MetroFocus: September 1, 2021

TARA PARKER POPE & THE DELTA VARIANT: VIRUS EXPERTS ANSWER YOUR QUESTIONS

Tara Parker-Pope, The New York Times columnist is back with new information from virus experts on COVID-19 and the variants surging across the tristate and the country. As the debate over vaccine mandates intensifies, kids are heading back to school. And the spread of the Delta variant here in New York has left many parents concerned for the safety of their children when they return to in person learning this Fall. Tonight, Tara shares tips on what steps parents and schools can take to minimize risks. Then she’ll delve into some of the questions many of you want answered, such as- How effective are those plastic barriers? And can vaccinated people still be at risk of developing long Covid? Answers to all this and much more await you on this special report.

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.

> GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS,' I'M JACK FORD.

WITH A NEW SCHOOL YEAR APPROACHING AND THE DELTA VARIANT CONTINUING TO SPREAD ACROSS THE COUNTRY, MANY PARENTS ARE LEFT WONDERING, IS IT INDEED SAFE FOR THEIR CHILDREN TO RETURN TO THE CLASSROOM?

DESPITE THE FDA'S RECENT DECISION TO FULLY APPROVE THE PFIZER RACK SEEN, CHILDREN UNDER 12, AS YOU KNOW, ARE STILL NOT ELIGIBLE TO BE VACCINATED.

THERE ARE INDEED CONFLICTING REPORTS ON WHICH SAFETY MEASURES ARE TRULY THE BEST AT STOPPING THE SPREAD OF THE CORONAVIRUS.

WE ARE PLEASED TO BE JOINED BY TARA PARKER POPE, EDITOR AT WILL OF THE 'TIMES' AWARD WINNER CONSUMER SITE.

SHE WRITES ABOUT COVID-19 AND GOING TO JOIN US TO DISCUSS THE LATEST ON COVID HERE IN NEW YORK.

INCLUDING UPDATED SAFETY GUIDELINES AND POSSIBILITY OF BREAKTHROUGH CASES AMONG VACCINATED INDIVIDUALS.

TARA, THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.

HAPPY TO BE HERE, THANKS FOR HAVING ME.

LET'S START OFF WITH A BIT OF AN OVERVIEW, IF YOU WOULD, OF US HERE IN NEW YORK WITH REGARD TO COVID AND HOW IT'S COMPARING TO THE REST OF THE COUNTRY.

YEAH, YOU KNOW, NEW YORK AND MUCH OF THE NORTHEAST ARE IN PRETTY GOOD SHAPE.

RELATIVE TO THE REST OF THE COUNTRY.

BUT IT'S STILL A PANDEMIC AND THE DELTA VARIANT IS HIGHLY CONTAGIOUS, BUT YOU KNOW, IT'S EASY TO THINK THINGS ARE TERRIBLE AGAIN, BUT IF YOU JUST LOOK AT OTHER PARTS OF THE COUNTRY, WE WERE TALKING EARLIER, FLORIDA IS IN A LOT OF TROUBLE RIGHT NOW.

BY COMPARISON, NEW YORK HAS A FEW THOUSAND DAILY CASES, YOU KNOW, OVERALL THE VACCINATE RATE IS 60%. SO, WE'RE GETTING THERE, WE'RE STILL NOT WHERE WE NEED TO BE, YOU KNOW, THE PER 100,000 RATE OF INFECTION IN NEW YORK IS IN THE 20s AND IN THE SOUTH, YOU KNOW, IT'S IN THE 80s, 80 PER 100,000, 100 PER 100,000.

IT'S NOT GOOD.

THERE'S A PANDEMIC RAGING, WE STILL HAVE TO BE CAREFUL, BUT FORTUNATELY FOR NEW YORKERS, THERE ARE PRECAUTIONS BEING TAKEN IN SCHOOLS AND IN BUSINESSES AND A LOT OF PEOPLE HAVE GOTTEN VACCINATED AND, YOU KNOW, CARE ENOUGH ABOUT THEIR NEIGHBORS TO WEAR A MASQUE MASK.

SO, WE'RE DOING OKAY.

WOULD YOU EXPECT ANY CHANGE IN NEW YORK POLICIES HERE WITH THE CHANGE IN THE GOVERNORSHIP, IF YOU WILL?

WELL, I THINK THAT NEW YORK'S BEEN PRETTY PROACTIVE WHEN IT COMES TO COVID-19, YOU KNOW, WE HEARD RECENTLY ABOUT MASK REQUIREMENTS IN SCHOOLS AND I THINK THAT'S IMPORTANT, BUT A LOT OF SCHOOLS WERE ALREADY REQUIRING MASKS IN NEW YORK.

IT'S NOT LIKE FLORIDA OR ARKANSAS OR ALABAMA WHERE PARENTS ARE HAVING TO GO INTO SCHOOLS WHERE MASKS ARE NOT REQUIRED.

IT'S A MUCH DIFFERENT SITUATION.

NEW YORK SCHOOLS WERE REQUIRING MASKS.

THERE MIGHT HAVE BEEN SOME IN DIFFERENT PARTS OF THE STATE THAT WERE NOT.

I THINK THAT'S AN IMPORTANT STEP.

WE STILL NEED MASKS, MASKS HELP REDUCE TRANSMISSION AND UNFORTUNATELY WE STILL HAVE TO WEAR THEM.

BUT THE DELTA VARIANT IS VERY CONTAGIOUS, MUCH MORE SO THAN THE PREVIOUS VERSION OF VS OF THE VIRUS.

I MENTIONED THE FDA'S FORMAL APPROVAL OF THE PFIZER VACCINE.

WHAT IMPACT DO YOU HAVE THAT FORMAL APPROVAL MAY WELL HAVE ON ATTITUDES AND VACCINATION RATES ACROSS THE COUNTRY.

YOU KNOW, IT'S INTERESTING.

PERSONALLY, THAT DIDN'T MATTER TO ME, BUT I FELT VERY CONFIDENT IN THE EMERGENCY AUTHORIZATION PROCESS.

WHAT FORMAL APPROVAL MEANS IS THAT THE FDA HAS SPENT MORE TIME, THEY HAVE MANY, MANY MORE MONTHS OF DATA, SAFETY DATA, SO THERE SHOULD BE A VERY HIGH LEVEL OF CONFIDENCE IN THIS VACCINE AT THIS POINT.

YOU KNOW, IT'S BEEN GIVEN AROUND THE WORLD AND WE HAVE A REALLY CLEAR IDEA OF THE BENEFITS VERSUS THE MINUSCULE RISK.

SO I HOPE THAT IT GIVES PEOPLE WHO WERE VACCINE HESITANT SOME CONFIDENCE.

THERE WERE PEOPLE IN VERY SAYS WHO WERE SAYING, I'M NOT ANTI-VAX, I JUST WANT TO WAIT UNTIL IT'S OFFICIALLY, FORMALLY APPROVED.

SO, THERE'S A PSYCHOLOGICAL BENEFIT.

THE OTHER BENEFIT, SORT OF SOME GRAY AREA ABOUT WHETHER OR NOT COMPANIES, BUSINESSES COULD REQUIRE THEIR EMPLOYEES TO BE VACCINATED WHEN IT WAS AN EMERGENCY USE AUTHORIZATION.

MOST PEOPLE THOUGHT YOU STILL COULD, BUT THERE WAS SOME DOUBT.

WHAT WE DO KNOW IS THAT ONCE SOMETHING -- ONCE A VACCINE HAS BEEN FORMALLY APPROVED, IT GIVES MORE LEGAL STANDING TO DIFFERENT BUSINESSES TO REQUIRE THEIR EMPLOYEES TO BE VACCINATED.

SO, WE'LL BE SEEING MORE VACCINE MANDATES IN BUSINESSES.

I SAW AN AIRLINE, DELTA AIRLINES WE'RED THEIR EMPLOYEES TO BE VACCINATED.

SO, WE'RE GOING TO SEE MORE THINGS LIKE THAT, HOSPITALS ARE REQUIRING IT AND THE FORMAL APPROVAL JUST GIVES A LITTLE MORE LEGAL STANDING TO COMPANIES THAT WANT TO REQUIRE VACCINATION.

I'M SURE PEOPLE ARE SAYING, WAIT A MINUTE, OKAY, THE FDA SAID A FINAL APPROVAL TO PFIZER, WHY NOT YET MODERNA AND JOHNSON & JOHNSON?

WHAT IS THE ANSWER TO THAT IN TERMS OF THE PROCESS?

YEAH, THERE'S NOTHING REALLY GOING ON THAT'S UNUSUAL.

IT'S JUST THAT PFIZER HAD A HEAD START OVER EVERYBODY, THEY WERE FIRST.

TAKES A LONG TIME TO ENROLL PEOPLE IN CLINICAL TRIALS AND TO COLLECT DATA AND THE APPROVAL PROCESS IS TEDIOUS AND CAREFUL.

SO, IT'S SIMPLY JUST A MATTER OF TIMING.

PFIZER GOT THERE FIRST, WE'RE GOING TO SEE MODERNA AND JOHNSON & JOHNSON WAS SLOWER, GOT STARTED A LITTLE LATER.

SO, WE'LL SEE THOSE APPROVALS COME IN THE COMING WEEKS, I THINK, BUT IT JUST -- IT'S JUST A TIMING ISSUE.

I DO THINK THE FDA WANTS TO REVIEW ALL THE DATA, EVEN THOUGH THEY'RE JUST BEING VERY, VERY CAREFUL, BECAUSE WE'RE GOING TO LIVE WITH THESE VACCINES FOR A VERY LONG TIME.

SO, THEY WANT TRANS PART SI, THEY WANT THERE TO BE NO SURPRISES FROM THE DATA, SO, IT JUST TAKES A LITTLE BIT OF TIME TO REVIEW ALL OF IT.

WE KNOW IN THE HEADLINES THE LAST FEW DAYS, THERE HAVE BEEN INDICATIONS OF THE APPROVAL TO MOVE FORWARD WITH A BOOSTER SHOT.

WE KNOW PFIZER HAS SAID FOR AWHILE, WE THINK WE'RE GOING TO NEED THAT.

THE GOVERNMENT HAS SAID THEY ARE GOING TO APPROVE IT.

THERE'S BEEN SOME QUESTIONS ABOUT WHEN.

ORIGINALLY, THERE WAS AN INDICATION, WELL, NINE MONTHS AFTER, MAYBE EIGHT MONTHS AFTER, MAYBE YOU ARE HEARING SIX MONTHS, MAYBE FIVE MONTHS.

FIRST QUESTION THAT I THINK A LOT OF PEOPLE HAVE IS, IS A BOOSTER SHOT A BRAND NEW VACCINE?

OR IS IT JUST ANOTHER SHOT OF THE SAME ONE THAT'S OUT THERE?

WHAT'S THE ANSWER TO THAT?

YEAH, IT'S JUST AN ADDITIONAL DOSE.

THIS ISN'T A DIFFERENT VACCINE.

IT'S JUST MORE OF IT TO KIND OF AWAKEN YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM AND KIND OF REPRIME YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM WITH ANTIBODIES.

I DON'T THINK WE NEED TO GET TOO FAR AHEAD OF OURSELVES WITH THAT.

I THINK IF YOU ARE IMMUNE COMPROMISED, IF YOU ARE OLDER, WE KNOW IN THOSE PEOPLE THAT THE INITIAL VACCINE DOSE, YOU KNOW, YOU DON'T GET AS STRONG OF AN IMMUNE RESPONSE IN SUCH SITUATIONS.

IF I HAD CANCER TREATMENT OR TAKING IMMUNE-SUPPRESSING DRUGS, IF WE'RE A TRANSPLANT PATIENT, WE KNOW THEY DID NOT HAVE A VERY STRONG REACTION TO THE FIRST TWO DOSES OF THE VACCINE.

SO, THOSE PEOPLE PROBABLY DO NEED A BOOSTER SHOT.

THERE'S A LOT OF DOUBT ABOUT HOW MUCH OF THE REST OF IT REALLY NEED IT AND HOW MUCH BENEFIT THERE.

IS TODAY, THE MORNING NEWSLETTER WAS WRITING ABOUT THE FACT THAT, YOU KNOW, FOR MOST PEOPLE, THE DATA SHOWS THAT OUR VACCINES ARE STILL WORKING QUITE WELL, MANY MONTHS AFTER OUR DOSE.

WE DON'T REALLY NEED TO PANIC.

I KNOW PEOPLE WHO SCHEDULED BOOSTER SHOTS AT FOUR MONTHS, AND THAT'S CRAZY, BECAUSE THAT'S A WASTE OF A BOOSTER SHOT.

AT FOUR MONTHS, YOU ARE PROBABLY STILL IN THE 90% PROTECTED RANGE AND A BOOSTER SHOT IS JUST NOT GOING TO GET YOU TO MUCH BETTER THAN THAT.

YOU KNOW, IF THESE IMMUNE COMPROMISED PEOPLE, THEY'RE AT, LIKE, 30%, 20%, VERY LOW PROTECTION, SO, BOOSTER SHOT IS GOING TO MAKE A MEANINGFUL DIFFERENCE FOR THEM.

BUT MOST OF US ARE DOING FINE.

I DON'T THINK WE NEED TO PANIC ABOUT BOOSTER SHOTS.

I DO THINK THEY'RE COMING, DESPITE THE ADVISE OF THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION, THAT WE SHOULD WAIT AND GET THE REST OF THE WORLD VACCINATED FIRST, BUT IT SOUNDS LIKE PRESIDENT BIDEN IS SUPPORTIVE OF BOOSTER SHOTS AND THEY'RE COMING.

IS IT GOING TO BE SIX MONTHS, EIGHT MONTHS AFTER YOUR FIRST SHOT -- WE'LL SEE WHAT HAPPENS.

I'M NOT RUSHING TO GET A BOOSTER SHOT.

I'M NOT CONCERNED.

I'M PRETTY CONFIDENT THAT I'VE GOT STRONG ANTIBODIES, MY VACCINE WORKED AND I'LL LET OTHERS GET VACCINATED BEFORE I RUSH TO GET MY BOOSTER SHOT.

ACTUALLY HEARD PEOPLE SAY AND THESE ARE FAIRLY INTELLIGENT AND WELL-READ PEOPLE SAY, WELL, YOU KNOW WHAT, I'LL GET A FOURTH ONE, TOO, BECAUSE, YOU KNOW, IT GOES BACK TO THAT NOTION -- IF SOMETHING IS GOOD, MORE OF IT MUST BE BETTER, RIGHT?

HOW DO WE MAKE SURE PEOPLE UNDERSTAND THAT?

YOU KNOW, I THINK THAT WE -- SOMETIMES WE DON'T UNDERSTAND MATH IN THIS COUNTRY, RIGHT?

IF YOU'RE GOING TO GET A SMALL PERCENTAGE OF BENEFIT, YOU KNOW, IF YOU'RE ALREADY HAVE STRONG PROTECTION, A TINY PERCENTAGE MORE IS NOT REALLY GOING TO MAKE A MEANINGFUL DIFFERENCE IN YOUR LIFE.

BUT WE ALSO WANT TO THINK ABOUT SAFETY.

I MEAN, IT'S FUNNY TO ME THAT YOU HAVE TWO TYPES OF PEOPLE.

YOU HAVE THE PEOPLE WHO WON'T GET VACCINATED BECAUSE THEY DON'T WANT TO PUT AN UNKNOWN DRUG IN THEIR BODIES BUT YET THEY'RE WILLING TO TRY ALL THESE OTHER THINGS LIKE, YOU KNOW, HORSE DEWORMER, YOU KNOW, ALL THESE OTHER STRANGE DRUGS OR THEY'LL TAKE ANTIBIOTICS -- YOU DON'T WANT TO TAKE A LOT OF ANTIBIOTICS, I'M ALWAYS SURPRISED BY THOSE PEOPLE WHO ARE ANTI-VAX WHO ARE WILLING TO TRY REALLY UNKNOWN THINGS CHLS AND THEN OTHER PEOPLE THAT THINK MORE IS BETTER AND MORE IS NOT ALWAYS BETTER.

I THINK WE SHOULD WAIT FOR THE SAFETY DATA, YOU KNOW -- I THINK THAT PEOPLE WHO RUSH TO GET A BOOSTER SHOT TOO SOON, I DON'T THINK YOU'RE IN DANGER, BUT I DO THINK YOU'RE WASTING A BOOSTER SHOT.

YOU'RE REALLY -- YOU'RE GOING TO GET THE BOOSTER, YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE SIDE EFFECTS FROM THE BOOSTER AND IT'S REALLY NOT GOING TO DO MUCH FOR YOU, BECAUSE YOU'RE ALREADY WELL PROTECTED BY YOUR VACCINE.

YOU CAN'T GET MUCH ABOVE A 90%, 95% PROTECTION, SO, YOU KNOW, IF YOU'RE EARLY IN YOUR VACCINE DOSE, I JUST DON'T THINK YOU NEED TO BE WORRYING ABOUT A BOOSTER.

LET ME SHIFT OUR FOCUS TO GOING BACK TO SCHOOL.

AS I MENTIONED IN THE INTRODUCTION, SCHOOL YEAR IS APPROACHING, FOR SOME, IT'S STARTED ALREADY.

THERE'S SOME SPECIFICS I WANT TO TALK TO YOU ABOUT, BUT LET ME JUST ASK YOU, GENERALLY SPEAKING, AS SOMEONE WHO HAS BEEN DOING EXTENSIVE RESEARCH AND WRITING ON THIS, YOU HAVE THE SENSE THAT IT IS INDEED SAFE FOR CHILDREN TO BE GOING BACK TO IN-PERSON LEARNING RIGHT NOW?

SO, THIS IS A REALLY TOUGH QUESTION AND I REALLY FEEL FOR PARENTS.

I'VE SPOKEN WITH A LOT OF VACCINE AND VIRUS AND EPIDEMIOLOGIST EXPERTS WHO ALSO HAVE CHILDREN, SO, THEY HAVE A REAL STAKE IN THIS INFORMATION.

YOU KNOW, IN GENERAL, THE RISK TO CHILDREN IS LOWER THAN TO ADULTS, WE KNOW THAT.

CHILDREN TEND TO HAVE MILD ILLNESS OR NO SYMPTOMS AT ALL.

AND WE HAVE SEEN SCHOOLS OPERATE AND STAY OPEN WHEN PRECAUTIONS ARE IN PLACE.

BUT I THINK WE HAVE TO REMEMBER, YOU KNOW, I THINK THE EVIDENCE IS CLEAR THAT CHILDREN NEED TO BE IN SCHOOL.

THERE WAS -- THERE'S A BIG COST TO SOCIETY, TO CHILDREN'S DEVELOPMENT, TO THEIR INTELLECTUAL, SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT TO KEEPING THEM HOME.

SO IN TERMS OF RISK AND BENEFITS, I THINK THE BENEFITS OF SCHOOL FAR OUTWEIGH THE RISK OF SERIOUS ILLNESS FROM COVID AMONG CHILDREN.

I THINK THAT'S -- THAT'S CLEAR.

IT WOULD BE GREAT IF ALL OF OUR LOCAL LEADERS WERE IN AGREEMENT ABOUT HOW BEST TO KEEP CHILDREN SAFE IN SCHOOL.

I THINK IT'S PRETTY CLEAR FROM THE DATA THAT WHEN SCHOOLS TAKE A, YOU KNOW, KIND OF A LAYERED APPROACH AND THEY REQUIRE VACCINATION AMONG THE ADULTS, THEY REQUIRE MASKING.

THEY HAVE CHILDREN KEEP THEIR DISTANCE.

THEY DO AS MUCH OUTDOOR AS POSSIBLE.

THEY LIMIT CLASS SIZE, THEY BRING IN HEPA FILTERS TO, YOU KNOW, CLEAR THE AIR.

THEY IMPROVE THEIR VENTILATION SYSTEMS.

NOT ALL SCHOOLS CAN DO EVERYTHING.

BUT IF YOUR SCHOOL IS TAKING, YOU KNOW, A PROACTIVE APPROACH AND REQUIRING MASKS AND IF YOU KNOW THE TEACHERS ARE VACCINATED, I THINK, YEAH, YOU CAN BE PRETTY CONFIDENCE.

I'VE GOTTEN A LOT OF QUESTIONS FROM PARENTS IN FLORIDA AND ARKANSAS AND ALABAMA AND THESE STATES WHERE MASKS ARE NOT REQUIRED, I TRY TO REASSURE THEM, YOU KNOW, IN BRITAIN, KIDS ARE GOING BACK TO SCHOOL WITHOUT MASKS.

SO, IT CAN BE DONE SAFELY IF PEOPLE, YOU KNOW, IF THE TEACHERS ARE VACCINATED, IF THERE'S OTHER PRECAUTIONS, SO -- IT'S A BIT OF A WHITE KNUCKLE RIDE FOR PARENTS RIGHT NOW, YOU KNOW?

IT'S REALLY HARD TO THINK THAT YOU'RE SENDING YOUR CHILD INTO THIS HURRICANE OF COVID AND I THINK THAT'S HOW PARENTS FEEL, BUT I DO THINK THAT THE DATA SHOWS THAT OUR KIDS ARE GOING TO BE OKAY AND THAT -- THE BIGGEST THING IS GOING TO BE DISRUPTION.

THERE MAY BE SCHOOL CLOSINGS.

THERE MIGHT BE SOME DISRUPTION TO YOUR WORK SCHEDULE.

I THINK YOUR CHILDREN WILL BE SAFE AND FINE.

THE RATES OF SERIOUS ILLNESS ARE VERY LOW AMONG CHILDREN.

IT'S GOING TO BE A DISRUPTED SCHOOL YEAR, PROBABLY, FOR MOST PEOPLE.

ONCE AGAIN, WE'RE TALKING TO TARA PARKER POPE OF 'THE NEW YORK TIMES' . LET'S GO BACK TO SOME OF THE THINGS YOU MENTIONED AND I WANT TO ASK YOU SPECIFICALLY ABOUT AN AREA THAT YOU STUDIED AND WROTE ON AND THAT IS THE PLACEMENT OF THESE PLASTIC PARTITIONS AND WE'VE SEEN SO MANY SHOTS OF SCHOOLS.

I TEACH IN A COUPLE COLLEGES AND IN ONE OF THEM, WE HAD ONE BIG ONE IN FRONT OF ME AND OTHER ONES IN FRONT OF THE OTHER STUDENTS.

I'M WONDERING ABOUT THE EFFICACY OF THOSE.

AND THIS IS SOMETHING THAT YOU LOOKED INTO.

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THAT?

YEAH, YOU KNOW, I WAS INTERESTED IN THIS TOPIC.

I WAS SPEAKING TO A RESEARCHER WHO MENTIONED THIS OFF, YOU KNOW, OFFHAND, I SAID, WHAT, YOU'RE TELLING ME THE BARE YERS DON'T WORK?

AND THEY WORK IN CERTAIN SITUATIONS.

SO, IF I'M -- I'M IN A DOCTOR'S OFFICE AND I'M THE RECEPTIONIST AND I'M MEETING A LARGE, YOU KNOW, A LOT OF PEOPLE AND I HAVE A PROTECTIVE BARRIER AROUND ME, THIS IS SORT OF ONE-ON-ONE INTERACTION, THAT'S PROBABLY GOT SOME BENEFIT IN PROTECTING ME FROM THE PUBLIC, RIGHT?

BUT WHEN YOU START CREATING A LOT OF THESE BARRIERS AND YOU HAVE ROWS AND ROWS, IN A RETAIL OUTLET, YOU HAVE A LOT OF REGISTERS WITH DIFFERENT BARE Y BARRIERS.

IN SCHOOLS, THESE CHILDREN ARE ALMOST IN CUBICLES AND THERE'S ALL THESE BARRIERS AROUND, YOU'RE MESSING WITH VENTILATION AND AIR FLOW.

IN A NORMAL BUILDING, IT DEPENDS ON YOUR VENTILATION SYSTEM, BUT THE AIR CHANGES, YOU KNOW, MAYBE ONCE EVERY 30 MINUTES, ONCE EVERY 45 MINUTES, ALL THE AIR, YOU KNOW, FRESH AIR COMES IN AND THE STALE AIR, IF THERE'S VIRUS IN THAT AIR, IT GOES OUT.

AND THAT'S HOW VENTILATION WORKS.

NOW, YOU CAN IMPROVE THE VENTILATION SO IT HAPPENS EVERY TEN MINUTES, AIRPLANES, I THINK IT'S 12 TIMES AN HOUR, THE AIR CHANGES.

SO -- BUT YOU DO HAVE A NORMAL WORKING VENTILATION SYSTEM THAT CLEANS THE AIR.

WITH THESE BARRIERS THAT THEY'RE PUTTING UP, AIR IS BUILDING UP IN THESE SORT OF SECTIONS, THE NORMAL VENTILATION FLOW IS NOT HAPPENING AND IF YOU'VE GOT AN INFECTED PERSON IN THAT ROOM, YOU'RE BASICALLY TRAPPING THE VIRUS IN THE ROOM VERSUS LETTING IT OUT.

SO, THESE BARRIERS ARE NOT WELL THOUGHT.

VENTILATION IS A VERY TECHNICAL, DIFFICULT THING TO FIGURE OUT.

IT HAS TO DO WITH THE ROOM CONFIGURATION, THE SIZE, WHERE THE WINDOWS ARE.

ARE THE WINDOWS ON BOTH SIDES, YOU KNOW, WHERE ARE THE FILTERS, WHERE ARE THE PEOPLE, ARE THERE BOOK CASES?

IT'S A WHOLE SCIENCE.

AND WE HAVE PEOPLE JUST INSTALLING THESE BARRIERS IN OFFICES AND SCHOOLS WITHOUT ANY KIND OF GUIDANCE.

SO, I WOULD PREFER MY CLASSROOM NOT HAVE PLASTIC BARRIERS.

I THINK THAT IS THE BEST OPTION.

TALK ABOUT VENTILATION.

I HAD SPOKEN WITH A DOCTOR THAT COMES UP ON OUR SHOW FAIRLY REGULARLY AND HE MADE REFERENCE IN ONE OF OUR CONVERSATIONS, HE ADVICES SCHOOL BOARDS, AND HE TALKED ABOUT A 'NEW YORK TIMES' ARTICLE THAT WAS SOMEBODY SITTING IN A CLASSROOM AND EXHALING AND WHERE THAT ALL GOES AND COMPARED IT TO BEING IN A CLASSROOM WITH THE WINDOWS OPEN.

AND IT WAS DRAMATIC HOW THE CONCENTRATION SPREAD OUT WITH THE WINDOW.

AND I GUESS IT SEEMS LIKE COMMON SENSE.

AND YET I'VE HEARD PEOPLE WITH REGARD TO SCHOOL SYSTEMS, WELL, WE CAN'T AFFORD TO UPGRADE OUR SYSTEM HERE.

IS AN APPROACH TO THIS TO SAY, OKAY, OPEN YOUR WINDOWS.

IS THAT TOO SIMPLISTIC OR IS THAT HELPFUL?

OPEN WINDOWS HELPS.

I WOULD SAY MORE IN A HOME, IF YOU ARE HAVING FRIENDS OVER, HAVING CROSS VENTILATION, IF YOU ARE IN A SMALL ROOM, YOU WANT CROSS VENTILATION.

WHAT HAPPENS IN CLASSROOMS, A LOT OF CLASSROOMS HAVE ONE SIDE OF WINDOWS, RIGHT?

AND IF YOU OPEN TWO WINDOWS NEXT TO EACH OTHER, YOU CAN CREATE ALMOST A CIRCUIT WHERE THE AIR IS VERY CLEAN AROUND THE WINDOWS BUT IT'S SORT OF -- THAT'S WHERE IT'S HAPPENING, IT'S NOT VENTILATING THE WHOLE ROOM, BECAUSE YOU DON'T GET CROSS VENTILATION.

SO, YOU WANT OPEN DOORS.

ONE EXPERT TOLD ME WHAT YOU CAN DO IS OPEN THE LOWER WINDOW AND OPEN THE UPPER WINDOW OVER HERE TO CREATE MORE, YOU KNOW, SO YOU DON'T CREATE THAT CIRCUIT.

SO EVEN OPENING WINDOWS, THERE'S A SCIENCE TO IT, BUT YES, AN OPEN WINDOW IS BETTER THAN NOTHING.

BUT A LOT OF SCHOOL ROOMS DON'T HAVE OPEN WINDOWS, YOU CAN'T DO THAT.

SO, YOU CAN BRING IN FILTERS, YOU CAN, YOU KNOW, HAVE KIDS WEAR MASKS.

THAT'S WHY MASKS ARE IMPORTANT IN SCHOOLS.

IT DOES HELP.

LET'S SHIFT OUR FOCUS A LITTLE BIT TO A COUPLE OTHER THINGS I WANT TO TOUCH BASE WITH YOU ABOUT.

AND ONE OF THEM FOCUSES ON THIS NOTION OF LONG COVID.

AND THE IMPACT IT CAN HAVE AND NOW WE'RE ASKING QUESTIONS ABOUT, WELL, HOW ABOUT PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN VACCINATED AND HAVE WHAT THEY CALL THESE BREAKTHROUGH INFECTIONS.

INTERESTINGLY, I'VE SEEN SOME PHYSICIANS AND SOME SCIENTISTS SAY THEY DON'T LIKE THAT TERM, BREAKTHROUGH, IT SOUNDS LIKE THAT THE VACCINE IS NOT WORKING WHEN IT IS STILL BEING EFFECTIVE IN PROTECTING THEM, EVEN IF THEY GET IT.

TOPIC FOR ANOTHER CONVERSATION.

BUT HOW -- LET'S TALK ABOUT THIS LONG COVID.

FIRST OF ALL, WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

WHAT'S THAT TERM MEAN?

SO, LONG COVID DOESN'T HAVE A CLEAR DEFINITION, BUT MOST EXPERTS WOULD SAY THAT IF YOU STILL HAVE SYMPTOMS FOUR TO SIX WEEKS AFTER YOUR ILLNESS HAS CLEARED OR SHOULD HAVE CLEARED, THAT YOU HAVE A FORM OF LONG COVID.

BUT THERE'S SUCH A RANGE.

I MEAN, PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN HOSPITALIZED, A STUDY JUST CAME OUT, PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN HOSPITALIZED WITH COVID, 50% OF THOSE PEOPLE STILL HAVE SYMPTOMS, YOU KNOW, MONTHS LATER.

I THINK IT WAS A YEAR LATER.

THEY STILL HAVE SOME LINGERING SYMPTOM.

AND IT MIGHT BE -- IT MIGHT BE A COUGH, IT MIGHT BE DIFFICULTY BREATHING, IT MIGHT BE KIND OF A FOGGY HEAD, IT MIGHT BE SEVERE FATIGUE, THAT'S A VERY COMMON SYMPTOM OF LONG COVID.

I WOULD SAY FATIGUE, BREATHING DIFFICULTIES AND BRAIN FOG.

YOU DON'T FEEL YOURSELF.

I THINK IT'S IMPORTANT FOR PEOPLE TO KNOW THAT POST-VIRAL ILLNESSES HAPPENED BEFORE COVID.

IT'S HAPPENED AFTER FLIU, AFTER REGULAR COLDS.

A LOT OF PEOPLE CAN HAVE -- PEOPLE WITH COMPROMISED IMMUNE SYSTEMS CAN HAVE LINGERING PROBLEM.

SO, LONG FLU HAS HAPPENED BEFORE.

WHAT'S IMPORTANT ABOUT COVID IS THAT IT'S THE SHEER NUMBERS OF PEOPLE GETTING EFFECTED.

SO, THERE'S GOING TO BE THIS MASSIVE, YOU KNOW, EFFECT OF PEOPLE AFTER, YOU KNOW, AFTER COVID HAVING, YOU KNOW, JUST LARGE NUMBERS OF PEOPLE WITH LONG COVID.

IT IT ALSO APPEARS THAT LONG COVID IS WORSE THAN OTHER LONG VIRUSES.

SO, IF YOU HAVE BEEN HOSPITALIZED, THEY ARE ESTIMATING YOUR RISK IS 50% CHANCE THAT YOU'RE NOT STILL GOING TO FEEL WELL, YOU'RE NOT GOING TO FEEL RIGHT A YEAR LATER.

AMONG THE REST OF PEOPLE, THE STUDIES VARY.

10% TO 30% OF PEOPLE WITH COVID HAVE SOME KIND OF POST-VIRAL PROBLEM.

SO, LONG COVID'S A REAL CONCERN.

THAT'S WHY, YOU KNOW, I WAS TALKING TO A MEDICAL -- HEAD OF A MEDICAL SCHOOL AND HE WAS SAYING, YOU KNOW, I DON'T WANT TO GET THIS, THAT'S WHY A WEAR A MASK.

I DON'T WANT TO GET LONG COVID.

YOU DON'T KNOW IF YOU'RE GOING TO GET IT.

AND A LOT OF PEOPLE, YOU KNOW, THEY'VE HAD LONG COVID FOR A FEW MONTHS AND THEY DO EVENTUALLY GET BETTER SO IT'S NOT FOREVER FOR SOME PEOPLE.

BUT FOR SOME PEOPLE, A YEAR LATER, THEY'RE STILL SICK AND THEY'RE NOT WELL AND THEIR LIVES HAVE BEEN CHANGED AND THEY CAN'T WORK AND THEY'RE ON DISABILITY.

SO, WE WANT TO BE CONCERNED ABOUT LONG COVID IN GENERAL.

IF YOU ARE VACCINATED, YOUR CHANCE OF GETTING LONG COVID IS JUST FAR, FAR, FAR LOWER.

BECAUSE YOU'RE VACCINATED AND BECAUSE YOU'RE UNLIKELY TO DEVELOP SERIOUS ILLNESS AND MORE LIKELY TO GET LONG COVID WITH SERIOUS ILLNESS, THOUGH IT CAN HAPPEN WITH MILD ILLNESS.

GET VACCINATED.

CAN A VACCINATED PERSON DEVELOP LONG COVID?

PROBABLY.

THERE'S A STUDY OUT OF ISRAEL THAT FOUND -- IT WAS LOOKING AT SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT, BUT IT FOUND THAT, YOU KNOW, OUT OF A TINY PERCENTAGE, IT WAS 7% OF HEALTH CARE WORKERS, SEVEN PEOPLE STILL HAD SYMPTOMS 12 WEEKS LATER, SIX MONTHS LATER.

SO, YEAH, IT'S POSSIBLE YOU CAN STILL HAVE LINGERING PROBLEMS IF YOU ARE VACCINATED AND YOU GET COVID, BUT IT SEEMS LESS LIKELY.

THAN IF YOU ARE NOT VACCINATED AT ALL.

ONCE AGAIN, THE REFRAIN BECOMES -- GET VACCINATED.

BECAUSE NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS, YOUR CHANCES ARE MUCH BETTER.

LET ME ASK YOU A QUESTION THAT I THOUGHT ABOUT WHEN YOU MENTIONED THIS BEFORE, YOU TALKED ABOUT THE QUESTIONS THAT YOU GET FROM PEOPLE.

WHAT ARE THE MOST FREQUENT?

ONE OR TWO MOST FREQUENT EITHER QUESTIONS OR CATEGORIES THAT YOU FIND PEOPLE ARE INTERESTED IN THAT THEY'RE ASKING YOU ABOUT?

WELL, IT DEPENDS.

IF PEOPLE ARE VACCINATED, THEIR QUESTIONS ARE DIFFERENT.

THEIR QUESTIONS ARE MORE, YOU KNOW, THE BIG QUESTION WAS LONG COVID, CAN I GET LONG COVID, YOU KNOW, WHAT'S MY RISK OF A BREAKTHROUGH INFECTION AND I AGREE WITH YOU, THE IDEA OF A BREAKTHROUGH INFECTION, YOU KNOW, I WAS TALKING TO MY MOTHER-IN-LAW ABOUT THIS THE OTHER DAY.

YOU STILL HAVE TO BE CAREFUL, BECAUSE NO VACCINE IS 100%. IF YOU LOOK AT THE MEASLES VACCINE, THE REASON THAT WE STOMPED OUT MEASLES MOSTLY BECAUSE WE HAVE A 90% VACCINATION RATE AGAINST MEASLES.

WHEN YOU GET TO A VERY HIGH LEVEL OF COMMUNITY VACCINATION RATE, THAT'S WHEN YOUR VACCINES ARE -- IT'S THE COMMUNITY AFFECT.

BUT RIGHT NOW, YOU KNOW, WE'RE OPERATING WITH 40%, 50% OF PEOPLE STILL HIGHLY VULNERABLE TO COVID.

AND SO, IF I'M VACCINATED AND I'M CONSTANTLY EXPOSED TO COVID, BECAUSE PEOPLE AROUND ME ARE INFECTED, AT SOME POINT, YOU KNOW, YOUR VACCINE IS GOING TO KEEP WORKING FOR YOU AND FIGHTING OFF, BUT AT SOME POINT, THAT VIRUS IS GOING TO BREAK THROUGH A LITTLE BIT.

IT'S GOING TO BREAK THROUGH YOUR INITIAL DEFENSES, BUT YOUR ANTIBODIES ARE GOING TO CONTINUE WORKING AND PROTECT YOU AND KEEP YOU OUT OF THE HOSPITAL AND KEEP YOU FROM BECOMING VERY ILL.

SO, YOUR VACCINE IS ALWAYS WORKING.

SOMEBODY COMPARED IT TO A -- WE'RE TALKING ABOUT HURRICANES RIGHT NOW, YOU KNOW, THESE WALLS THAT PROTOEKT US FROM HURRICANES, YOU KNOW, THEY DO PROTECT US, BUT SOMETIMES THE WATERS BREACH THE WALL.

AND FLOOD WATERS COME IN AND, YOU KNOW, YOUR VACCINE IS LIKE THAT.

IT'S NOT -- IT'S NOT FULL BODY ARMOR, IT'S A WALL OF PROTECTION, BUT SOMETIMES THE WALL CAN BE BREACHED.

BUT THE AFFECT IS STILL LESS IF THERE WAS NO WALL AT ALL.

SO, I THINK WE NEED TO REMEMBER THAT.

AMONG THE UNVACCINATED, I HAVE GREAT COMPASSION FOR THE UNVACCINATED, I THINK WE GET ANGRY WITH THESE PEOPLE AND I DON'T THINK THAT'S FAIR AT ALL.

A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO ARE UNVACCINATED ARE FRIGHTENED, THEY'RE NERVOUS ABOUT THE VACCINE, THEY'RE ANXIOUS.

I SPOKE TO A WOMAN, YOU KNOW, SHE'S FEARFUL ABOUT THE VACCINE, SHE'S FEARFUL OF NEEDLES.

I TALKED TO HER, SHE HAD A TRUSTED FRIEND TALK TO HER AND OVER TIME, PEOPLE LISTENED TO HER FEARS AND THEY REASSURED HER AND SHE WAS EVENTUALLY CONVINCED TO GET THE VACCINE AND ONE OF HER GREAT FEARS WAS JUST THE NEEDLE.

AND I TOLD HER, I SAID, TALK TO THE PEOPLE AT THE VACCINATION CENTERS.

THEY ARE REALLY KIND.

THEY WILL HELP YOU THROUGH THIS.

AND SHE POSTED ON FACEBOOK A PICTURE OF HER WITH THE PERSON THAT HELPED HER AT THE VACCINE CENTER.

I WAS SO PLEASED TO SEE HER GET THE VACCINE.

I REALLY THINK WE NEED TO KEEP TALKING TO PEOPLE.

DON'T TALK AT THEM.

LISTEN TO THEM, ASK THEM QUESTIONS WHAT ARE YOUR FEARS, WHAT ARE YOU WORRIED ABOUT, WHAT IS KEEPING YOU FROM THERE?

YOU WILL NOT CONVINCE EVERYBODY, BUT I DO BELIEVE THAT WE HAVE SOMEBODY IN OUR LIVES THAT WE CAN PROBABLY HELP GET THERE.

I WROTE SOMETHING IN THE NEWSLETTER THE OTHER DAY ABOUT THE WISCONSIN STATE FAIR WAS OFFERING FREE CREAM PUFFS WITH A VACCINE AND THESE ARE REALLY DELICIOUS CREAM PUFFS.

I SAW THAT AND I THOUGHT, WELL, THAT'S A FABULOUS IDEA.

I'VE BEEN TO THE WISCONSIN STATE FAIR.

AND THEY'VE GOT GREAT THINGS OUT THERE, FREE CREAM PUFFS IS A GREAT IDEA.

AND AS YOU SAID, I THINK THE ANSWER IS, AS WE WRAP UP HERE, THE ANSWER IS, LET'S TALK TO THOSE PEOPLE.

I'VE HAD CONVERSATIONS MYSELF WITH PEOPLE AND AFTERWARDS THEY SAID, SORRY, I'M NO GOOD.

A LOCAL GUY THAT WORES IN A STORE, HE SAID, YOU KNOW, AFTER OUR CONVERSATION, JUST WANT TO LET YOU KNOW, GOT MY FIRST SHOT.

I SAID, GOOD FOR YOU.

TARA, ALWAYS A PLEASURE AND ALWAYS VERY HELPFUL.

THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.

YOU STAY SAFE AND WELL.

WE'LL TALK SOON.

YOU TOO, TAKE CARE.

> '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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