MICH. - — In a one-on-one ZOOM interview with Michigan's Chief Medical Executive, Doctor Joneigh S. Khaldun, her message for all Michiganders is clear; Wear a mask, and vaccinate.
She says; "We don't have very much in the toolbox when it comes to fighting COVID-19. You know, there's no vaccine, there's no antiviral. So it's the social distancing, prevention of spread that we really have to do."
Dr. Khaldun emphasizes that masks do work as they literally stop the droplets that are coming out of your mouth when you speak, or sneeze.
"People in the healthcare field have been wearing masks for forever, because we know it prevents disease from spreading," says Dr. Khaldun.
According to Dr. Khaldun whether we choose to wear our masks today, will effect that potential "second wave" we've heard so much about.
"As we've slowly dialed up and reopened the economy, and people are interacting more, we did expect for there to be more and more cases, but we can still limit and slow the spread of the disease," says Khaldun.
"We can limit the number of people who have to be in the hospital, and we can get to the point where there is a vaccine, and we can get people immunized. This way we can again prevent the surges like we've seen over the past spring."
In regards to the coming Fall season, Dr. Khaldun is skeptical about students returning to in-person classes.
"It's something I'm very concerned about, I know again, how important education is, and I want more than ever for our kids to be back in school in person in the fall, but we have to do it safely," says Khaldun.
"That's why to be honest, the things we do right now and over the next eight weeks, so that the spread of the disease is as low and limited as possible. That's how we're going to be able to get our kids and our college students back in school in the fall."
No matter where students are learning, Dr. Khaldun says there is one thing your child and yourself will need.
The flu vaccine.
"One thing that we're very concerned about, we're working on at the department is, you know, we know that there will be both flu and COVID circulating in our communities in the fall," says Khaldun.
"It's going to be so important that everyone six months and older who's able to get the flu vaccine, gets it. It's going to be important for of course, protecting and saving lives, but that will contribute to overwhelming our hospitals as well. If we have people who are in the hospital because of flu and COVID at the same time, it's something that's very concerning. So, again, I encourage everyone at the end of the summer in the fall when the flu shot is available to please get your flu shot."
Even if you still get the flu, Dr. Khaldun says the vaccine keeps the virus from being as severe as it could be.
Speaking of vaccines, I asked Dr. Khaldun her thoughts on a potential Coronavirus one.
She responded; "I certainly hope we get a vaccine as quickly as possible. I don't expect it before, you know, at the earliest, late fall."
"What's probably going to end up happening is there will be a limited supply of vaccine that's allocated to every state from the CDC. They will prioritize different populations based on their risk, and very likely it will end up being again, this is not for sure yet, but it very likely will be for healthcare providers, frontline health care workers first, and then they may recommend that we make sure the vaccines available to vulnerable populations, whether that be the elderly or minority people of color, minority population. So that all remains to be seen."
Many people have said if the vaccine does come out in the next few months, they won't get it.
To that Dr. Khaldun replies; "I think it's really important that we message to communities the importance of the vaccine, certainly that it's that it's safe as well. I know people are anxious, and they don't want to be the 'guinea pigs.' I've heard a lot of people talk about that. I understand there is a valid, sometimes mistrust of the medical community. Our country has a history of experimenting on some folks. I mean, quite frankly, there's no question about that, so I understand why there's some anxiety in this trust, but we have to, I think, get beyond that. We have to make sure, of course, as long as the vaccine is safe, that people are are getting access to it.
The bottom line form Doctor Khaldun, play your part.
Do what you can to protect not just yourself, but others.