Dr. Amesh Adalja, Senior scholar Johns Hopkins center for health security, joined Yahoo Finance to discuss the latest on covid.
SEANA SMITH: --we want to continue this conversation. For that, we want to bring in Dr. Amesh Adalja. He's a Senior Scholar at Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.
And Dr. Adalja, when we look at the delta variant, we have about 18 million Americans that missed their second shot of either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine. And now we have the delta variant circulating. We don't know exactly how many cases are as a result of that. But how, I guess, how does this raise the likelihood, or does it raise the likelihood that we'll see another wave here in the US?
AMESH ADALJA: It's a simple biological fact that when you have a more contagious variant and you have a population that's not fully vaccinated, where we've got pockets of unvaccinated individuals who don't even have natural immunity, you're going to see cases go up. And I think that's something we're going to have to watch for.
But you have to remember that what we did with the vaccine was prioritize it to high risk individuals, those above the age of 65. So while we may see cases from the delta variant, I think that's invariable that we're going to see them, they're not necessarily going to translate into hospitals in crisis, because we've successfully decoupled cases from hospitalizations through the use of the vaccine. And when you look even at states that don't have high enough vaccine rates, if you look at their 65 and up rate of vaccination, it's usually the majority of those individuals.
So I'm less worried about it crushing hospitals. I think this is something we have to watch. And I think it can be corrected by just getting more people vaccinated. But I don't think it's going to be of the same flavor as prior surges because of our vaccine.
ADAM SHAPIRO: Doctor, the news coming out of Japan about lifting the state of emergency ahead of the Olympics, any advice for them or for people who might be athletes who might be going to the Olympics?
AMESH ADALJA: The best way to keep the Olympics safe is to have as many people fully vaccinated there as possible. There are a lot of mitigation efforts that have been put into place, with people not allowed to come there from outside of Japan if they're not participating in the Olympics, high vaccination rates, a lot of social distancing and bubbling. And we've got lessons from the National Basketball Association, the NHL, to see how this can be done safely. So I do think it can be done safely. You just have to have mitigation measures in place and you have to rely heavily on the vaccine to try and limit the disruption that the virus causes to the Games.
SEANA SMITH: If you're an athlete headed over there, would you have any reservations about participating in the Games right now?
AMESH ADALJA: No. No, I wouldn't. I would try to make sure that I had full that full vaccination status and that I followed all of the recommendations about staying in a bubble, making sure that I was social distancing and doing everything I could to be able to participate in the Olympics. And this is something I think that we can do safely and hopefully will go on without any kind of interruption.
ADAM SHAPIRO: You know, back in our own borders when we talk about different kinds of viruses, we haven't talked a lot about the flu. But now that we're all getting back out and everything is opening up, is there any concern that as people drop masks we'll see a resurgence of the things that used to get us?
AMESH ADALJA: We're already seeing that. We know that those masks and social distancing and handwashing not only stop COVID-19 transmission, but they stop many other respiratory viruses. And in the last couple of weeks, I myself in the hospital have been seeing cases of patients with other respiratory viruses. You're seeing more respiratory viruses in the community. The CDC put out an advisory on respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, occurring in the South.
So this is something we're going to see. And I think it's a sign of normalcy that you're getting people socially interacting. So those viruses didn't disappear, they're going to come back. Hopefully we'll be able to handle them. And you might see people going back to masks when they're in crowded and congregated places because they don't want to get those viruses either, because they saw some benefit with not having a common cold for a year.
SEANA SMITH: Dr. Amesh Adalja, always great to speak with you. Senior Scholar at Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.