Archive for November, 2020

 

Nov 23 2020

Life in the Time of Corona(virus) – Day 251

by at 7:00 am

The idea of Thanksgiving feels a bit incongruous this year. It’s been especially tough to dismiss the withering impact of the pandemic. So many lives have been lost, and even more have been shattered by economic dislocation and the stresses of social isolation on families, communities and our society. Our family’s Thanksgiving plans have been incinerated by the pandemic. If you are thinking about traveling, please consider the CDC guidelines, and if you decide to travel, please take extra care.

Yet, despite these challenges, I am overwhelmed by gratitude. You might ask, why?

I am grateful for the countless delights and surprises every day brings. I am grateful for the love of my family and the loyalty of friends. I am grateful for health, for the strength of our community, for the trust of my patients and their families, for my colleagues, and for the privilege of being able to fight cancer, all day, every day. Over the course of my career, the death rate from cancer has been reduced dramatically. Think of all the seats that are not empty at the Thanksgiving table, this and every year, just because of the power of research!

Most of all, I am grateful for my wife, Harriet, who through her example unleashed my own appreciation of the healing power of the arts to align our beings with enduring truths. Nowhere is that power more evident than in Georgetown Lombardi’s Arts and Humanities Program, which provides comfort, beauty, respite and hope that lights a path during times of darkness. Georgetown Lombardi is proud to be the home of this program, with gratitude to Julia Langley and her band of brothers and sisters who always wage the good fight to connect us to our better selves.

I come to this holiday season with hope for the future. There is a light at the end of the political tunnel. Vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 work, and promise to transform the trajectory of the pandemic in the coming year. Just hang on for a little bit longer. Soon, it will be safe to resume contact with colleagues, friends and loved ones, and to reopen a society that will be transformed by our ordeals and the ways we have learned to cope with the necessary limitations.

Happy Thanksgiving. It will be bittersweet for so many of us, but I predict we will have even more to be grateful for the next time we can sit around the Thanksgiving table with our loved ones.

As always, stay safe and be well.

With gratitude,

Lou

 


The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the text belong solely to the author, and not necessarily to the author’s employer, organization, committee or other group or individual.

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Nov 16 2020

Life in the Time of Corona(virus) – Day 244

by at 7:30 am

We spent time with family this weekend. Assuming we escape COVID-19, I think we are going to cocoon a bit and avoid traveling. While the coronavirus infection rate remains fairly low in DC and New York City, it is rising, and nearing shutdown levels in Baltimore and Philadelphia. It’s beginning to look like it will be a lonely Thanksgiving for so many of us.

Work has been insanely busy, with lots of recruitment seminars (so much interesting science!), long days and work late into the evening. Virtually every meeting begins with a communal 5-minute-long Zoom Lamentation by all of the attendees. We are all tired of virtual personal connections and social distancing, but it looks like we’re stuck with it for the foreseeable future. However, there is reason for hope in the form of vaccines.

In other news, the only thing falling faster than the leaves is the future outlook for the Philadelphia Eagles, who lost rather convincingly to a not-very-good New York Giants team. However, the better team won. The Eagles have accepted the game’s results and will simply keep moving forward, looking for ways to get better. That’s why I like sports.  It’s the American Way.

Stay safe and be well.

Lou

 


The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the text belong solely to the author, and not necessarily to the author’s employer, organization, committee or other group or individual.

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Nov 09 2020

Life in the Time of Corona(virus) – Day 237

by at 7:00 am

We have work to do.

We will have a new president of the United States come January 20, though the acceptance of the results and transition of power likely will be anything but smooth. Those of us who desired this outcome are delighted, but it would be a mistake to interpret the results as a soaring mandate. President-Elect Biden won slightly more than half of the votes, meaning that more than 70 million American voters were not convinced that he represented the best way forward for our country. In races around the country, Republicans fared well, providing further evidence of our remarkable diversity of political opinions. This is an important fact, and irrespective of any personal political perspective, we all would do well to understand and listen to all voices.

Make no mistake, the presidential election results represent a victory for decency, honor, fact-based truths and social justice — attributes that reflect the character of the man (and our very first female vice president!). But as we think about the future, and the polarization of our nation into red and blue tribes, it is important to find a path forward. There will be issues on which reasonable people can passionately disagree, and I don’t believe those with unshakeable beliefs about certain issues can ever have their minds changed. However, I desperately want to believe that Americans can agree on the value of social justice for historically marginalized populations, accompanied by fair opportunities for all Americans to create better lives and financial opportunities for themselves and their families, moving forward based on our shared values, supported by the genius of our technical and scientific enterprises. I also believe that most Americans want this great country to reassume its position as a moral beacon worthy of admiration and emulation around the world, backed by strength of purpose and military capabilities that are deployed only when necessary, but with resolve.

We have work to do.

The president-elect devised and led the Cancer Moonshot, and I think we can expect cancer research to be a strategic focus of the new administration moving forward. As many of you know, we had our yearly External Advisory Committee meeting this past week and received valuable, positive feedback regarding our scientific directions. We have made a lot of progress, and while much remains to be done, we are heading in the right direction. The reviewers were especially encouraged by the remarkable show of commitment by University, MedStar Health and Hackensack Meridian Health leadership in support of our work. I am grateful for that support, and feel a particular obligation to prove that they are right to bet on our future.

We have work to do.

Health disparities illustrate the tasks before us, even here in the nation’s capital. Ed Healton, Vicki Girard, Christopher King and Michelle Roett testified Thursday in support of a resolution in the district declaring racism a public health crisis. Georgetown has an important role to play in enhancing civic engagement and addressing these disparities. In that vein, Jack DeGioia has posted a video featuring civic engagement that includes highlights from notable individuals who have spoken at Georgetown in the past.

We have work to do.

Coronavirus cases continue to increase around the country, and we are entering an increasingly dangerous period. Please be careful, and take special care to protect yourself and those around you.

Stay safe, and be well.

Lou

 


The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the text belong solely to the author, and not necessarily to the author’s employer, organization, committee or other group or individual.

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