Carnival Corporation, in conjunction with the World Travel & Tourism Council, hosted a virtual summit yesterday which included a series of panels focusing on critical areas of science related to COVID-19. Carnival Corporation CEO Arnold Donald and World Travel & Tourism Council President Gloria Guevera hosted the event.
The science-centric discussions shared the latest knowledge of key topic areas such as the epidemiology of the virus, transmission, testing, prevention, treatments, vaccines and approaches to help mitigate and live with COVID-19.
Topics of discussion included:
Epidemiology: Incubation and peak infectivity periods for SARS-CoV-2; disease progression from exposure to illness; and symptom variability.
Transmission: How, when and where SARS-CoV-2 spreads; significance of environmental transmission; guidelines for mitigating spread.
Screening and Testing: Availability and accuracy of current testing methods; viable and cost-effective ways to detect illness and effectiveness of various screening methods.
Therapeutics: Status of vaccine development; available and approved SARS-CoV-2 treatment protocols and profiles of COVID-19 recovery.
Practical Risk Mitigation: The best approaches to mitigating spread; the key elements of protocols and behaviors needed to live in a world with the virus.
One of the most notable quotes from the event came from Dr. Michael Z. Lin, Associate Professor of Neurobiology, Bioengineering and Chemical and Systems Biology at Stanford University.
“If everyone just wore a mask for two to three weeks, this virus would end,” Dr. Lin explained.
In fact, many different speakers echoed the importance and effectiveness of wearing a mask, social distancing and increased testing of people without symptoms as the three most important things we can be doing to mitigate the spread and get back to normal. Other advice included avoiding large gatherings, bars and nightclubs, and even sporting events to help stop the spread.
Dr. Stuart Schreiber of Harvard University spoke about the potential need for another country-wide lockdown and how that would reflect a lack of personal responsibility and sacrifice and a failure in testing.
“We want to send a strong message. If we need to undergo another lockdown, then shame on us because there should be no need for a lockdown,” he said. Dr. Schreiber
Not everyone offered a positive outlook on the future of travel. Dr. Vivek Murthy, former Surgeon General of the United States, saw the tourism recovery process taking a bit longer.
“If the goal is to return life to some semblance of what it was like pre-pandemic, I don’t see that happening in 2021,” Dr. Murthy said.
Dr. Thomas J. Cahill, Founder and Managing Partner of Newpath Management, noted that progress on a vaccine was coming along quickly.
“We’ve made more progress with this disease in the past 6 months than we have with the flu in the past 100 years,” Dr. Cahill said.
The three-hour summit was not centered on cruising or travel specifically, but more a discussion of COVID-19 and the best scientific and medical practices being used right now.
The science and health professionals who attended the summit included:
Dr. Steven Gordon – Chairman of the Department of Infectious Disease, Cleveland Clinic Respiratory Institute
Dr. William Morice – Chair, Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology at Mayo Clinic, President, Mayo Clinic Laboratories
Dr. Stacey Schultz-Cherry – Faculty at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and co-principal investigator, St Jude Center for Excellence in Influenza Research and Surveillance
Dr. Julio Frenk – President of University of Miami
Dr. Jewel Mullen – Associate Dean for Health Equity at the Dell Medical School
Dr. Vivek Murthy – Author & Former Vice Admiral in the Public Health Service Commissioned Corp & Former Surgeon General of the United States
Dr. Adolfo Garcia-Sastre – Co-Director of the Global Health & Emerging Pathogens Institute at The Icahn School of Medicine
Dr. Michael Rosbash – 2017 Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine
Dr. Thomas J. Cahill – Founder and Managing Partner of Newpath Management
Dr. Michael Z. Lin – Associate Professor of Neurobiology, Bioengineering and Chemical and Systems Biology at Stanford University
Dr. Stuart Schreiber – Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard University and co-founder of the Broad Institute