Back to Top Skip to main content Skip to sub-navigation

Dr. Fauci delivers COVID-19 update at joint Grand Rounds

Image of Two men in masks; one a military soldier, and the other wearing a suit. Army Lt.Col. (Dr.) Jason Blaylock, chief of Medicine at Walter Reed-Bethesda, presents Dr. Anthony Fauci with the Uniformed Services University coin as guest speaker for the inaugural USU-WRNMMC joint Medicine grand rounds. (National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases photo.)

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus & the MHS Response

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, and a member of the White House COVID-19 Task Force, discussed the current pandemic response efforts as the guest speaker for the first combined virtual Uniformed Services University-Walter Reed National Military Medical Department of Medicine Grand Rounds held in mid-August.

“It was an absolute privilege and honor to have Dr. Fauci speak to our military medical community today,” said Army Lt. Col. (Dr.) Jason Blaylock, chief of the Department of Medicine at WRNMMC. “As one of the world’s leading experts in infectious diseases, he has played a pivotal role in orchestrating our nation’s response to numerous infectious disease outbreaks over the past 40 years, and most recently to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Fauci discussed the origins of the SARS-CoV-2 strain of coronavirus, and its subsequent transmission throughout the world, calling it the “worst respiratory pandemic we’ve had in 102 years since the now-infamous 1918 flu.” He said that, although the numbers change daily, currently there are more than 20 million cases worldwide resulting in 749,039 deaths. Fauci said that the U.S. has suffered the worst of the insult, with more than 5 million cases and 164,000 deaths to date. Although initially the northeastern U.S. was hardest hit, the southern and western regions now have the highest number of cases.

He gave an overview of transmission, risks for infection, and personal and public health preventive measures. Fauci also discussed how to effectively and safely bring children back into the classroom.

“We know from the American Academy of Pediatrics that it’s important that when children are not in school there are deleterious consequences that are psychological … and in some parts of the country, children depend on school for breakfast and lunch. The underlying predominant factor is the safety of children, teachers, etc.” He went on to say that there are different levels of infection within the U.S. that have been categorized as green, yellow, or red.

“With green, I can say somewhat with impunity, that it’s good to send kids back. Yellow: Schools must have the capability of mitigating any risk of infection through wearing masks, separating desks, [having children go] outdoors more than indoors, opening windows where possible, having susceptible children be online, alternating days, etc. And red: Be careful. Try to get the city, county, or state down to yellow. The best way to open schools is to get closer to green. The bottom line is, we’ve got to be flexible.”

Fauci also discussed the merits of conducting temperature checks at entrances to medical facilities, saying that the benefit of doing so is “marginal.”

“We have found at the NIH that it’s much better to just question people when they come in and save the time because the temperatures are notoriously inaccurate at times. At the NIH Clinical Center and at the White House, we’ve abandoned entry by determination of temperature for the following reason: It’s the middle of the summer; we’ve had what…15 days, 90 degrees in a row. I went to the White House the other day. My temp was like 103 until I took it in the air-conditioned car and then it was 97.4. When I tried to get into another facility, my temperature was 93, which means I probably should’ve been on a respirator. So I think we’ve just got to abandon that [temperature-taking], be prudent, ask questions, and do it that way,” he said.

During the Q&A session, Blaylock asked Fauci about the likelihood of reinfection by the virus once initially infected. “It has been purely rare and anecdotal. In every anecdotal case I’ve seen, there could have been another explanation for that. So, I can say that although we have to leave open the possibility, it is likely so, so rare that right now with what we know, it’s not an issue,” he responded. “We must be humble and honest enough to realize that as we gain more data, this could change, but based on what we know today, in the middle of August, there does not appear to be any indication that that’s occurring.”

Fauci talked about the virus’s ability to mutate and the impact to vaccine candidates, saying that SARS-CoV-2 is an RNA virus, so “it absolutely mutates.” He said that most mutations in an RNA virus do not have any functional consequences.

“We do know – and this is important – there has been now an association of a mutation of one amino acid to another at position 614 that leads to a better binding to the ACE2 receptor, which hints that it is going to be much easier to transmit. We need to get more definitive indication of that. I think it might actually be the case, but we don’t know,” he said, urging caution. “We took the structural confirmation and looked at where the mutation was and it doesn’t seem at all to interfere with any of the antibodies that are important that are being induced by the vaccine. So it may make something a bit more transmissible but doesn’t negatively impact the vaccine issue.”

Fauci was asked about current vaccine candidates and whether he had a sense of how long any of them might confer immunity.

“The answer is no. We’ll find that out. The reason is we don’t know it right now. We’ve given the vaccine in a Phase 1 study and Phase 2 study, which was just a couple of months ago, so we know it lasts a couple of months. Whether it’s three months, six months, a year, a year and a half, we just don’t know. We’re hoping that it lasts a full cycle of a season so that it protects, and if, in fact, it wanes, we can give it a boost. And that’s what we’re hoping for. We’re hoping we get sustained immunity but if we don’t, I think we can easily use a boost to bring it back up,” Fauci responded.

Fauci said that convalescent plasma as an effective treatment for COVID-19 infection is “suggestive, not definitive.” He said that the Food and Drug Administration is carefully looking at some data from non-placebo, controlled trials that were given on an expanded access program, and that within the next two weeks he will know whether there is indication of efficacy. “If not, then we’ll have to wait for the randomized placebo-controlled trial,” he said. He went on to say that there is suggestive evidence that it is protective if administered as early as possible in the onset of infection, and that they are currently collecting convalescent plasma to determine its potential uses.

Although grand rounds are typically localized events, the talk was broadcast live on social media by NIAID and WRNMMC to maximize exposure for providers throughout the Military Health System. More than 1,100 attendees tuned in live from around the country for the nearly one-hour session organized by Blaylock and USU Department of Medicine Chair, Army Col. (Dr.) Kevin Chung. Within 24 hours, the recorded session had been viewed more than 60,000 times combined on the NIAID and WRNNMC social media sites.

"This event was a smashing success by any measure. Goes to show what can happen when we combine the organizational talents of USU, Walter Reed, and the NIH,” said Chung. “We are grateful to Dr. Fauci for accepting our invitation to speak, and to NIAID and Walter Reed for allowing the event to be broadcast widely, not only throughout the MHS but also to the public."

“He is truly one of our finest leaders, and we are incredibly grateful that he was able to provide some remarkable insight into the many challenges that our military medical treatment facilities have been facing over the past several months,” Blaylock said.

The grand rounds talk was recorded and is available for viewing on Facebook.

You also may be interested in...

MHS Team Resiliency Awards recognize medical response to COVID-19

Article
12/22/2020
Sailors wearing masks, leaning on a table and writing on sheets of paper

Outstanding efforts recognized during Resiliency Awards

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus & the MHS Response | Research and Innovation | Patient Safety | Patient Safety Awards Program | Ready and Resilient Award

MHS COVID Response

Video
12/21/2020
MHS COVID Response

The men and women of the Military Health System spent 2020 working to protect beneficiaries' health during the coronavirus pandemic. Here are just a few of our accomplishments.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus & the MHS Response | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

Military Health System encourages influenza vaccination for 2020

Article
12/21/2020
Military personnel giving patient a flu vaccine in her left arm

The CDC notes that COVID-19 seems to spread more easily than flu and causes more serious illnesses in some people.

Recommended Content:

Influenza, Northern Hemisphere | Influenza, Southern Hemisphere | Influenza Summary and Reports | Coronavirus & the MHS Response | Public Health | Seasonal Influenza Vaccine

Defense Health Agency Director: Vaccine rollout safe and effective

Article
12/18/2020
Image of military personnel giving a vaccine to a soldier in her right arm. Click to open a larger version of the image.

“In the coming months as the vaccine becomes more widely available, we strongly encourage everyone to get this vaccine,” Place stressed.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus & the MHS Response | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine

Frontline Indiana Guardsmen receive COVID-19 vaccination

Article
12/18/2020
Soldier getting a vaccine in his left arm

These Guardsmen are trained medics who also took Centers for Disease Control and Prevention courses specific to the coronavirus.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus & the MHS Response | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine

Heroes Behind the Mask

Video
12/17/2020
Heroes Behind the Mask

A tribute to those across the Military Health System who deserve recognition and thanks for their hard work during this pandemic.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus & the MHS Response | Coronavirus & the MHS Response | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine

Top five digital health trends for military medical providers in 2021

Article
12/17/2020
Image of Dr. Pincus with text "Top Five Digital Health Trends for Military Medical Providers in 2021"

One way the MHS will provide...improved care is through DoD’s new electronic health record MHS GENESIS, which will continue its rollout through 2023.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus & the MHS Response | Electronic Health Record: MHS GENESIS | Telehealth Program

COVID-19 surge spurs readiness efforts at Brooke Army Medical Center

Article
12/17/2020
Two hospital personnel, wearing masks, looking at a computer screen

Equipped with lessons learned, BAMC is preparing to shift resources and personnel to ensure hospital readiness in the event of a patient increase.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus & the MHS Response | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine

CDC provides COVID-19 vaccine best practices for healthcare providers

Article
12/17/2020
Medical personnel filling a syringe from a vaccine bottle

[T]he Defense Health Agency’s Immunization Healthcare Division (IHD) is working in collaboration with the CDC to offer the training to the Military Health System’s health care providers.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus & the MHS Response | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine

HA Guidance for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Laboratory Pre-Testing Questionnaire

Policy

This memorandum provides guidance for a COVID-19 laboratory pre-testing questionnaire that will be mandatory for all Active Duty Service members and encouraged for all other DOD beneficiaries treated at military medical treatment facilities.

DHA contributes to COVID-19 vaccine effort

Article
12/16/2020
Vaccine bottles

While Pfizer’s vaccine is being distributed to all U.S. jurisdictions for administration, several more candidates are in development and clinical trials continue to be conducted simultaneously with pharmaceutical partners.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus & the MHS Response | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine

Frontline health care workers among first in DOD for COVID-19 vaccine

Article
12/15/2020
Image of a man getting a vaccine. Click to open a larger version of the image.

"This is a very important day, not just for the Department of Defense, but for our nation," Miller said before getting his vaccination.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus & the MHS Response | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine

COVID-19 Vaccine Headed to NMC San Diego and NH Camp Pendleton

Article
12/15/2020
Gloved hands preparing vaccine for transportation

[T]he first doses of the vaccine will be given to frontline health care workers and first responders, including emergency medical services personnel, security forces, and other essential personnel.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus & the MHS Response | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine

COVID-19 Response

Video
12/14/2020
COVID-19 Response

USPHS Lt. Courtney Labitzky, assigned to the Javits New York Medical Station (JNYMS), talks about their position at JNYMS in support of the Department of Defense COVID-19 response, April 29, 2020. U.S. Northern Command, through U.S. Army North, is providing military support to the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help communities in need. (U.S. Army Video by Cpl. Rachel Thicklin)

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus & the MHS Response | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine

National Guard and Reservists doing their part to fight COVID-19

Article
12/14/2020
Military personnel performing nasal swabs of people in a row of cars

“We can do a thousand tests in just a couple hours,” Keller said. It was an example of ingenuity taking place all over the country, with members of the Military Health System partnering with civilian hospitals and clinics.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus & the MHS Response | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine
<< < ... 16 17 18 19 20  ... > >> 
Showing results 226 - 240 Page 16 of 25
Refine your search
Last Updated: August 15, 2022

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.