The COVID-19 Pandemic appears to be raging on as a strong as ever as hundreds of thousands of new daily infections take the known global caseload past 44 million,. and nearly 1.point.2 million deaths.
Now, as winter is on its way, the beginning of flu season brings fresh concerns about vaccines and new health threats the pandemic will pose.
Also, as colder temperatures make us stay indoors with our windows tightly sealed and the heating on, we've heard in recent weeks that COVID doesn't just spread through droplets but are also carried through airborne transmission. What does this mean, and how should we adapt our response to the virus?
For the answers, we connect with Dr. Eric Ding, Epidemiologist and Senior Fellow of the Federation of American Scientists.
1. We've been hearing a lot about airborne transmission in recent days, and for the average person it may be difficult to understand what droplet transmissions are and how they are different from aerosols that medical professionals have been talking about.
Could you tell us the difference, and what scientists have learned? Can it spread through speaking or breathing? And how long does the air remain infectious?
2. Does that mean we have to change guidelines on social distancing?
- Why did it take so long for the WHO to acknowledge this and why are some countries like Canada not updating their guidelines?
3. Here in South Korea, there have been some concerns over the safety of flu shots and their possible side effects, as dozens of people in their 70s and 80s died after getting vaccinated here. Public authorities have said there are no direct links between the vaccines and the fatalities and that the public needs to continue getting flu shots to prevent a so-called 'twindemic.' Why is it crucial to get a flu shot amid the COVID-19 outbreak?
3. It looks like we're getting closer to seeing a vaccine many hope we will do so by Christmas. Do you think there's a chance of this happening, and how much of the population would have to be immune or vaccinated for the pandemic to be considered over?
4. There have been questions surrounding how long vaccines will protect us against COVID-19. A UK study suggests it may last as little as two months for some people. If that's true, does it mean COVID-19, like the common flu, will never go away? What are boosters, and would we need them in this scenario?
5. Are some of us less responsive to vaccines than others? What determines these factors?
6. Surveys show that one in four New Zealanders remain hesitant about a coronavirus vaccine, while one in six British people would refuse one. What would you tell these naysayers?
7. And we can't leave out the U.S. Election of course.
What are you hoping to see from the next president in terms of coordinating the response to COVID-19?
That was Dr. Eric Ding, Epidemiologist and Senior Fellow of the Federation of American Scientists.