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without face coverings, gathering in small areas. The long-term consequences can be even more daunting as additional people may die from COVID-19 infection. Mass gatherings are definitely one venue that can promote virus transmission. During the protests and other mass gatherings it is clearly hard to maintain the six-foot distance, especially when the numbers were large and encounters became confrontational. I also worry about the possible increase of cases in the context of the recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report, which stated that 35 percent of infectious people may be asymptomatic but still infectious. Compounded to this is that fact that COVID-19 has disproportionately affected minority communities. These protests are creating mass gatherings which can present ideal situations for increased virus transmissions. As we reopen many more cities, we need to continue our vigilance and follow established guidelines and public health strategies which will work only if you actually implement them. In the midst of ongoing events, I am not even sure that the public realizes that June 1 also marks the official beginning of the hurricane season. Hurricanes do not care if there is a pandemic or if communities are engaging in protests. The landfall of a hurricane during these times will only make matters worse. These weeks should serve to remind us that we need to all do our part to keep this pandemic at bay. We cannot lower our guard now or become complacent. We stand to lose too much. Even in the face of national turmoil, in the midst of economic distress and potential natural disaster, we must not forget that we are still in the middle of pandemic that currently has no treatment and no vaccine. During these times, frequent hand washing or using sanitizer, wearing a face covering, keeping a physical distance and avoiding mass gatherings must continue. It would be an absolute shame to see an increase in cases due to recent infections who can then transmit to other vulnerable populations. As a result, the governors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut recently announced that starting June 25th, anyone traveling from eight states (North and South Carolina, Florida, Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Utah and Texas) that are current hotspots will be subject to a 14-day quarantine. The progress made up to this point can be easily lost unless we make an effort to keep the public health above water and not overwhelm the healthcare system as the ultimate goal. We all need to continue to do our individual part in order to achieve a collective good for the public. As appeared in Healthcare Business Today on June 23, 2020.

Don’t Disparage the Pace of COVID-19 Research Salomon Amar, D.D.S., Ph.D. John Loike, Ph.D.

While scientific misinformation from social media and from high-profile published papers has spread like wildfire in these past four months, there has also been an astoundingly rapid dissemination of validated scientific research published since the first case of COVID-19 was reported. Under normal conditions, scientific research is meant to be a slow, peer-reviewed, and calculated process of developing and testing a hypothesis, reporting the answers, and, finally, waiting for the scientific community to corroborate or disprove the findings. We are experiencing unprecedented times, and the scientific community has stepped up to address this pandemic. There are many critical research milestones that have been either achieved or in active development and reported in thousands of papers published about the coronavirus pandemic. These include: 1) deciphering the genetic code of the virus and how it infects cells; 2) developing accurate assays to detect the virus in people; 3) developing accurate assays to measure the level of antibody titers that should protect individuals from infections; 4) testing treatments and cures; and 5) conducting clinical trials of vaccines. In an incredibly short time, scientists at research universities and biotech companies have achieved remarkable successes regarding the first three milestones and have made impressive achievements in the latter two milestones that will hopefully lead to cures and vaccines. Despite the parallel dissemination of scientific misinformation, this progress is still a testament to the machinery of science and the passion of scientists. Comparing the timelines of COVID-19 accomplishments to those of previous RNA virus pandemics highlights just how rapidly research has moved. For example, acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) was a term first used by the US Center for Disease Control on September 24, 1982, almost 18 months after the first cited report (June 5, 1981) of five AIDS patients. And it wasn’t until 1984—almost four

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