Dr. Faheem Younus, the chief of Infectious Diseases at University of Maryland, Upper Chesapeake Health, shares his insights about how mankind can win the war against the coronavirus.
FAHEEM YOUNUS: I've been doing the infectious disease work for nearly 20 years. I've gone through the post-9/11 anthrax scare, I've helped manage SARS, Ebola, H1N1. So of course, this is something new and much bigger in scope. I can't say that I knew this was going to happen.
But yes, there is acute awareness in the infectious disease society and in the typical hospital leadership. And once we're done with this pandemic, I'm sure there will be lessons learned which will help us improve and keep our team members and our citizens safer for the future pandemics.
I have never seen this kind of global solidarity between governments, between agencies like WHO and CDC, between physicians, between pharmaceutical industry. So I think it has created an awareness of the new tools that are at our disposal now. I have never seen this sort of immediate clinical trials going on for treatments. I think the speed with which some of these vaccine trials have been launched is unprecedented.
So I do see a lot of good coming out of it, and people need to understand that. That we're going to cross this bridge as mankind, and then we will look back and try to improve.
The virus simply asks one question. Are you human? Because if you are human, you're a target. And I think we have to put up a similar unified defense. And we are getting there, where we put that unified front against the virus. And I think there is always hope. I think we have to be cautious. We have to work together, and we can win it.
I've been saying this to our staff, to my family, to my loved ones. We are to coronavirus what the firefighters were do the 9/11 falling towers. We did not choose this thing. We did not choose for this pandemic, but this is our calling. We chose this profession. And while it's OK for people to run away from those towers, our job is to run towards them. Our job is to be that front line of defense. Our job is to make sure we're doing everything in our capacity.
We need to coalesce around science. When we have people like Dr. Anthony Fauci leading this effort, I think we're really fortunate, really fortunate. When I was in med school, we used to read a textbook by Dr. Fauci. It gives me goosebumps to see this man on TV leading me through this pandemic. I cannot tell you. Anthony Fauci is to medicine what LeBron James is to basketball.