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‘We are not out of the woods with this pandemic’: Doctor

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Dr. Gustavo Ferrer, President of Aventura Pulmonary Institute, joins Yahoo Finance’s Kristin Myers and Alexis Christoforous to discuss the latest on the coronavirus pandemic.

Video Transcript

KRISTIN MYERS: I want to bring in Dr. Gustavo Ferrer now, President of the Aventura Pulmonary Institute, to continue this conversation on the pandemic. Doctor, always great to have you here with us. I want to ask you now about some comments that were made a little bit earlier by Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former head of the FDA, saying that the CDC should actually consider lifting those indoor-mask mandates.

It got a huge reaction, when we were talking about it a little bit earlier amongst ourselves. What is your reaction to those thoughts? Is that a good move? Are we in a place where everyone can remove their masks indoors?

GUSTAVO FERRER: I would be cautious about that. And the reason is the following. If we look at the numbers last year, May, we were averaging about 20,000 patients. And then in June and July, the numbers has spike up. Because the summer comes, and we're going to have gatherings, and people are going to be together.

And the number of cases, obviously, we should be expecting that they're going to go up. Now, if we eliminate the indoor mandates, we're going to have an increase in the number of cases ahead of the number of people getting vaccine. And we should be heading to trouble if we do that.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: So what would you recommend? I mean, if somebody's been fully vaccinated, what kinds of freedoms do you think they can enjoy in the months ahead?

GUSTAVO FERRER: So it is important to understand that although there are some evidence, small evidence pointing that the vaccine may lower the transmission of the disease, there's not entirely fully clear that the 100% do that. So all of that will be clarified in months to come, because we've got to have more data to point toward that.

So I do agree with the relaxing a little bit of rules outdoor, exercising. Some of the indoors, dining, increasing the number of tables and stuff like that. Those are slow roll out. I think they make sense, and they are good to do.

We know what happened last year when we relaxed a little bit. I know that we're anxious to go back to normality. And what happens is that every time we do this kind of things, we're going to have a reflex, and people are going to relax all the way through. And, unfortunately, we're not out of the woods with this pandemic.

We see the number of cases in India spiking by the day. We see this in South America. We should be looking at the writings on the wall. Once we reopen traveling worldwide, we're going to have variants that we don't have here yet in a massive number that can actually give us some trouble with the vaccines and the recovery phase.

KRISTIN MYERS: So to that point then, doctor, do we need to anticipate or expect that even though a lot of folks might have gotten those one or two shots to get vaccinated are going to have to get another one perhaps next year and another one the year after that or is this going to be a constant wave? Or even if you've been vaccinated, coronavirus still needs to be a worry for you.

GUSTAVO FERRER: You know, the research-- that's an excellent question-- because the research shows that, yes, there is a potential to get infected, be re-infected with the virus or with some of the emergent variants and develop significant deteriorating disease out of coronavirus.

So I believe that when we read the research, we see the data coming out. We're going to be months to come in this worldwide fight against coronavirus. So we all need to play the role in this reopening. It has to be controlled, gradual measure, because we will run the risk of going back into a massive number of infected people.

We see that in other countries. We see the research now coming out. Some of the patients --that they get infected with-- being vaccinated, they're getting re-infected, and some of them are developing significant disease. There are other research coming out that shows that actually it's a lot less the severity of the illness.

But we need more data. We need more time. There's a study that Anthony Fauci commented about that. And it was about the people that got the vaccine, and they also had COVID last year, there is an indication there that they may have better protection against those aggressive variants of the virus.

KRISTIN MYERS: All right, Dr. Gustavo Ferrer, President of the Aventura Pulmonary Institute, thank you so much for joining us today.