOU COULD DIE.

CHANCES ARE IF YOU GET COVID AT YOUR AGE, YOU COULD DIE OR BE IN AN INTENSIVE CARE UNIT.

THEY'RE SO PROUD OF HAVING THIS LITTLE NARRATIVE AND SET OF FACTS.

THE MOST INTERESTING, YOU'RE INCREDIBLY INTELLIGENT.

YOU ARE AN INTELLIGENT BROADCASTER AND JOURNALIST, YOU HAVE ALL THESE DIFFERENT SOURCES.

AND WHAT WE FOUND THAT'S INTERESTING, IN AFGHANISTAN, THEY LISTEN TO THE VILLAGE LEADER.

WE IN THE UNITED STATES, THEY LISTEN TO THE VILLAGE LEADER AND THEY DON'T TRUST THE MEDIA ANYMORE.

AND IT'S SORT OF -- YOU KNOW, IT IS THE POST-SCIENCE ERA.

NAY DON'T TRUST SCIENCE.

THEY DON'T TRUST MEDICINE.

I HAVE A 27-YEAR-OLD WHO IS ENORMOUSLY DISTRUSTFUL OF SCIENCE AND MEDICINE.

HE DID GET VACCINATED, BUT IT TOOK A LONG TIME TO CONVINCE HIM.

SO THE QUESTION IS, HOW DO YOU CONVINCE PEOPLE?

AND IT'S NOT TOP DOWN.

IT IS NOT THE PRESIDENT.

IT IS NOT THE NEWS MEDIA.

IT IS NOT THE BIG UNIVERSITIES.

IT IS HAVING YOUR LOCAL DOCTOR OR LOCAL BARBER SAY SOMETHING THIS IS YOU REALLY OUGHT TO DO AND TELL PEOPLE THIS IS A RISK OF DEATH AND HOSPITALIZATION.

I DON'T KNOW THE RIGHT WAY TO SAY THIS WITHOUT BEING INCREDIBLY DIRECT.

DO YOU REALLY WANT TO DIE OF IGNORANCE?

WHICH IS WHAT IT IS.

YOU KNOW, IN WAR, DO YOU REALLY WANT TO BE THE LAST PERSON TO DIE?

IT MAKES NO SENSE AT ALL TO ME.

IT'S INFURIATING BUT EXPLAINABLE.

YEAH.

BUT YOU'RE RIGHT.

THE LEVEL OF FRUSTRATION, SO EXTRAORDINARY THERE.

ONCE AGAIN, TALKING ABOUT THESE ISSUES SWIRLING AROUND THE DELTA VARIANT HERE.

LET ME COME BACK TO SOMETHING YOU MENTIONED BEFORE BECAUSE ONCE AGAIN WE HAVE SEEN IN THE LAST COUPLE OF DAYS SOME CONTROVERSY ARISING OUT OF THIS NOTION OF A BOOSTER SHOT.

WE HEARD THAT THE ONE GROUP COMING OUT AND SAYING THAT, YOU KNOW, THEY THINK THE PFIZER GROUP, THEY THINK THAT WE'RE PROBABLY GOING TO NEED ANOTHER SHOT.

IT WILL BE A THIRD SHOT FOR THEM.

AND, YET, YOU HAVE THE CDC AND SOME OF THE ORGANIZATIONS SAYING, WHOA, WHOA, WE'RE NOT THERE YET.

AND MY QUESTION TO YOU IS WHY ARE YOU HAVING AMONGST THE SCIENTISTS HERE, WHY ARE YOU HAVING THIS APPARENT DISAGREEMENT ABOUT SOMETHING THAT SEEMS TO FUNDAMENTAL AS DO WE NEED A THIRD SHOT OR DO WE NOT NEED A THIRD?

BOTH THE CDC AND THE FDA HAVE TO LOOK AT STRONG EVIDENCE.

THEY NEED NUMBERS.

THEY NEED THE STUDIES.

YOU HAVE TO BE RESPONSIBLE IN TERMS OF THIS IS WHAT YOU NEED TO DO.

WHAT I TELL PEOPLE IS, A BOOSTER APPEARS TO MAKE AN AWFUL LOT OF SENSE.

AND IF YOU HAVE YOUR ANTIBODIES MEASURED AND THEY'RE VERY LOW, EVEN THOUGH IT'S NOT SANCTIONED RIGHT NOW, A LOT OF PEOPLE GOT A THIRD SHOT.

I WAS GOING TO GET A THIRD SHOT UNTIL I HAD MY ANTIBODIES MEASURED AND IT WAS NOT HIGH.

SO THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT DOESN'T WANT TO WILLY NILLY SAY, THIS IS A GOOD IDEA, GO DO IT BECAUSE IT IS A WILD SCIENTIFIC EXPERIMENT.

FOR THE INDIVIDUAL, IF YOU HAVE ANY DOUBT ABOUT WHETHER YOUR VACCINATION HAS TAKEN, GET THIS TEST.

IT IS CALLED A SPIKE ANTIBODY TEST.

AND SHOULD YOU HAVE LOW LEVELS, TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR ABOUT HAVING ANOTHER, A THIRD VACCINATION NOW.

IF YOU HAVE HAD ASTRAZENECA IN EUROPE, JOHNSON & JOHNSON HERE, TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR ABOUT HAVING A THIRD VACCINATION.

IF YOU DIDN'T HAVE A BIG REACTION TO THESE EARLY ON, I DON'T SEE A BIG DOWNSIDE.

BUT FOR THE GOVERNMENT, THEY DON'T WANT TO -- YOU KNOW, LET'S SAY SOMEBODY HAD A TERRIBLE REACTION TO THE FIRST AND SECOND ONE AND THEN THEY HAVE A THIRD SHOT AND THEY HAVE A MASSIVE REACTION.

THEY DON'T WANT ALL THAT SORT OF, YOU KNOW, STREWN ALL OVER THE PLACE AND MAKE PEOPLE MORE HESITANT.

SO THAT'S THE ANSWER.

FOR AN INDIVIDUAL, IT IS A SMART AND EASY THING TO DO.

AS YOU LOOK DOWN THE ROAD, IT IS A SMART TAKE AND A GOOD THING TO DO.

BUT THE GOVERNMENT WILL NOT GET BOARD UNTIL THEY HAVE THE DATA.

THEY'RE NOT.

LET'S GO BACK TO SOMETHING YOU AND I TALKED ABOUT, THE NOTION OF RACIAL DISPARITIES HERE IN TERMS OF WHO IS BEING VACCINATED.

AND WE'RE TOLD THAT THE GAP IS SHRINKING SOMEWHAT, BUT STILL EXISTS.

WHY DO YOU THINK THERE THIS RACIAL DISPARITY DOES EXIST?

AND WHAT DO WE NEED TO DO TO CONTINUE TO SHRINK IT?

SO, JACK, I THINK TONY FAUCI SAID THIS EARLY ON IN THE PANDEMIC, AND THAT IS, YOU KNOW, THE PUBLIC HEALTH SYSTEM REALLY HAS FAILED MINORITIES IN PARTICULAR, JUST IN A MOST MISERABLE WAY.

IT DISSTRESSES ME THAT YOU HAVE TO HAVE A 95% EFFECTIVENESS FOR THESE VACCINES TO GET APPROVED AND, YET, WE ALLOW WEIGHT LOSS PROGRAMS TO HAVE A 5% EFFECTIVENESS OR ANTI-SMOKING PROGRAMS TO HAVE A 5% EFFECTIVENESS.

SO THE EFFECTIVENESS OF PUBLIC LESS IS VERY POOR.

IF YOU LOOK AT MISSISSIPPI, THEY RANK 51st IN HEALTH IN THE UNITED STATES.

IF YOU LOOK AT PEOPLE OF COLOR THERE, LIKE 46 OR SO IN TERMS OF THEIR OVERALL HEALTH, SO I SAY IT IS A FAILURE HAVING A GOOD, ROBUST PUBLIC HEALTH SYSTEM.

SOMEONE ASKED ME ON THE SHOW THE OTHER DAY, WHAT DO YOU THINK OF AFRICAN-AMERICAN MOMS AND VERY HIGH DEATH RATE, WHICH IS SIMILAR TO THIRD WORLD COUNTRIES.

I SAID IT IS ONE OF THE BIGGEST DISGRACES IN THE UNITED STATES.

IF YOU ARE A MOM AND YOU'RE PREGNANT AND SOMEONE IS GETTING SHOT NEXT DOOR, THERE IS NO GREEN SPACE, YOU ARE NOT ABLE TO SAFELY GET TO ANY KIND OF PUBLIC HEALTH, SO I THINK THE BIGGEST THING THAT THIS PANDEMIC HAS SHOWN A SPOTLIGHT ON IS, YOU KNOW, THE MISERABLE FAILURE OF PUBLIC HEALTH IN GENERAL AND CERTAINLY IN TERMS OF AFRICAN-AMERICANS HERE AND HISPANICS IN THE UNITED STATES.

IT'S BEEN A TERRIBLE TRAGEDY.

IT IS REALLY TIME TO PAY ATTENTION IN PUBLIC HEALTH, ESPECIALLY IN THE SOUTH THAT HAS TERRIBLE HEALTH IN GENERAL AND MISERABLE FOR MINORITIES.

LET ME COME BACK TO SOMETHING.

I KNOW IT WAS VERY IMPORTANT TO YOU, AND THAT'S THE NOTION OF EDUCATION IN CLASSROOMS.

YOU DO A LOT OF WORK CONSULTING UP THERE AND GIVING PEOPLE SOME SOUND MEDICAL SCIENTIFIC ADVICE.

SO WE HAVE THE CDC COMING OUT AND SAYING, OKAY, BACK SEPTEMBER BACK IN THE CLASSROOM FACE TO FACE EDUCATIONAL PROCESSES AND THERE IS A SUGGESTION THAT MASKS ARE NOT NECESSARY.

WE ARE SEEING SOME COLLEGES, A NUMBER OF COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES SAYING, YALE WHERE I TEACH SAYING, ALL RIGHT, ALL OF YOU, INCLUDING ME, FACULTY MEMBERS AND STUDENTS NEED TO BE VACCINATED TO COME BACK.

BUT WE KNOW FOR OTHER SCHOOLS, TALK ABOUT NEW YORK CITY, THERE IS NO MANDATE FOR STUDENTS.

THERE IS STILL DISPUTES ABOUT SHOULD WE REQUIRE THEM TO WEAR MASKS?

MOST RECENTLY MAYOR de BLASIO SAID YES MASKS WILL BE REQUIRED.

BUT HE DID SAY, YES, WE'LL BE BUSY.

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THAT NOTION GETTING STUDENTS BACK IN THE CLASSROOM AND THE NECESSITY, IF THERE IS ONE, FOR WEARING MASKS?

SO I THINK IS CDC HAS MADE AN ENORMOUS MISTAKE NOT TO PUT KIDS IN SCHOOL.

WE PROVED IT W ED IT WAS SAFER IN SCHOOL THAN AT HOME.

WE HAVE THIS BIG DEFENSE.

THE CDC MADE AN ENORMOUS ERROR NOT CALLING OUT THE FACT THAT FABULOUS VENTILATION IS THE PRIORITY.

WHAT THEY DID IS HAD THIS SHOTGUN APPROACH OF ALL THIS STUFF YOU HAVE TO DO THAT WAS PARALYZING FOR SCHOOLS, PARALYZING.

YOU GOT TO WASH DOWN EVERYTHING.

YOU HAVE TO WASH YOUR HANDS.

IT'S AN AIRBORNE VIRUS.

IF YOU WASH YOUR HANDS, YOU'RE SPEWING VIRUS ALL THE WAY DOWN THE HALLWAY, SPEWING IT BACK.

TOUCHING ALL THE KNOBS AND WHATNOT.

I THINK THEY GAVE US A LOT OF NONSENSE STUFF TO DO.

TWO THINGS ARE IMPORTANT.

ONE, YOU HAVE WELL VENTILATED CLASSROOMS.

ONE INDIVIDUAL IN THE CLASSROOM, THE VIRUS GOING UP LIKE THIS AND DESCENDING OVER THE ENTIRE CLASSROOM.

SO YOU ONLY NEED TO MAKE ONE MISTAKE.

NOW, THE ASSUMPTION HAS BEEN IF YOU ARE VACCINATED, YOU ARE NOT TRANSMITTING THE VIRUS AND MAKING OTHER PEOPLE SICK.

AND NOW THE NEWER EVIDENCE IS THAT YOU MAY.

IF THAT TURNS TRUE, I THINK THE MASK IS IMPORTANT.

AND I THINK ONE OF THE REASONS THEY HAVE LET GO OF MASKS IS IT'S BEEN TERRIBLE.

THE EFFECTIVENESS IS AS LOW AS 3%. BUT BUT MANDATING HIGH FILTRATION MASKS, THE N95 AND THE EQUIVALENT, YOU CUT DOWN THE TRANSMISSION UP TO 99%. I BOUGHT 2,500 MASKS FOR LOCAL SCHOOLS.

MY SON STILL WEARS THEM.

VERY COMFORTABLE.

FEELS SAFE WITH THE VENTILATION.

SO I THINK THAT, YES, SCHOOLS CAN BE INCREDIBLY SAFE.

FOCUS, FOCUS, FOCUS ON VENTILATION AND ON THE RIGHT KINDS OF MASKS UNTIL WE KNOW WHETHER PEOPLE WHO ARE VACCINATED CAN TRANSMIT THE VIRUS, I THINK IT'S A MISTAKE NOT TO WEAR THE MASK.

I THINK THE WHOLE THING IS RELATIVE.

I RECALL TWO MONTHS AGO SAYING WILL NEW YORK BE THE NEXT NEW DELHI?

SURE, THE UPPER EAST SIDE AND LOWER WEST SIDE ARE VACCINATED, BUT TALK ABOUT STATEN ISLAND.

SOME OF THE RED STATES IN THE SOUTH.

AND, SO, I JUST THINK THERE ARE REAL RISKS THERE.

WE ARE TOO BLIND SIDED BY JUST LOOKING AT WHAT WE LOOK AT HERE AS OPPOSED TO WHAT WE COULD BE LIKE WHAT HAPPENED IN NEW DELHI.

I HAVE A MINUTE LEFT AND I APOLOGIZE FOR DOING THIS.

BUT YOUR QUICK REACTION: ARE YOU OPTIMISTIC?

ARE WE MAKING PROGRESS IN FIGHTING THIS DISEASE AND PANDEMIC?

I THINK IT IS INTERMISSION AS OPPOSED TO THE END OF IT.

I'M ENORMOUSLY OPTIMISTIC BECAUSE I THINK IT'S THE BEST THAT MEDICAL SCIENCE HAS DONE.

I'M STUNNED EVERY DAY ABOUT WHAT MY COLLEAGUES HAVE DONE.

THE FINEST CDC DIRECTOR IN HISTORY.

SHE DID BRILLIANT AT HAR VOIR DIRE MEDICAL SCHOOL.

SHE REALLY CARES ABOUT PEOPLE.

SHE'S LOOKING AT THE DATA.

I'M ENORMOUSLY OPTIMISTIC.

AND I THINK WE CAN'T MAKE STUPID MISTAKES AGAIN.

DO YOU WANT TO BE THE LAST PERSON DYING?

AND DO YOU WANT TO DIE OF IGNORANCE?

I THINK THERE ARE TERRIBLE TRAGEDIES OUT THERE SPAWNED BY THIS NEW POLITICAL ANTI-SCIENCE ERA.

BUT AS YOU SAID, AT LEAST WE CAN BALANCE IT OFF WITH THE EXTRAORDINARY SUCCESSES THAT WE HAVE SEEN IN THE MEDICAL AND SCIENTIFIC COMMUNITY.

AS ALWAYS, WE LEARN SO MUCH WHEN WE HAVE OUR OPPORTUNITY TO CHAT WITH YOU.

THANKS AGAIN FOR SPENDING SOME TIME.

AND YOU AND I WILL TALK AGAIN REAL SOON, ALL RIGHT?

I APPRECIATE IT.

BE WELL.

THANKS.

> 'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III.

SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM.

THE PETER G. PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY FUND.

BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ.

BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG.

THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION.

AND BY -- JANET PRINDLE SEIDLER.

JODY AND JOHN ARNHOLD.

CHERYL AND PHILIP MILSTEIN FAMILY.

JUDY AND JOSH WESTON.

DR. ROBERT C. AND TINA SOHN FOUNDATION.

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