Yahoo Finance’s Alexis Christoforous and Brian Sozzi discuss the latest coronavirus news with Yahoo Medical Contributor and Columbia University Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine, Dr. Dara Kass.
ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: I want to bring in Dr. Dara Kass now-- Yahoo medical contributor and Columbia University Associate Professor of emergency medicine. Good morning, doctor. These numbers are troubling, to say the least-- both here in the US and in Europe. And we're hearing that hospitals are starting to be stretched thin. Utah has now begun running out of ICU beds. Officials there are warning they may have to ration care. What are you hearing? And are we seeing this play out in hospitals in other parts of the country?
DR. DARA KASS: So actually, most of the country is in trouble. In fact, most of the country looks like what we looked like in New York in March and April, where we knew that we were close to running out of space, running out of care for every patient that came through the door, and realizing that we have to make choices.
We never got there in March and April, mostly due to our local leadership and the will of the people. Unfortunately, without any dramatic changes in states like Utah, or Wisconsin, or even Texas, we're going to see that the care available is going to be stretched as the number of patients needing hospitalizations and ICU beds keeps going up.
BRIAN SOZZI: Doctor, is what we're seeing right now just a byproduct of, now we're all having to move back indoors?
DR. DARA KASS: No, actually. This is not. This is part of that. I think a lot of this is, obviously, the efforts of the people to stop listening to the social distancing, they're not wearing masks as much. People are tired of this virus and they're getting mixed messages from the administration. We're also seeing in these hot spot states-- which are, also, a lot of them are swing states-- these rallies, like yesterday in Nebraska.
Nebraska has a 20% positive test rate, and there was a rally of thousands of elderly people in an airport hangar in Nebraska. So I think it's a combination of effects. But once the virus is in your community, and you're not able to go outside, you're not able to distance, you're not wearing a mask, you're not being tested, that will facilitate the exponential spread. And that's what we're seeing right now.
ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: I don't know if you caught the game last night, but the LA Dodgers winning their first World Series title since 1988 in a great win against Tampa Bay. But in that seventh inning, Justin Turner, their third baseman, was taken out because he had tested positive for COVID-19.
He was supposed to be quarantined. And then they won, and they were wearing masks initially during that celebration, but then they all took them off. Justin took the field, took pictures-- nobody was wearing masks. What kind of message does that send to the rest of the country? And what kind of message would you give the MLB this Morning
DR. DARA KASS: So, honestly, it really is that leadership matters. And I think that it's not surprising that in a moment like this, where the team is excited that they won the World Series, and this is a dramatic event, they're going to forget best practices around public health. It's part of the reason that we need this to be front-of-mind-- not at night, not when you're drinking, not during dramatic moments, but really have this reinforced behavior all the time, every day and every night.
So I think the message from the MLB should be a statement of apology saying, we're really sorry that our players stepped out of best practices. But please understand that it was a moment of excitement and we understand that it was a mistake. But we hope to do better in the future. And I think that would go a long way to remind people what the right thing to do is when you find out that you're positive for the coronavirus.
BRIAN SOZZI: Doctor, Bill Gates said at a conference this week that by the fall of 2021, we might be back to some form of normal. Not back to pre-COVID normal, but some form of normal. What you think about that?
DR. DARA KASS: I think he's right. I think that there's a lot of reason to be optimistic that by the fall of 2021, with a vaccine and with renewed leadership reminding us of the simple measures we can take to keep the virus at bay. Remembering that there are cities, and states, and countries around the world that have been able to get back to a version of normal-- whether it's New Zealand, or Australia, or parts of Asia-- that look different than they do here in the United States. The virus is not in control anymore-- they are.
And so I do think that Bill Gates reminds us that we can take control of this virus, we can prevent the spread, we can address the cases as they come up. And we can get to a new form of normal that has an economy that goes forward, children in schools and people really not thinking of this front-of-mind every single day.
ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: Doctor, I want to ask you about Eli Lilly. Because the government just signed a deal for 300,000 doses of a potential antibody drug. Do we even know if this works? What are you hearing?
DR. DARA KASS: So we're still not sure exactly how well these antibody drugs work. And remember, it's similar to what the president got-- his regeneron antibodies. He keeps referring to it as Regeneron, and that's just the company that makes the antibody cocktail. But it also shows us that investing in those therapeutics, for certain populations of patients-- we know that we don't think that these antibodies work for late-stage patients. Patients that are already admitted to hospital or in the ICU, they've already mounted an antibody response.
These are supposed to be for patients who either can't or haven't yet mounted an antibody response to this virus preventing them from having an overwhelming immune response to the virus. And hopefully, they'll work for early-stage patients. We don't know yet. But it is encouraging to see the government investing in these therapeutics where they belong, which, for these patients, will be early in their course.
ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: All right. Dr. Dara Kass, thanks as always for being with us this morning.
DR. DARA KASS: No problem. Have a good day.