PASCO COUNTY, Fla. – They're the ones on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19, and essential workers were featured alongside President Donald Trump in a video shown during the first night of the Republican National Convention.
What You Need To Know
- A recorded segment during night one of the RNC showed President Trump speaking with essential workers about their experiences with COVID-19.
- A public health expert with USF says it's still unclear how much immunity a person has after they recover, and researchers havn't found a drug that can prevent the virus.
- USF expert says following guidelines best chance of slowing spread of virus
"I contracted COVID in late March and recovered," one woman told the President.
"That means we don't have to be afraid of you at all," he responded.
"I'm good to go," she said.
"Once you're recovered, you know, we have the whole thing with plasma happening," Trump said, referring to the FDA's recent emergency use authorization of blood plasma from COVID-19 survivors to treat those with the virus. "That means your blood is very valuable. You know that, right?"
"We hear a lot about COVID from both sides of the aisle, and I think we have to place it in context," said Dr. Jay Wolfson, senior associate dean of the University of South Florida's Morsani College of Medicine. Wolfson is also a distinguished service professor of public health, medicine and pharmacy.
When it comes to the President's comments on not having to "be afraid" of someone who's recovered from the virus, Wolfson said there's still a lot we don't know about immunity.
"What we do know is that we don't know about immunity," Wolfson said. "We do know that this virus behaves differently from others we've known, and from all the indications, we still don't have enough data to know whether immunity is conferred for three months, six months, nine months, two years, or if it's conferred at all."
As for the EUA on the plasma treatment, the World Health Organization has cautioned that this is still considered an experimental therapy.
The President asked another essential worker who recovered from COVID-19 about his treatment.
"They gave me Z-Packs, mediation, cough syrup," he responded.
"Okay. And I won't even ask you about the hydroxychloroquine because it's a shame what they've done to that one, but I took it. I took the Z-Pack, also, and zinc," Trump said.
Wolfson said there's no empirical evidence that shows Z-Packs or zinc are effective treatments or prevention methods for COVID-19. While Wolfson said hydroxychloroquine is effective at treating illnesses like lupus, no studies have shown that it's effective against COVID-19.
"We don't have a vaccine yet. We don't have a treatment, and we don't know that there's any herd immunity," said Wolfson. "So, until any of those things come into play, the only successful preventive measure we have is each of us exercising responsible behavior."
Wolfson also encourages reaching out to your doctor before taking medication to treat or prevent any illness.