Welcome to Season 2, Episode 1 of Meet the Expert® with Elliot Kallen!
After a year of COVID-19, America is ready for the next normal. Elliot Kallen brings on Dr. Bill Lloyd, Health Director at Transamerica, to discuss Transamerica's Wealth + Health initiative, the domestic COVID-19 vaccine outlook, and whether you should be worried about coronavirus mutations.
Dr. Bill Lloyd
Health Director, Transamerica
Dr. Lloyd is a board-certified surgeon and pathologist that serves as Health Director for Transamerica Advanced Markets. He is an award-winning medical educator and prolific author.
Dr. Lloyd leads the Wealth + Health initiative at Transamerica.
What’s going on with COVID-19 at home and globally?
There have been 115 million confirmed COVID-19 infections and 2.6 million deaths reported worldwide. In the U.S., there have been 27 million infections and 520,000 deaths reported.
It’s important to remember that infections don’t necessarily lead to illness; in fact, over half of the people who acquired the virus never had symptoms.
Today, COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are all trending downward. It appears that we’re starting to turn the curve on the pandemic.
States like Texas are accelerating toward relaxing social restrictions before the end of April 2021.
This is a hot-button issue, because we’re weighing the health of our citizens against the prosperity of our society. Death rates may go up when businesses are permitted to reopen. However, at the same time, there is enormous economic insecurity that comes with shutdowns.
What are the risks associated with reopening and operating schools during the pandemic?
During the pandemic, we saw a spike in suicidal behavior in youths. We’ve also seen an increase in rates of emergency room admissions due to youth drug abuse.
These are the added dangers that come with strict social lockdowns. Young children crave social interaction, and it’s challenging to relegate all communications to social media.
Some schools are testing the learning pod model. Learning pods—also called “pandemic pods,” micro-schools or nano-schools—are small groups of students who learn together in person. When one student in the pod falls ill, the remaining members of the pod quarantine for 10 days afterward.
Children can be infected with COVID-19, but most children with COVID-19 have mild symptoms, or no symptoms at all.
The bigger argument for reopening schools is a social one: beyond spelling, math, and geography, children lose out on learning interpersonal skills when they’re forced to stay home. American children have already lost one school year that could have helped build skills like empathy, negotiation, conflict resolution, and self-discipline. This social damage continues throughout students of all ages, all the way up to undergraduate and graduate students.
Should COVID-19 mutations spark fear?
The COVID-19 pandemic was a unique event. This typically happens about three times per century.
It’s important to make the distinction between classifying a disease as pandemic versus endemic. COVID-19 is a pandemic, which is a global epidemic. The disease is not endemic—meaning that it will not exist perpetually—like the seasonal cold and flu.
We still have the ability to overcome COVID-19 if we achieve herd immunity before there is a mutation that changes the total structure of the virus. Once 9 in 10 Americans are immune, we’ll remove the vast majority of the risk transferring among people. The virus has no place to go, and it will disappear.
Some mutations are more efficient at spreading the disease to others, making infected people more contagious than others—but it doesn’t necessarily alter whether you’ll get sick.
What can we expect after getting the COVID-19 vaccine, and in the near future?
14 days after your second vaccination shot, you will no longer have the COVID-19 virus in your body. Therefore, it would be impossible for you to transfer the disease to anyone else.
30 days after your second vaccination shot, you will be fully immunized. As a healthy person with an immune system,
The risk of dying from COVID-19 is quite low until you land in the hospital. We’ll likely be operating at full scale by Labor Day, if not Mother’s Day.
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DISCLAIMER: Prosperity Financial Group and Meet the Expert® with Elliot Kallen do not make specific investment recommendations on Meet the Expert® with Elliot Kallen or in any public media. Any specific mentions of funds or investments are strictly for illustrative purposes only and should not be taken as investment advice or acted upon by individual investors. The opinions expressed in this episode are those of the Meet the Expert® with Elliot Kallen guests, and not necessarily of Elliot Kallen or Prosperity Financial Group.