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Year three of the pandemic: record high cases in the US, vaccine hesitancy persists and vaccine apartheid leaves low-income nations behind

Registered nurse Darryl Hana prepares a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at a three-day vaccination clinic at Providence Wilmington Wellness and Activity Center in Wilmington, California.
Registered nurse Darryl Hana prepares a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at a three-day vaccination clinic at Providence Wilmington Wellness and Activity Center in Wilmington, California.

On this edition of Your Call, we're discussing where we are after two years into the pandemic. The Omicron variant has swept through the United States, which is now averaging more than 400,000 new infections every day. Yesterday, a record one million cases were reported.

The variant is infecting those who are vaccinated and boosted, but data shows that they mostly have mild symptoms while unvaccinated people are 25 times more likely to be hospitalized.

We'll take your questions about the CDC’s new isolation guidance, the rapid test crisis, what we’ve learned about kids with COVID, long haulers, and more.

Later in the show, we'll discuss how the pandemic will end given that only 8.5 percent of people in low-income countries have received at least one dose.

World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus recently said, "This is the time to rise above short-term nationalism and protect populations and economies against future variants by ending global vaccine inequity.”

Guest:

Dr. Bob Wachter, Professor and Chair of the Department of Medicine at University of California San Francisco. He previously served as president of the Society of Hospital Medicine and chair of the American Board of Internal Medicine

Dr. Maria Elena Bottazzi, Associate Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine, Professor of Pediatrics and Molecular Virology & Microbiology at Baylor College of Medicine and Co-Director at Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development. Dr. Bottazzi co-created CORBEVAX, a new low-cost, patent-free vaccine that is expected to reach billions of people across the globe who have lacked access to the more expensive mRNA vaccines

Web Resources: 

The Guardian: US sets new record for daily Covid cases as Omicron spreads across country

NBC News, Dr. Jacob M. Lurie and Dr. Gunisha Kaur: Omicron shows the Covid vaccines work. 'Breakthrough case' is a misunderstood term.

The New York Times, Melinda Wenner Moyer: What Are the Symptoms of Omicron?

Reuters: Omicron cannot escape T cells; boosters protect households from Omicron 

Bloomberg, Anna Edney: Kids’ Covid Hospitalizations Hit Record in U.S. Omicron Surge

Scientific American, Maria Elena Bottazzi and Peter J. Hotez: A COVID Vaccine for All

Common Dreams, Peter Geoghegan and Anthony Barnett: Why We Must Vaccinate the World

Project Syndicate, Winnie Byanyima: Break the Vaccine Monopolies Now

Lea is a producer for Your Call on KALW Local Public Radio. She graduated from the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY in 2018.
Rose Aguilar has been the host of Your Call since 2006. She became a regular Friday media roundtable guest in 2001.