Doctor delivers message of hope as we enter another pandemic year
GREEN BAY, Wisconsin (WBAY) – A local doctor offers optimism and encouragement as we enter a new year of pandemic. COVID-19 cases are on the rise, but the message is ‘don’t give up’.
Prevea Health President and CEO Dr Ashok Rai reviewed 2021 and told us why he thought 2022 would be any different.
“I would say that two years after the start of the pandemic, we have learned so much about this virus and every month we get better at treating it by preventing people from getting infected,” Dr Rai said. “And I think that as we look to the future and fine-tune our medicines and our practices, we will see the end of this pandemic. We may not see the end of COVID-19, but we will see the end of the pandemic aspect of COVID 19 this year. I have a lot of hope for that.
Dr Rai says he is very worried for the next few weeks as cases increase and the highly contagious strain of omicron moves to the area. However, he still sees a silver lining in vaccinations and boosters.
“The key to ending the pandemic has always been the same. The more people who are immune to this virus, preventing it from replicating, preventing it from mutating, this is how we come to the end, ”Dr Rai said.
“It allows the whole world to have access to vaccines this year, ensuring that we get rid of the misinformation that is circulating and that everyone gets vaccinated. We just don’t give this virus the opportunity to live in us anymore. It really is the end of the game. It hasn’t changed at all. But I believe that in 2022 we will be focusing a lot more on this and we will get there. “
He urges anyone with symptoms to get tested. Doctors see reinfection amid the spread of the omicron variant. People who have had COVID-19 in the past are not protected against the mutation.
“We are currently seeing a large amount of re-infections, and new data over the past week shows that a previous infection certainly does not protect you against omicron. So if you are not vaccinated because you think you might have had COVID in 2020 or 2021, get vaccinated. This mutation will infect you. You are not protected by a previous infection, but the vaccine booster is protected and we are certainly seeing re-infection all over the world, even here, and I, even this morning with a patient, ”Dr Rai said.
Dr Rai says there may be some protection within 90 days of infection, but after that there is no protection.
“You know, not in the first 90 days. We think you have some protection. We don’t have strong evidence for this, but this is how we feel, especially with omicron. I’m a little concerned about these 90 days. It might be a bit too long to consider yourself protected, but definitely beyond that there is no protection.
The doctor thinks there is hope that unvaccinated people will change their minds. In some cases, it takes tough loved ones to make an impact.
“They look at the difference. Well, a friend got it and they got vaccinated and stimulated and they had sniffles. And in three days they wanted to go out and they had to wait five days. And then you have another friend or acquaintance who hasn’t been vaccinated and is maybe in their 40s, slightly overweight, now intubated in our intensive care unit. It’s a huge difference between those who have received a vaccine and those who have it, ”says Dr Rai.
“It’s unfortunate that we have to come to this. I feel very bad for the unvaccinated who just didn’t have the opportunity to be educated in a different way, and they made a choice. And now, unfortunately, some people regret this choice. So the more we can do to prevent this through education, the better, ”Dr Rai said.
There is also the fight against disinformation.
“You know, I think behaviors are changing. So that means disinformation is losing their battle. More and more people are getting vaccinated every day. even today. On New Year’s Eve we give out boosters. So I know we are making a difference. I know we touch people. It takes a lot of education to fight the outright lies that exist, whether on social media or among different groups of friends, ”says Dr Rai. “This is what we are fighting against, and I think every day we find another person who wants to be vaccinated, 50 other people who want to be boosted. We are winning this battle.
Social media has been a big deal.
“You know I think I had so much hope and excitement that I had blinders on. In all honesty, people both inside this country and especially outside this country could do using social media and to a lot of harm that could be created in such a short time. You know we used to joke like social media platforms, it’s gonna be our death. just make us all stupid and we’re just gonna live on social media. And that was kind of a joke like, you know, hang up your phone and walk into society. Well, it turns out social media was deadly . The number of deceased people who did not have to die because of disinformation runs into the hundreds of thousands. And that is really unfortunate and I really hope that we will learn something about it in the future ” said Dr Rai.
A year ago, Dr Rai remembers hoping to know that a vaccine was coming and thinking it would radically change the world.
“You know, on New Years Eve last year, I was incredibly optimistic because the vaccines are being rolled out, and I think that optimism is still there. Unfortunately, we encountered some hard-to-fight mutations and we have encountered a wave of disinformation that none of us in health care ever expected, “said Dr Rai.” Now that we are going through this wave and now we are seeing omicron on us and knowing how fast it can infect people, I’m worried about people over the next few weeks, but also hope the message about the vaccine gets out and people are going to be careful. And we’ll come to the end, hopefully very soon. “
Dr Rai says those who have been vaccinated and boosted should continue their safe practices and remain positive and hopeful.
“The people who do it well are what will help us end this pandemic. And I just want to thank you for doing what’s right for your family, your health, for your community, for trusting healthcare. As much as we trust you to get vaccinated and this is what will take us to the end. So you can feel a bit defeated, disappointed, or shocked if you turn positive, even if you are boosted. Don’t be. This happens, unfortunately, with this variant. We know what’s going on with this variant. It’s going to be a really mild illness, five days. I hope you can go on living and put COVID-19 in the rearview mirror. “
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