COVID-19 and other such coronaviruses will likely remain in the environment and continue to mutate, said Army Lt. Gen. Ronald J. Place, director of the Defense Health Agency.
“And we’re going to have to face it,” he told attendees today at the Sea-Air-Space exhibit in National Harbor, Maryland, on the topic of COVID-19 response and national security post-pandemic.
The United States is in a “okay, but not great place,” at this point in the COVID-19 pandemic, he said, adding, “I think one of the things that a lot of believe us – what is a mistake – is this [COVID-19] will go away. It is not going to go away, just like the flu is not going to go away. And the problem with a lot of viruses is that they tend to mutate, and they tend to do things that keep them alive. “
One of the things people should feel comfortable with is that the Defense Ministry’s medical team has an insatiable curiosity, he told the public, adding that medical research is an ongoing process. improvement.
Place said the first order of illness always calls for prevention, followed by diagnosis.
“We want to take care of everyone – military, family members, retirees – but the military health system exists for the military,” the general said. “That’s our goal. And so we think about the military and what we can do to keep them healthy.… What piece of equipment, what piece can we use to prevent something bad from happening to them? ? ” It can be something infectious like a cold or an emerging injury, he noted.
Looking at COVID-19 from a military scientific perspective, it is a biological event, he said. And the COVID-19 vaccine should be considered biological armor.
However, the general said, “Tens of thousands of Americans die from the flu each year, and while most of us in uniformed services get vaccinated, most Americans don’t. C ‘is a problem for us. “
The reason the United States has such a suite of great vaccines “isn’t because this magical thinking happened by some manufacturers in the spring of 2020,” Place said. “It is [research] based on years, in some cases, and over a decade of research on how to take vaccination methodology to a new level. “
There are huge improvements in the way we look at how vaccines work, he said. “And I believe we’ll come to a place where we don’t talk about COVID all the time. He warned, however, that that peace of mind is unlikely to happen this year.
“We’ll come to a place where it’s another infectious disease that we worry about, or think about – kind of like the flu, measles or tetanus” where people get vaccinated to ward off disease, Place said. . “It’s going to be a part of our reality for a long time.”