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Coronavirus Tele-Town Halls

Experts share information about COVID-19 and how to protect yourself

Coronavirus Tele-Town Hall 1 p.m. Oct. 1, 2020

Coronavirus TTH 100120 Vaccines & Coping During the Pandemic - Cleanup

Bill Walsh: Hello. I am AARP vice president Bill Walsh and I want to welcome you to this important discussion about the coronavirus. AARP, a nonprofit, nonpartisan member organization has been working to promote the health and well-being of older Americans for more than 60 years. In the face of the global coronavirus pandemic, AARP is providing information resources to help older adults and those caring for them. Last week, the nation passed a grim milestone when the 200,000th person died from COVID-19. Nearly seven months into the pandemic new cases and death rates continue to move in the wrong direction. And now, as we enter flu season, public attention is increasingly on the progress being made in developing a vaccine for COVID-19.

Today, we’ll talk with experts about the vaccine development process, and about how you and your loved ones are continuing to cope during the pandemic. If you’ve participated in one of our Tele-Town Halls in the past, you know this is similar to a radio talk show, and you have the opportunity to ask questions live. For those of you joining us on the phone, if you’d like to ask a question, press *3 on your telephone keypad to be connected with an AARP staff member who will note your name and question and place you in a queue to ask that question live. If you’re joining on Facebook or YouTube, you can post your question in the comments section.

Hello, if you’re just joining, I am Bill Walsh with AARP, and I want to welcome you to this important discussion about the global coronavirus pandemic. We’re talking with leading experts and taking your questions live. To ask your question, please press *3 on your telephone keypad, and if you’re joining on Facebook or YouTube, you can post your question in the comments.

Joining us today are David M. Aronoff, M.D., professor and Addison B. Scoville Jr. Chair in Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Altha Stewart, M.D., past president of the American Psychiatric Association. We will also be joined by my AARP colleague Kevin Craiglow, who will help facilitate your calls today. This event is being recorded and you can access the recording at aarp.org/coronavirus 24 hours after we wrap up. Again, to ask your question, please press *3 at any time on your telephone keypad to be connected with an AARP staff member, or if you’re joining on Facebook or YouTube, place your question in the comments.

Now I’d like to welcome our first guest: Dr. David Aronoff, M.D., is the director of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Dr. Aronoff has been a key communicator of public health measures and highly involved in the diagnosis and clinical care of COVID-19. Welcome back, Dr. Aronoff.

David Aronoff: Oh, it’s so great to be here. Thank you so much for having me as a guest.

Bill Walsh: Okay. And our other expert is Dr. Altha Stewart, M.D. She is the past president of the American Psychiatric Association. She’s a senior associate dean for community health engagement and an associate professor and chief of social and public psychiatry at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis. Her career spans three decades of work as the CEO of large public mental health systems in Michigan, Pennsylvania and New York. Welcome back to the program, Dr. Stewart.

Altha Stewart: Thank you, Bill. Thanks for having me again.

Bill Walsh: Great to have you both with us today. So, let’s go ahead and get started with the discussion. And just a reminder to our listeners, to ask your question, press *3 on your telephone keypad, or drop your question in the comment section on Facebook or YouTube.

Dr. Aronoff, let’s start with you. There are four vaccines in the final stages of testing. How does the selection process unfold from here? Should we anticipate a single vaccine or multiple options? And will Americans ultimately be asked to choose a vaccine?

David Aronoff: Gosh, those are all really, really good questions, and we don’t totally know the answers to all of them. It’s a little bit like predicting the winner of a race, which it really is, a race to get a vaccine that’s safe and effective. I think right now it’s really beneficial to have as many clinical trials in vaccine and prevention of COVID-19 as we can. And as you mentioned, there are several large phase 3 — those are the big, clinical trials that are necessary for FDA approval of a vaccine to be licensed. And, you know, each of these vaccine candidates has some pluses and minuses. Some of the pluses can be single dose versus multiple dose, some of the minuses could be that some vaccine candidates have to be kept frozen, all the way up to the very point where when they’re administered to a patient, which can create some challenges for distribution. I do think it’s likely that we will see multiple effective and safe vaccines approved, and that may serve quite a few beneficial purposes. Some may be easier to manufacture or quicker to distribute; some may have a different side-effect profile in terms of how sore somebody’s arm gets; or maybe needs to be given once instead of twice. And so, you know, we’re still in early days, of course, but I do think that we’re going to see more than one emerge.

Bill Walsh: Okay, well, let me follow up on that. Surveys are telling us that confidence in the vaccine is low. What is the role of the Data and Safety Monitoring Board with regard to the vaccine trials? What assurances [do] consumers have that any vaccine that emerges is going to be safe?

David Aronoff: Yeah, it’s really an important point about vaccine safety. So this race to get a vaccine for COVID-19 has been accelerated, not by cutting any corners in terms of clinical trials, but by really pouring in a lot of resources into making sure that vaccines can be designed and developed and manufactured at scale and potentially even rolled out quickly. Even lines of distribution for these vaccines have already been created, even ahead of the vaccine trials finishing. But what’s not being compromised is the process of testing these vaccines against placebos in people who are at risk of getting COVID-19 and who will benefit from immunization. And so, there are external boards like Data Safety and Monitoring Boards that look at these clinical trials and really closely scrutinize to make sure there are no signals of harm that are unanticipated, and that the vaccines truly are safe. And I’m confident that when a vaccine against the SARS-CoV-2 virus is ready for widespread distribution that it will have gone through the same regulatory pathways that things like influenza vaccine or tetanus vaccine have gone through.

Bill Walsh: Hmm. Okay, well thank you for that. Dr. Stewart, for many Americans COVID has felt all encompassing; it’s touched every aspect of our lives. And at the same time, how it will play out from here remains highly uncertain. How does this impact our ability to cope and manage with mental and physical health?

Altha Stewart: Well, Bill, that is a great question, and it’s probably the question I get asked most often these days. It’s true because there are, for many people, three different components of what we are experiencing now. There is, of course, the actual viral pandemic, the COVID-19 pandemic and all that, all the health implications that come with that in terms of if you don’t get the virus and get sick; if you are worried about getting the virus and getting sick; or, if you are asymptomatic and worried about transmitting to someone who could get sick and not fare well if they did. So there is the actual physical health component of it. Then there is the economic component that’s layered on that top of that because the virus has created such an economic upturn that that comes with a fairly significant amount of anxiety and stress and concern and depression and other things, and then juxtaposed in there is also the ongoing and at times explosive social issues that are related to the appearance of the pandemic and perhaps even amplified because of the conditions we’re having to exist in due to the pandemic.

So there are lots and lots of reasons for people to feel this all-encompassing, overwhelming and oppressive psychological impact that are fairly normal given the circumstances. I think one of the issues that we in the field of mental health are most concerned about is that, as we look at how people are handling and coping with all of these things, what we are noticing — and this is across the board — what we are noticing is, if you were already predisposed to not handle anxiety and stress and depression well, this is really exaggerating all of those things. If you already had problems in psychological, with a psychological distress or psychological illness then, again, these are exacerbating times and the ongoing uncertainty, as we just heard, that, you know, we’re hoping that the vaccine will arrive, we are, we’re trusting the process will assure that it is safe and effective, but there are many people today who simply don’t trust any potential vaccine, any potential therapeutic that is being worked on or developed, and a lot of that mistrust is going to create even more anxiety and stress in the population. And so we’re going to be dealing with how we cope with this, how we deal with the stress, how we manage the psychological impact for a long time to come. And our system has to be geared up to be prepared to deal with those things in the general population.

Bill Walsh: Yeah, that’s a rather sobering outlook on the future, but probably quite accurate. What advice do you have for people, you know, given everyone’s situation’s a little bit different, but are there a few things that people should keep in mind to help manage their stress and anxiety?

Altha Stewart: Oh, yeah. You know, we practice now some self-care strategies and promote them for the general public. The first is, recognize that a lot of the things that we worry about related to COVID are out of our control. The best we can do is follow public health guidelines, adhere to the standards that have been demonstrated effective in reducing or stopping the spread in our community, and don’t let our guards down. You know, washing your hands, maintaining distance and wearing a mask ought to be everyone’s mantra right now. The second is that since we have to work in this climate, and for those who work at home or those who are outside the home working in what we are now describing as essential work, that we’ve got to simply try very hard to maintain a structure around us that allows us to do our work, block out some of the anxiety and stress noise that’s circled around us and try to keep a structure in our day that allows us to function. I am advising people to stop watching nonstop breaking news, the 24-hour news cycle, whether it’s on TV or on your device that you are wed to. I think we have to shut out that sometimes the same breaking news five minutes ago will still be breaking in the next hour, and we don’t need that nonstop feeding our anxiety.

The final thing is: Make time for fun. Build it into your, into your schedule and into the system that you use, that there will be time set aside simply for fun, recreation, family gathering, you know, in a safe way in your little pod, but something that allows you to decompress from the day-to-day work and allow yourself something that gives you a chance to take a deep breath. And then finally, everybody needs to take a deep breath and give themselves a little grace. We’re not perfect. We can’t predict the future. There are things that are going to happen that are outside of our control, and making ourselves feel guilty, not allowing ourselves to accept the fact that we couldn’t do anything about it, those are the kinds of things that will help us get through the loss of rituals, like, we couldn’t go to graduations, we couldn’t do weddings, we couldn’t have celebrations of anniversaries and significant birthdays. And so we have to stop feeling so guilty about what we’ve lost and really start to look for those things that we are learning that are important in this environment that make us smile.

Bill Walsh: Well, thank you, Dr. Stewart for that. I think you found a new mantra for our time. Give yourself a little grace. I think that would be a terrific bumper sticker, at least something to keep in mind on a daily basis. Thanks to both of you. And as a reminder to our listeners, to ask your question of these two experts, please press *3. We’re going to get to those questions shortly, but before we do, I wanted to update you all on the, on AARP’s ongoing fight to protect those who live and work in nursing homes.

Since the start of the pandemic, more than 76,000 nursing home residents and staff have died from COVID-19. This is a national tragedy. We are calling on federal and state leaders to take action on a five-point plan. First, facilities must provide regular ongoing testing and adequate personal protective equipment for residents and staff. Second, we need transparency and accountability, with daily public reporting of cases and deaths in facilities. And we need facilities to communicate better with families. Third, family members need the ability to visit virtually with their loved ones in nursing homes, even as nursing homes allow in-person visits. Fourth, residents need better care. That means adequate staffing and access to in-person advocates, known as long-term care ombudsman. And there are long-term care ombudsmen in every state, by the way, for our listeners. And finally, nursing homes and long-term care facilities that harm residents must be held accountable. Thousands of AARP members and volunteers and activists have already made their voices heard to help save lives. To learn more and make your voice heard, please visit aarp.org/nursing homes.

To ask your question today, please press *3. It’s now time to address some of your questions about the coronavirus with Dr. Aronoff and Dr. Stewart. Press *3 at any time on your telephone keypad to be connected to an AARP staff member to share your question. Now, I’d like to bring in my AARP colleague Kevin Craiglow to help facilitate your calls today. Welcome, Kevin.

Kevin Craiglow: Hi, Bill. Thanks for having me today.

Bill Walsh: All right, who is our first caller?

Kevin Craiglow: Our first call is from Christine in New Hampshire.

Bill Walsh: Hey, Christine, go ahead with your question.

Christine: Yes. I’m 72 years old, and I have grandchildren, obviously. My concern is that my son is in the medical field and he says that the masks work if you don’t put your hands toward your face. So a lot of people, you know, need to know that. If they’ve got the mask on, don’t touch the mask. But are they really that successful in keeping the levels of contamination down to a comfortable level? Because we in New Hampshire, there isn’t a time I don’t go into a New Hampshire store or anything in New Hampshire, and a lot of our people are wearing masks, and I feel very comforted by that. But then my son says, yes, they help in certain areas. So we need to get the word out of wearing the mask and what I’m really concerned about is how to use them properly, as far as not, you know, like my son says, don’t touch your mask. So I think what we need to do is just expand on people, ’cause I just think a lot of people just aren’t being educated enough.

Bill Walsh: Yeah. Well, I’ll tell you what, let’s run that question by Dr. Aronoff and see what he has to say about the effectiveness of masks. And Dr. Aronoff, are there certain masks that are more effective than others?

David Aronoff: Yeah, I really want to thank Christine for that question because I get a lot of questions about face coverings or masks. And, you know, the kinds of face coverings that we’re really encouraging people in the public to wear when they’re in those situations where they’re around people who they don’t live with, those can be cloth and often sort of a heavy cotton material is best. It has to be one that’s breathable, that when a person wearing it can breathe. And that’s most of the masks, actually, that are commercially available. And the purpose of those is really to help reduce the dispersal of our own breath into a cloud around us. The challenge with COVID-19 is that this is a pandemic that has been spreading from person to person in the absence of symptoms. And so, people who are walking around very well may be infected and not realize it, either because they’re just in that minority of infected people who are never going to get symptoms, or maybe tomorrow they’re going to get symptoms, but they’re still contagious. And so by wearing face coverings, we protect people around us in the event that we are infected. And Christine brings up two really important points. One is to use clean masks. So it’s good to have a backup in case the one that you’re wearing gets soiled or wet or something. And if you have a cloth mask, to wash it regularly; that’s really important. And then the issue of touching our face is an important one. And I would obviously discourage people from touching their eyes, nose or mouth too frequently. But if you do have to adjust your mask or, even without a mask, touch your eyes, nose or mouth, make sure your hands are clean. And that can be done by washing with soap and water for 20 seconds or using a common alcohol-based hand sanitizer on your hands, and then after it dries, then you’re good to go to touch your face. But Christine brings up a lot of really good points and I hope that those answers help.

Bill Walsh: All right. Very good. Thank you very much. Kevin, who is our next caller?

Kevin Craiglow: Bill, our next call, excuse me. Bill, our next caller is Rita from New Jersey.

Bill Walsh: Hey, Rita. Welcome to the show. Go ahead with your question.

Rita: I have, it’s a two-part question. Where does the mistrust come from, people not wanting to take the vaccine? And the other one has to do with how does somebody deal with relationship issues during this time, meaning, you know, you’re enclosed, you really can’t go out to meet people. I mean, if you broke up with somebody, how do you deal with that? And how do you stop from feeling like you’re alone?

Bill Walsh: Okay, well, thanks, Rita, for that. Let’s ask Dr. Stewart to take those on. The first question was about the mistrust that we’re seeing in a potential vaccine. What are the sources of that, do you suspect?

Altha Stewart: Well, I think that’s a great question, actually, a great multipart question, Rita. Thank you. I think the mistrust is related to a few things. There is, and with respect to this particular issue, the COVID-19, there was so much that we didn’t know at the beginning and we were doing our best in the medical profession to give the advice that we thought was best. And people in the general public may now see that as, you know, they didn’t know what they were doing then, why should we trust them now? And I think that’s in part is part of it. In certain communities, there has been a mistrust of general medicine and health care for a long time that has a history that goes back a ways. And so there is that mistrust. And then there is a confusion and the way that people are hearing the current messages around the vaccine. I mean, it probably would have been a better idea not to name the process Operation Warp Speed because it gave people the impression that it was being rushed through. And as you just heard Dr. Aronoff carefully point out, the process itself remains intact and filled with the integrity that we’ve seen in previous vaccine development. But, you know, it’s kind of like my grandma used to say, “The horse is out of the barn,” in terms of what people believe.

And he may want to add some more to that, but to your other question about relationships, I would say that for people who live alone, who have recently become estranged or broken up with folks, that now is the time to be very conscious and intentional about staying in contact with people socially. If you can’t be with them physically, maintain phone contact. Use the device’s FaceTime or video or whatever you have on your device and make contact with people. Be able to see them face to face in some way. For the people that you can be around, maintain the necessary public health guidelines around spread of the virus but try to interact socially. And while the weather was good, maybe do things outside where you can maintain distance and not be as exposed as you would be in an internal setting. And then finally, if all else fails and you really begin to feel sad or down or depressed or alone and don’t know what else to do, please reach out to one of the hotlines to talk with someone about dealing with those feelings. The one we usually recommend in these conversations is the National Alliance on Mental Illness, where you can actually talk to a live person. You can either text them at 741741, and you text the letters N-A-M-I, NAMI, National Alliance on Mental Illness, to 741741, or if you’re old school like me, you can actually call an 800 number: 800-950-6264. And I’m sure, Bill, you guys will have that up in the chat or somewhere where people can get to that. Those are folks who are used to talking with people who are uncertain as to what to do, and they can help you both find people in your local area to speak with, as well as talk with you directly about whatever is concerning you. But thank you. Those are great questions to ask.

Bill Walsh: Yeah. And to Dr. Stewart’s point, we will have the resources posted on our website 24 hours after the broadcast. And to add to what Dr. Stewart said, AARP has also set up a service for folks who feel isolated or alone and, you know, they can call a toll-free number as well and get one of our AARP volunteers to call them back or to call a loved one who you think might be isolated. I’ll give you that number. It’s called the Friendly Voices program, and it’s 888-281-0145, that’s 888-281-0145. And that’s a free service from AARP. That number from, that Dr. Stewart gave from the National Alliance on Mental Illness is once again, 800-950-6264. Okay, Kevin, who is our next caller?

Kevin Craiglow: Bill, our next question actually comes from social media. Paul on YouTube asks, “As an African American man, I think of this upcoming vaccine with reminders of the Tuskegee experiments. What can you offer us to assure us that this vaccine is safe, especially to African Americans?”

Bill Walsh: Tough question. Dr. Aronoff, do you want to try to answer that?

David Aronoff: Yeah, I think, first of all, it, I really appreciate Paul asking that question. I think it’s on a lot of our minds because it’s very clear that the COVID-19 pandemic has been disproportionately affecting communities of color, and we have the opportunity to prevent the infection from spreading in vulnerable communities. And as exactly what you just heard from Dr. Stewart, there is vaccine hesitancy, particularly in vulnerable communities and communities of color where, you know, the history of medicine has, has been poor in terms of things like Tuskegee, et cetera. And so I think this is something that is now a major and appropriate focus of any group bringing a vaccine through phase 3 clinical trials and evaluation by the FDA, is having a plan for engaging communities who may be suspicious of the vaccine or may be worried that it’s more harmful than beneficial. And, yes, that’s going to require some serious work, but I think that that work is necessary to protect people who are most vulnerable to COVID-19.

Bill Walsh: You know, Dr. Aronoff , that was a great question. And I wonder if you can give our listeners some advice. Once a vaccine does emerge, what are the top two or three questions they should have answered for themselves to give them some confidence and some certainty that this vaccine is appropriate for them.

David Aronoff: Well, first of all, it’s easier now than almost ever before to access trustworthy information. Unfortunately, the flip side is it’s also easier to access not so trustworthy information. So first of all, looking to trusted health care providers. And so, in a community that may be a local hospital or a department of public health. Federally, that is somewhere like the CDC or the FDA, and there are advisory committees on immunization practices that are made up of experts from around the United States who have dedicated their careers to safely preventing vaccine-preventable diseases through immunization. And it’s really committees like that, the ACIP, that advisory committee, that are informing the federal government on who, which populations should be prioritized for vaccines, how do we know which ones are really safe and really effective? And the reason, for example, that I’m honored to be on this call today is because I think those of us who are a little bit closer to the process have a real obligation to be providing trustworthy information to the general public and the community who are anxious or scared or don’t know what information is really reliable. So a big thanks to AARP for helping be a catalyst for bringing good, solid, sound information to listeners.

Bill Walsh: Well, thank you for that, Dr. Aronoff, and I’ll mention to our listeners, if you go to aarp.org, you’ll see a story about the vaccine development process. Sometimes just understanding how drugs come to market, how things work, give people a sense of confidence that, in the final product. So check that out if you have some questions. Kevin, who’s our next caller?

Kevin Craiglow: Bill, our next call comes from Elaine in New York.

Bill Walsh: Hey, Elaine. Welcome to the show. What’s your question today?

Elaine: Thank you so much for having this. I really appreciate it. I’m 72, my husband’s 77. Of course, we’re grandparents. My daughter is about 35. She’s got three children under the age of 5. She is off the wall about being safe. We are not allowed in her house. Over this summer we were allowed in the backyard with our masks on. When we go to eat, when we have a meal together, my husband and I sit separate. She gives us separate food. This is causing all kinds of tension. And I wondered if one of you would just address, is she completely off the wall, or is she doing what needs to be done, you know, and how do my husband and I deal with this? You know, we’re trying to be safe also but ...

Bill Walsh: Do you live fairly close by to your daughter and grandkids?

Elaine: An hour. Yes, I’m in New York City, she’s in New Jersey.

Bill Walsh: Well, let’s ask Dr. Stewart about that and maybe suggest some ways it can be addressed.

Altha Stewart: Well, thank you, Elaine. I can hear the distress in your voice that this is challenging both you and your husband. I don’t know the circumstances that have been, that have caused her to want to be this cautious other than the general concern about the virus, and maybe Dr. Aronoff will weigh in on that. Here’s some ideas for things, though, that you may want to consider, you and your husband may want to consider in terms of lessening your stress around her rules about interacting. Accept the fact that she’s doing this from a place of love. That she’s concerned about you all and her children and her family. And so these opportunities for you all to be together, perhaps in the spirit of giving yourself and her some grace, just accept the fact that this is being done out of love, and while it may be irritating and, you believe, unnecessary, you love her, you love your grandkids and being with them obviously brings you some level of joy because you keep wanting to be with them and going through this. So I sense that you and your husband prefer seeing them and being around them, to not seeing and being around them. And it just means a few little adjustments perhaps. Give yourself a little grace, understand the rules of the house are the rules of the house.

You know, make some fun out of this by allowing those to be the rules, but using those rules to generate some time where you and the grandkids can have some fun, whether that’s, you know, Grandma, Grandpa have to stay distant, but we’re going to play a word game or we’re going to talk about something that is our little secret. And ask from her, ask if you can do those things that allow you to both be, you know, in touch with her rules, but also give you a chance to do some things that bring you some fun. And maybe set up the same kind of thing with her where there’s a point where you all just talk — 6 feet apart, of course, because those are the rules — and, you know, if you’ve got to sit at a separate location for the meal, make that into something that becomes a point of fun as opposed to a point of anxiety. It sounds difficult, but it seems to me that you are already halfway there because you’re concerned enough to want to keep being there but not so concerned that you’re going off, okay, about it. So, you know, good luck. Smile. Give yourself some grace. You and your husband are, I think, in the right space to keep yourself connected to your family, to let them know that you care enough to want to go through whatever it takes to be with them, and then when you and he are on the way home after you’ve visited, you can say and do whatever allows you to decompress and laugh about it.

Bill Walsh: Okay, thanks for that, Dr. Stewart. Let’s take one more call. Kevin, who’s on the line now?

Kevin Craiglow: Hi, we have Barb from Wisconsin.

Bill Walsh: Hey, Barb, go ahead with your question.

Barbara: Hi, we’re about to go for our flu shot and we always get the one for seniors that’s stronger or whatever the case is. It’s better, I guess. And we’re wondering if the new flu shots are going to be two different ones like that, too, one for seniors or people at risk, and one for people that are not at risk.

Bill Walsh: Hmm. Okay. Well, let’s ask Dr. Aronoff. Dr. Aronoff, can you answer that question from Barb?

David Aronoff: Yeah, Barb, thank you. First of all, your question is so timely because we really are heading into cold and flu season. I might use this as an opportunity to make the point that in some parts of the world, in the Southern Hemisphere where they’ve already gone through flu season, it looks like all the efforts that they made to reduce the transmission of COVID-19—wearing face coverings, keeping distance, paying attention to hand hygiene — have resulted in less transmission of influenza, which I think is something we should hopefully be able to look forward to and another reason to continue to double down on our efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19. As we do that, we’re likely to block other respiratory viruses like influenza. My understanding specifically about the influenza vaccine is that it continues to be that older adults will get a higher dose of the, what we call quadrivalent vaccine. That means that it’s a vaccine that immunizes against four different strains of influenza, because we’re always trying to predict the strain that might emerge. And so this year there, there are four different strains covered in the vaccine. And I think that that is not different from last year in terms of the recommended guidance. Now is a perfect time to be getting your flu shot and hopefully we will go through this flu season with less trouble from the flu than we’ve had in the past.

Bill Walsh: Okay, thank you very much for that, Dr. Aronoff. And a reminder to all of our listeners, if you’d like to ask a question, press *3 on your telephone keypad. Let me turn back to our experts and, Dr. Aronoff, you know, we’re hearing a vaccine could ultimately be 50 or 60 percent effective. What is the public benefit if a vaccine works just half the time?

David Aronoff: Yeah, that’s a great question because it really isn’t saying that the vaccine works just half the time. What that means, if a vaccine is 50 percent effective, is essentially you immunize a hundred people and you assume all of them get exposed at some point to, say, COVID-19 and only, quote unquote, only 50 percent end up getting infected, so you’ve protected half of the population. But the thing is, is that what we hope for, to see, is that in every person but even the people, particularly the people who appear to get infected, that other 50 percent, that their illness is very mild, that they don’t end up hospitalized, that they don’t end up dying because of COVID-19. And so, first of all, it’s really important to know that while a vaccine just like influenza vaccine doesn’t necessarily protect us from getting the clinical illness of the flu, it definitely protects us from getting severe flu or dying of influenza. And that’s something important to note. The other thing is that part of the way that we are going to interrupt the ongoing spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which is the virus that causes COVID-19, is making sure as many people in our population have some immunity to it. It doesn’t even have to be perfect immunity. But if we can get some proportion of our population, it may be 60 percent, it may be 70 percent, who have seen the vaccine or the virus and have some immunity, that may be plenty to slow and stop the pandemic, which is really, really the goal. So thanks for that question. It’s a complicated one but hopefully that answer made some sense.

Bill Walsh: It sure did. Thank you, Dr. Aronoff. And Dr. Stewart, you know, we’re nearly seven months into this pandemic, and we know that many people have gone out very little, if at all, since March. What signs should we be looking for among our loved ones, friends and neighbors, to see if they’re struggling, and what steps should we take to reach out to them and show them that we care?

Altha Stewart: That’s an excellent question, Bill, and one that I think is very timely, since we are where we are in the timeline. For people who were already prone to social isolation, those are the ones that I most worry about because for many individuals being able to be out, and whether it was to work or for recreation, was a part of their lifeline that kept them going. This restriction on our movement and initially in some places an actual shutdown has been really hard on people who need that social interaction for their own health and well-being. And so what you look for in friends and loved ones, or even in yourself, is an inclination to be even more socially isolated. Even when the opportunity to be out exists, we prefer to be in. That we literally don’t leave a living space for a period of time, and that we aren’t answering the phone, we don’t respond to people’s efforts to video chat or FaceTime or email or text. When we began to socially withdraw to the point where people realize, I haven’t spoken with you in over a week or, We usually talk every few days and now we’re not doing that, you want to check in on those folks and make sure that they’re okay. And you want to be very clear that you let them know you’re checking on them. There is no, there’s no shame and there is no, there should be no guilt about saying to someone, I’m worried about you, I’m concerned that you aren’t interacting more, you know. And if you know the person has had challenges psychologically before, there is even more reason to check on them. The other things to do, again, are so if you’re checking on them and you think something’s going on, try to find out, you know, ask them if they’d like to talk with someone, try to pull them into a conversation about what may be going on. And then be there and support them and recommend that they reach out for help.

Bill Walsh: Okay. Yeah, thank you for that. And, you know, as you point out, isolation was a pretty serious problem before COVID; it seems like it’s just gotten worse. I just wanted to take this opportunity to repeat our AARP number for our Friendly Voices program. Again, this is a toll-free, you know, free service where if you feel isolated or you know someone who is, you can have them, have one of AARP’s trained volunteers reach out and just chat with them for a while. That number is 888-281-0145. And thank you, Dr. Stewart, for that.

Now it’s time to address more of your questions with Dr. Aronoff and Dr. Stewart. Please press *3 at any time on your telephone keypad to be connected. Kevin, who’s our next caller?

Kevin Craiglow: Bill, our next caller is Eileen from New York.

Bill Walsh: Go ahead. Welcome to the show. Go ahead with your question.

Eileen: Oh, yes. Thank you, sir, for this opportunity to speak. My concern is that they are thinking of giving this vaccine first to people in nursing homes, which might be a good idea, but my concern is that these people are often given medications, a lot of medications that they don’t want, against their wishes. They get, they give them against their wishes. Will these vaccines be given on a voluntary basis, or will they be compelled to take them?

Bill Walsh: Eileen, thanks so much for that question. And I heard two really important questions in there, actually. She was asking first about who’s going to get the vaccine first. And if it is folks in nursing homes, will they get the vaccine voluntarily? Dr. Aronoff, do you have some thoughts on that?

David Aronoff: Yeah, I think those are really two important things to discuss. And Eileen, thank you for calling in. Prioritizing who gets the first sort of runs of these vaccines is really going to be important. And I think there will be a lot of thought in getting them to the communities and populations who are most at risk of having bad outcomes from COVID-19. And so that means prioritizing frontline health care workers, because they may be more likely to get infected, communities of color that we talked about before, older adults, people with multiple medical problems, et cetera. And there’s still a lot of work going into that sort of logistics of getting the vaccines out. But, like with any medical treatment or prevention, consent is really important and making sure that people are aware of what they are having for a vaccine is really critically important. And so the same types of consent processes that go into giving older adults who may be in the nursing home a flu shot, would be the same for the COVID-19 vaccine. But I do think that that’s a really, really important point and one that I know is on a lot of our minds in medicine, is making sure we’re doing things right.

Bill Walsh: Yeah. Okay. Thanks for that. Kevin, who is our next caller?

Kevin Craiglow: Bill, our next caller is Marie from Missouri.

Bill Walsh: Hey, Marie. Welcome to our program. What’s your question today?

Marie: Yes, I have two grandchildren— two daughters and four grandchildren, who are all attending in-person school. They live out of town. My husband and I are both 72. And being the wonderful grandparents and parents that we are, we always celebrate the holidays together. So I would like an opinion on them coming to town and staying with us. It would be a total of 10.

Bill Walsh: Yes, coming in for the holidays. I’m sure this is a question on a lot of people’s minds. I wonder, Dr. Aronoff, do you have some thoughts on that?

David Aronoff: Yeah, this is a really, really tough situation. And it hearkens back to earlier in the pandemic when we were counseling people about graduation parties or wedding types of events. And I think, you know, there are individual really horrible stories with how COVID-19 is affecting individuals, particularly with their physical and mental health. But there are also ways that COVID-19 is disrupting families, outside of just individuals. And one of those is the usual way that we get together over things like Thanksgiving and religious holidays. And I think that this is going to be a season where COVID-19 interrupts our ability to bring people together who don’t live together in close spaces, particularly with respect to grandparents, people who are over 65, who are at increased risk for getting hospitalized or dying from COVID-19. In the absence of a vaccine and in the absence of truly effective treatments for people who are not hospitalized, I think we still need to err on the side of being safe and trying to design the way that we navigate this holiday season with that in mind. It’s not going to be the kind of holiday that any of us would want to wish, probably, on our worst enemies. This is going to be one of those holiday seasons where we have to think about celebrating in different ways that reduce the likelihood of transmission of virus. Two quick points: One is, remember that virus transmits from people who don’t have symptoms, while people with symptoms are very contagious, for sure, they tend not to be the ones going to holiday parties or traveling. It’s the folks who have not yet gotten symptoms, or are not going to get symptoms but are infected, that are fueling this pandemic. So I think that’s one of the major points. The other point is that the virus doesn’t know what Thanksgiving is. All that the virus does is hop from person to person, mostly through our breath. And whatever brings us together can foster the likelihood that there’s going to be a transmission event. And so, I wish I had better news for this holiday because I’m a big Thanksgiving-type holiday person myself. But this year, I think it’s going to be a bit different.

Bill Walsh: All right. Well, thanks for that. Kevin, who is next on the line?

Kevin Craiglow: So our next question comes from social media, and specifically from Facebook. Barb from Winston-Salem says, “I’m 66 years old and I live alone. I haven’t seen my family since Christmas. I’ve tried at least three times to see them outside and they usually cancel. I’m already being treated for depression. Now I’ve lost my job but have no adult contact. I think I’m getting tired of the pandemic and being isolated. Any ideas on what I can do to not feel so left out, without taking chances?”

Bill Walsh: All right. Well, thank you, Barb, for that question. It sounds like you’re in a very difficult place. Dr. Stewart, do you have any words for her?

Altha Stewart: Absolutely. Thank you, Barb, for listening in and reaching out and asking this question. It sounds like from what you described that you were already aware of a tendency to experience depression. So I hope inherent in that is also an understanding that treatment is available for depression and that you are aware of your local area resources and making contact with them to either get back into therapy for the depression, or to at least reach out and contact them and talk about what your options for help are right now. Always remember that there are hotlines and crisis lines and others waiting for you to call so that they can be of help to you directly. And we will give out the number for the National Alliance on Mental Illness again, but also think about in your circle. Are there people that you can reach out to just to return to some level of social interaction? If you’ve recently lost your job, you probably aren’t interested in speaking with former coworkers, but maybe friends, neighbors, other people in your past who may know of this tendency for depression, and who would be willing and happy, in fact, to spend some time with you on the phone or via FaceTime, just making sure that you are returning to some kind of social contact with others. Please don’t allow yourself, don’t make the choice, to stay alone. Make the choice instead to reach out one more time to someone and see if you can get some support, some help, some guidance, something. We’re pulling for you, and the folks at NAMI, remember, you can reach them at 800-950-6264 and get some local identified service if you don’t know where to find that. And good luck.

Bill Walsh: Thank you for that, Dr. Stewart. And Barb, thank you so much for the question. We’re all going to be thinking about you. You’re not alone there in Winston-Salem. You’ve got a whole community of people thinking about you. Kevin, let’s have another caller.

Kevin Craiglow: Great. Our next call comes from Carol in Colorado.

Bill Walsh: Hey, Carol, go ahead with your question.

Carol: My question has to do with how to handle situations in a community living situation. I live in a 55-plus apartment, which I moved to for the social interaction. I have an underlying health situation, Parkinson’s disease, do not drive and moved here, one reason, so that I could participate in the social events. Since the pandemic has begun, the community in general has been fairly lax in terms of following the recommended procedures, in terms of enforcing mask use and social distancing. I have attempted to go to some of the activities but have ended up being very anxious and had to leave because the procedures and the sensibilities of the different folks here and the management is not at my comfort level. And I’ve spoken with the management about that but, you know, I’m one person and other people are comfortable with the way things are going. So I’m wondering if you have any advice as far as how to handle that situation.

Bill Walsh: All right, Carol. Thanks so much for the call. Dr. Aronoff do you have any suggestions for Carol?

David Aronoff: Yeah, Carol, thank you for sharing that, which sounds stressful and difficult to navigate because, again, you’re living in a 55-plus community and so there are going to be people who have medical conditions, as you shared, who may be at risk for doing worse with COVID-19. And best, we know how to prevent or at least reduce the risk for transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus with things like distance and good ventilation in rooms and hand hygiene and wearing face coverings. And, you know, I think that sort of conversation you’re having with management is really, really important. And, I think, you know, if there are like-minded individuals in your community, it may be easier to have some leverage in talking with management or even in talking with the other members of the community, if you can do that as a group. If there is a cadre of people who are taking this really seriously and understand the consequences of COVID-19 to your community, you know, now might be the time to make sure that you’re, that you’re using numbers on your side. Because it’s harder to look more than one person in the eye and say, no, we’re not going to require face coverings or we’re not going to pay attention to ventilation or masks or distance or hand hygiene. So that may be one thing. You know, maybe that Dr. Stewart also has some good suggestions.

Bill Walsh: Dr. Stewart, did you want to add to that answer at all?

Altha Stewart: No, I think that’s a great approach. There is strength in numbers. I guess the only other thing I would say is if all else fails, organize some things for yourself that don’t force you to be in a setting where you are more at risk, and that may have to be virtual for a while until you can get your numbers of people to join you in advocating for change.

Bill Walsh: Okay, thank you both for that. Let’s take one more call from our listeners. Kevin.

Kevin Craiglow: Yeah, we have a call from Ina, from California.

Bill Walsh: Go ahead, Ina. What’s your question?

Ina: Well, thank you for receiving my question. I am 92 years old in seven months. I have never taken a flu shot. And now I am wondering what is the best decision for me to make? I am not inclined to want to take a flu shot. Is that sensible or not?

Bill Walsh: Well, let’s ask the experts. Dr. Aronoff, what advice do you have for Ina in California?

David Aronoff: Yeah, Ina, first of all, I’m so inspired by you calling and thank you for that. I’ll, you know, over time we’ve learned so much about the benefits of influenza vaccines for preventing hospitalization, particularly in our seniors, and preventing death from influenza. It’s important to know that the flu shot is not a live virus that we use. Back in the day, most of our vaccines were some sort of live virus or something, live bacteria, but this is, these are just bits and pieces of the virus that stimulate an immune response, but they don’t cause the flu, and that’s important for people to know. So I’m an advocate for getting the flu shot every year. I think that, of course, the majority of people don’t get influenza every year, but some people get it and they get it at the worst time when they weren’t expecting it and can do poorly. So I think the best strategy is to be immunized and to talk to your licensed health care professional about that. But gosh, thank you so much for calling.

Bill Walsh: Thank you, Dr. Aronoff and Ina. I’m no doctor but as someone who wants to see you reach 102 and seven months, please get your flu shot this year. It’s more important than ever.

So, this has been a really informative discussion and thanks to both our expert panelists for answering all of the questions. And thank you, our AARP members, volunteers and listeners for participating in this discussion. AARP, a nonprofit, nonpartisan member organization, has been working to promote the health and well-being of older Americans for more than 60 years. In the face of this crisis, we’re providing information and resources to help older adults and those caring for them protect themselves from the virus, prevent its spread to others while taking care of themselves. All of the resources referenced today, including a recording of the Q&A event, can be found at aarp.org/coronavirus beginning tomorrow, April, not April, October 2nd. Again, that web address is aarp.org/coronavirus. Go there if your question was not answered, and you will find the latest updates as well as information created specifically for older adults and family caregivers. We hope you’ll learned something that can help keep you and your loved ones healthy. Please be sure to tune in tonight at aarp.org at 7 p.m. Eastern Time for a special live Q&A discussion on life lessons and insights gleaned from Queen Elizabeth II. Thank you and have a good day. This concludes our call.

Coronavirus Tele-Town Hall 1 p.m. Oct. 1, 2020

Bill Walsh:  Hello. I am AARP vice president Bill Walsh and I want to welcome you to this important discussion about the coronavirus. AARP, a nonprofit, nonpartisan member organization has been working to promote the health and well-being of older Americans for more than 60 years. In the face of the global coronavirus pandemic, AARP is providing information resources to help older adults and those caring for them. Last week, the nation passed a grim milestone when the 200,000th person died from COVID-19. Nearly seven months into the pandemic new cases and death rates continue to move in the wrong direction. And now, as we enter flu season, public attention is increasingly on the progress being made in developing a vaccine for COVID-19.

[00:00:52] Today, we’ll talk with experts about the vaccine development process, and about how you and your loved ones are continuing to cope during the pandemic. If you’ve participated in one of our Tele-Town Halls in the past, you know this is similar to a radio talk show, and you have the opportunity to ask questions live. For those of you joining us on the phone, if you’d like to ask a question, press *3 on your telephone keypad to be connected with an AARP staff member who will note your name and question and place you in a queue to ask that question live. If you’re joining on Facebook or YouTube, you can post your question in the comments section.

[00:01:30] Hello, if you’re just joining, I am Bill Walsh with AARP, and I want to welcome you to this important discussion about the global coronavirus pandemic. We’re talking with leading experts and taking your questions live. To ask your question, please press *3 on your telephone keypad, and if you’re joining on Facebook or YouTube, you can post your question in the comments.

[00:01:53] Joining us today are David M. Aronoff, M.D., professor and Addison B. Scoville Jr. Chair in Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Altha Stewart, M.D., past president of the American Psychiatric Association. We will also be joined by my AARP colleague Kevin Craiglow, who will help facilitate your calls today. This event is being recorded and you can access the recording at aarp.org/coronavirus 24 hours after we wrap up. Again, to ask your question, please press *3 at any time on your telephone keypad to be connected with an AARP staff member, or if you’re joining on Facebook or YouTube, place your question in the comments.

[00:02:41] Now I’d like to welcome our first guest: Dr. David Aronoff, M.D., is the director of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Dr. Aronoff has been a key communicator of public health measures and highly involved in the diagnosis and clinical care of COVID-19. Welcome back, Dr. Aronoff.

[00:03:03]David Aronoff:  Oh, it’s so great to be here. Thank you so much for having me as a guest.

[00:03:08]Bill Walsh:  Okay. And our other expert is Dr. Altha Stewart, M.D. She is the past president of the American Psychiatric Association. She’s a senior associate dean for community health engagement and an associate professor and chief of social and public psychiatry at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis. Her career spans three decades of work as the CEO of large public mental health systems in Michigan, Pennsylvania and New York. Welcome back to the program, Dr. Stewart.

[00:03:40]Altha Stewart:  Thank you, Bill. Thanks for having me again.

[00:03:43]Bill Walsh:  Great to have you both with us today. So, let’s go ahead and get started with the discussion. And just a reminder to our listeners, to ask your question, press *3 on your telephone keypad, or drop your question in the comment section on Facebook or YouTube.

[00:03:58] Dr. Aronoff, let’s start with you. There are four vaccines in the final stages of testing. How does the selection process unfold from here? Should we anticipate a single vaccine or multiple options? And will Americans ultimately be asked to choose a vaccine?

[00:04:17]David Aronoff:  Gosh, those are all really, really good questions, and we don’t totally know the answers to all of them. It’s a little bit like predicting the winner of a race, which it really is, a race to get a vaccine that’s safe and effective. I think right now it’s really beneficial to have as many clinical trials in vaccine and prevention of COVID-19 as we can. And as you mentioned, there are several large phase 3 — those are the big, clinical trials that are necessary for FDA approval of a vaccine to be licensed. And, you know, each of these vaccine candidates has some pluses and minuses. Some of the pluses can be single dose versus multiple dose, some of the minuses could be that some vaccine candidates have to be kept frozen, all the way up to the very point where when they’re administered to a patient, which can create some challenges for distribution. I do think it’s likely that we will see multiple effective and safe vaccines approved, and that may serve quite a few beneficial purposes. Some may be easier to manufacture or quicker to distribute; some may have a different side-effect profile in terms of how sore somebody’s arm gets; or maybe needs to be given once instead of twice. And so, you know, we’re still in early days, of course, but I do think that we’re going to see more than one emerge.

[00:05:45]Bill Walsh:  Okay, well, let me follow up on that. Surveys are telling us that confidence in the vaccine is low. What is the role of the Data and Safety Monitoring Board with regard to the vaccine trials? What assurances [do] consumers have that any vaccine that emerges is going to be safe?

[00:06:03]David Aronoff:  Yeah, it’s really an important point about vaccine safety. So this race to get a vaccine for COVID-19 has been accelerated, not by cutting any corners in terms of clinical trials, but by really pouring in a lot of resources into making sure that vaccines can be designed and developed and manufactured at scale and potentially even rolled out quickly. Even lines of distribution for these vaccines have already been created, even ahead of the vaccine trials finishing. But what’s not being compromised is the process of testing these vaccines against placebos in people who are at risk of getting COVID-19 and who will benefit from immunization. And so, there are external boards like Data Safety and Monitoring Boards that look at these clinical trials and really closely scrutinize to make sure there are no signals of harm that are unanticipated, and that the vaccines truly are safe. And I’m confident that when a vaccine against the SARS-CoV-2 virus is ready for widespread distribution that it will have gone through the same regulatory pathways that things like influenza vaccine or tetanus vaccine have gone through.

[00:07:26]Bill Walsh:  Hmm. Okay, well thank you for that. Dr. Stewart, for many Americans COVID has felt all encompassing; it’s touched every aspect of our lives. And at the same time, how it will play out from here remains highly uncertain. How does this impact our ability to cope and manage with mental and physical health?

[00:07:48]Altha Stewart:  Well, Bill, that is a great question, and it’s probably the question I get asked most often these days. It’s true because there are, for many people, three different components of what we are experiencing now. There is, of course, the actual viral pandemic, the COVID-19 pandemic and all that, all the health implications that come with that in terms of if you don’t get the virus and get sick; if you are worried about getting the virus and getting sick; or, if you are asymptomatic and worried about transmitting to someone who could get sick and not fare well if they did. So there is the actual physical health component of it. Then there is the economic component that’s layered on that top of that because the virus has created such an economic upturn that that comes with a fairly significant amount of anxiety and stress and concern and depression and other things, and then juxtaposed in there is also the ongoing and at times explosive social issues that are related to the appearance of the pandemic and perhaps even amplified because of the conditions we’re having to exist in due to the pandemic.

[00:09:06] So there are lots and lots of reasons for people to feel this all-encompassing, overwhelming and oppressive psychological impact that are fairly normal given the circumstances. I think one of the issues that we in the field of mental health are most concerned about is that, as we look at how people are handling and coping with all of these things, what we are noticing — and this is across the board — what we are noticing is, if you were already predisposed to not handle anxiety and stress and depression well, this is really exaggerating all of those things. If you already had problems in psychological, with a psychological distress or psychological illness then, again, these are exacerbating times and the ongoing uncertainty, as we just heard, that, you know, we’re hoping that the vaccine will arrive, we are, we’re trusting the process will assure that it is safe and effective, but there are many people today who simply don’t trust any potential vaccine, any potential therapeutic that is being worked on or developed, and a lot of that mistrust is going to create even more anxiety and stress in the population. And so we’re going to be dealing with how we cope with this, how we deal with the stress, how we manage the psychological impact for a long time to come. And our system has to be geared up to be prepared to deal with those things in the general population.

[00:10:41]Bill Walsh:  Yeah, that’s a rather sobering outlook on the future, but probably quite accurate. What advice do you have for people, you know, given everyone’s situation’s a little bit different, but are there a few things that people should keep in mind to help manage their stress and anxiety?

[00:10:59]Altha Stewart:  Oh, yeah. You know, we practice now some self-care strategies and promote them for the general public. The first is, recognize that a lot of the things that we worry about related to COVID are out of our control. The best we can do is follow public health guidelines, adhere to the standards that have been demonstrated effective in reducing or stopping the spread in our community, and don’t let our guards down. You know, washing your hands, maintaining distance and wearing a mask ought to be everyone’s mantra right now. The second is that since we have to work in this climate, and for those who work at home or those who are outside the home working in what we are now describing as essential work, that we’ve got to simply try very hard to maintain a structure around us that allows us to do our work, block out some of the anxiety and stress noise that’s circled around us and try to keep a structure in our day that allows us to function. I am advising people to stop watching nonstop breaking news, the 24-hour news cycle, whether it’s on TV or on your device that you are wed to. I think we have to shut out that sometimes the same breaking news five minutes ago will still be breaking in the next hour, and we don’t need that nonstop feeding our anxiety.

[00:12:29]The final thing is:  Make time for fun. Build it into your, into your schedule and into the system that you use, that there will be time set aside simply for fun, recreation, family gathering, you know, in a safe way in your little pod, but something that allows you to decompress from the day-to-day work and allow yourself something that gives you a chance to take a deep breath. And then finally, everybody needs to take a deep breath and give themselves a little grace. We’re not perfect. We can’t predict the future. There are things that are going to happen that are outside of our control, and making ourselves feel guilty, not allowing ourselves to accept the fact that we couldn’t do anything about it, those are the kinds of things that will help us get through the loss of rituals, like, we couldn’t go to graduations, we couldn’t do weddings, we couldn’t have celebrations of anniversaries and significant birthdays. And so we have to stop feeling so guilty about what we’ve lost and really start to look for those things that we are learning that are important in this environment that make us smile.

[00:13:39]Bill Walsh:  Well, thank you, Dr. Stewart for that. I think you found a new mantra for our time. Give yourself a little grace. I think that would be a terrific bumper sticker, at least something to keep in mind on a daily basis. Thanks to both of you. And as a reminder to our listeners, to ask your question of these two experts, please press *3. We’re going to get to those questions shortly, but before we do, I wanted to update you all on the, on AARP’s ongoing fight to protect those who live and work in nursing homes.

[00:14:11] Since the start of the pandemic, more than 76,000 nursing home residents and staff have died from COVID-19. This is a national tragedy. We are calling on federal and state leaders to take action on a five-point plan. First, facilities must provide regular ongoing testing and adequate personal protective equipment for residents and staff. Second, we need transparency and accountability, with daily public reporting of cases and deaths in facilities. And we need facilities to communicate better with families. Third, family members need the ability to visit virtually with their loved ones in nursing homes, even as nursing homes allow in-person visits. Fourth, residents need better care. That means adequate staffing and access to in-person advocates, known as long-term care ombudsman. And there are long-term care ombudsmen in every state, by the way, for our listeners. And finally, nursing homes and long-term care facilities that harm residents must be held accountable. Thousands of AARP members and volunteers and activists have already made their voices heard to help save lives. To learn more and make your voice heard, please visit aarp.org/nursing homes.

[00:15:32] To ask your question today, please press *3. It’s now time to address some of your questions about the coronavirus with Dr. Aronoff and Dr. Stewart. Press *3 at any time on your telephone keypad to be connected to an AARP staff member to share your question. Now, I’d like to bring in my AARP colleague Kevin Craiglow to help facilitate your calls today. Welcome, Kevin.

[00:15:58]Kevin Craiglow:  Hi, Bill. Thanks for having me today.

[00:16:01]Bill Walsh:  All right, who is our first caller?

[00:16:05]Kevin Craiglow:  Our first call is from Christine in New Hampshire.

[00:16:08]Bill Walsh:  Hey, Christine, go ahead with your question.

[00:16:11]Christine:  Yes. I’m 72 years old, and I have grandchildren, obviously. My concern is that my son is in the medical field and he says that the masks work if you don’t put your hands toward your face. So a lot of people, you know, need to know that. If they’ve got the mask on, don’t touch the mask. But are they really that successful in keeping the levels of contamination down to a comfortable level? Because we in New Hampshire, there isn’t a time I don’t go into a New Hampshire store or anything in New Hampshire, and a lot of our people are wearing masks, and I feel very comforted by that. But then my son says, yes, they help in certain areas. So we need to get the word out of wearing the mask and what I’m really concerned about is how to use them properly, as far as not, you know, like my son says, don’t touch your mask. So I think what we need to do is just expand on people, ’cause I just think a lot of people just aren’t being educated enough.

[00:17:38]Bill Walsh:  Yeah. Well, I’ll tell you what, let’s run that question by Dr. Aronoff and see what he has to say about the effectiveness of masks. And Dr. Aronoff, are there certain masks that are more effective than others?

[00:17:49]David Aronoff:  Yeah, I really want to thank Christine for that question because I get a lot of questions about face coverings or masks. And, you know, the kinds of face coverings that we’re really encouraging people in the public to wear when they’re in those situations where they’re around people who they don’t live with, those can be cloth and often sort of a heavy cotton material is best. It has to be one that’s breathable, that when a person wearing it can breathe. And that’s most of the masks, actually, that are commercially available. And the purpose of those is really to help reduce the dispersal of our own breath into a cloud around us. The challenge with COVID-19 is that this is a pandemic that has been spreading from person to person in the absence of symptoms. And so, people who are walking around very well may be infected and not realize it, either because they’re just in that minority of infected people who are never going to get symptoms, or maybe tomorrow they’re going to get symptoms, but they’re still contagious. And so by wearing face coverings, we protect people around us in the event that we are infected. And Christine brings up two really important points. One is to use clean masks. So it’s good to have a backup in case the one that you’re wearing gets soiled or wet or something. And if you have a cloth mask, to wash it regularly; that’s really important. And then the issue of touching our face is an important one. And I would obviously discourage people from touching their eyes, nose or mouth too frequently. But if you do have to adjust your mask or, even without a mask, touch your eyes, nose or mouth, make sure your hands are clean. And that can be done by washing with soap and water for 20 seconds or using a common alcohol-based hand sanitizer on your hands, and then after it dries, then you’re good to go to touch your face. But Christine brings up a lot of really good points and I hope that those answers help.

[00:19:55]Bill Walsh:  All right. Very good. Thank you very much. Kevin, who is our next caller?

[00:20:02]Kevin Craiglow:  Bill, our next call, excuse me. Bill, our next caller is Rita from New Jersey.

[00:20:08]Bill Walsh:  Hey, Rita. Welcome to the show. Go ahead with your question.

[00:20:12]Rita:  I have, it’s a two-part question. Where does the mistrust come from, people not wanting to take the vaccine? And the other one has to do with how does somebody deal with relationship issues during this time, meaning, you know, you’re enclosed, you really can’t go out to meet people. I mean, if you broke up with somebody, how do you deal with that? And how do you stop from feeling like you’re alone?

[00:20:44]Bill Walsh:  Okay, well, thanks, Rita, for that. Let’s ask Dr. Stewart to take those on. The first question was about the mistrust that we’re seeing in a potential vaccine. What are the sources of that, do you suspect?

[00:20:57]Altha Stewart:  Well, I think that’s a great question, actually, a great multipart question, Rita. Thank you. I think the mistrust is related to a few things. There is, and with respect to this particular issue, the COVID-19, there was so much that we didn’t know at the beginning and we were doing our best in the medical profession to give the advice that we thought was best. And people in the general public may now see that as, you know, they didn’t know what they were doing then, why should we trust them now? And I think that’s in part is part of it. In certain communities, there has been a mistrust of general medicine and health care for a long time that has a history that goes back a ways. And so there is that mistrust. And then there is a confusion and the way that people are hearing the current messages around the vaccine. I mean, it probably would have been a better idea not to name the process Operation Warp Speed because it gave people the impression that it was being rushed through. And as you just heard Dr. Aronoff carefully point out, the process itself remains intact and filled with the integrity that we’ve seen in previous vaccine development. But, you know, it’s kind of like my grandma used to say, “The horse is out of the barn,” in terms of what people believe.

[00:22:21] And he may want to add some more to that, but to your other question about relationships, I would say that for people who live alone, who have recently become estranged or broken up with folks, that now is the time to be very conscious and intentional about staying in contact with people socially. If you can’t be with them physically, maintain phone contact. Use the device’s FaceTime or video or whatever you have on your device and make contact with people. Be able to see them face to face in some way. For the people that you can be around, maintain the necessary public health guidelines around spread of the virus but try to interact socially. And while the weather was good, maybe do things outside where you can maintain distance and not be as exposed as you would be in an internal setting. And then finally, if all else fails and you really begin to feel sad or down or depressed or alone and don’t know what else to do, please reach out to one of the hotlines to talk with someone about dealing with those feelings. The one we usually recommend in these conversations is the National Alliance on Mental Illness, where you can actually talk to a live person. You can either text them at 741741, and you text the letters N-A-M-I, NAMI, National Alliance on Mental Illness, to 741741, or if you’re old school like me, you can actually call an 800 number: 800-950-6264. And I’m sure, Bill, you guys will have that up in the chat or somewhere where people can get to that. Those are folks who are used to talking with people who are uncertain as to what to do, and they can help you both find people in your local area to speak with, as well as talk with you directly about whatever is concerning you. But thank you. Those are great questions to ask.

[00:24:35]Bill Walsh:  Yeah. And to Dr. Stewart’s point, we will have the resources posted on our website 24 hours after the broadcast. And to add to what Dr. Stewart said, AARP has also set up a service for folks who feel isolated or alone and, you know, they can call a toll-free number as well and get one of our AARP volunteers to call them back or to call a loved one who you think might be isolated. I’ll give you that number. It’s called the Friendly Voices program, and it’s 888-281-0145, that’s 888-281-0145. And that’s a free service from AARP. That number from, that Dr. Stewart gave from the National Alliance on Mental Illness is once again, 800-950-6264. Okay, Kevin, who is our next caller?

[00:25:40]Kevin Craiglow:  Bill, our next question actually comes from social media. Paul on YouTube asks, “As an African American man, I think of this upcoming vaccine with reminders of the Tuskegee experiments. What can you offer us to assure us that this vaccine is safe, especially to African Americans?”

[00:26:00]Bill Walsh:  Tough question. Dr. Aronoff, do you want to try to answer that?

[00:26:03]David Aronoff:  Yeah, I think, first of all, it, I really appreciate Paul asking that question. I think it’s on a lot of our minds because it’s very clear that the COVID-19 pandemic has been disproportionately affecting communities of color, and we have the opportunity to prevent the infection from spreading in vulnerable communities. And as exactly what you just heard from Dr. Stewart, there is vaccine hesitancy, particularly in vulnerable communities and communities of color where, you know, the history of medicine has, has been poor in terms of things like Tuskegee, et cetera. And so I think this is something that is now a major and appropriate focus of any group bringing a vaccine through phase 3 clinical trials and evaluation by the FDA, is having a plan for engaging communities who may be suspicious of the vaccine or may be worried that it’s more harmful than beneficial. And, yes, that’s going to require some serious work, but I think that that work is necessary to protect people who are most vulnerable to COVID-19.

[00:27:21]Bill Walsh:  You know, Dr. Aronoff , that was a great question. And I wonder if you can give our listeners some advice. Once a vaccine does emerge, what are the top two or three questions they should have answered for themselves to give them some confidence and some certainty that this vaccine is appropriate for them.

[00:27:40]David Aronoff:  Well, first of all, it’s easier now than almost ever before to access trustworthy information. Unfortunately, the flip side is it’s also easier to access not so trustworthy information. So first of all, looking to trusted health care providers. And so, in a community that may be a local hospital or a department of public health. Federally, that is somewhere like the CDC or the FDA, and there are advisory committees on immunization practices that are made up of experts from around the United States who have dedicated their careers to safely preventing vaccine-preventable diseases through immunization. And it’s really committees like that, the ACIP, that advisory committee, that are informing the federal government on who, which populations should be prioritized for vaccines, how do we know which ones are really safe and really effective? And the reason, for example, that I’m honored to be on this call today is because I think those of us who are a little bit closer to the process have a real obligation to be providing trustworthy information to the general public and the community who are anxious or scared or don’t know what information is really reliable. So a big thanks to AARP for helping be a catalyst for bringing good, solid, sound information to listeners.

[00:29:15]Bill Walsh:  Well, thank you for that, Dr. Aronoff, and I’ll mention to our listeners, if you go to aarp.org, you’ll see a story about the vaccine development process. Sometimes just understanding how drugs come to market, how things work, give people a sense of confidence that, in the final product. So check that out if you have some questions. Kevin, who’s our next caller?

[00:29:42]Kevin Craiglow:  Bill, our next call comes from Elaine in New York.

[00:29:46]Bill Walsh:  Hey, Elaine. Welcome to the show. What’s your question today?

[00:29:51]Elaine:  Thank you so much for having this. I really appreciate it. I’m 72, my husband’s 77. Of course, we’re grandparents. My daughter is about 35. She’s got three children under the age of 5. She is off the wall about being safe. We are not allowed in her house. Over this summer we were allowed in the backyard with our masks on. When we go to eat, when we have a meal together, my husband and I sit separate. She gives us separate food. This is causing all kinds of tension. And I wondered if one of you would just address, is she completely off the wall, or is she doing what needs to be done, you know, and how do my husband and I deal with this? You know, we’re trying to be safe also but ...

[00:30:45]Bill Walsh:  Do you live fairly close by to your daughter and grandkids?

[00:30:49]Elaine:  An hour. Yes, I’m in New York City, she’s in New Jersey.

[00:30:53]Bill Walsh:  Well, let’s ask Dr. Stewart about that and maybe suggest some ways it can be addressed.

[00:31:02]Altha Stewart:  Well, thank you, Elaine. I can hear the distress in your voice that this is challenging both you and your husband. I don’t know the circumstances that have been, that have caused her to want to be this cautious other than the general concern about the virus, and maybe Dr. Aronoff will weigh in on that. Here’s some ideas for things, though, that you may want to consider, you and your husband may want to consider in terms of lessening your stress around her rules about interacting. Accept the fact that she’s doing this from a place of love. That she’s concerned about you all and her children and her family. And so these opportunities for you all to be together, perhaps in the spirit of giving yourself and her some grace, just accept the fact that this is being done out of love, and while it may be irritating and, you believe, unnecessary, you love her, you love your grandkids and being with them obviously brings you some level of joy because you keep wanting to be with them and going through this. So I sense that you and your husband prefer seeing them and being around them, to not seeing and being around them. And it just means a few little adjustments perhaps. Give yourself a little grace, understand the rules of the house are the rules of the house.

[00:32:32] You know, make some fun out of this by allowing those to be the rules, but using those rules to generate some time where you and the grandkids can have some fun, whether that’s, you know, Grandma, Grandpa have to stay distant, but we’re going to play a word game or we’re going to talk about something that is our little secret. And ask from her, ask if you can do those things that allow you to both be, you know, in touch with her rules, but also give you a chance to do some things that bring you some fun. And maybe set up the same kind of thing with her where there’s a point where you all just talk — 6 feet apart, of course, because those are the rules — and, you know, if you’ve got to sit at a separate location for the meal, make that into something that becomes a point of fun as opposed to a point of anxiety. It sounds difficult, but it seems to me that you are already halfway there because you’re concerned enough to want to keep being there but not so concerned that you’re going off, okay, about it. So, you know, good luck. Smile. Give yourself some grace. You and your husband are, I think, in the right space to keep yourself connected to your family, to let them know that you care enough to want to go through whatever it takes to be with them, and then when you and he are on the way home after you’ve visited, you can say and do whatever allows you to decompress and laugh about it.

[00:34:10]Bill Walsh:  Okay, thanks for that, Dr. Stewart. Let’s take one more call. Kevin, who’s on the line now?

[00:34:18]Kevin Craiglow:  Hi, we have Barb from Wisconsin.

[00:34:22]Bill Walsh:  Hey, Barb, go ahead with your question.

[00:34:24]Barbara:  Hi, we’re about to go for our flu shot and we always get the one for seniors that’s stronger or whatever the case is. It’s better, I guess. And we’re wondering if the new flu shots are going to be two different ones like that, too, one for seniors or people at risk, and one for people that are not at risk.

[00:34:46]Bill Walsh:  Hmm. Okay. Well, let’s ask Dr. Aronoff. Dr. Aronoff, can you answer that question from Barb?

[00:34:51]David Aronoff:  Yeah, Barb, thank you. First of all, your question is so timely because we really are heading into cold and flu season. I might use this as an opportunity to make the point that in some parts of the world, in the Southern Hemisphere where they’ve already gone through flu season, it looks like all the efforts that they made to reduce the transmission of COVID-19—wearing face coverings, keeping distance, paying attention to hand hygiene — have resulted in less transmission of influenza, which I think is something we should hopefully be able to look forward to and another reason to continue to double down on our efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19. As we do that, we’re likely to block other respiratory viruses like influenza. My understanding specifically about the influenza vaccine is that it continues to be that older adults will get a higher dose of the, what we call quadrivalent vaccine. That means that it’s a vaccine that immunizes against four different strains of influenza, because we’re always trying to predict the strain that might emerge. And so this year there, there are four different strains covered in the vaccine. And I think that that is not different from last year in terms of the recommended guidance. Now is a perfect time to be getting your flu shot and hopefully we will go through this flu season with less trouble from the flu than we’ve had in the past.

[00:36:31]Bill Walsh:  Okay, thank you very much for that, Dr. Aronoff. And a reminder to all of our listeners, if you’d like to ask a question, press *3 on your telephone keypad. Let me turn back to our experts and, Dr. Aronoff, you know, we’re hearing a vaccine could ultimately be 50 or 60 percent effective. What is the public benefit if a vaccine works just half the time?

[00:36:55]David Aronoff:  Yeah, that’s a great question because it really isn’t saying that the vaccine works just half the time. What that means, if a vaccine is 50 percent effective, is essentially you immunize a hundred people and you assume all of them get exposed at some point to, say, COVID-19 and only, quote unquote, only 50 percent end up getting infected, so you’ve protected half of the population. But the thing is, is that what we hope for, to see, is that in every person but even the people, particularly the people who appear to get infected, that other 50 percent, that their illness is very mild, that they don’t end up hospitalized, that they don’t end up dying because of COVID-19. And so, first of all, it’s really important to know that while a vaccine just like influenza vaccine doesn’t necessarily protect us from getting the clinical illness of the flu, it definitely protects us from getting severe flu or dying of influenza. And that’s something important to note. The other thing is that part of the way that we are going to interrupt the ongoing spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which is the virus that causes COVID-19, is making sure as many people in our population have some immunity to it. It doesn’t even have to be perfect immunity. But if we can get some proportion of our population, it may be 60 percent, it may be 70 percent, who have seen the vaccine or the virus and have some immunity, that may be plenty to slow and stop the pandemic, which is really, really the goal. So thanks for that question. It’s a complicated one but hopefully that answer made some sense.

[00:38:47]Bill Walsh:  It sure did. Thank you, Dr. Aronoff. And Dr. Stewart, you know, we’re nearly seven months into this pandemic, and we know that many people have gone out very little, if at all, since March. What signs should we be looking for among our loved ones, friends and neighbors, to see if they’re struggling, and what steps should we take to reach out to them and show them that we care?

[00:39:13]Altha Stewart:  That’s an excellent question, Bill, and one that I think is very timely, since we are where we are in the timeline. For people who were already prone to social isolation, those are the ones that I most worry about because for many individuals being able to be out, and whether it was to work or for recreation, was a part of their lifeline that kept them going. This restriction on our movement and initially in some places an actual shutdown has been really hard on people who need that social interaction for their own health and well-being. And so what you look for in friends and loved ones, or even in yourself, is an inclination to be even more socially isolated. Even when the opportunity to be out exists, we prefer to be in. That we literally don’t leave a living space for a period of time, and that we aren’t answering the phone, we don’t respond to people’s efforts to video chat or FaceTime or email or text. When we began to socially withdraw to the point where people realize, I haven’t spoken with you in over a week or, We usually talk every few days and now we’re not doing that, you want to check in on those folks and make sure that they’re okay. And you want to be very clear that you let them know you’re checking on them. There is no, there’s no shame and there is no, there should be no guilt about saying to someone, I’m worried about you, I’m concerned that you aren’t interacting more, you know. And if you know the person has had challenges psychologically before, there is even more reason to check on them. The other things to do, again, are so if you’re checking on them and you think something’s going on, try to find out, you know, ask them if they’d like to talk with someone, try to pull them into a conversation about what may be going on. And then be there and support them and recommend that they reach out for help.

[00:41:20]Bill Walsh:  Okay. Yeah, thank you for that. And, you know, as you point out, isolation was a pretty serious problem before COVID; it seems like it’s just gotten worse. I just wanted to take this opportunity to repeat our AARP number for our Friendly Voices program. Again, this is a toll-free, you know, free service where if you feel isolated or you know someone who is, you can have them, have one of AARP’s trained volunteers reach out and just chat with them for a while. That number is 888-281-0145. And thank you, Dr. Stewart, for that.

[00:42:01] Now it’s time to address more of your questions with Dr. Aronoff and Dr. Stewart. Please press *3 at any time on your telephone keypad to be connected. Kevin, who’s our next caller?

[00:42:14]Kevin Craiglow:  Bill, our next caller is Eileen from New York.

[00:42:18]Bill Walsh:  Go ahead. Welcome to the show. Go ahead with your question.

[00:42:21]Eileen:  Oh, yes. Thank you, sir, for this opportunity to speak. My concern is that they are thinking of giving this vaccine first to people in nursing homes, which might be a good idea, but my concern is that these people are often given medications, a lot of medications that they don’t want, against their wishes. They get, they give them against their wishes. Will these vaccines be given on a voluntary basis, or will they be compelled to take them?

[00:42:56]Bill Walsh:  Eileen, thanks so much for that question. And I heard two really important questions in there, actually. She was asking first about who’s going to get the vaccine first. And if it is folks in nursing homes, will they get the vaccine voluntarily? Dr. Aronoff, do you have some thoughts on that?

[00:43:15]David Aronoff:  Yeah, I think those are really two important things to discuss. And Eileen, thank you for calling in. Prioritizing who gets the first sort of runs of these vaccines is really going to be important. And I think there will be a lot of thought in getting them to the communities and populations who are most at risk of having bad outcomes from COVID-19. And so that means prioritizing frontline health care workers, because they may be more likely to get infected, communities of color that we talked about before, older adults, people with multiple medical problems, et cetera. And there’s still a lot of work going into that sort of logistics of getting the vaccines out. But, like with any medical treatment or prevention, consent is really important and making sure that people are aware of what they are having for a vaccine is really critically important. And so the same types of consent processes that go into giving older adults who may be in the nursing home a flu shot, would be the same for the COVID-19 vaccine. But I do think that that’s a really, really important point and one that I know is on a lot of our minds in medicine, is making sure we’re doing things right.

[00:44:44]Bill Walsh:  Yeah. Okay. Thanks for that. Kevin, who is our next caller?

[00:44:50]Kevin Craiglow:  Bill, our next caller is Marie from Missouri.

[00:44:55]Bill Walsh:  Hey, Marie. Welcome to our program. What’s your question today?

[00:45:02]Marie:  Yes, I have two grandchildren— two daughters and four grandchildren, who are all attending in-person school. They live out of town. My husband and I are both 72. And being the wonderful grandparents and parents that we are, we always celebrate the holidays together. So I would like an opinion on them coming to town and staying with us. It would be a total of 10.

[00:45:35]Bill Walsh:  Yes, coming in for the holidays. I’m sure this is a question on a lot of people’s minds. I wonder, Dr. Aronoff, do you have some thoughts on that?

[00:45:43]David Aronoff:  Yeah, this is a really, really tough situation. And it hearkens back to earlier in the pandemic when we were counseling people about graduation parties or wedding types of events. And I think, you know, there are individual really horrible stories with how COVID-19 is affecting individuals, particularly with their physical and mental health. But there are also ways that COVID-19 is disrupting families, outside of just individuals. And one of those is the usual way that we get together over things like Thanksgiving and religious holidays. And I think that this is going to be a season where COVID-19 interrupts our ability to bring people together who don’t live together in close spaces, particularly with respect to grandparents, people who are over 65, who are at increased risk for getting hospitalized or dying from COVID-19. In the absence of a vaccine and in the absence of truly effective treatments for people who are not hospitalized, I think we still need to err on the side of being safe and trying to design the way that we navigate this holiday season with that in mind. It’s not going to be the kind of holiday that any of us would want to wish, probably, on our worst enemies. This is going to be one of those holiday seasons where we have to think about celebrating in different ways that reduce the likelihood of transmission of virus. Two quick points: One is, remember that virus transmits from people who don’t have symptoms, while people with symptoms are very contagious, for sure, they tend not to be the ones going to holiday parties or traveling. It’s the folks who have not yet gotten symptoms, or are not going to get symptoms but are infected, that are fueling this pandemic. So I think that’s one of the major points. The other point is that the virus doesn’t know what Thanksgiving is. All that the virus does is hop from person to person, mostly through our breath. And whatever brings us together can foster the likelihood that there’s going to be a transmission event. And so, I wish I had better news for this holiday because I’m a big Thanksgiving-type holiday person myself. But this year, I think it’s going to be a bit different.

[00:48:17]Bill Walsh:  All right. Well, thanks for that. Kevin, who is next on the line?

[00:48:22]Kevin Craiglow:  So our next question comes from social media, and specifically from Facebook. Barb from Winston-Salem says, “I’m 66 years old and I live alone. I haven’t seen my family since Christmas. I’ve tried at least three times to see them outside and they usually cancel. I’m already being treated for depression. Now I’ve lost my job but have no adult contact. I think I’m getting tired of the pandemic and being isolated. Any ideas on what I can do to not feel so left out, without taking chances?”

[00:48:52]Bill Walsh:  All right. Well, thank you, Barb, for that question. It sounds like you’re in a very difficult place. Dr. Stewart, do you have any words for her?

[00:49:00]Altha Stewart:  Absolutely. Thank you, Barb, for listening in and reaching out and asking this question. It sounds like from what you described that you were already aware of a tendency to experience depression. So I hope inherent in that is also an understanding that treatment is available for depression and that you are aware of your local area resources and making contact with them to either get back into therapy for the depression, or to at least reach out and contact them and talk about what your options for help are right now. Always remember that there are hotlines and crisis lines and others waiting for you to call so that they can be of help to you directly. And we will give out the number for the National Alliance on Mental Illness again, but also think about in your circle. Are there people that you can reach out to just to return to some level of social interaction? If you’ve recently lost your job, you probably aren’t interested in speaking with former coworkers, but maybe friends, neighbors, other people in your past who may know of this tendency for depression, and who would be willing and happy, in fact, to spend some time with you on the phone or via FaceTime, just making sure that you are returning to some kind of social contact with others. Please don’t allow yourself, don’t make the choice, to stay alone. Make the choice instead to reach out one more time to someone and see if you can get some support, some help, some guidance, something. We’re pulling for you, and the folks at NAMI, remember, you can reach them at 800-950-6264 and get some local identified service if you don’t know where to find that. And good luck.

[00:51:11]Bill Walsh:  Thank you for that, Dr. Stewart. And Barb, thank you so much for the question. We’re all going to be thinking about you. You’re not alone there in Winston-Salem. You’ve got a whole community of people thinking about you. Kevin, let’s have another caller.

[00:51:28]Kevin Craiglow:  Great. Our next call comes from Carol in Colorado.

[00:51:32]Bill Walsh:  Hey, Carol, go ahead with your question.

[00:51:36]Carol:  My question has to do with how to handle situations in a community living situation. I live in a 55-plus apartment, which I moved to for the social interaction. I have an underlying health situation, Parkinson’s disease, do not drive and moved here, one reason, so that I could participate in the social events. Since the pandemic has begun, the community in general has been fairly lax in terms of following the recommended procedures, in terms of enforcing mask use and social distancing. I have attempted to go to some of the activities but have ended up being very anxious and had to leave because the procedures and the sensibilities of the different folks here and the management is not at my comfort level. And I’ve spoken with the management about that but, you know, I’m one person and other people are comfortable with the way things are going. So I’m wondering if you have any advice as far as how to handle that situation.

[00:52:54]Bill Walsh:  All right, Carol. Thanks so much for the call. Dr. Aronoff do you have any suggestions for Carol?

[00:52:59]David Aronoff:  Yeah, Carol, thank you for sharing that, which sounds stressful and difficult to navigate because, again, you’re living in a 55-plus community and so there are going to be people who have medical conditions, as you shared, who may be at risk for doing worse with COVID-19. And best, we know how to prevent or at least reduce the risk for transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus with things like distance and good ventilation in rooms and hand hygiene and wearing face coverings. And, you know, I think that sort of conversation you’re having with management is really, really important. And, I think, you know, if there are like-minded individuals in your community, it may be easier to have some leverage in talking with management or even in talking with the other members of the community, if you can do that as a group. If there is a cadre of people who are taking this really seriously and understand the consequences of COVID-19 to your community, you know, now might be the time to make sure that you’re, that you’re using numbers on your side. Because it’s harder to look more than one person in the eye and say, no, we’re not going to require face coverings or we’re not going to pay attention to ventilation or masks or distance or hand hygiene. So that may be one thing. You know, maybe that Dr. Stewart also has some good suggestions.

[00:54:42]Bill Walsh:  Dr. Stewart, did you want to add to that answer at all?

[00:54:46]Altha Stewart:  No, I think that’s a great approach. There is strength in numbers. I guess the only other thing I would say is if all else fails, organize some things for yourself that don’t force you to be in a setting where you are more at risk, and that may have to be virtual for a while until you can get your numbers of people to join you in advocating for change.

[00:55:10]Bill Walsh:  Okay, thank you both for that. Let’s take one more call from our listeners. Kevin.

[00:55:14]Kevin Craiglow:  Yeah, we have a call from Ina, from California.

[00:55:21]Bill Walsh:  Go ahead, Ina. What’s your question?

[00:55:24]Ina:  Well, thank you for receiving my question. I am 92 years old in seven months. I have never taken a flu shot. And now I am wondering what is the best decision for me to make? I am not inclined to want to take a flu shot. Is that sensible or not?

[00:55:47]Bill Walsh:  Well, let’s ask the experts. Dr. Aronoff, what advice do you have for Ina in California?

[00:55:53]David Aronoff:  Yeah, Ina, first of all, I’m so inspired by you calling and thank you for that. I’ll, you know, over time we’ve learned so much about the benefits of influenza vaccines for preventing hospitalization, particularly in our seniors, and preventing death from influenza. It’s important to know that the flu shot is not a live virus that we use. Back in the day, most of our vaccines were some sort of live virus or something, live bacteria, but this is, these are just bits and pieces of the virus that stimulate an immune response, but they don’t cause the flu, and that’s important for people to know. So I’m an advocate for getting the flu shot every year. I think that, of course, the majority of people don’t get influenza every year, but some people get it and they get it at the worst time when they weren’t expecting it and can do poorly. So I think the best strategy is to be immunized and to talk to your licensed health care professional about that. But gosh, thank you so much for calling.

[00:57:14]Bill Walsh:  Thank you, Dr. Aronoff and Ina. I’m no doctor but as someone who wants to see you reach 102 and seven months, please get your flu shot this year. It’s more important than ever.

[00:57:26] So, this has been a really informative discussion and thanks to both our expert panelists for answering all of the questions. And thank you, our AARP members, volunteers and listeners for participating in this discussion. AARP, a nonprofit, nonpartisan member organization, has been working to promote the health and well-being of older Americans for more than 60 years. In the face of this crisis, we’re providing information and resources to help older adults and those caring for them protect themselves from the virus, prevent its spread to others while taking care of themselves. All of the resources referenced today, including a recording of the Q&A event, can be found at aarp.org/coronavirus beginning tomorrow, April, not April, October 2nd. Again, that web address is aarp.org/coronavirus. Go there if your question was not answered, and you will find the latest updates as well as information created specifically for older adults and family caregivers. We hope you’ll learned something that can help keep you and your loved ones healthy. Please be sure to tune in tonight at aarp.org at 7 p.m. Eastern Time for a special live Q&A discussion on life lessons and insights gleaned from Queen Elizabeth II. Thank you and have a good day. This concludes our call.

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Coronavirus Tele-Town Hall 1 p.m. Sept. 17, 2020

Bill Walsh: Hola, soy Bill Walsh, vicepresidente de AARP, y quiero darles la bienvenida a esta importante discusión sobre el coronavirus. AARP, una organización de membresía, sin fines de lucro y no partidista, ha estado trabajando para promover la salud y el bienestar de los adultos mayores de EE.UU. durante más de 60 años. Frente a la pandemia mundial de coronavirus, AARP proporciona recursos de información para ayudar a los adultos mayores y a quienes los cuidan.

La semana pasada, la nación superó un hito sombrío cuando la persona número 200,000 murió a causa de la COVID-19. Llevamos casi siete meses de pandemia, y los nuevos casos y las tasas de mortalidad continúan moviéndose en la dirección equivocada y ahora, al entrar en la temporada de gripe, la atención pública está cada vez más en el progreso del desarrollo de una vacuna para la COVID-19.

Hoy, hablaremos con expertos sobre el proceso de desarrollo de vacunas y cómo tú y tus sus seres queridos continúan lidiando con la pandemia. Si has participado en alguna de nuestras teleasambleas en el pasado, sabrás que es similar a un programa de entrevistas de radio y tendrás la oportunidad de hacer preguntas en vivo. Para aquellos de ustedes que nos acompañan por teléfono, si deseas hacer una pregunta, presiona * 3 en el teclado de tu teléfono para comunicarte con un miembro del personal de AARP que anotará tu nombre y pregunta y te colocará en una lista para hacer esa pregunta en vivo. Si te unes a través de Facebook o Youtube, puedes hacer tu pregunta en la sección de comentarios.

Hola, si acabas de unirte, soy Bill Walsh de AARP y quiero darte la bienvenida a esta importante discusión sobre la pandemia mundial de coronavirus. Estaremos hablando con principales expertos y respondiendo sus preguntas en vivo. Para hacer una pregunta, presiona * 3 en el teclado de tu teléfono y, si te unes a través de Facebook o Youtube, puedes publicar tu pregunta en los comentarios.

Hoy nos acompañan el doctor y profesor David Aronoff, y Addison B. Scoville presidente junior de Medicina en el Centro Médico de Vanderbilt University, y Altha Stewart, MD., expresidenta de la American Psychiatric Association. También nos acompañará mi colega de AARP, Kevin Craiglow, quien ayudará a facilitar sus llamadas hoy.

Este evento está siendo grabado y podrán acceder a la grabación en aarp.org/elcoronavirus, 24 horas después de que terminemos. Nuevamente, para hacer una pregunta, presiona * 3 en cualquier momento en el teclado de tu teléfono para a conectarte con un miembro del personal de AARP o si te estás uniendo a través de Facebook o Youtube, publica tu pregunta en los comentarios.

Ahora, me gustaría dar la bienvenida a nuestro primer invitado. El Dr. David Aronoff, quien es el director de la División de Enfermedades Infecciosas del Centro Médico de Vanderbilt University. El Dr. Aronoff ha sido un comunicador clave de las medidas de salud pública y ha estado muy involucrado en el diagnóstico y la atención clínica de la COVID-19. Bienvenido de nuevo, Dr. Aronoff.

David Aronoff: Un placer estar aquí. Muchas gracias por recibirme como invitado.

Bill Walsh: Bueno, y nuestra otra experta es la Dra. Altha Stewart, MD, es la expresidenta de la American Psychiatric Association. Es decana asociada sénior de Participación en la Salud de la Comunidad y profesora asociada y jefa de Psiquiatría Social y Pública en el Centro de Ciencias de la Salud de University of Tennessee en Memphis. Su carrera abarca tres décadas de trabajo como directora ejecutiva de grandes sistemas públicos de salud mental en Míchigan, Pensilvania y Nueva York. Bienvenida de nuevo al programa, Dra. Stewart.

Altha Stewart: Gracias Bill, gracias por invitarme de nuevo.

Bill Walsh: Es bueno tenerlos a los dos con nosotros hoy. Entonces, comencemos con la discusión y solo un recordatorio para nuestros oyentes. Para hacer una pregunta, presiona * 3 en el teclado de te teléfono o deja tu pregunta en la sección de comentarios en Facebook o Youtube.

Dr. Aronoff, comencemos por usted. Hay cuatro vacunas en las etapas finales de prueba. ¿Cómo se desarrolla el proceso de selección a partir de aquí? ¿Deberíamos anticipar una sola vacuna o múltiples opciones, y finalmente se les pedirá a las personas en el país que elijan una vacuna?

David Aronoff: Dios, esas son todas muy, muy buenas preguntas y realmente no tenemos las respuestas a todas. Es un poco como predecir el ganador de una carrera, que realmente es una carrera para obtener una vacuna que sea segura y efectiva.

Creo que en este momento es realmente beneficioso tener tantos ensayos clínicos en vacunas y prevención de la COVID-19 como podamos. Y como has mencionado, hay varios en la gran fase tres, esos son los grandes ensayos clínicos que son necesarios para que la FDA apruebe una vacuna para obtener la licencia, y ya sabes, cada una de estas vacunas candidatas tiene algunas ventajas y desventajas. Algunas de las ventajas pueden ser de una dosis única frente a dosis múltiples. Algunas de las desventajas podrían ser que algunas vacunas candidatas deben mantenerse congeladas hasta el momento en que se administran a un paciente, lo que puede crear algunos desafíos para la distribución.

Creo que es probable que veamos múltiples vacunas, efectivas y seguras aprobadas y que pueden cumplir varios propósitos beneficiosos. Algunas pueden ser más fáciles de fabricar o más rápidas de distribuir, algunas pueden tener un perfil de efectos secundarios diferente en términos de cómo le duele el brazo a alguien, o tal vez deba administrarse una vez en lugar de dos. Y entonces, ya sabes, todavía estamos en los primeros días, por supuesto, pero creo que veremos emerger más de una.

Bill Walsh: Bueno, Sigamos con el tema. Las encuestas nos dicen que la confianza en la vacuna es baja. ¿Cuál es el papel de la junta de seguimiento de datos y seguridad con respecto a los ensayos de vacunas? ¿Qué seguridad tienen los consumidores de que cualquier vacuna que surja será segura?

David Aronoff: Sí, es un punto muy importante el de la seguridad de las vacunas. Esta carrera para obtener una vacuna para la COVID-19 se ha acelerado, no cortando el camino, en términos de ensayos clínicos, sino invirtiendo realmente una gran cantidad de recursos para asegurarse de que las vacunas se puedan diseñar, desarrollar y fabricar a escala, y potencialmente incluso implementarlas rápidamente. Incluso ya se han creado líneas de distribución para estas vacunas, incluso antes de que finalicen los ensayos de vacunas, pero lo que no se ve comprometido es el proceso de prueba de estas vacunas contra placebos en personas que están en riesgo de contraer COVID-19 y que se beneficiarán de inmunización.

Por lo tanto, hay juntas externas como juntas de monitoreo y seguridad de datos que analizan estos ensayos clínicos y los examinan muy de cerca para asegurarse de que no haya señales de daño inesperadas y de que las vacunas sean realmente seguras, y estoy seguro de que cuando una vacuna contra los virus Sars-CoV2 esté lista para su distribución generalizada, habrá pasado por las mismas vías reguladoras por las que han pasado cosas como la vacuna contra la influenza o la vacuna contra el tétanos.

Bill Walsh: Bien, gracias por eso. Dra. Stewart, para muchas personas, la COVID se ha sentido globalmente. Ha tocado todos los aspectos de nuestra vida y, al mismo tiempo, sigue siendo muy incierto cómo se desarrollará a partir de aquí. ¿Cómo afecta esto nuestra capacidad para afrontar y gestionar la salud física y mental?

Altha Stewart: Bueno, Bill, esa es una buena pregunta y probablemente sea la pregunta que más me hacen estos días. Es cierto porque hay, para muchas personas, tres componentes diferentes de lo que estamos experimentando ahora. Por supuesto, existe la pandemia viral real, la pandemia de COVID-19 y todas las implicaciones para la salud que vienen de la mano en términos de si no contraes el virus y te enfermas, si estás preocupado por contraer el virus y te enfermas o si estás asintomático y te preocupa transmitir a alguien que podría enfermarse y no sentirse bien. Así que está el componente de salud física real.

Luego está el componente económico que se superpone a eso porque el virus ha creado un repunte económico tal que viene con una cantidad bastante significativa de ansiedad y estrés, preocupación, depresión y otras cosas, y luego se yuxtaponen allí también los problemas sociales continuos y en ocasiones explosivos que se relacionan con la aparición de la pandemia y quizás incluso se amplifican por las condiciones en las que estamos teniendo que vivir, debido a la pandemia. Por lo tanto, hay muchas, muchas razones para que las personas sientan este impacto psicológico abrumador y opresivo que es bastante normal sentir, dadas las circunstancias.

Creo que uno de los temas que más nos preocupa a nosotros, en el campo de la salud mental, es que cuando observamos cómo las personas están manejando y afrontando todas estas cosas, lo que estamos notando, y esto es generalizado, lo que estamos notando es que, si ya tienes una predisposición a no manejar bien la ansiedad, el estrés y la depresión, esto realmente exagera todas esas cosas. Si ya has tenido problemas psicológicos con una angustia psicológica o una enfermedad psicológica, entonces, nuevamente, estos son tiempos exacerbados y la incertidumbre continua, como acabamos de escuchar, ya sabes, esperamos que llegue la vacuna, confiamos en el proceso, nos aseguran que es segura y efectiva, pero hoy en día hay muchas personas que simplemente no confían en ninguna vacuna potencial, en ninguna terapia potencial en la que se esté trabajando o se esté desarrollando, y mucha de esa desconfianza va a crear aún más ansiedad y estrés en la población. Así que vamos a estar lidiando con cómo manejamos esto, cómo lidiamos con el estrés, cómo manejamos el impacto psicológico durante mucho tiempo, y nuestro sistema debe equiparse para estar preparado para lidiar con esas cosas en la población general.

Bill Walsh: Sí. Esa es una perspectiva bastante aleccionadora sobre el futuro, pero probablemente bastante precisa. ¿Qué consejo tiene para la gente, dado que la situación de todos es un poco diferente, pero hay algunas cosas que la gente debería tener en cuenta para ayudar a controlar el estrés y la ansiedad?

Altha Stewart: Oh, sí. Practicamos algunas estrategias de cuidado personal, y promovemos temas para el público en general. Lo primero es reconocer que muchas de las cosas que nos preocupan relacionadas con la COVID están fuera de nuestro control. Lo mejor que podemos hacer es seguir las pautas de salud pública, adherirnos a los estándares que han demostrado ser efectivos para reducir o detener la propagación en nuestra comunidad y no bajar la guardia. Ya sabes, lavarse las manos, mantener la distancia y usar una mascarilla debería ser el mantra de todos en este momento.

El segundo es que dado que tenemos que trabajar en este clima y para aquellos que trabajan en casa, o aquellos que están fuera de casa trabajando en lo que ahora describimos como trabajo esencial, simplemente tenemos que esforzarnos mucho para mantener una estructura a nuestro alrededor que nos permita hacer nuestro trabajo. Bloquear parte del ruido de ansiedad y estrés que nos rodea y tratar de mantener una estructura en nuestro día que nos permita funcionar.

Estoy aconsejando a las personas que dejen de ver las noticias de última hora sin parar, el ciclo de noticias de 24 horas, ya sea en la televisión o en su dispositivo. Creo que tuvimos que decir que a veces, las mismas noticias de última hora de hace cinco minutos seguirán apareciendo en la próxima hora, y no necesitamos que esa información constante alimente nuestra ansiedad.

Lo último es hacer tiempo para divertirse. Inclúyelo en tu calendario, en el sistema que usas, que habrá tiempo reservado, simplemente para diversión, recreación, reunión familiar, ya sabes, de una manera segura, en tu pequeño módulo, pero algo que te permita descomprimirte del trabajo diario y permitirte algo que te dé la oportunidad de respirar profundamente.

Y luego, finalmente, todo el mundo necesita respirar profundamente y darse un poco de gracia. No somos perfectos, no podemos predecir el futuro, hay cosas que van a suceder que están fuera de nuestro control y nos hacen sentir culpables, no nos permite aceptar el hecho de que no podemos hacer nada al respecto, ese es el tipo de cosas que nos ayudarán a superar la pérdida de rituales. Por ejemplo, no pudimos ir a las graduaciones, no pudimos hacer bodas, no pudimos tener celebraciones de aniversarios y cumpleaños importantes. Y entonces, tenemos que dejar de sentirnos tan culpables por lo que hemos perdido y realmente empezar a buscar aquellas cosas que estamos aprendiendo que son importantes en este entorno, que nos hacen sonreír.

Bill Walsh: Bueno, gracias Dra. Stewart Creo que ha encontrado un nuevo mantra para nuestro tiempo, "Date un poco de cariño". Sería una excelente calcomanía para el parachoques, o al menos algo a tener en cuenta a diario. Gracias a ambos, y como recordatorio para nuestros oyentes, para hacerle preguntas a estos dos expertos, por favor presiona * 3. Vamos a abordar esas preguntas en breve, pero antes de hacerlo, quería informarles sobre la lucha continua de AARP para proteger a quienes viven y trabajan en hogares de ancianos. Desde el comienzo de la pandemia, más de 76,000 residentes y personal de hogares de ancianos han muerto a causa de la COVID-19. Esta es una tragedia nacional.

Estamos pidiendo a los líderes federales y estatales que tomen medidas mediante un plan de cinco puntos. En primer lugar, las instalaciones deben proporcionar pruebas periódicas y continuas y un equipo de protección personal adecuado para los residentes y el personal. En segundo lugar, necesitamos transparencia y rendición de cuentas mediante informes públicos diarios de casos y muertes en las instalaciones, y necesitamos que las instalaciones se comuniquen mejor con las familias.

En tercer lugar, los miembros de la familia necesitan la posibilidad de visitar virtualmente a sus seres queridos en hogares de ancianos, incluso cuando los hogares de ancianos permiten visitas en persona. Cuarto, los residentes necesitan una mejor atención. Eso significa una dotación de personal adecuada y acceso a defensores en persona, conocidos como defensores del pueblo de cuidados a largo plazo y hay un defensor del pueblo de cuidados a largo plazo en cada estado, por cierto, para nuestros oyentes. Y finalmente, los hogares de ancianos y las instalaciones a largo plazo que dañan a los residentes deben rendir cuentas. Miles de socios, voluntarios y activistas de AARP ya han hecho oír su voz para ayudar a salvar vidas. Para obtener más información y hacerte oír, visita aarp.org/nursinghomes. Para hacer una pregunta hoy, presiona * 3.

Ahora es el momento de abordar algunas de sus preguntas sobre el coronavirus con el Dr. Aronoff y la Dra. Stewart. Presiona * 3 en cualquier momento en el teclado de tu teléfono para conectarte con un miembro del personal de AARP y compartir tu pregunta. Ahora, me gustaría traer a mi colega de AARP, Kevin Craiglow, para ayudar a facilitar sus llamadas hoy. Bienvenido, Kevin.

Kevin Craiglow: Hola, Bill, gracias por invitarme hoy.

Bill Walsh: Muy bien, ¿quién es nuestro primer oyente?

Kevin Craiglow: Nuestra primera llamada es de Christine de Nuevo Hampshire.

Bill Walsh: ¡Hola, Christine! Continúe con la pregunta.

Christine: Sí, tengo 72 años y tengo nietos, obviamente, mi preocupación es que mi hijo está en el campo de la medicina y dice que las mascarillas funcionan, si no te llevas las manos a la cara. Así que mucha gente, ya sabes, necesita saber eso. Si se pusieron la mascarilla no la toquen, pero ¿son realmente tan exitosas para mantener los niveles de contaminación a niveles cómodos? Porque en Nuevo Hampshire, no hay un momento en el que vayamos a una tienda en el estado y vemos mucha gente con mascarillas, y me siento muy reconfortada por eso, pero luego mi hijo dice: "Sí, ayudan en ciertas áreas". Así que tenemos que hacer correr la voz sobre el uso de mascarillas y lo que realmente me preocupa es cómo usarlas correctamente, en la medida en que no, ya sabes, como mi hijo dice: "¡No toques tu mascarilla!"

Bill Walsh: Claro.

Christine: Creo que lo que tienen que hacer es explicarle más a la gente, porque creo que muchas personas no están siendo educadas lo suficiente.

Bill Walsh: Sí, bueno, te diré qué... Vamos a hacerle esa pregunta al Dr. Aronoff, y ver lo que tiene para decir sobre la efectividad de las mascarillas, y Dr. Aronoff, ¿hay ciertas mascarillas que son más efectivas que otras?

David Aronoff: Sí, realmente quiero agradecer a Christine por esa pregunta, porque recibo muchas preguntas sobre las cubiertas faciales o las mascarillas, y ya sabes, los tipos de cubiertas faciales que realmente estamos animando a que la gente use cuando están en esas situaciones en las que están cerca de personas con las que no viven. Pueden ser de tela y, a menudo, una especie de material de algodón pesado, es lo mejor. Tiene que ser una que sea transpirable, que la persona que la usa pueda respirar y esas son la mayoría de las mascarillas, en realidad, que están disponibles comercialmente. Y el propósito de estas es realmente ayudar a reducir la dispersión de nuestra propia respiración en una nube a nuestro alrededor.

El desafío con la COVID-19 es que se trata de una pandemia que se ha estado propagando de persona a persona en ausencia de síntomas, por lo que las personas que caminan pueden tranquilamente estar infectadas y no darse cuenta. Ya sea porque están en esa minoría de personas infectadas que nunca van a presentar síntomas, o tal vez mañana tendrán síntomas, pero aun así son contagiosas. Por lo tanto, al usar cubiertas para el rostro, protegemos a las personas que nos rodean, en caso de que estemos infectados, y Christine menciona dos puntos realmente importantes.

Uno es usar mascarillas limpias, así que es bueno tener una de repuesto en caso de que la que estás usando se ensucie o se moje, o algo y si tienes una mascarilla de tela, lavarla regularmente. Eso es realmente importante, y luego el tema de tocarse la cara es importante y, obviamente, disuadiría a las personas de que se toquen los ojos, la nariz o la boca con demasiada frecuencia, pero si tienes que ajustarte la mascarilla, o incluso sin una mascarilla, tocarte los ojos, nariz o boca, asegúrate de que tus manos estén limpias. Y eso se puede hacer lavándote con agua y jabón durante 20 segundos, o usando un desinfectante de manos a base de alcohol común en tus manos y luego, después de que se sequen, ya puedes tocarte la cara. Pero Christine menciona muchos puntos realmente buenos y espero que esas respuestas ayuden.

Bill Walsh: Bueno, muy bien. Muchas gracias. Kevin, ¿de quién es nuestra próxima llamada?

Kevin Craiglow: Bill, nuestra próxima llamada es de, disculpa Bill, nuestra próxima llamada es de Rita de Nueva Jersey.

Bill Walsh: Hola, Rita, bienvenida al programa. Continúa con tu pregunta.

Rita: Tengo una pregunta de dos partes.

Bill Walsh: De acuerdo.

Rita: ¿De dónde viene la desconfianza de la gente que no quiere vacunarse? Y la otra tiene que ver con, ¿cómo puede alguien manejar los problemas de relacionarse durante este tiempo? Es decir, ya sabes, estás encerrado, realmente no puedes salir a conocer gente. Quiero decir, si rompiste con alguien, ¿cómo lidias con eso? ¿Y cómo dejas de sentirte solo?

Bill Walsh: De acuerdo. Bueno, gracias Rita, por eso. Vamos a pedirle a la Dra. Stewart que se encargue de estas preguntas. La primera pregunta fue sobre la desconfianza que estamos viendo, ante una posible vacuna. ¿Cuáles sospechas que son las razones para eso?

Altha Stewart: Bueno, creo que esa es una buena pregunta, de hecho, una buena pregunta de varias partes, Rita, gracias. Creo que la desconfianza está relacionada con algunas cosas. Hay, con respecto a este tema en particular, la COVID-19, ha habido tantas cosas que no sabíamos al principio y, estábamos haciendo todo lo posible en la profesión médica para dar el consejo que pensamos que era mejor, y la gente del público en general ahora puede ver eso como, ya sabes, "No sabían lo que estaban haciendo entonces, ¿por qué deberíamos confiar en ellos ahora?" Y creo que eso es una parte de eso.

En determinadas comunidades, ha existido una desconfianza hacia la medicina general y la salud desde hace mucho tiempo que tiene una historia que se remonta a un tiempo atrás y por eso existe esa desconfianza. Y luego está la confusión y la forma en que la gente está escuchando los mensajes actuales sobre la vacuna. Quiero decir, probablemente hubiera sido una mejor idea no nombrar el proceso Operation Warp Speed porque le dio a la gente la impresión de que estaba siendo acelerado y, como acabamos de escuchar, que señaló cuidadosamente el Dr. Aronoff, el proceso en sí permanece intacto y lleno de la integridad que hemos visto en desarrollos anteriores de vacunas, pero... ya sabes, es como mi abuela solía decir, "El caballo está fuera del establo", en términos de lo que la gente cree. Y, y es posible que él quiera agregar algo más a esto, pero respecto a sus otras preguntas sobre las relaciones.

Yo diría que para las personas que viven solas, que recientemente se han distanciado o han roto con otras personas, ahora es el momento de ser muy consciente e intencional de mantenerse en contacto socialmente con la gente. Si no puedes estar con ellos físicamente, mantén contacto telefónico. Usa los dispositivos, FaceTime o video, o lo que tengas en tu dispositivo y contacta con la gente. Fíjate de poder ver cara a cara de alguna manera a las personas con las que puedes estar, mantener las pautas de salud pública necesarias sobre la propagación del virus, pero tratar de interactuar socialmente y mientras el clima sea bueno, tal vez haz cosas afuera, donde puedan mantener la distancia y no estar tan expuesto como lo estarías en un entorno de encierro.

Y luego, finalmente, si todo lo demás falla y realmente comienzas a sentirte triste, o deprimido, o solo y no sabes qué más hacer, comunícate con alguna de las líneas directas para hablar con alguien sobre cómo lidiar con esos sentimientos. La que generalmente recomendamos en estas conversaciones es National Lines for Mental Illness, donde puedes hablar con una persona en vivo. Puede enviarles un mensaje de texto al 741741 y enviar un mensaje de texto con las letras N-A-M-A. NAMI, National Line for Mental Illness al 741741, o si eres de la vieja escuela como yo, puedes llamar al número 800. 800-950-6264 y estoy segura, Bill, de que ustedes pondrán eso en el chat o en algún lugar donde la gente pueda acceder a eso. Esas son personas que están acostumbradas a hablar con personas que no están seguras de qué hacer, y pueden ayudarte, tanto a encontrar personas en tu área con las que hablar, como a hablar contigo directamente sobre lo que le preocupa. Pero gracias, esas son excelentes preguntas para hacer.

Bill Walsh: Sí, y para reforzar lo que dice la Dra. Stewart, tendremos los recursos publicados en nuestro sitio web 24 horas después de la transmisión y para agregar a lo que dijo la Dra. Stewart, AARP también ha establecido un servicio para personas que se sientan aisladas o solas, también pueden llamar a un número gratuito y conseguir que uno de nuestros voluntarios de AARP les devuelva la llamada o que llame a un ser querido que creas que podría estar aislado. Te daré ese número. Se llama La Voz Amiga, de AARP y es 888-281-0145, 888-281-0145 y es un servicio gratuito de AARP. Ese número que la Dra. Stewart dio de la Línea Nacional para Enfermedades Mentales es una vez más, 800-950-6264. De acuerdo, Kevin, ¿de quién es nuestra próxima llamada?

Kevin Craiglow: Bill, nuestra siguiente pregunta en realidad proviene de las redes sociales. Paul preguntó en YouTube: "Como hombre afroamericano, pienso en esta próxima vacuna como un recordatorio del Experimento Tuskegee. ¿Qué pueden ofrecernos para asegurarnos que esta vacuna es segura, especialmente para los afroamericanos?"

Bill Walsh: Oh. Pregunta difícil. Dr. Aronoff, ¿quiere intentar responder a eso?

David Aronoff: Sí, creo que, en primer lugar, realmente aprecio que Paul haya hecho esa pregunta. Creo que está en muchas de nuestras mentes porque está muy claro que la pandemia de COVID-19 ha afectado de manera desproporcionada a las comunidades de color, y tenemos la oportunidad de evitar que la infección se propague en comunidades vulnerables, y exactamente como acaba de decir la Dra. Stewart, hay dudas sobre las vacunas, particularmente en comunidades vulnerables y comunidades de color donde, ya saben, la historia de la medicina ha... ha sido pobre, en términos de cosas como Tuskegee, etcétera.

Entonces, creo que esto es algo que ahora es un enfoque importante y apropiado de cualquier grupo que lleve una vacuna a ensayos clínicos de fase tres y a la evaluación de la FDA, tener un plan para involucrar a las comunidades que puedan sospechar de la vacuna o puedan estar preocupadas de que sea más dañina que beneficiosa. Y sí, eso requerirá un trabajo importante, pero creo que ese trabajo es necesario para proteger a las personas que son más vulnerables a la COVID-19.

Bill Walsh: Sabe, Dr. Aronoff, esa fue una gran pregunta y me pregunto si puede dar algún consejo a nuestros oyentes. Una vez que surja una vacuna, ¿cuáles son las dos o tres preguntas principales que deberían haber respondido para darles algo de confianza y certeza de que esta vacuna es apropiada para ellos?

David Aronoff: Bueno, primero que nada, es más fácil ahora que casi nunca antes acceder a información confiable. Desafortunadamente, la otra cara es que también es más fácil acceder a información no tan confiable. Entonces, en primer lugar, busca proveedores de atención médica confiables. Entonces, en una comunidad que puede ser un hospital local o un departamento de salud pública.

A nivel federal, eso es como los CDC o la FDA, y existen comités asesores sobre prácticas de inmunización que están compuestos por expertos de todo Estados Unidos que han dedicado sus carreras a prevenir de manera segura enfermedades prevenibles mediante vacunas, mediante la inmunización. Y son realmente comités así, el ACIP, ese comité asesor que está informando al gobierno federal sobre qué población debería tener prioridad para las vacunas. ¿Cómo sabemos cuáles son realmente seguras y realmente efectivas? Y la razón, por ejemplo, por la que me siento honrado de estar en esta llamada hoy es porque creo que aquellos de nosotros que estamos un poco más cerca del proceso tenemos la obligación real de brindar información confiable al público en general y a la comunidad que está ansiosa o asustada, o que no sabe qué información es realmente confiable. Entonces, un gran agradecimiento a AARP por ayudar a ser un catalizador para brindar información buena, sólida y sana a los oyentes.

Bill Walsh: Bueno, gracias Dr. Aronoff, y les mencionaré a nuestros oyentes, si van a aarp.org, verán una historia sobre el proceso de desarrollo de vacunas, a veces simplemente entendiendo cómo llegan los medicamentos al mercado, cómo funcionan las cosas, da a las personas un sentido de confianza en el producto final. Así que échale un vistazo si tienes algunas preguntas. Kevin, ¿de quién es nuestra próxima llamada?

Kevin Craiglow: Bill, nuestra próxima llamada es de Elaine en Nueva York.

Bill Walsh: Hola, Elaine, bienvenida al programa. ¿Cuál es tu pregunta hoy?

Elaine: Muchas gracias por organizar esto, realmente lo aprecio. Tengo 72 años, mi esposo 77, y claro, somos abuelos. Mi hija tiene unos 35 años, tiene tres hijos menores de cinco años. Ella está como loca con el tema de mantenerse sana. No nos permite entrar en su casa. Durante el verano, nos permitieron entrar al patio trasero con nuestra mascarilla puesta. Cuando vamos a comer, cuando cenamos juntos, mi esposo y yo nos sentamos separados. Ella nos da comida separada. Esto está causando todo tipo de tensión y me pregunto si alguno de ustedes simplemente abordaría... ¿está completamente fuera de lugar o está haciendo lo que hay que hacer? ¿Y cómo hacemos para afrontar esto mi esposo y yo? Ya sabes, también estamos tratando de estar sanos, pero...

Bill Walsh: ¿Vives bastante cerca de tu hija y tus nietos?

Elaine: Um, a una hora. Sí. Yo estoy en la ciudad de Nueva York, ella en Nueva Jersey.

Bill Walsh: Bueno, preguntémosle a la Dra. Stewart sobre eso y quizás sugiera algunas formas en que se puede abordar.

Altha Stewart: Bueno, gracias, Elaine. A juzgar por la angustia en su voz entiendo que esto es un desafío, tanto para usted como para su esposo. No conozco las circunstancias que la han hecho querer ser tan cautelosa, aparte de la preocupación general por el virus, y tal vez el Dr. Aronoff intervenga en eso. Sin embargo, aquí hay algunas ideas de cosas que quizás desee considerar, que es posible que usted y su esposo quieran considerar en términos de disminuir su estrés en torno a sus reglas de interacción.

Acepten el hecho de que está haciendo esto basado en el amor. Que está preocupada por todos ustedes, sus hijos y su familia. Y entonces, estas oportunidades para que todos ustedes estén juntos, quizás, con el espíritu de darse a usted y a ella un poco de gracia. Solo acepten el hecho de que esto se está haciendo por amor y si bien esto puede ser irritante, y creen que es innecesario, la aman, aman a sus nietos y estar con ellos, obviamente, trae un cierto nivel de alegría porque siguen deseando estar con ellos, y pasar por esto. Entonces, presiento que usted y su esposo prefieren verlos y estar cerca de ellos, a no verlos y estar cerca de ellos, y eso solo significa algunos pequeños ajustes, tal vez.

Dense un poco de cariño, comprendan las reglas de la casa, las reglas de la salud. Ya sabes, haz algo divertido con esto, permitiendo que esas sean las reglas, pero usando esas reglas para generar algo de tiempo en el que ustedes y sus nietos puedan divertirse. Ya sea que "la abuela y el abuelo tienen que mantenerse distantes, pero vamos a jugar un juego de palabras, o vamos a hablar sobre algo que es nuestro pequeño secreto", y pregunte si puede hacer esas cosas que les permitan a ambos estar en contacto con sus reglas pero también darse la oportunidad de hacer algunas cosas que te traen algo de diversión.

Y tal vez establecer el mismo tipo de cosas con ella, donde hay un punto en el que todos simplemente hablan, a seis pies de distancia, por supuesto, porque esas son sus reglas, y si tienen que sentarse en un lugar separado, por la comida, conviértanlo en algo que sea un punto de diversión, en lugar de un punto de ansiedad. Suena difícil, pero me parece que ya están a mitad de camino porque están lo suficientemente preocupados como para querer seguir estando allí, pero no tan preocupado como para no ir, ¿de acuerdo? Sobre eso.

Entonces, buena suerte, sonrían, dense un poco de gracia. Usted y su esposo, creo, están en el espacio adecuado para mantenerse conectados con su familia. Hacerles saber que se preocupan lo suficiente como para querer pasar por lo que sea necesario para estar con ellos y luego, cuando usted y él estén de camino a casa, después de su visita, pueden decir y hacer lo que les permita relajarse y reírse de ello.

Bill Walsh: Está bien. Gracias por eso. Dra. Stewart. Tomemos una llamada más. Kevin, ¿quién está en la línea ahora?

Kevin Craiglow: Hola, tenemos a Barb, de Wisconsin.

Bill Walsh: Hola, Barb, continúa con tu pregunta.

Barb: Hola, estamos a punto de vacunarnos contra la gripe, y siempre nos ponemos una para personas mayores que es más fuerte, o lo que sea, es mejor, supongo. Y nos preguntamos si las nuevas vacunas contra la gripe también serán dos diferentes como esa. Una para personas mayores o personas en riesgo y otra para personas que no están en riesgo.

Bill Walsh: Bueno, preguntémosle al Dr. Aronoff. Dr. Aronoff, ¿puede responder esa pregunta de Barb?

David Aronoff: Sí, Barb, gracias. En primer lugar, tu pregunta es muy oportuna porque realmente nos dirigimos hacia la temporada de resfriados y gripe. Podría usar esto como una oportunidad para señalar que en algunas partes del mundo, en el hemisferio sur, donde ya han pasado por la temporada de gripe, parece que todos los esfuerzos que hicieron para reducir la transmisión de la COVID- 19, el uso de cobertores para la cara, mantener la distancia, prestar atención a la higiene de las manos, ha dado como resultado una menor transmisión de la influenza, que creo que es algo que esperamos lograr con ansias, y otra razón para continuar redoblando nuestros esfuerzos para prevenir la propagación de la COVID-19. Al hacerlo, es probable que bloqueemos otros virus respiratorios como la influenza.

Mi entendimiento específico sobre la vacuna contra la influenza es que sigue siendo el caso que los adultos mayores recibirán una dosis más alta, lo que llamamos vacuna tetravalente. Eso significa que es una vacuna que inmuniza contra cuatro cepas diferentes de Influenza porque siempre estamos tratando de predecir la cepa que podría surgir. Entonces, este año, hay cuatro cepas diferentes cubiertas en la vacuna. Y creo que eso no es diferente del año pasado, en términos de la orientación recomendada. Ahora es el momento perfecto para vacunarse contra la gripe y, con suerte, pasaremos esta temporada de gripe con menos problemas de gripe que lo que hemos tenido en el pasado.

Bill Walsh: Muy bien, muchas gracias por eso, Dr. Aronoff. Y un recordatorio para todos nuestros oyentes, si deseas hacer una pregunta, presiona * 3 en el teclado de tu teléfono. Permítanme volver a nuestros expertos y al Dr. Aronoff. Escuchamos que una vacuna podría, en última instancia, tener un 50 o 60% de efectividad. ¿Cuál es el beneficio público si una vacuna funciona correctamente la mitad de las veces?

David Aronoff: Sí, esa es una buena pregunta porque realmente no está diciendo que la vacuna funcione solo la mitad de las veces. Lo que significa que una vacuna sea 50% efectiva es esencialmente, inmunizas a 100 personas y asumes que todas se exponen en algún momento a, digamos, la COVID-19, "sólo el 50% se termina infectando". Así que has protegido la mitad de la población, pero la cuestión es que lo que esperamos ver es eso en todas las personas, pero incluso en las personas, en particular las personas que parecen estar infectadas, ese otro 50%, que su enfermedad es muy leve. Que no acaben hospitalizados, que no acaben muriendo a causa de la COVID-19.

Entonces, en primer lugar, es realmente importante saber que, si bien una vacuna como la vacuna contra la influenza, no necesariamente nos protege de contraer la enfermedad clínica de la influenza, definitivamente nos protege de contraer una influenza grave o de morir de influenza. Y eso es algo importante a tener en cuenta. La otra cosa es que, parte de la forma en que vamos a interrumpir la propagación en curso del virus Sars-CoV2, que es el virus que causa COVID-19, es asegurarnos de que muchas personas de nuestra población tengan alguna inmunidad contra él.

Ni siquiera tiene que ser una inmunidad perfecta, pero si podemos obtener alguna proporción de nuestra población, puede ser el 60%, puede ser el 70%, que han visto la vacuna para el virus y tienen algo de inmunidad, eso puede ser frenar y detener la pandemia, que es realmente, el verdadero objetivo. Así que gracias por esa pregunta. Es complicado, pero espero que la respuesta tenga algún sentido.

Bill Walsh: Claro que sí. Gracias, Dr. Aronoff. Y Dra. Stewart, ya sabe, llevamos casi siete meses en esta pandemia y sabemos que muchas personas han salido muy poco, si es que lo han hecho, desde marzo. ¿Qué señales debemos buscar entre nuestros seres queridos, amigos y vecinos para ver si les está costando y qué pasos debemos tomar para comunicarnos con ellos y demostrarles que nos importan?

Altha Stewart: Esa es una excelente pregunta, Bill, y creo que es muy oportuna ya que estamos donde estamos, en la línea de tiempo. Para las personas que ya eran propensas al aislamiento social, esos son los que más me preocupan porque para muchas personas, poder estar fuera, ya sea para trabajar o para divertirse, fue parte de lo esencial que los mantuvo en movimiento.

Esta restricción a nuestro movimiento e inicialmente en algunos lugares, un cierre real, ha sido muy difícil para las personas que necesitan esa interacción social para su propia salud y bienestar. Entonces, lo que buscas en amigos y seres queridos, o incluso en ti mismo, es una inclinación a estar aún más aislado socialmente, incluso cuando existe la oportunidad de estar afuera, preferimos estar adentro.

Que literalmente no dejamos el espacio que habitamos por un período de tiempo y que no respondemos el teléfono, no respondemos a los esfuerzos de las personas para chatear por video, FaceTime, correo electrónico o mensaje de texto. Cuando empezamos a aislarnos socialmente, hasta el punto en que la gente se da cuenta, no he hablado contigo en más de una semana, o normalmente hablamos cada pocos días y ahora no lo estamos haciendo.

Querrás ver cómo están esas personas y asegurarte de que estén bien. Y debes dejar muy en claro que les haces saber que lo estás controlando. No hay vergüenza y no debería haber culpa por decirle a alguien: "Estoy preocupado por ti, me preocupa que no estés interactuando más", y si sabes que la persona ha tenido problemas psicológicos antes, hay aún más razones para controlarlos.

Las otras cosas que puedes hacer, nuevamente, son: si los estás controlando y crees que algo sucede, intenta averiguarlo, ya sabes, pregúntale si le gustaría hablar con alguien, trata de involucrarlos en una conversación sobre lo que puede estar pasando, y luego mantente allí para apoyarlos y recomienda que busquen ayuda.

Bill Walsh: Está bien, sí. Gracias por eso y, como señala, el aislamiento era un problema bastante serio antes de la COVID, parece que simplemente ha empeorado. Solo quiero aprovechar esta oportunidad para repetir nuestro número de AARP para el programa La Voz Amiga, de AARP. Nuevamente, este es un servicio gratuito, en el que si te sientes aislado o conoces a alguien que lo está, puedes hacer que uno de los voluntarios capacitados de AARP se comunique con ellos y simplemente hable con ellos por un rato. Ese número es 888-281-0145. Y gracias, Dra. Stewart.

Ahora es el momento de abordar más preguntas con el Dr. Aronoff y la Dra. Stewart, presiona * 3 en cualquier momento en el teclado de tu teléfono para conectarte. Kevin, ¿de quién es nuestra próxima llamada?

Kevin Craiglow: Bill, nuestra próxima llamada es de Eileen de Nueva York.

Bill Walsh: Adelante, bienvenida al programa. Continúa con tu pregunta.

Eileen: Sí, gracias por esta oportunidad de hablar. Mi preocupación es que están pensando en administrar esta vacuna primero a las personas en hogares de ancianos, lo que podría ser una buena idea, pero mi preocupación es que a estas personas a menudo se les administran medicamentos, muchos medicamentos que no quieren, en contra de sus deseos. Se los están administrando en contra de sus deseos. ¿Se administrarán las vacunas de forma voluntaria? ¿O se verán obligados a ponérsela?

Bill Walsh: Eileen, muchas gracias por esa pregunta y escuché dos preguntas realmente importantes allí, de hecho. Ella estaba preguntando primero sobre quién va a recibir la vacuna primero y si son personas en hogares de ancianos, ¿recibirán la vacuna voluntariamente? Dr. Aronoff, ¿tiene alguna idea al respecto?

David Aronoff: Sí, creo que esas son dos cosas importantes para discutir y Eileen, gracias por llamar. Dar prioridad a quién recibe la primera, más o menos, tanda de estas vacunas va a ser realmente importante y yo creo que se pensará mucho en llevarlas a las comunidades y poblaciones que están en mayor riesgo de tener malos resultados de la COVID-19, por lo que eso significa priorizar a los trabajadores de atención médica de primera línea, porque pueden tener más probabilidades de infectarse, comunidades de color, de las que hablamos antes, adultos mayores, personas con múltiples problemas médicos, etcétera.

Y todavía hay mucho trabajo que hacer alrededor del tipo de logística para sacar las vacunas, pero como con cualquier tratamiento médico o prevención, el consentimiento es realmente importante. Y asegurarse de que las personas estén al tanto de lo que están recibiendo como vacuna, es realmente de vital importancia, y por lo tanto, los mismos tipos de procesos de consentimiento que se utilizan para administrar una vacuna contra la gripe a los adultos mayores que pueden estar en un asilo, sería lo mismo para la vacuna contra la COVID-19, pero creo que ese es un punto muy, muy importante y que sé que está presente en muchas de nuestras mentes en medicina. Es asegurarse de que estamos haciendo las cosas bien.

Bill Walsh: Sí. Bien, gracias por eso. Kevin, ¿de quién es nuestra próxima llamada?

Kevin Craiglow: Bill, nuestra próxima llamada es de Marie de Misuri.

Bill Walsh: Hola, Marie. Bienvenida a nuestro programa, ¿cuál es tu pregunta hoy?

Marie: ¡Sí! Tengo dos nietos, dos hijas y cuatro nietos que asisten a la escuela en persona, viven fuera de la ciudad. Mi esposo y yo tenemos 72 años y, siendo los maravillosos abuelos y padres que somos, siempre celebramos las fiestas juntos. Así que me gustaría tener una opinión sobre que ellos vengan a la ciudad y se queden con nosotros. Seríamos un total de 10.

Bill Walsh: Uh, sí, viajar para las fiestas, estoy seguro de que esta es una pregunta en la mente de muchas personas. Me pregunto si el Dr. Aronoff, tiene alguna idea al respecto.

David Aronoff: Sí, esta es una situación muy, muy difícil, y se remonta a principios de la pandemia cuando estábamos asesorando a la gente sobre fiestas de graduación o eventos de tipo bodas, y creo, ya sabes, hay historias individuales realmente horribles sobre cómo la COVID-19 está afectando a las personas, particularmente con su salud física y mental, pero también hay formas en que la COVID-19 está perturbando a las familias fuera de las personas, y una de ellas es la forma habitual en que nos reunimos en cosas como el Día de Acción de Gracias y las fiestas religiosas, y creo que esta será una temporada en la que la COVID-19 interrumpe nuestra capacidad de reunir a las personas que no conviven en espacios reducidos, sobre todo, con respecto a los abuelos. Personas mayores de 65 años que corren un mayor riesgo de ser hospitalizadas o morir a causa de COVID-19.

En ausencia de una vacuna, y en ausencia de tratamientos realmente efectivos para las personas que no están hospitalizadas, creo que nosotros todavía tenemos que errar por el lado de estar seguros y tratar de diseñar la forma en que navegaremos esta temporada festiva con eso en mente. No será ni el tipo de fiestas que cualquiera de nosotros le desearía probablemente a nuestros peores enemigos. Esta será una de esas temporadas de fiestas en las que tenemos que pensar en celebrar de diferentes maneras que reduzcan la probabilidad de transmisión del virus.

Dos puntos rápidos, uno es, recordemos que el virus se transmite de personas que no tienen síntomas. Si bien las personas con síntomas son sin duda muy contagiosas, tienden a no ser las que van a las fiestas o los viajes. Son las personas que aún no han presentado síntomas, o que no van a tener síntomas, pero están infectadas, las que están alimentando esta pandemia. Entonces creo que ese es uno de los puntos principales, el otro punto es que el virus no sabe qué es Acción de Gracias. Todo lo que hace el virus es saltar de persona a persona, principalmente a través de nuestra respiración y lo que sea que nos une puede fomentar la probabilidad de que haya un evento de transmisión. Entonces, desearía tener mejores noticias para estas vacaciones porque yo mismo soy una persona que disfruta de las fiestas de Acción de Gracias, pero este año, creo que será un poco diferente.

Bill Walsh: Está bien. Bueno, gracias. Kevin, ¿quién es el siguiente en la línea?

Kevin Craiglow: Bill, nuestra siguiente pregunta proviene de las redes sociales y específicamente de Facebook. Barb, de Winston-Salem, dice: "Tengo 66 años y vivo sola. No he visto a mi familia desde Navidad. Intenté al menos tres veces verlos afuera, y generalmente cancelan. Ya estoy siendo tratada por depresión y ahora he perdido mi trabajo, pero no tengo ningún contacto con un adulto. Creo que me estoy cansando de la pandemia y de estar aislada. ¿Alguna idea sobre lo que puedo hacer para no sentirme tan excluida, sin correr riesgos?"

Bill Walsh: Muy bien, gracias, Barb, por esa pregunta. Parece que estás en un lugar muy difícil. Dra. Stewart, ¿tiene algunas palabras para ella?

Altha Stewart: ¡Por supuesto! Gracias, Barb, por escuchar y extender la mano y hacer esta pregunta. Por lo que describes, parece que ya eras consciente de una tendencia a experimentar depresión. Así que espero que sea inherente a eso también la comprensión de que hay tratamientos disponibles para la depresión y que estás al tanto de los recursos de tu área local, y que está en contacto con ellos para ya sea volver a la terapia para la depresión o para al menos acercarse y comunicarse con ellos y hablar sobre sus opciones de ayuda en este momento.

Recuerda siempre que hay líneas directas y líneas de crisis, y otras que esperan que llames para poder serte de ayuda directamente, y te daremos nuevamente el número de la Línea Nacional para Enfermedades Mentales, pero también, piensa dentro de tu círculo. ¿Hay personas a las que puedas contactar, solo para regresar a algún nivel de interacción social?

Si recientemente has perdido tu trabajo, probablemente no estés interesada en hablar con excompañeros de trabajo, pero tal vez con amigos, vecinos, otras personas en tu pasado que puedan conocer esta tendencia a la depresión y que estarían dispuestas y felices, de hecho, de pasar algún tiempo contigo por teléfono o por FaceTime. Solo asegúrate de regresar a algún tipo de contacto social con los demás. Por favor, no te lo permitas, no tomes la decisión de quedarte sola. En lugar de eso, toma la decisión de acercarte una vez más a alguien y ver si puedes obtener algo de apoyo, ayuda, orientación, algo. Estamos trabajando para ti y la gente de NAMI, recuerda, puedes comunicarte con ellos al 800-950-6264 y obtener algún servicio local identificado si no sabes dónde encontrarlo. Y buena suerte.

Bill Walsh: Gracias, Dra. Stewart. Y Barb, muchas gracias por la pregunta, todos estaremos pensando en ti. No estás sola en Winston-Salem. Tienes toda una comunidad de personas pensando en ti. Kevin, atendamos otra llamada.

Kevin Craiglow: Genial, nuestra próxima llamada proviene de Carol en Colorado.

Bill Walsh: Hola, Carol, adelante con tu pregunta.

Carol: Mi pregunta tiene que ver con cómo manejar situaciones en una situación de vida comunitaria. Vivo en un apartamento de mayores de 55 años, al que me mudé por la interacción social. Tengo un trastorno de salud subyacente, la enfermedad de Parkinson, no conduzco y me mudé aquí por una razón, para poder participar en eventos sociales. Desde que comenzó la pandemia, la comunidad en general ha sido bastante laxa en términos de seguir los procedimientos recomendados en términos de hacer cumplir el uso de mascarillas y el distanciamiento social. Intenté ir a algunas de las actividades, pero terminé muy ansiosa y tuve que irme porque los procedimientos y las sensibilidades de las diferentes personas aquí y la administración no están a mi nivel de comodidad.

Bill Walsh: Sí.

Carol: Y he hablado con la gerencia sobre eso, pero ya sabes, soy una persona y las otras personas se sienten cómodas con la forma en que van las cosas. Así que me pregunto si tienen algún consejo sobre cómo manejar esa situación.

Bill Walsh: Muy bien, Carol. Muchas gracias por la llamada. Dr. Aronoff, ¿tiene alguna sugerencia para Carol?

David Aronoff: Sí, Carol, gracias por compartir eso, que suena estresante y difícil de navegar porque, nuevamente, estás viviendo en una comunidad de mayores de 55 años por lo que habrá personas que tienen enfermedades, como la que has compartido, que pueden estar en riesgo de empeorar con la COVID-19 y sabemos cómo prevenir, o al menos reducir el riesgo de transmisión del virus Sars-CoV2, con cosas como la distancia y una buena ventilación en habitaciones, higiene de manos y uso de cubiertas faciales. Y yo creo que ese tipo de conversación que tienes con la gerencia es realmente importante y creo que si hay personas con ideas afines en tu comunidad, puede ser más fácil tener algo de influencia al hablar con la gerencia o incluso hablar con los otros miembros de la comunidad, si pueden hacerlo como grupo.

Si hay un grupo de personas que se están tomando esto realmente en serio y comprenden las consecuencias de la COVID-19 para su comunidad, ahora podría ser el momento de asegurarse de utilizar los números porque es más difícil mirar a más de una persona a los ojos y decir: "No, no vamos a exigir que nos cubramos la cara" o "No vamos a prestar atención a la ventilación o las mascarillas, ni a la distancia o higiene de manos”. Entonces, eso puede ser una cosa, ¿sabes? Quizás la Dra. Stewart también tenga algunas buenas sugerencias.

Bill Walsh: Dra. Stewart, ¿quería agregar algo a esa respuesta?

Altha Stewart: Creo, que es un buen enfoque. Hay fuerza en los grupos. Supongo que la única otra cosa que diría es, si todo lo demás falla, organiza algo para ti que no te obligue a estar en un entorno en el que estés en mayor riesgo y puede que tenga que ser virtual por un tiempo, hasta que puedas llegar a un número de personas que se unan a ti en la defensa del cambio.

Bill Walsh: Está bien. Gracias a ambos por eso. Respondamos una llamada más de nuestros oyentes, ¿Kevin?

Kevin Craiglow: Sí. Tenemos una llamada de Ina desde California.

Bill Walsh: Adelante, Ina. ¿Cuál es tu pregunta?

Ina: Bueno, gracias por tomarse el tiempo para responder mi pregunta. Cumpliré 92 años en siete meses. Nunca me he puesto la vacuna contra la gripe y ahora me pregunto cuál es la mejor decisión que puedo tomar. No me siento inclinada a ponerme la vacuna contra la gripe. ¿Es eso sensato o no?

Bill Walsh: Bueno, preguntémosle a los expertos. Dr. Aronoff, ¿qué consejo le daría a Ina en California?

David Aronoff: Sí, Ina, primero que nada, estoy muy inspirado por tu llamada y gracias por eso. Sabes, con el tiempo, hemos aprendido mucho sobre los beneficios de las vacunas contra la influenza para prevenir la hospitalización, particularmente en nuestros adultos mayores y prevenir la muerte por influenza. Es importante saber que en la vacuna contra la gripe no es un virus vivo lo que usamos.

En el pasado, la mayoría de nuestras vacunas eran algún tipo de virus vivo o algo de bacteria viva, pero estas son solo fragmentos del virus que estimulan una respuesta inmune, pero no causan la gripe y eso es importante que la gente lo sepa. Así que soy un defensor de la vacuna contra la gripe todos los años. Creo que, por supuesto, la mayoría de las personas no contraen la influenza todos los años, pero algunas personas la contraen y la contraen en el peor momento, cuando no se lo esperaban y no les va bien. Así que creo que la mejor estrategia es vacunarse y hablar con tu profesional de la salud con licencia sobre eso, pero Dios, muchas gracias por llamar.

Bill Walsh: Gracias Dr. Aronoff e Ina, no soy médico, pero como alguien que quiere cumplir 102 y siete meses, por favor vacúnese contra la gripe este año. Es más importante que nunca. Así que esta ha sido una discusión realmente informativa y gracias a nuestros dos panelistas expertos por responder a todas las preguntas. Y gracias a nuestros socios, voluntarios y oyentes de AARP por participar en esta discusión.

AARP, una organización de membresía sin fines de lucro y no partidista, ha estado trabajando para promover la salud y el bienestar de los estadounidenses mayores durante más de 60 años. Frente a esta crisis, estamos brindando información y recursos para ayudar a los adultos mayores y a quienes los cuidan a protegerse del virus, prevenir su propagación a otros, mientras se cuidan.

Todos los recursos a los que se hizo referencia hoy, incluida una grabación del evento de preguntas y respuestas, se podrán encontrar en aarp.org/elcoronavirus a partir de mañana 2 de octubre. Nuevamente, esa dirección web es aarp.org/elcoronavirus. Ve allí si tu pregunta no fue respondida y encontrarás las últimas actualizaciones, así como información creada específicamente para adultos mayores y cuidadores familiares.

Esperamos que hayas aprendido algo que pueda ayudarte a ti y a tus seres queridos a mantenerse saludables. Asegúrate de sintonizar esta noche en aarp.org a las 7 p.m., hora del este, para una discusión especial de preguntas y respuestas en vivo sobre lecciones de vida y percepciones obtenidas de la reina Isabel II. Gracias y que tengan un buen día.

Con esto concluye nuestra llamada.

 

Coronavirus: Vaccines & Coping During the Pandemic

Oct. 1, at 1 p.m. ET

 

Listen to a replay of the event above.

Our panel of experts addressed the development of a coronavirus vaccine, including an update on current trials. They also discussed how to cope and maintain social connections as the pandemic continues into the fall. They provided guidance on staying sharp and managing stress, conflicts, isolation, anxiety and other adverse effects of physical distancing.

The experts

David M. Aronoff, M.D.
Director, Division of Infectious Diseases
Department of Medicine
Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Altha Stewart, M.D.
Immediate Past President
American Psychiatric Association


For the latest coronavirus news and advice, go to AARP.org/coronavirus.


Replay previous AARP Coronavirus Tele-Town Halls

  • Sept 17 - Coronavirus: Prevention, Treatments, Vaccines & Avoiding Scams
  • Sept 3 - Coronavirus: Your Finances, Health & Family (6 months in)
  • Aug 20 - Your Health and Staying Protected
  • Aug 6 - Coronavirus: Answering Your Most Frequent Questions
  • June 18 and 20 - Strengthening Relationships Over Time and  LGBTQ Non-Discrimination Protections
  • June 11 – Coronavirus: Personal Resilience in the New Normal
  • July 23 - Coronavirus: Navigating the New Normal
  • July 16 - The Health and Financial Security of Latinos
  • July 9 - Coronavirus: Your Most Frequently Asked Questions
  • June 18 and 20 - Strengthening Relationships Over Time and  LGBTQ Non-Discrimination Protections
  • June 11 – Coronavirus: Personal Resilience in the New Normal
  • May 21 – Coronavirus: Caring for Loved Ones in Care Facilities With Special Guests Susan Lucci and Jo Ann Jenkins
  • May 14 –  Coronavirus: Veterans & Staying at Home With Lifestyle Experts
  • May 7 – Coronavirus: Protecting Your Health & Bank Account and Managing Your Career, Business & Income
  • April 30 – Coronavirus: Caring for Parents, Kids & Grandkids
  • April 23 – Coronavirus: Supporting Loved Ones in Care Facilities and Disparate Impact on Communities
  • April 16 – Coronavirus: Telehealth
  • April 9 – Coronavirus: Coping and Maintaining Your Well-Being
  • April 2 – Coronavirus: Managing Your Money and Protecting Your Health
  • March 26 – Coronavirus: Protecting and Caring for Loved Ones
  • March 19  Coronavirus: Protect Your Health, Wealth and Loved Ones
  • March 10 – Coronavirus: Symptoms. How to Protect Yourself, and What It Means for Older Adults and Caregivers

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