An online round table discussion about recent data on COVID-19, held on October 7, 2020 in Athens, marked the inauguration of the 6th Lecture Series of the Institute of Public Health (IPH) of the American College of Greece.
In the wake of the second wave of the pandemic, the event gathered highly regarded public health experts and practitioners for a tell-all dialogue about epidemiological data, treatment, prevention and testing, herd immunity and the effects of COVID-19 during pregnancy.
Professor Panagiotis Behrakis, Pulmonologist–Intensivist, Director of the Institute of Public Health, moderated the discussion between guest speakers Theodore Lytras, Assistant Professor of Public Health at the European University of Cyprus, George Saroglou, Professor Emeritus of Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens and the Obstetrician-Gynaecologist Stefanos Chandakas, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Athens’ MITERA Ηospital and Founder & Chairman of the non-profit organization HOPEgenesis.
Prof. Theodore Lytras presented the results of epidemiological data, elaborated on the concept of immunological dark matter, addressed the role of herd immunity, and underlined that uncertainty remains with regards to the identification of risk groups and civil protection. Prof. Lytras underscored the importance of social distancing as the most significant protective measure to prevent COVID-19 transmission. He also noted that recent data show that most transmissions take place during the incubation period, which is estimated between 2 to 14 days.
Professor George Saroglou presented a short analysis of currently available treatments that are based on therapeutic algorithms, adjusted to the ever-changing scientific evidence for the pandemic and COVID-19. He underlined the necessity of vaccines and their positive impact on human life. Professor Saroglou also expressed his optimism about the capability of humanity to adjust to any threat or challenge, as a factor of the evolutionary process.
Dr. Stefanos Chandakas stated that the current limited number of research studies on COVID-19 cases during pregnancy showed no vertical transmission of the virus to the fetus since to date it has not yet been detected in the amniotic fluid or breast milk. Dr. Chandakas suggested that pregnant women should follow the same preventive measures indicated by the World Health Organization for everyone (social distancing, face masks, hand hygiene etc.), as it seems they do not show a higher risk of serious morbidity than the general public.
The video of the round table discussion and all recorded IPH events are available here.