Fool.com's Healthcare and Cannabis Bureau Chief Corinne Cardina interviewed Richard Horton on Motley Fool Live on Oct. 9. Horton runs the British medical journal The Lancet and has been at the forefront of publishing data about the coronavirus pandemic this year. He also recently published a book called The COVID-19 Catastrophe.
Here, Horton explains why the current trends of new COVID-19 cases are so troubling and why the world is hanging its hopes on an effective vaccine, possibly developed by Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) and BioNTech (NASDAQ:BNTX), or Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA).
Cardina: A little bit more about the role of a medical journal, like The Lancet during the global pandemic. Of course, you and your colleagues have shouldered a tremendous responsibility in providing accurate and reliable analysis in a situation that was changing so rapidly, impacting pretty much all human stakeholders. In your book, you mentioned that you published some really heart-wrenching communications you received from citizens. I'm sure that was just the tip of the iceberg. People writing in, telling you about what they were experiencing, their fears. What has that been like?
Horton: Well, it was awful, to be very frank with you, Corinne. Every morning, I would get up and I would look at my Twitter feed and it would be full with thousands of messages from people who are just in agony about the situation, mostly health workers who were trying to deal with this. But since then, I've been in touch. We have a group in the United Kingdom called the Bereaved Families of COVID-19 who have self-organized and we've been desperately trying to get to meet politicians so that they can tell their stories and try and emphasize to our political leaders how important it is to learn the lessons. Because unfortunately, we haven't learned the lessons, which is why we're seeing in the United Kingdom, but it's also in France, in Spain, the virus is bouncing back in the second wave. In America, you've got some real hot spots in different states across the country, in college campuses across the nation. So this is affecting some of our most vulnerable populations. It's affecting the oldest old. It's affecting people with chronic disease. There's a shadow pandemic against women and children, who often been confined in homes, where there a huge risk of domestic violence, and that's something we don't talk enough about actually, the risk to women and children from intimate partner violence. We've got a lot of learning to do about who's vulnerable. We need to put these vulnerable people center of our political stage and talk about them, and our key workers, the people who actually make our society run. I mean, that's not me. I'm able to sit at home protected, but people who keep food in our stores, people who keep our mass transit working, people who keep our healthcare working, people who keep our streets clean. They're the ones who have been at most risk.