We have so much to learn from the COVID-19 pandemic and Sanjay Gupta, MD, CNN’s chief medical correspondent, in his new book World War C: Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic and How to prepare for the Next One, urges us to be prepared now for future pandemics.
Gupta employs the clever PROOF method — Plan ahead. We shouldn’t be caught unaware again. R -Rethink and rewire your brain to be more alert to risk. Assess uncertainty and deal with unknown threats. O — Enhance health. Prepare your body to prevent pandemics. O — Organize your family. Learn how to live every day life anew (with twists). F — Fight for our future. Your health is contingent on everyone else’s around the world.
WebMD interviewed Gupta to discuss the book, COVID long-haul and whether we’ll ever get from the pandemic to the endemic phase.
WebMD How did you get the acronym PROOF? And do we really have the ability to prepare for the next outbreak if we’re in one?
Gupta She said that while we aren’t prepared for the first global pandemic, we can be prepared for it. This thinking was influenced by many conversations I had with scientists and other people involved in preparedness in the U.S. government. They used the term “preparedness” with me. At first, I thought it was an extremely outrageous thing to hear however, when I began to investigate the subject and began doing lots of research studying preparedness plans from the past, I’m convinced that we can and should — get prepared for the next one.
WebMD: It seems everyone is asking themselves whether this pandemic will get to the endemic phase?
Gupta : I believe it will almost certainly. It’s only a matter of when. I’ve spent a lot of time studying previous pandemics, including H1N1 2009 and 1918 flu pandemic. In the end, we will reach an endemic phase where the virus is still present, but it is being controlled. The question is, what are we willing to accept and tolerate? We are suffering from the flu which can kill as many as 60,000 people every year as a nation. We’re currently much higher than that. We have the current death rate between 350,000 and 400,000 which is difficult to contemplate.
At some moment, a society must decide what it’s willing to tolerate in terms of the tragic deaths and illnesses and the effect on society overall.
We are currently experiencing an average of 80,000 new infections per day. Some experts say that if we get below 10,000 new infections per day it would be like we’re in an endemic phase.
Many people believe that COVID-19 is considered too serious and exaggerated by a lot of people. The question is, when will these infections that are commonplace be eliminated.
WebMD: How do we get more people to think science is cool – that vaccines are a wonder, not a threat? In other words, vaccines require an effective publicist.
Gupta Sheikh: I think that’s the case. My career for the last 20 years has been to increase health and science literacy. We have the highest science-illiterate population in the developed world. I always like to remind people that science isn’t like math. In science, we learn as we go along. This is something I’ve repeated often There are some amazing campaigns focusing on sport and fashion. The CDC isn’t the most palatable way to frame science.
This pandemic has demonstrated that science is not able to exist in an inaccessible vacuum.
We have to educate the public. I am optimistic about all the ways we can communicate this information to people.
WebMD: We have to end with something we discovered on page 201 of your book. It’s that you eat pickles each day?
Gupta: Yes! I eat something fermented every day. The thing about writing the book is that you learn lots. Engaging with people who are constantly researching the subject is a great way to spend time.
Many people say “I want to boost my immunity however what exactly is that really mean? This led me back to the microbiome , and the fact that the majority of our immunity lies in our gut.
The pickle made me feel a boost of energy and lifted my mood when I was experiencing a creative block.
When I began talking to immunologists about how important the microbiome was, they all recommended fermented foods. It’s so simple to do and my family and I incorporate these foods every day –we’ll consume things like kimchi or coleslaw but pickles are my favorite!
Interview, Sanjay Gupta, MD.
Content Source: https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/963272?src=rss