National Academies leaders speak out on COVID science, trust, vaccines as controversies and toll accumulate

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By Daniel R. Lucey M.D., MPH, FIDSA

On Sept. 24 President of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences Martha McNutt and President of National Academy of Medicine Victor Dzau, issued the public statement NAS and NAM Presidents Alarmed by Political Interference in Science Amid Pandemic.”  

They emphasize the essential importance of “science-based decision-making” during the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, they cite “important decisions ahead of us, especially concerning the efficacy and safety of vaccines”.

Not specifically cited are COVID-19 controversies involving hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin, convalescent plasma, SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic tests, imported and re-used N-95 respirators, surgical masks to protect health care personnel from SARS-CoV-2, widespread use of facial coverings to help prevent asymptomatic persons from spreading the virus to others, marketed but not validated SARS-CoV-2 antibody tests, guidance on testing asymptomatic persons (or not), aerosol transmission (or not) as well as droplet transmission of the virus, “herd immunity” (community immunity), interpretations of the variety of T-cell tests, infection and transmission involving children, and truthful explanations for the SARS-CoV-2 infections of at least U.S.165,435 health care personnel, among whom at least 720 have died as of today, Sept. 26, according to the CDC website. 

Dr. Daniel Lucey

Daniel Lucey, M.D. MPH, FIDSA, FACP, is an infectious diseases physician and adjunct professor of infectious diseases at Georgetown University Medical Center, a senior scholar at the Georgetown University O’Neil Institute, Anthropology Research Associate, Smithsonian Museum of Natural History and a member of the Infectious Diseases Society of America Global Health Committee.He has served as a volunteer medical responder to outbreaks that included the West Africa Ebola crisis. He has collected information on outbreaks starting in 2001 with cases of anthrax in 2001, and including smallpox vaccination 2002, SARS 2003, H5N1 Flu 2004, MERS in 2013, and Ebola in April, 2014, He has gathered, and  updated information on the spread of the coronavirus here since Jan. 6.

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