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Trump rallies are 'super spreader' events: Dr. Campbell

Dr. Andre Campbell, Professor of Surgery at UCSF, joins Yahoo Finance’s Kristin Myers to discuss San Francisco reopening concerns as 27 states see a rise in COVD-19 cases.

Video Transcript

KRISTIN MYERS: Well, we've been talking about an uptick in positivity rates and hospitalizations as it applies to coronavirus, and now, we're seeing coronavirus cases have risen in half of the country. So to talk this surge, we're joined now by Dr. Andre Campbell, Professor of Surgery at UCSF and Trauma Surgeon at the Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital. Doctor, thank you for rejoining us again. I want to talk about this latest uptick. Do you think that we're on the front end of a new wave of this virus?

DR ANDRE CAMPBELL: Well, thank you so much for having me back. I really appreciate it. It's good to see you, Ms. Meyers, this morning on the west coast, afternoon on the east coast. We have a lot of concerns now. So we are now eight months into what's going to be probably a year and a half, a two year cycle where things will not be normal. Irregardless of the political landscape, the public health point of view is that we're really very early on in this entire game. And the thing that we're game, or a fight, really, not a game. It's a fight against a virus.

So started in February, now, here we are in October. The thing we're worried about now is getting cold in the Northeast, Midwest and the west, and that people going back inside so that there will be maybe a double whammy. There will be a resurgence of COVID, which we know, last week we went up 13%, 45,000 more cases across the country, hot spots everywhere, but we're also worried about the flu. That's why we're trying to encourage people to take the flu vaccine, because the flu vaccine, you should have them on board no matter who you are. So we're worried about this second wave coming.

The other thing that we're worried about is in Florida where everything is opened up, and that is something that is quite stressful for us, because opening up at 100%, when you open, you don't open up at 100%, you open up at a lower level so you can have all the things we've talked about with social distancing, handwashing, wearing masks, those kind of things. So we are very worried about, yes, there will be an increased second wave, and there has been increases in the central part of the country more recently.

KRISTIN MYERS: So speaking to those reopenings, not just Florida, San Francisco, your city, is also [INAUDIBLE] these reopenings. New York has also reopened indoor dining and also sending children back to school. Now, I know that economic people are saying, look, we cannot hold on for much longer. We have to do business, especially restaurant. Do you think that these reopenings, and you were hinting just a moment ago, but are they pretty much [INAUDIBLE]?

DR ANDRE CAMPBELL: Well, I think when you reopen, you have to do it smartly. I think the reason why the reopening is happening is because of incidents. I mean, New York went from being the epicenter with having 400,000 cases, 32,000, New York state, 32,000. That's New York City, obviously, being tremendously affected and having 20,000 deaths to now having less than 1% positivity, and that's kind of what was the impetus.

So each state has a set of guidelines. Our guidelines in California are much like the guidelines in New York is that if we have less than a percentage in a county or a city and county like San Francisco, so I think we're about 1% positivity, the tests that we've had here. And if you're at that level then, you can think about opening. But when you open, you have to open smartly. Everybody wears a mask. Everybody social distances. Everybody wash their hands. We must do it in a very smart way. And you may need to do a combination of hybrid where some open, some at home.

Some of these things that are very disruptive to people's lives, the closing of the restaurants, the closing of schools, it hurts people who are working. So we're still very early on in this, and it is nowhere near the end as some were predicting. We're just really beginning the first three innings or what's going to be maybe nine or 10 inning battle against this virus.

KRISTIN MYERS: So doctor, as I had been mentioning at the opening of this show, the president has decided to hold a rally in Wisconsin in coronavirus red zones. And of course, famously Herman Cain died after attending one of his rallies in Oklahoma. [INAUDIBLE], there's little social distancing. Do you think that the president is being irresponsible and reckless and potentially contributing to the spread?

DR ANDRE CAMPBELL: So I look at each and every one of those events as a super spreader event. So whether or not it's in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where Mr. Cain died because he got exposed the coronavirus in a large setting, or wherever he has-- every time there's an event, there's a potential for super spreading. Every time you get close, you put people together, it is, in my opinion, a dangerous thing to do in a red zone. It's dangerous anywhere where you go in and have a big event. And the big rally that was in South Dakota with 250,000 people, they've now traced now thousands of cases related to that.

The wedding in Maine where there were only 80 people in the wedding and now it was over 200 people been affected with four people dying. So whenever there is an event where there was no concern for the public health issues of distancing, wearing a mask, spreading the virus, to me, it is a super spreading event. It is not advisable to have anything like those events happen anywhere in the United States when we're at this stage of fighting this virus.

KRISTIN MYERS: I only have about a minute left with you, doctor, but I wanted to ask about the vaccine that was largely unpopular to most Americans. They say they don't want to take a first generation vaccine. They do not trust the president, even if he tells them that it would be safe. I'm wondering what your thoughts are on that. If a vaccine comes out by Election Day or even by the end of the year if you would encourage folks given how quickly a vaccine came out to take it?

DR ANDRE CAMPBELL: Well, you know, that's a little bit more than a minute, but I'll try to give you as quickly as I can if that's OK.


So vaccine, vaccination and vaccine development is important. And obviously, this is very compressed. So for me, I would not take it if it is done on a politically expedient basis. Now, if you listen to Anthony Fauci, and we all listen to him, he would say second quarter of next year where it will go through all three phases, safety be proven, and it can be then distributed. I don't think there's any way that anything safe can be done before that. We have a lot of people who doubt vaccines.

Rolling out a poorly thought out vaccine is the worst strategy for vaccination against this disease process. You have to have trust, you have to support the science, and I do not think that anything is going to happen. It may be in October, surprise, they'll say, oh, it's out. But I think as a public health person, I would not advise taking it until it has been thoroughly vetted, and it is nowhere near being close to being thoroughly vetted at this time.

KRISTIN MYERS: All right, Dr. Andre Campbell, Professor of surgery at UCSF, thank you so much for coming back on the program.

DR ANDRE CAMPBELL: Thank you so much for having me on. I really appreciate it.