Muslim Doctors Serving Neighbors |

Muslim Doctors Serving Neighbors



Watch our show Mujahid Talks with Imam Malik Mujahid in conversation with Dr. Ali Mokdad, Dr. Hesham Hassaballa

Interviewed: 11 AM Central Time Tuesday Dec 15. only on Muslim Network TV

Guests: Dr Ali Mokdad - Professor, Health Metrics Sciences & Adjunct Professor, Epidemiology
Dr Hesham Hassaballa - Pulmonary/Critical Care Specialist, Author and Blogger Dr Nadia Bukhari - Associate Professor at UCL UK & Chief Pharmacist at doctHERs

Host: Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid -- President of Sound Vision and Justice for All.

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Unoffical Transcript:

Abdul Malik Mujahid  00:01

Assalamu alaikum and peace. This is Imam Malik Mujahid. I hope you're doing great. You're watching Muslim network TV on galaxy 19 satellite. And the satellite covers the whole United States, Canada, and Mexico. And we're on Ott devices like Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Roku. And well, not very far from you, you can download our app Muslim network TV on your phone, iPhone or Android, and you will, you will have it right there. You can also check out our website, that is Well, good news is all around us. In the midst of all the bad thing you can imagine human beings can come up with a vaccine to fight this particular Pandemic. It is reaching, Mondaywas the first day in the United States, Friday was the first day in in UK. And I hope it will reach all corners of the world, it will take time. So so this is this is a one major step in the right direction, I would say. But in the meantime, as you know, 300,000 people in America have already died. And predictions about that are not good. And around the world. 1.6 million people have died. And this vaccine, when in the rich countries is just starting to reach people. It will be probably half a year before it reaches everyone. But what about the countries in the world where people live on under $2 a day? What who will provide them vaccine when will they get it?  Will it be two years, three years? There are quite a bit of concern about that. And there was a pandemic almost 100 years ago 1918 and that killed 675,000 Americans. We have already reached half, half of that number 300,000 dead in America with 100 years of progress, all these signs and all the communications why so many lives could not have been saved? What is going on here? Muslim physicians thank God are doing their job in the United States. You know, there's 10s of 1000s of Muslim physician in UK they have better statistics that are 5% of Muslims there in the British population, but 10% of all physicians in UK according to government statistics and Muslims, actually the major physicians who passed away earliest, trying to save lives, more than 50% of them were Muslims from different parts of the world serving in UK. So they are serving and the the two scientist Turkish German scientist who had the their own company, Dr. Ugur Shaheen and Dr. Ozlem his wife Tureci. They invented the vaccine, two Muslims. I wish there is media in the world when some Muslim go crazy first thing they mentioned is his faith. I hope this time first thing they will mention if they're Fair enough, is to their faith, how they're contributing. And another person Moncef Mohamed Slaoui , he's a Moroccan American Muslim. He is the Chief Scientific Officer of Trumps operation Warp Speed. He didn't know what Warp Speed is his wife told him, because he's not fan of Star Wars and all that. So he didn't know that. But he is the one who was Chief Scientific Officer from America. He's a Muslim. So Muslims are continue to contribute. But a professor stopped me at the O'Hare Airport. I didn't I know him by face but didn't know much about him. And he told me Muslim physicians are facing challenges serving in America and I ask him Why do you say that? He told me he is Professor of Medicine and he was flying with me. Not with me. We happen to be in the same flight to St. Louis where he will be teaching for a week before he comes back to Chicago. So we will discuss a whole lot but we have some amazing people here. One Muslim who is serving for 15 years in ICUs .What is it seeing what is he noticing? And we have a another scholar, a PhD epidemiologist Dr. Ali Mokdad, who is in this field. Salaam Alaikum. Welcome to Muslim network TV,

Dr. Ali Mokdad  05:12

Salaam Alaikum.

Abdul Malik Mujahid  05:13

Alright, Dr. Ali Mokdad is a professor of health metrics science and Chief Strategy Officer for Population Health at the University of Washington. And we have Dr. Hesham Hassaballa. Salaam Alaikum

Dr. Hesham Hassaballa  05:31

Walaykum Assalam

Abdul Malik Mujahid  05:32

Welcome to Muslim network TV.

Dr. Hesham Hassaballa  05:36

Thank you. I'm very happy to be here.

Abdul Malik Mujahid  05:37

Dr.Hesham Hassaballa is a practicing intensivist I'm still learning this word intensivist of 17 plus years of clinical practice and Associate Professor of Medicine and course director for Rush University Medical Center, well welcome to Muslim network TV. So tell us has vaccine arrives in your hospitals.

Dr. Hesham Hassaballa  06:05

So yes, it was supposed to arrive yesterday. They got delayed, we have been scheduling healthcare professionals in the ICUs and in the emergency depart- excuse me in the emergency departments. To get it first, we have tiered the which professionals will get it depending on their direct exposure. And so those health care professionals who are in direct contact with patients with COVID-19 and will be present during what we call aerosol generating procedures meeting, placing breathing tubes in the neck in the lungs, doing camera studies in the lung called bronchoscopy. So those health care professionals will be first in line to get the vaccine. And then other health care professionals will be prioritized based on their risk of exposure. So thank God, I had my vaccine scheduled for this coming Friday evening or this Thursday evening, rather. And we'll see. We'll see how it goes. So we should I think we're going to be starting to vaccinate probably if not today, then tomorrow.

Abdul Malik Mujahid  07:17

Hmm. So Dr.Mokdad, is your university hospital has received vaccine as well?

Dr. Ali Mokdad  07:25

Yes, we did. And we are about to start today. vaccinating. Again, we're going by physicians first who are working in ICU and working with patients of COVID-19. And before because of Pfizer vaccine and the need for minus 75 degrees, hospitals will first be receiving this vaccine, because not everybody has the capacity to store it early ons.

Abdul Malik Mujahid  07:50

Storing capacity has become a major issue have they been able to resolve this logistical thing to the level that it can handle 10s of millions of vaccines instead of a little box.

Dr. Ali Mokdad  08:06

Yes, they've been a lot of work about logistics here. So in in our state, we have done this practice. And the issue that we are facing is not the logistic how to store it is that availability of freezing places that we can keep the vaccine so most vaccines will arrive right now was five days supplies dry ice. So we have five days to distribute that vaccine to areas that don't have the refrigerator capacity to keep it at minus 75 degrees Celsius.

Abdul Malik Mujahid  08:39

But there are other vaccines. I mean is there a possibility that this Pfizer vaccine is improved to the level that it does not require that such a high level of freezing point

Dr. Ali Mokdad  08:56

Not for Pfizer, Pfizer needs minus 75 degrees and in the United States, we have secured 100 million doses of Pfizer but we have secured 300 million doses of Moderna which requires minus 20. And the second vaccine coming in the pipeline does not require that much refrigeration and many pharmacies have that capacity to store it so it's easier to distribute and that's why the first wave of vaccines coming to Pfizer will go to hospitals and places that can handle it. The moderna will go to other places.

Abdul Malik Mujahid  09:33

Dr.Hassaballa in you are in ICU, what is the situation currently?

Dr. Hesham Hassaballa  09:40

Um in the spring it was very difficult. That first wave was we were inundated with patients with COVID-19 very sick, the sickest that I've ever seen and I was practicing during the H1N1  pandemic as well and this was far worse than the H1N1 of 2009. And our ICU was full of patients with COVID-19, all of them on ventilators in the spring. And now the our numbers in our hospital are way worse than we were in the spring. Thank God, the ICU numbers are not as bad now, that said, every patient in the on the floor in the hospital can potentially deteriorate and come to my ICU. So our we don't have a lot of room in the ICU. Because we, you know, in the spring, everything was shut down to allow room for COVID patients. But now, we have normal hospital operations, we have sick patients, who don't have COVID-19, on top of the patients that we have that do have COVID-19. So it is very difficult, this second wave is way worse than the first, the patients are just as sick. They're the sickest I've ever seen. It's called, we have witnessed a scale of death and destruction that has been unparalleled. And all of us at the bedside are going to, I mean, are,  have been affected and these effects will last, I think, I suspect our entire career. So and the reason is, we have so much, you know, with this vibe with this condition, the you know, we've seen death all the time in the intensive care unit that's not different. What's different now is that there's so much fear on the part of clinicians, myself included, about getting this virus about getting this vacc- getting this disease and bringing it home to our family. It's very unpredictable how this you know, some most people get a very mild illness, but some don't. And you don't you can't predict reliably who will become desperately ill and who will not become desperately ill. And so that level of fear really takes a toll on the clinicians at the bedside of the people that take care of these patients. So this has been the most difficult, most challenging part of my career. I'm I pray that at the end of this, I'll be a better clinician a better physician. It's very difficult, that there's no there's no d=oubt.

Abdul Malik Mujahid  12:15

But have the ICU practitioners learn things from what happened in the spring with they can apply better in winter?

Dr. Hesham Hassaballa  12:24

Absolutely, I think we've learned to in the beginning, we were putting everybody on ventilators very early on, based on the experience of our colleagues in China, and then in the West Coast, and then in the East Coast. And as time goes on, we've learned that perhaps this may not have been, it wasn't necessarily wrong. And at the same time, we've there are other techniques that we've learned, that may be able we may be able to delay a placement on a ventilator, and be able to take care of patients. And so we are learning and in the mean- and then on top of that therapeutics have come online that have shown some efficacy such as IV steroids such as Remdesivir, the antiviral medication that was initially developed for Ebola, and has some effect on SARS COVID, too. And so along with the therapeutics along with our our collective experience as clinicians, and we've been sharing with colleagues across around the world about our experience in what what we what works and what doesn't work. So we have learned and we are applying that knowledge. And at the same time, what's difficult is, you know, what will work with this patient, if my next patient that comes into the intensive care unit, it won't work. And that's been maddening. It's been so frustrating, because normally we know how to deal with diabetic ketoacidosis, heart failure, acute myocardial infarction, acute stroke, it's the diseases tend to respond the same way for the most part. But with COVID-19, all bets are off, what will work for one patient won't work for them for for the next patient.

Abdul Malik Mujahid  13:58

And things are so changing so rapidly, the knowledge itself, the studies and the scholarly research? How Dr.Hassaballa while working so hard, in ICUs, you and other colleagues are keeping themself in form,  what is the latest research in this field?

Dr. Hesham Hassaballa  14:17

That's a great question. I we do talk with colleagues across the country and I think social media with all of its potential pitfalls are is helpful. There are experts that are on Twitter and on on Facebook and on other social media platforms that tweet out their findings, tweet out the research, news media as well. We try to keep a tab I follow up scholars and commissions and professors who are digesting the data that come out such as it's called brief 19 on Twitter, they're excellent. They're they're clinical physicians that are in bedside practice that will parse the data for us and explain the data as it comes out. So it's been very helpful to keep up on that. And then I've been trying to, to follow the New England Journal of Medicine, the Journal of American Medical Association, to try to keep myself apprised as to as to the latest, the latest data.

Abdul Malik Mujahid  15:14

Dr. Mokdad, you know, initially in the spring we were so desperate that there are not enough ventilators. And they're not enough PPEs. I mean I remember doing a show actually teaching people on this show how you can develop a mask which you can provide to healthcare workers, I mean people in home, were doing those things to safeguard lives. So has this situation overall improved in the country, when it comes to ventilators, PPEs, and these type of supplies which are essential?

Dr. Ali Mokdad  15:46

It did.  So a lot of hospitals have been able to acquire what they need one, many hospitals have been able to also build a surge capacity by adding more beds more ICUs The challenge you could add ventilators,  and more ICUs, and prepare your hospital for a surge but you don't have enough people like Dr.Hesham, you need to train people who can manage these ICUs and these hospitals. So that's the biggest challenge we are facing right now. And many of our medical staff are working long hours and long shifts. But they've done an amazing job. So if you look at my what I work best, if you...evaluation is the one that does all these projections for COVID-19 for every country in the world. And we have gotten data from the American Heart Association 150000 patient, and was a lot of detailed information about the patient when they were admitted what other chronic conditions they have, and so on. And we have noticed in in the period of the last six months, mortality rate in hospitals declined by 30% across all age groups. So that's a tremendous story that now our physicians know how to take care of COVID-19 patients and as Dr.Hesham mentioned, that are anti-globulins and steroids that are coming to help some of the patients and we we are implementing those and we're saving a lot of lives. That's one. The second one, we have our do our projections all the way to April, we're projecting right now about 502,000 deaths between now... from the beginning until April 1. That's was the vaccine introduction. So we're including the roll out of the vaccine at 3 million doses a day when they are available, of course, and that's similar to what we are in this country that you are able to deliver when it comes to the flu and vaccination. We give 3 million flu doses a day during the season of vaccination for the flu. So 502,000 that's a lot. Why? Because one life is more than we can handle. Because the vaccines are rolling out later than wh - when we needed them. And they're not going to help us with the surge in winter in December and January. The effect of the vaccines as they rolled out will be visible sometimes in April May because we'll have enough vaccine and we would have vaccinated a lot of people. What we have right now that will help us that all of us have access to even if we don't have access to a vaccine is a mask. So wearing a mask in the United States will save between now and April 56,000 lives.  Just simply 95% of Americans wearing a mask when they are outside of their homes. So please wear your mask, keep a safe distance wash your hands until we roll out this vaccine and every one of you gets a chance to be vaccinated and we can get out of this pandemic.

Abdul Malik Mujahid  18:40

When I come ba- we'll take a short break right now Dr. Mokdad. One of the question which I like to present to both of you, if your projection God forbid comes out true and it has in the past in the case of Florida and other places, then we are just very close to matching what happened in 1918 pandemic. So after 100 years of progress in medicine and communication and sciences and all of that,  it seems we are,  we haven't been successful in saving many lives. So I like to ask that question when we take this short break. This is Imam Malik Mujahid you're watching Muslim network TV. And with me are Dr. Ali Mokdad and Dr. Hesham Hassaballa. We'll be right back after these messages.

Abdul Malik Mujahid  20:14

Welcome back to Muslim network TV, this is Malik Mujahid and I'm talking with Dr. Mokdad and Dr. Hassaballa. You know, you mentioned that your projection is and this is what you do statistical epidemiology, right?

Dr. Ali Mokdad  20:32


Abdul Malik Mujahid  20:33

And your prediction is that by April end, and there will be 550,000 possible deaths.

Dr. Ali Mokdad  20:44

So yes, our projection by April 1 is 502,000 deaths in the United States and globally, we're talking about 2.9 million deaths. When you compare it to the 1918, the number are the same but remember, we have much more population right now so the death rates are lower. What's going for us right now is we have better medical treatment. That's one. Two, we have better hygiene right now, we have better communication. And right now a physician like Dr. Hesham can find out what a physician in China did, immediately in a way and then we can pass that information to each other. So we're in a better position in this way. That unfortunately, what we have seen in the during COVID-19 pandemic here in the United States, and in many countries in the world is the relaxation of social safety and social distancing measures, our behavior, quite honestly. So we've seen the first pandemic that we have seen here. And the first curve that we have seen in the United States, we were caught out of surprise, especially Seattle, and New York, for example, New York City, where we didn't know that many infected people were in the population. By the time we shut down, it was kind of too late. But many places in the country, especially rural community, in the United States, when they shut down, there was not enough seeding of the virus in that community. And we had the summer where the seasonality is helping us so we can bring the virus down. We didn't do a good job, many countries in the world, we relax prematurely, we let down our guard and we were not as vigilant as we should. And we are in this bad situation right now because we started the winter surge because it's like any virus like flu virus a season or like pneumonia season, and it's going to increase in winter. So we started from a higher level. And that's why we're facing a major surge in this winter, in many places in the Northern hemisphere. So that way we are is because our behavior, political debate in the country about the masks became a political issue. And you know, masks should be a scientific preventive measured rather than a political issue. And hopefully, right now we're on the right track, people are paying attention. And we have noticed, if you remember, in the summer during the surge in Arizona, California, Texas and Florida, when cases were going up, for example, in Arizona, mask-wearing went all the way to 82%. When cases started coming down, mask-wearing went down. when cases were going up, mobility went down, and people stayed at home. So Americans in general have done a good job, to some extent reacting to a surge of cases, but they haven't done a good job as we would like in Epidemiology to prevent outbreaks as a good job to pre amp and not allow cases to increase. And right now the epi of COVID-19 is changing. We have seen most infection happening indoors and that's very important for your listeners, that most of the infection we are seeing right are happening through gathering social gathering at homes. Friends and family where you feel you're safe, these are the loved ones, they're not going to hurt you. So you take off your mask and you let down your guard.

Abdul Malik Mujahid  23:50

Dr. Hassaballa you know, you're right often and initially because the politicisation of vaccine, you were not sure that whether you yourself will take and then you change your mind would you like to share, why you change your mind?

Dr. Hesham Hassaballa  24:10

Absolutely, um, it is of the utmost importance that a vaccine is safe and effective. It has to be able to prevent the disease against which we are vaccinating and be safe. So that it doesn't cause problems. I mean, vaccines, for the most part have been some of the if not the most, if not the safest medical devices and treatment we've ever come up with. That said they're not zero risk. The you know, the flu vaccine can cause Guillain-Barré  and I've seen cases of Guillain-Barré  which is a progressive paralysis after the flu vaccine. It makes me nervous every year because they it's mandated that I take the flu vaccine so I take the flu vaccine every year, and I'm scared I mean, I'm a human being I'm nervous about getting that complication. So it's not that vaccines have zero risk, but very, very, very low risk compared to other medical devices and medical treatments we have. That said, if the process was rushed to fit an electoral timeline, I'm not going to take the risk. The the scientists and the professionals and the and the people who know what they're doing, like Dr. Ali Mokdad, like, like others in the FDA, and the CDC and the NIH, they need to do their job without political interference, to make sure that the vaccine is safe and effective. And if that was rushed to meet, electoral deadline, then I'm not going to take the vir-, I'm not gonna take the vaccine, I'm not gonna put myself at risk. I was very happily happy to know that it wasn't rushed that the career scientists resisted the political pressure to make sure that the vacc- he vaccine is safe and effective, I was able to look at the data, to find the data and to be able to evaluate it for myself. And I was very impressed with with the data, it's early data, I mean, we only have four months of data, we don't have, we don't have a year of data, which would be the ideal or year or two years, because we're in the middle of a pandemic. And we can't afford to wait a year, given the given the trajectory of the of the of the of the way, the COVID-19 is doing in the in the country in the world. So we need to get it out as fast as possible. And, and I looked at the data, and it was very transparent. And I was and I'm, I'm comfortable to take the vaccine. I mean, I'm not, again, it's a new technology, it's a novel technology. I've spoken to people who are immunologists and they are very excited about this technology and the potential. And so that gives me a little bit of comfort. And I think you have to lead by example. And, and and and move forward and  be part of the solution rather than part of the problem.

Abdul Malik Mujahid  27:00

So you are set to take vaccine Thursday, coming Thursday or Friday.

Dr. Hesham Hassaballa  27:06

That is That is correct. I've scheduled the vaccine, my first dose this coming week, this Thursday evening. And then I've scheduled the repeat dose in the first or the second week of January.

Abdul Malik Mujahid  27:18

What are the other techniques Dr. Mokdad, could we adopt to convince people because you know, there is there was already a anti-vaxxer movement. You know, before pandemic, there was a anti vaxxer movement. And then we have a whole lot of people in our country who are a skeptic of the government. They are not just on the right wingers hide, there are other type of people who are a skeptic of the government. You know, I live among African American people. There's a whole lot of people in this neighborhood don't trust government because what government has done to them over centuries. So there is a level of skepticism towards the government mixed with anti- vaxxers. And now they got conspiracy theories, not only you're learning from what colleagues are doing to save lives, but the same social media is spreading conspiracy theories. So what are the three four things would both of you can suggest which people should do? Because matter is saving live, you just said that it could be 500 500,000 plus people could die. But we can say 50% of those people, if everybody goes for vaccine and few other things, right?

Dr. Ali Mokdad  28:36

yes, you're right, we have anti Vax group that are very active. And they have a platform right now to spread the rumors. And I'm using my words carefully, rumors, and they've been active before and you've seen outbreaks of measles before COVID-19. So that's very important for us to remember. That's one. Two, there is a trust in the government, especially among people of color and minorities, especially African Americans, due to the history of what happened here and clinical trials that what happened here. So we need to be very careful and stay on top of this to convince the people to take the vaccine. Let me talk about the vaccine, the issue of people saying the vaccine was rushed. We've been doing vaccines for a long time, this is not a new thing for us. So vaccines in a simple manner, let me explain. Vaccines are viruses, proteins, and circulated by fat. So we've been doing vaccines and the old-fashioned way. We take a virus, we kill it and we give it to a human so they recognize the protein and build immunity for it or you take the vaccine and give it like polio live vaccine for polio, but you attenuate the virus so it doesn't spread. Even if you inject it, it doesn't reproduce in the human body. The body recognizes an attack then we use protein inserted in a virus that is not harmful for a human. We put it in a human body. That's another way of administering vaccine. The body knows that that vaccine's inactive and the new one that people are saying it has been rushed the mRNA, the messenger protein that you send it and the body recognize it and build immunity. That technology, the patent on it is in 1990. 17 years of research on this vaccine. Yes, it was produced in a short time. But the research the literature has been here for a long time. So the vaccine in very clear scientific way wasn't rushed. The clinical trial 40,000 people have taken it. They participated. 20,000 took the vaccine. 9% African American less than 13% in the United States, what you would like to see the represent the population, but 9 percent. So we have enough information about this vaccine, it's very effective. The first dose produced effectiveness at 50%. The second dose 95%. So what we need to do is to convince the public and stop this rumors out there, take the vaccine, like Dr. Hesham in public, roll your sleeve, let people see you taking it, me too everybody. Once, two, leaders, religious leaders like you, imam, you need to take it because there are religious group who are anti the anti vaccine. So we need the religious leader, politician, community leaders in every community, we need to reach out to them and make sure we tell them what's happened. But the key issue here is, as we roll out this vaccine, we need to monitor its side effects with any vaccine, there'd be some side effects. They're minor in  this vaccine, very minor, but we need to stay ahead of the anti-vax. In my experience. I've worked in emergency refugee house at CDC for 20 years, I did the response in many places. This is my vaccination card. There is no vaccine that I haven't taken. And the reason I'm talking to you right now is because of these vaccines, vaccines are safe. I've also taken the smallpox because of my age, Dr.Hesham is too young to say he took that smallpox vaccine. Vaccines are safe, they save lives. That's why you and I are here because of vaccines. We need to build that trust in our community and globally and make sure in many parts of the world that rural community, underserved community believe in this vaccine and have a chance to get this vaccine.

Abdul Malik Mujahid  32:24

Dr.Hassaballa is vaccine itself will do the job or we need to continue to do the other things?

Dr. Hesham Hassaballa  32:31

No, that's a great question. Um, the vaccine is a huge step forward, it's very important. Um, but and it's going to take time to vaccinate the population. I mean, if we want to achieve herd immunity without just letting the virus run rampant, which is what some people unfortunately high up in the in the current outgoing administration advocated. It's mass slaughter, there's going to be many more deaths and many more and it's not just you know, the deaths are not just one person. See, that's what is not seen. By the by the numbers. The numbers don't tell you the story, the story, every number, every statistic is a family, is a devastated family that can't be there in the hospital. And it's the extended family and it's the the year of first I lost a daughter to cancer 11 years ago, it's that your first the first birthday, the first anniversary, the first, eid the first Christmas, the first New Year's the first, that devastation is not being tabulated not being counted. And so the more people die, it's not just that person, but it's everybody around that person in the communities that that scale of devastation spreads circumferentially so and so the way of people..

Abdul Malik Mujahid  33:42

Dr.Hassaballa,before you go forward I'd like to thank you for putting in these terms. People don't realize what you're saying the the human aspect of 300,000 of our neighbor's dead, with families and children and spouses and the communities, what impact it has, unfortunately, it's not coming out, there's not much effort people need to be, you know, brought into real life situation. I mean, this is what you just brought, I think people people are just taking it as a game or something that they can see the statistics. People truly need to be scared of this themselves, but also scared for the neighbors. I mean, this is this is just so so thank you so much in the way you're bringing it, you know, this is a human a tragedy, not for that person, but the whole people around that. And one of the things which I have done Sorry, my job is to ask you a question but you are encouraging me in a way to participate that a couple of times when people who are connected with me have passed away. I have done a whole zoom meeting to not only remember that, console people, but also to be able to understand that we all need to be more careful. So each of passing away, it should be a lesson for the living. So thank you so much for putting it in those terms.

Dr. Hesham Hassaballa  35:14

Thank you. I know, I appreciate you very much Imam. And that's the reality. I mean, that's what's not being seen. That's what's not being understood. And so for us to achieve herd immunity, meaning a substantial segments of the population immune against a particular pathogen, particular infectious disease, so that the pathogen doesn't have any more hosts to infect, to spread. In order to do that, the safest way is to vaccinate to give you the vaccine. And so it's going to take time for us to do that. Number one. So in the meantime, which could be six months to even a year, we have to continue to wear masks when we're out. And they're very effective. They're very effective. I mean, I've been for work I've been forced to, to travel on air on air on airplanes, because of work. I've worn two masks, not just one mask, and thank God I've been it's been okay, I've been in outside and wearing a mask, it's crucial that we wear masks, we continue to wash our hands, I joke that my blood alcohol level, if it was measured, may be elevated because of the amount of times that I hand sanitize in a clinical shift. If you measure my blood alcohol level, it probably will be elevated from the amount of times that I wash my hands. And so it's crucial until we get to that point. And then after that, when I went on vacation two years ago, and overseas, and I would see people wearing masks, I would look at them kind of funny. And I can tell you, I'm probably going to be one of those people going forward. Because it's still, there may be other viruses going on. And I and the masks are very, very important. I understand why people from other places, other countries wear those masks when they go on vacation, even in the summer. So it's going to take time, we got to still keep what we're doing as we're getting vaccinated, so that we can and the other thing is that we don't know yet whether the vaccine prevents infection. So what we know what it does with reasonable confidence that the vaccine prevents severe disease, illness getting really sick, which is great. We don't know whether the vaccine will prevent me from catching the virus and spreading it even though I'm not sick. We don't know yet. If it turns out that it prevents infection, that would be amazing. We don't know that yet. And so we have to keep on protecting ourselves keep the vigilance while we're being vaccinated so that the the curve is flattened, and the people and the people continue to become safe. And we talked about flattening the curve as another abstract concept. What I'm trying to tell you is that hospital capacity, if I don't have any more unit, room my ICU, you can't come in. If you need the ICU, and I have no beds, I have no nurses, I have no doctors, and I run an ICU, you can't come in, you're going to be sitting in the emergency room, which is not safe for someone who's critically ill. Or if I run out of ventilators and you need a ventilator, you die. That is what it means by hospital capacity. It's not just abstract concept. It's life and death. So we need to protect, keep the capacity below keep the capacity at somewhere where anybody who needs care can get the care whether they have COVID or not COVID. And so that's extremely important for us to continue to do what we're doing. You know, okay, is it is it are they annoying to wear, especially in the heat of the summer? Of course. It's so important that we continue to do that. Because not only are we protecting ourselves, we're protecting our neighbors. It's really an act of humanity that we can do to each other. When at the time when we really can't shake hands and we have to bump elbows.

Abdul Malik Mujahid  38:48

You're watching Muslim network TV, and I'm talking with Dr.Mokdad and Dr. Hassaballa. We'll be right back after this short break.

Abdul Malik Mujahid  39:22

Welcome back to Muslim network TV. As we come to conclusion, let's talk a little bit of long term. What is the state of treatment development in this field? I mean, you just mentioned Dr.Hassaballa that, you know, we don't know if the vaccine will prev- you know, as 90% chances of that you're not going to get the extreme disease, but whether you will still be a vehicle to transfer it to other people and those things still need to be researched. But the treatment those people who will still get it, what is the state of treatment, what is research on medicine because whole news has been focused on essentially vaccine. So Dr.Mokdad , do you have any information about the state of research for treatment development?


So there's there's a lot of research on treatment coming up, and you've heard about the antibody cocktail. And that has been effective in helping a lot of patients. However, the capacity to produce, we have about 300,000 doses of those, so the capacity to produce them is very limited. So what we have right now is as Dr.Hesham mentioned is to keep wearing our mask until we reach that herd immunity of vaccination 70 80%. Otherwise, this virus will be circulating in our community, we have to remain vigilant wearing a mask keeping a safe distance, especially in this winter, until we are moving outdoor and we can safely gather if we need to, if we have to. And then I want to touch one thing about the hospital capacity, as Dr.Hesham mentioned briefly, and Dr.Hesham I'm really sorry to hear about your daughter. And thank you for mentioning this because this when you say 200,000 loved ones daughter, father mother, and so on. So that's your your experience losing somebody, that and the pain of it that we need to avoid all of this. Hospital capacity why it's very important, our hospital beds and ICU are not here only to take care of COVID-19. So we have to make sure we have enough capacity to take care of other conditions that are present in our community, especially among the poor and underprivileged. Right now, my mother needs a hip replacement. And then there are hospitals, ICUs are full, she can't. So we're going to ask somebody, well, when you have to be in pain, another one month or two, because we have cancelled elective surgeries. So there is a lot of pressure on us in the hospitals to maintain the quality of care that we provide, in order to make sure we're saving lives. And not only devoting all our services, which is needed for COVID-19. So that balance is very important. So it's on all of us and the community is especially a rural community where the capacity of search for ICUs is not available as in big city, my hospitals can take a lot of people because we call retirees and said come back and work. That's not possible in many rural communities. So we really need to prevent overwhelming our hospitals by doing our part at the community level wearing a mask, staying away from each other, and washing our hands.

Abdul Malik Mujahid  42:34

The cocktail which Dr.Hesham, Dr.Mokdad mentioned a couple of different treatments. He mentioned that it is not quite easily available there are you know limited supply of that. But in one of your blogs, which you mentioned that the it is not, you know, a perfect solution either. It has just a small percentage of a difference between those who are given a control thing as compared to the real medicine. So So are you expecting any more changes in that improvement in the medical sciences and pharma- pharmaceutical research?

Dr. Hesham Hassaballa  43:18

I mean, I think, you know, in the past, especially dealing with bacterial sepsis and septic shock and multi organ failure, many of my colleagues who were purists in evidence based medicine realm would, you know, we, for example, let me give an example of vitamin C, vitamin C, and sepsis right, was a big thing. One of our leaders in our field, touted it as a miracle cure or not a miracle but touted it as very effective. Many of us adopted it with also randomised trial data behind it. And when my colleagues who were more purists from an evidence based medicine, were telling you, what's the evidence, I roll my eyes on you and the evidence, you know, but this pandemic has really taught me the value of evidence based medicine, because, for example, there was a small study out of France, and I love France. I speak French, and I'm a Francophone and everything, six patients that they gave hydroxychloroquine to and everybody went to hydroxychloroquine. And people started adopting it without any evidence whatsoever and does it work? I don't know, because I don't have randomized trial data. And when the randomized trial data came out, it turned out to be ineffective and maybe even harmful. So really, what this pandemic has taught me is that really importance of doing good evidence based studies quickly, and at the same time very rigorous evidence based studies to know that am I giving something, is it better than a sugar pill? Is it really doing something? Or is it just treating myself and not the patient? Do no harm. That's the first thing we as clinicians and physicians and nurses and best practice providers, all of us do, do no harm. So I need to make sure that what I do is safe and effective, not just because I think that it's that it's going to work.

Abdul Malik Mujahid  45:05

So Dr.Mokdad, you have work at CDC for 20 years or so. Considering though what has happened to our country during this pandemic, politics aside, what are the changes would you like to see CDC to make if thinking of future?

Dr. Ali Mokdad  45:25

You know, CDC has a big role to play in the United States and has done no harm. I mean, we trained quite honestly, I train people all over the world to do outbreak investigation how to handle pandemics and epidemics. I mean, we train them. So allowing CDC to do what's good, and coordinating our response in every state would be good. So take the politics and let the scientists be and believe in science, and let CDC does its job as best as it could. Empower CDC to do so. So I'm very optimistic was President Elect, and i'm sure in leadership at CDC that things will change. I know personally, a lot of people at CDC and I know what their capacity is, and quite honestly, I learned a lot from them. And so of this pandemic, they will not allow for one reason or another political politics aside to do what they are good at. And I hope this will change as we roll out the vaccine and we are able to monitor the vaccine.

Abdul Malik Mujahid  46:20

Dr.Mokdad tell me this. I mean, you are, you know, in the statistical epidemiology, knowing the American behavior, I hope you have some variables which you apply to your statistical modeling know the way we behaved in last seven, eight months, and the state of vaccine and the state of treatment of this thing when will we be free?

Dr. Ali Mokdad  46:55

So it depends on the vaccine roll out and availability of vaccine. Vaccines are very sensitive, and they have a lot of quality check for production. So even a company like Pfizer who has been doing vaccine for a long time, it's possible that one of the production may not be good to move on. So right now we're assuming the production capacity and everything is going up vaccinating 3 million to 6 million a day of vaccines are available. If that holds and people are willing to take the vaccine sometimes by May, I think we would reach kind of herd immunity, people have been infected, and people have been immunized. And sometimes by early summer, we could go back to our normal life. Imam, you mentioned that you live in a African American community and you talked about behavior. Certain behavior, we can't control, certain behaviors we can. African Americans, Hispanic and Native Americans were disproportionately affected by COVID-19 simply because they are essential workers. I can transfer to work at home easily. They can't they have to be out and about. And quite honestly, they kept food on our tables. And they kept our country running at this time. So we need to make sure because they are more likely to die five, six times more than the white American, non-Hispanic. If you look at what we published, a 50 years old African American has the same chance of dying as a 65 white, non-Hispanic. So now what we're saying we need to roll out the vaccine and give it to 65 and older. But for African American and Hispanic, it's 50 and old. So we need to make sure our essential workers, people who are in prison, get the vaccine, and to protect them as we we roll out this vaccine and give them a priority. We have stimulus coming out right now to rebuild the country. We need to make sure we don't leave anybody behind, especially for a devastated community. Vaccinate them, give them opportunity, take care of them.

Abdul Malik Mujahid  48:52

Well, we have just a half minute left and Dr.Hesham, one question I want to ask you, I went to University of Chicago and of course develop respect for the school you go to, they came up with a study that 50% of Muslim physicians feel discriminated in, in what they do. So what have been your experience?

Dr. Hesham Hassaballa  49:15

I think I've been very I'm grateful to God that I have not faced significant discrimination in my career. Even though I know of store- stories and colleagues who have and I think I just chalk it up to God's blessing. The discrimination in our field is real against physicians of color, against women physicians, women physicians of color, women clinicians or healthcare professionals of color. And so I think and I think it's very important that clinicians such as myself, examine our own biases, our own all of us have them. We have to acknowledge that and then work to combat that. And so I think there has been a long standing history of health care disparities, discrimination against people of color in our country, the African American community, the Tuskegee Airman. Even though it's decades old is still fresh in the minds of many of our African American brothers and sisters in the United States. It's extremely important that we send the message that their lives do matter, that it's very important that we that they are taken care of that, that we that, you know, I was reading Neil deGrasse Tyson, his father was an accomplished scientist. And when he mentioned that, to the clinicians taking care of his father, their their their attitude changed, and that's really a tragedy. I think everyone has, every life has has worth, everyone deserves the best we can do. And I think it's just very important that we in our field, work hard to combat any kind of discrimination or underlying bias that may be implicit and may not necessarily be on the on the forefront of our minds.

Abdul Malik Mujahid  51:03

Well thank you so much Dr.Hesham Hassaballa and Dr.Ali Mokdad, for your valuable time. I truly appreciate I hope all of you who are watching this particular program, learn the lessons. Vaccine is there to help but these are the leaders who are willing to take it themselves. And I will be in line whenever my turn comes in, because it's not available to everyone on demand at this particular moment. And I hope each one of us make it a social media event. Then we take the vaccine, take the photos and tell other people, I have done it to not only save my life, but they save the lives of my loved ones and America and across the world. It is a civic duty for us to participate. And thank you so much for sharing your point of view Dr.Mokdad and Dr.Hassaballa. And thank you Sherdil and Abdul Waheed for producing today's show you and thank you for watching and thank you so much. Stay tuned for the next program on Muslim network TV. We come to you on galaxy 19 satellite covering USA, Mexico, and Canada, East to West North to South throughout and on Ott devices like Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Roku and you can download our app, Muslim network TV, whether iPhone or Android. You can watch it right there. Our website is thank you so much for being with us and stay tuned, peace and Salaam.

Dr. Hesham Hassaballa  52:39

Thank you very much.

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