Letter to the editor: The singular goal of health officials is to save lives | SummitDaily.com

Letter to the editor: The singular goal of health officials is to save lives

Dr. Meg Schaeffer

In 2002, the first of three novel coronaviruses emerged as SARS. In less than 20 years, one of those strains resulted in a global pandemic we have yet to conquer.

As an epidemiologist, pandemics are the scenario for which we are well-trained. Health officials do not approach pandemic management with politicism or individual control in mind. We have a singular goal: To save lives and reduce the spread of disease.

This pandemic is not yet contained. We must remember this when feeling complacent. The more disease we allow to continue, the more this virus will mutate.

Consistent gains in vaccination are critical. Serious side-effects are rare with about three per million doses. For perspective, anaphylaxis occurs three per 10,000 doses of penicillin. Messenger RNA technology is not new; it’s been around for more than 10 years. The risk of serious COVID-19 infection after vaccination is less than 1%. The risk of death in seven clinical trials was completely removed.

We must continue to mask until we reach community containment or herd immunity. A recent study showed mask mandates promote social mobility and protect the population. People feel safe and masks reduce transmission.

The best evidence that masks work? This year had the lowest levels of flu ever recorded.

Colorado’s dial system is science-based and exceptional. We know what to expect when the situation changes and how to respond. Having worked in other states, I can attest this is a far better system than making it up as you go. For that, we should thank the public officials challenged to adopt and apply these rules.

We will likely experience another pandemic in our lifetime. We must garner the lessons learned from this event to better fortify our response in the future. In the interim, we must keep doing what will drive us to recovery.



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