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COVID 2022 with Gustavo Balderas, Debra Duardo & Anthony S. Fauci, MD

Top public health experts present a status report on COVID-19 as we look to 2022 on Wednesday, Dec. 8 (Video: The Washington Post)
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The emergence of the omicron variant is bringing new urgency to the U.S. fight against the coronavirus. As the holidays approach and cases rise, officials are enacting stricter travel and testing guidelines, and telling schools to prepare for a pandemic winter. Join the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, Anthony S. Fauci, MD, and top school superintendents for a status report on COVID-19 as we look to 2022 -- from the latest on the omicron variant to a progress report on how schools are dealing with the ongoing pandemic.

Click here for transcript


“The two shots that you get from an mRNA vaccine, the degree of protection has gone down considerably… The somewhat encouraging news… is that when you look at the level of protection… when you get a third shot boost… it really is quite good.” (Video: Washington Post Live)
“That’s certainly the highest priority… of the institute that I direct, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. We have dramatically increase the resources specifically going to a pan-coronavirus vaccine, but before you get there you want a pan-SARS-CoV-2 vaccine to get all the variants.” (Video: Washington Post Live)
“To be perfectly honest, we don’t know the answer. But, what we are hoping for is when you give sequential vaccinations of a particular vaccine regiment, it is entirely conceivable… that you broaden the breadth and perhaps even the durability of protection… We’re hoping… [protection] goes up and stays up much longer than just that six or seven or eight month duration that we’ve seen with the two shots when it starts to wane.” (Video: Washington Post Live)
“We are well prepared in the context of the pharmaceutical companies to be able to make variant specific vaccines in a very timely fashion… If the level of protection with the boost against the original ancestral strain goes low enough… then it is likely that we will need to look seriously at a variant specific boost. But I hope we don’t need that.” (Video: Washington Post Live)
“We already have about 10 vaccinations that students are required to have in order to attend school and to keep everyone safe. So we have measures in place to make sure that we’re reaching out to parents, providing information making the vaccination process as convenient as easy as possible. A big part of it is fighting inaccurate information that’s out there.” (Video: Washington Post Live)
“There are shortages everywhere. We do feel the impact… in all sectors from our paraprofessionals to our teachers, but also our transportation department and food services… We’re struggling to keep up with COVID fatigue and also just lack of workers that are out there.” (Video: Washington Post Live)
“We’ve learned an incredible amount about technology… for telehealth. We talk about mental health and how important that is, and it’s been stigmatized, but for some reason when you have a counseling session online, we found that many of our parents and students were more willing to participate.” (Video: Washington Post Live)

Gustavo Balderas

Dr. Gustavo Balderas began his life as the child of migrant farm workers in Eastern Oregon. At an early age he developed a love of learning, which led him to a rewarding career in education.

Dr. Balderas has been an educator for 31 years. He started his career in education as a high school teacher and counselor in the Hillsboro School District. He moved on to elementary and middle school administrative roles and then served as an area director overseeing a cluster of K-12 schools and coordinating district curriculum, as well as serving as an assistant superintendent of support services, all within his 19 years in the Hillsboro School District. He served as superintendent in California and Oregon prior to beginning his tenure in the Edmonds School District in Edmonds, Washington.

Debra Duardo

Dr. Debra Duardo was appointed Los Angeles County Superintendent of Schools by the County Board of Supervisors in 2016, designating her as the top education leader of the nation's most populous and diverse county. As County Superintendent, Dr. Duardo oversees 80 K-12 school districts that serve 1.4 million students, providing leadership and support to superintendents and administrators countywide. She holds a master's degree in social work from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and a doctorate from UCLA's Graduate School of Education and Information Studies.

She currently serves as President-elect of the California County Superintendents Educational Services Association. This role places her in a unique position to elevate Los Angeles County students' needs to our state and federal departments and legislators. In addition, it has allowed her to strengthen and expand on L.A. County's partnership with the other 57 County Superintendents, State Superintendent of Instruction, and the State Board of Education President.

Dr. Duardo's passion for achieving educational equity is rooted in her life experience as a teen mom and high school dropout. She knows first-hand the obstacles students face and dedicates her life's work to breaking down those barriers.

Growing up in the Pico-Union neighborhood near downtown Los Angeles, the daughter of Mexican immigrants was an engaged and active student in middle school. But, like many new 9th graders, Dr. Duardo felt adrift and quickly lost interest when she entered high school. Following the path of her elder siblings, she dropped out of high school to get a full-time job so she could afford the things her family could not provide.

At the age of 16, she had her son Bruce, born with a severe disability. Knowing she would need an education to support her child's unique needs, Dr. Duardo started on the long road to finishing high school and earning bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees.

Her 30-year career in education has focused on serving at-promise students and their families, working to ensure that all receive an education in a safe, caring environment for success in college and careers.

To that end, Dr. Duardo has spearheaded an unprecedented partnership with the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health, other agencies, and school districts to promote the Community Schools model across the region. The approach is recognized as a strategy for tackling persistent educational inequities. Currently being piloted in 15 districts, the effort aims to transform campuses into hubs for a range of vital social and other services for students and families.

She centers her support to school districts on developing strong and lasting partnerships with all stakeholders that provide services and resources to families in L.A. County communities. She has effectively rallied County departments, such as the Departments of Public Health, Mental Health, Social Services, Parks and Recreation, Libraries, Children and Families Services, and Probation, to collaborate and coordinate efforts to serve students and families better.

Previously as Executive Director of Student Health and Human Services for the Los Angeles Unified School District, the nation’s second-largest, Dr. Duardo oversaw programs designed to address barriers to student success. Her efforts in LAUSD led to an increase in attendance and graduation rates and a decrease in dropout rates across the district. These initiatives included: implementing effective dropout prevention strategies; forming critical partnerships with the City of Los Angeles to create youth and family resource centers; groundbreaking collaboration with the Los Angeles Police Department and School Police Department to ensure truant students did not receive citations and instead re-engaged in school, and developing data-sharing processes and agreements with the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Families Services to better support students in foster care.

Anthony S. Fauci, MD

Provided by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Dr. Fauci was appointed director of NIAID in 1984. He oversees an extensive portfolio of basic and applied research to prevent, diagnose, and treat established infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, respiratory infections, diarrheal diseases, tuberculosis and malaria as well as emerging diseases such as Ebola and Zika. NIAID also supports research on transplantation and immune-related illnesses, including autoimmune disorders, asthma and allergies. The NIAID budget for fiscal year 2020 is an estimated $5.9 billion.

Dr. Fauci has advised six presidents on HIV/AIDS and many other domestic and global health issues. He was one of the principal architects of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), a program that has saved millions of lives throughout the developing world.

Dr. Fauci also is the longtime chief of the Laboratory of Immunoregulation. He has made many contributions to basic and clinical research on the pathogenesis and treatment of immune-mediated and infectious diseases. He helped pioneer the field of human immunoregulation by making important basic scientific observations that underpin the current understanding of the regulation of the human immune response. In addition, Dr. Fauci is widely recognized for delineating the precise ways that immunosuppressive agents modulate the human immune response. He developed effective therapies for formerly fatal inflammatory and immune-mediated diseases such as polyarteritis nodosa, granulomatosis with polyangiitis (formerly Wegener’s granulomatosis), and lymphomatoid granulomatosis. A 1985 Stanford University Arthritis Center Survey of the American Rheumatism Association membership ranked Dr. Fauci’s work on the treatment of polyarteritis nodosa and granulomatosis with polyangiitis among the most important advances in patient management in rheumatology over the previous 20 years.

Dr. Fauci has made seminal contributions to the understanding of how HIV destroys the body’s defenses leading to its susceptibility to deadly infections. Further, he has been instrumental in developing treatments that enable people with HIV to live long and active lives. He continues to devote much of his research to the immunopathogenic mechanisms of HIV infection and the scope of the body’s immune responses to HIV.

In a 2019 analysis of Google Scholar citations, Dr. Fauci ranked as the 41st most highly cited researcher of all time. According to the Web of Science, he ranked 8th out of more than 2.2 million authors in the field of immunology by total citation count between 1980 and January 2019.​

Dr. Fauci has delivered major lectures all over the world and is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom (the highest honor given to a civilian by the President of the United States), the National Medal of Science, the George M. Kober Medal of the Association of American Physicians, the Mary Woodard Lasker Award for Public Service, the Albany Medical Center Prize in Medicine and Biomedical Research, the Robert Koch Gold Medal, the Prince Mahidol Award, and the Canada Gairdner Global Health Award. He also has received 45 honorary doctoral degrees from universities in the United States and abroad.

Dr. Fauci is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society, as well as other professional societies including the American College of Physicians, the American Society for Clinical Investigation, the Association of American Physicians, the Infectious Diseases Society of America, the American Association of Immunologists, and the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. He serves on the editorial boards of many scientific journals; as an editor of Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine; and as author, coauthor, or editor of more than 1,300 scientific publications, including several textbooks.

Content from YouTube

The following content is produced and paid for by a Washington Post Live event sponsor. The Washington Post newsroom is not involved in the production of this content.

(Video: Washington Post Live)

Discerning quality health information online

In a segment sponsored by YouTube, renowned journalist Elise Labott will speak with Dr. Garth Graham, YouTube’s Global Head of Healthcare and Public Healthcare Partnerships, about the challenge of moderating health content on a platform of 2B users throughout a period of rapidly unfolding new information about COVID-19 , and how YouTube determines what kinds of sources to consider authoritative when it comes to health information

Garth Graham, MD

A cardiologist, researcher and public health expert Garth Graham joined Google in 2020 as Director and Global Head of Healthcare and Public Health Partnerships at YouTube and Google Health. He previously served in two US administrations as US Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health, and was Assistant Dean for Health Policy and Chief of Health Services Research in the department of medicine at the University of Florida School of Medicine, President of the Aetna Foundation as well as Vice President & Chief Community Health Officer at CVS Health. He currently serves on several boards, including the National Heart Lung, and Blood Institute Advisory Council; the Institute of Medicine Board on Population Health and the board of the National Quality Forum.

Moderated by Elise Labott

Elise Labott is a columnist at Foreign Policy magazine and before that was CNN’s Global Affairs Correspondent. She has reported from more than 80 countries, traveled the world with seven secretaries of state and has interviewed many world leaders and newsmakers. Elise is the founder of Twopoint.o Media, a digital media platform that aims to engage, inform and inspire citizens to solve today’s most pressing global challenges, and an adjunct professor at American University’s School of International Service. She is a contributor to Politico, provides commentary for MSNBC, NPR, BBC and several other broadcast outlets and is a sought-after interviewer and moderator. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and earned a master’s degree from the New School for Social Research.