Brilliant is the advisory board chairman of the nonprofit Ending Pandemics, a spinoff of the
He said the coronavirus is continuing to spread in
"We have not gone over a peak," Brilliant said. "We have not even passed the first wave. We are early in this pandemic."
He said the virus is spreading exponentially, with each person
"And to our shame," Brilliant said, "
He said most of the hot spots in
"These are all places that were overeager to open up," he said.
"We are today at the highest rate of COVID that we've had," he said, regarding
Nevertheless, Brilliant praised Marin County Public Health Officer Dr.
"I'm glad that we're moving at a thoughtful, measured pace to reopen the county," he said. "They're really using a fact-based approach, which isn't true of many other places."
Brilliant added, however, "I'm worried that whatever our plan is we're going to get overrun by national trends."
He cited the recent mass protests following the death of
"My heart goes out to the protesters in the street," Brilliant said. "My first reaction when I see them is, thank God people are taking racism seriously enough to go out into the streets, but that is followed a second later by ... look at the ones
He said wearing a mask is the most impactful action people can take to quell the spread of the virus, with hand washing coming in second.
"If 80% of people wore a mask 80% of the time, COVID would go away," Brilliant said.
Pullen asked Brilliant's advice on how to balance the negative consequences of isolating older adults in assisted living and skilled nursing homes against the risk of contracting the virus.
Brilliant said a quarter of COVID-19 deaths in the
He said it is unclear why the coronavirus is so much more lethal for people 65 or older. He said the initial explanation was that older people have weaker immune systems.
"Then they found that having a poorer immune system is in some ways protective against something called a cytokine storm," he said, "which is an immune system that gets over exuberant."
New research suggests that COVID-19 may be more of a disease of the blood vessels than the lungs, he noted.
He predicts that a vaccine for COVID-19 will be found, but it might require refrigeration -- making it difficult to distribute worldwide -- and regular booster shots.
(c)2020 The Marin Independent Journal (Novato, Calif.)
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