Dr. Joseph Gathe Jr.

Nationally-revered, Houston-based physician and healthcare leader, Dr. Joseph Gathe Jr., is committed to spreading expert, credible information on the COVID-19 pandemic.

This article is the third in a series where Gathe provides the Defender and its readers with insights and explanations regarding various aspects of the pandemic in an effect to push back against COVID misinformation with COVID facts.

Here, Gather shares the differences between past COVID surges and this fourth COVD surge that has the Delta variant causing dramatic rises in COVID positive cases and deaths. Gathe also shares why “time is of the essence” to get vaccinated.

He also responds to the remarks of Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick who scapegoated Black people by placing the blame for the state’s rise in COVID numbers on the unvaccinated among us rather that mentioning anything about his political party’s leadership in the anti-mask-wearing and anti-vaxxer “movements.”

THE FOURTH COVID SURGE

What we have now is the big, mean brother of the original COVID. This guy is worse than anything that we’ve seen. It is 60% more contagious. Once it grows in your body, it grows a thousand times more virus in your system. And rather than being infectious four-to-six days after you get exposed, you’re infectious two-to-three days before you get sick and two-to-three days after. So, your maximum spreading the virus time is before you even know that you’re sick at all. And, you have a thousand times more virus floating around in this situation. So, this Delta variant, if you will, or this COVID variant, is far worse than the virus that we saw before. And because of that, we’re seeing more young people get the virus, and they’re bringing the virus to the homes and they’re infecting people within the homes, largely the ones who are unvaccinated. So, that is the major concern about the COVID-19 that we’re seeing.

THE VACCAINE AND THE DELTA VARIANT

The (excuse from Black people who aren’t vaccinated) I’m hearing now is “I just didn’t get around to it.” You know what? You better get around to it right now. Because what’s important about this vaccine is that it doesn’t protect you until two weeks after the last shot. So, if you get a shot today, you’re not protected against COVID-19 for another six weeks, because you’ve got to get the second shot. You see what I’m saying? The first variant, the alpha variant that we had before, the first shot gave you some protection. This time (with the Delta variant), it’s not. I have a lot of people who got their first shot and coming in with bad COVID. So, time is of the essence. You don’t get a shot and “I’m fine in the next two days.” You have to get a shot, then get your next shot n three or four weeks. And two weeks after that, you’re protected, which means again, that’s why we have to do the mask-wearing and stuff like that.

RESPONSE TO DAN PATRICK’S COVID/BLACK COMMENTS

Shame on him. First of all, this disease process should not be politicized or racially profiled because it affects all of us. That’s the first thing. The second thing is, to come out and say that the disease is being perpetrated by African Americans that are unvaccinated, when you (Dan Patrick) made sure that we didn’t have equal access to it, I have a real problem with that. Having said all that, I don’t want to waste my time arguing with people who aren’t part of the solution. In my estimation, there’s a sharp line in the road. There’s a group of people looking for the solution, and the other half are people who are perpetuating the problem. I don’t have time to argue with people perpetuating the problem. I’m going to ignore you or stick to the solutions that we have at this point in time.