Charles Darwin 1809-1882

COVID-19 Update


Charles Darwin 1809-1882

Today let us celebrate one of the most influential figures in human history, Charles Darwin. He was born in the town of Shrewsbury (no, not in Massachusetts, but in England). He had an early interest in life sciences and his decision to neglect his medical education at the University of Edinburgh upset his father a great deal. Instead, he followed his passion for natural sciences at University of Cambridge. I remember in high school reading with great interest his account of his five year journey on the HMS Beagle, with Captain Robert FitzRoy, to chart the coastline of South America. They continued the journey across the Pacific to Australia, across the Indian Ocean and around the Cape of Africa, before returning to South American and then back to England. Interestingly, his father, who was so against his studying life sciences, and who considered this journey a total waste of time, eventually agreed to fund the five year journey! Darwin was puzzled by the wild life and fossils he collected on this journey. After studying the evidence thoroughly for a few years after returning home, he publish a number of scientific textbooks, including his 1859 book, “On the Origin of Species”. By the 1870’s, scientists and educated public alike had accepted his theories of evolution. And today we know that the fittest will not only survive but also thrive.

This morning once again, COVID was again not mentioned on the front pages of the LA Times or the Boston Globe. But the pandemic is far from over! The death tolls from COVID infections are slowing, but people ARE still dying from COVID. And that brings us back to Darwin and his theory of survival of the fittest – in the past month, nearly ALL COVID deaths in the United States have been in the unvaccinated portion of our society! Do the resistant need any more urging than these facts to get vaccinated?

The pandemic has taught us a number of lessons. Will we still be shaking hands and kissing people on the cheek as a form of greeting after the pandemic has receded? When and where will masks be worn? We have learned that mask wearing is incredibly effective at decreasing the incidence of airborne spread respiratory illnesses. Our employees have historically averaged at least a week each year dealing with the flu or colds, yet we have noticed that employees have not had to take sick time since returning to work after our mandatory lock down a little over a year ago! The year prior to the pandemic, there were 24,000 deaths in the US attributable to the flu – yet only 450 have succumbed to the flu this past year. Muscling through and coming to work with a cold was considered admirable in the past – yet I hope that in the future, out of consideration of others, people will stay home if they have any respiratory symptoms!

As you know, there have been many variants of the coronavirus – currently, the Delta variant is spreading rapidly AMONGST THE UNVACCINATED and is the most transmissible variant to date. Fortunately, our Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson and Johnson vaccines have protected us from all the COVID variants!

So, do your part and try to encourage someone who has not been vaccinated to accept the vaccine! I know how difficult that is to do because I have tried with a number of resistant patients and friends – their unfounded beliefs are so entrenched that no amount of scientific data can convince them to change their minds. And that takes us back to Darwin’s theory of the survival of the fittest!

My son Justin’s first 4th of July parade in 1986, with my parents in Piedmont, CA.

My son Justin’s first 4th of July parade in 1986, with my parents in Piedmont, CA.

Stay healthy! Stay happy and persevere! Feed the Courage Wolf and starve the Fear Wolf!

The end of the pandemic is almost here! Go conquer another mountain!

Get vaccinated! Enjoy the world - travel!

Be grateful for what you have now and for what is on the horizon - vaccines for everyone.

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