Even if widely embraced, vaccines are not a ‘silver bullet’ to containing COVID

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Credit: Atlantic

Americans looking to a vaccine as the way out of the coronavirus pandemic should consider a more comprehensive approach, a leading medical expert told CNN on [July 22].

“Pinning all our hopes on a vaccine that works immediately is not the right strategy,” Dr. William Haseltine, a former professor at Harvard University’s medical and public health schools, told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.

Haseltine said a broad public health strategy is a better way to contain the spread of the virus along with the help of a vaccine and therapeutic drugs. Mandating masks will help but Haseltine said, “we need a lot more than masks to contain this epidemic that’s running through our country like a freight train.”

Haseltine recommended closing bars and other places where young people congregate at night and ban holding large meetings in the worst-hit regions. Life won’t get better until people make major changes to their behavior and public health services come forward with more resources, he said.

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He said a vaccine is still six months away at the earliest and he warned not to underestimate a coronavirus. Haseltine, known for his work on fighting cancer and HIV/AIDS, said it won’t be easy to develop a vaccine.

“These are tricky viruses,” he said. “It’s not as simple as measles or mumps. It’s going to be a lot more complicated”

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