UCSF doctor who reviewed CA's 'endemic' plan highlights top priorities

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Dr. Bob Wachter, Chair of UCSF's Department of Medicine was asked to review Governor Gavin Newsom's new plan for California's coronavirus response ahead of the announcement.

"They showed me the plan as in draft form and a few of my colleagues as well. I thought it was a very strong plan. I thought it was appropriate," said Dr. Wachter.

"One of the things I asked was 'what is the headline? What is the one thing coming out of it?' And the answer appropriately is there is not one thing. It's really a whole way of living and a whole set of policy choices," he explained.

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Dr. Wachter believes the state will need to prioritize two aspects of this plan moving forward.

"Vaccination is by far the most important thing. Getting as many people as possible, including kids who've had their full vaccine panel, is the most important thing. I think the pharmaceutical treatments will become more important over time as they become more available," said Dr. Wachter.

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UCSF Professor Nevan Krogan and his team have been studying all the variants of concern to try to stay ahead of the virus.

He agrees with Dr. Wachter, and says a three-dose vaccination plan, plus accessible pharmaceuticals moving forward, will be key.

"There's a lot of work going on around the world to get even more treatments, and I think that a year from now there'll be a larger selection of drugs that can be used once one is infected-- and the hope is that these drugs will be equally effective across any variants that we will see," said Professor Krogan.

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But some aspects of the plan are vague, according to Dr. Wachter.

"In treatment they make the point that there are a number of treatments we need to be able to get people access to them as quickly as possible. I'll like to see more meat on those bones," said Wachter and added, "If it turns out that the off-ramp now is case rate below a certain number, what are the kinds of things that would cause us to say we've got to reinstitute masking? It was a little vague on that, but I think that is appropriate. They are still thinking those kinds of things through."

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