Archive for July, 2021

 

Jul 25 2021

Eye of the Hurricane?

by at 11:25 pm

This past week has been pretty much about writing my sections of the CCSG Director’s Overview, mixed in with some BellRinger activities. I was at two BellRinger lunches on the CCC Podium last week, one of them on Wednesday for all comers, and the other on Thursday for the Department of Radiology. We are getting the word out! One of the really nice parts of hanging out on campus is the chance to run into colleagues and friends and just chat. I had almost forgotten how important these seemingly random encounters weave into a tapestry of conversations that both build community and get important work done. I didn’t realize how much I have missed that.

I hope you enjoyed your weekend. We drove to the beach on Friday and go home tonight. We were lucky to have great weather and shared it with family, and then on Sunday night had a lovely dinner with some friends. Not bad! But, even as we open up our campus, the looming specter of the COVID-19 delta variant is beginning to worry me. Is this pandemic really waning, or will the “pandemic of the unvaccinated” derail our plans to reopen our lives for good? Is the storm behind us, or are we merely in the eye of the hurricane, with more misery around the corner?

I have no inside information of any kind, but will not be surprised if we find it necessary to take additional precautions, even here in DC, in the weeks and months ahead. With any luck, enough vaccine refuseniks will change their minds as infections and serious illnesses swell, and we can prevent another surge.

Meanwhile, please join me in congratulating four of our colleagues on their recently awarded and amply deserved promotions. They are:

  • Suzanne O’Neill – promoted to Tenured Professor
  • Randi Williams – promoted to Assistant Professor
  • Luz Romero Sanchez – promoted to Assistant Professor
  • Ivana Peran – promoted to Assistant Professor

Please join me in congratulating Suzanne, Randi, Luz and Ivana on their accomplishments, with a special shout out to Suzanne, as her promotion recognizes her substantial career-long contributions in research, teaching and service. And the best is yet to come!

Stay safe and be well. This is not yet over.

Lou

 


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Jul 18 2021

Pandemic of the Unvaccinated

by at 9:09 pm

Anybody paying attention can see what is happening. The CDC director has described the current situation as the Pandemic of the Unvaccinated. The highly infectious Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 is tearing through the country. Lots of people are getting infected, but primarily only unvaccinated people are getting really sick. There is a simple, safe way to protect against illness, but some people just don’t want to be confused by the facts.

Meanwhile, life on campus is slowly stirring. I came into work two days last week, once just for meetings and the other for clinic. I have found it easiest to bring in my own lunch; perhaps that will change when classes are in session. I’ll be on campus at least two days this coming week, and certainly will be there on Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. for the BellRinger lunch on the Podium near the CCC building. I hope to see you there! My training for BellRinger has been slowed over the past two weeks because of nagging plantar fasciitis of my right heel. It has been a slog. If I don’t improve soon, my plans for 100 miles are in jeopardy. I know I can do 25 miles, and hope to do at least 50.

I have spent the last few weeks on my draft of the Director’s Overview for the CCSG competitive renewal. The Overview draft is essentially finished, and I have also completed drafts of two (Space and Center Director) of the 6 Essential Characteristics descriptions. Four more to go… I hope to have everything done by August 1.

Have a great week. Most importantly, stay safe and be well.

Lou

 

 


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Jul 12 2021

Normal(ish)

by at 7:30 am

Life after the time of coronavirus is ramping up. The virus is still with us, and will be for a long time, but those of us who are fully vaccinated are safe. Society has certainly opened up, and we are rapidly approaching full activity at Georgetown, though with appropriate precautions in place. Almost 70 percent of Americans have had at least one shot. Many of the remainder will not, and we should continue to educate and support healthy decision-making. However, some of the “refuseniks” are resolute in their convictions, and their minds won’t be changed. There will be no vaccines, and perhaps no masks to protect themselves or others. It is what it is.

What to do? I can only speak for myself, but I am comfortable resuming normal activities when they are permitted, as I am fully vaccinated. I try to follow the science. I might become infected, but am very unlikely to get very sick, even from the Delta variant. I am willing to take that chance. Pfizer states that boosters supercharge host immunity, but the data to date suggest that those of us who are fully vaccinated retain effective immunity against all of the prevalent coronavirus variants. Unvaccinated people will remain at risk; many will get infected and propagate the virus, which will spin out new variants. Some of these unvaccinated people will get sick, and some of them will die needlessly. Meanwhile, life for vaccinated people will continue, inconvenienced, but more or less undisturbed.

I am totally comfortable being with my vaccinated coworkers, family members and friends. I worry a bit about my unvaccinated grandchildren, though. To illustrate the point, one of my extended family members is a passionate anti-vaxxer; her views predate the pandemic. She will never allow herself to be vaccinated. She does not want to be confused by the facts, only by her anecdotal pseudo-truths. She is wonderful, sweet and wrong. It is what it is. However, we will not see her until our grandchildren are vaccinated; in the event she infected them and they got really sick, either directly or through us, I would not be able to forgive myself.

So, life is becoming “normalish.” I spent all day Wednesday in the office, though it’s still awfully quiet on the GUMC campus. There’s really no convenient place to get lunch, and we all wear masks. I’ll spend at least two days in the office this week, and will work from home the rest of the time. We visited family on Friday after I took care of some of my father’s estate documents and then we had a wonderful weekend with dear friends on Long Beach Island, one of the Philly area’s major beach destinations.

We no longer live in the coronavirus’ world, but now are living in a world of our own making, through the miracle of science. In time, the rest of the world will catch up, too. I hope it happens quickly. Coronavirus is and will be a part of our world for the foreseeable future, and we will accommodate it, but it’s time to get back to the business of living, working and making this world a better place. It’s time.

Don’t forget the BellRinger! The first weekly BellRinger lunch will be held on the Podium near the hospital this Wednesday starting at 11:30 a.m. Please stop by, have a bit to eat, and sign up for the ride.

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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