A WORD FROM THE EXPERTS
This interview is part of a series of conversations MarketWatch is conducting with some of the leading voices in the U.S. on the COVID-19 pandemic.
Even within one-party families, there is debate about how long it will take to get the U.S. out of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, an oncologist, adviser to Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and vice provost for global initiatives at the University of Pennsylvania, says Americans have a tough 12 months ahead. On the other hand, his brother, Ari Emanuel, the Hollywood agent and CEO of entertainment agency Endeavor, predicts things will get better by July as long as a COVID-19 vaccine is authorized or approved in December.
“It’ll be closer to November, closer toward the end” of 2021, Zeke Emanuel told MarketWatch. “But it’ll probably be enough to begin opening colleges and universities [and] schools, again depending on how we distribute this thing and how effective we can be on that.”
For now, however, the focus is reducing transmission of the virus at a time when we are all starting to spend more time indoors and as pandemic fatigue is setting in. “There are four things that increase transmission: indoors, crowds, long periods of time, and then coughing, sneezing, singing [and] yelling,” he said. “If you put a group of people indoors, [and] one of whom is infected, it’s predictable what’s going to happen.”
MarketWatch: You published research that found the U.S. has had more deaths from COVID-19 than other countries and one of the highest per capita death rates worldwide. Why do you think we’re seeing this?
Dr. Zeke Emanuel: It’s a concatenation of problems. We never had an efficient testing regime so we could quickly identify people, isolate them and prevent spread. We didn’t have effective implementation uniformly across the country, with the public health measures: physical distancing, face-mask wearing, limiting crowds, which I think has gotten too little attention and needs more attention. If the main spread is by “superspreaders,” limiting crowds is critical to that. Hand hygiene. [At the beginning of the pandemic], we all focused on the fomites, the packages coming from Amazon and washing them down and all that nonsense. As it turns out, that’s probably totally irrelevant.
Then we had the problem of states saying, ‘Well, we don’t have it here,’ and not understanding epidemiology. You’ve got a small number of cases, but that means it’ll explode. We’ve seen that. Why is it all up and down the Midwest, whether it’s Wisconsin or Missouri or South Dakota or North Dakota? Because they were cavalier, saying: “We don’t have it here.” You have 500,000 people
“I think that we have done quite well — I think the demographics of the Moderna trial have markedly changed,” Larry Corey, a virologist at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center said in an interview last week. Corey is heading up the clinical trials under Operation Warp Speed, the federal effort to speed vaccine development.
“We hope that we continue to improve upon that, this is the first trial,” Corey said. ‘There are two others in the field, and two more scheduled to go — so our journey in covid-19 vaccines is just starting.”
Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine trial is also nearing completion. Pfizer’s trial, which is not part of Operation Warp Speed, has enrolled 39,862 of its planned 44,000 participants. Of those, 34,601 have received their second, booster dose.
Half the participants in both trials receive the study vaccine and half receive a placebo, and more than 25,000 of Moderna’s participants have already received their second dose.
More than half of the volunteers in Moderna’s trial are healthy and not at high risk of severe covid-19, the disease caused by coronavirus. But 25 percent are at elevated risk due to age and 17 percent are younger, but have conditions such as diabetes or obesity that put them in a high risk group.
Moderna has projected having early data in the next month that may show whether its vaccine is effective. The company will determine whether that data is sufficient to apply for regulatory authorization once it has accumulated two months of safety follow-up on half the study participants, a milestone anticipated slightly before Thanksgiving.
It’s been easy to gain the Covid-15 during the lockdown, and now that things are slowly opening back up, people are looking for new ways to shed the extra pounds that may have accumulated. Caliber is the fitness coaching platform that offers strength training, nutrition guidance, and a personal fitness coach that’s accessible via text and video messaging to keep you on track. By pairing Caliber members with fitness experts, Caliber solves the biggest hurdle in getting into and staying in shape – accountability. Members can choose to pay monthly or through a 3 to 6-month subscription and coaches on the platform can supplement their income that comes from training in person.
AlleyWatch caught up with Cofounder and CEO Jared Cluff to learn more about the genesis for the business, how the public’s perception of working out outside of the gym completely flipped, and the company’s recent funding round.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
We raised $2.2M for our Seed round. The round was led by Patricia Nakache at Trinity Ventures based in the Bay Area, with participation from Gaingels, based here in New York.
Tell us about the product or service that Caliber offers.
Caliber is the future of fitness coaching. We are a comprehensive, fully remote fitness coaching platform that combines a strength-based training methodology with expert human coaching to help our members achieve their fitness goals regardless of their age, experience level, or access to equipment.
Coaching takes place via the Caliber app, where our members can access their personalized training and nutrition plan, interact 1-on-1 with their coach via text and video messaging, complete their workouts and record their body stats, develop healthy habits through weekly Caliber Lessons, and monitor their progress via their Caliber Strength Metrics.
What inspired the start of Caliber?
It’s bizarre, my cofounders and I all share the same story of walking into a gym for the first time as scrawny teenagers, witnessing a bunch of red-faced, grunting dudes stomping around and glaring at each other… and immediately hightailing it out of there.
Yet despite that formative and slightly terrifying first encounter with the gym, we’ve all grown to incorporate fitness – and strength training in particular – as a foundational part of our lives. The research backs it up, too. Training for strength is one of the most beneficial forms of exercise. Recent studies have proven a link between muscle mass and lifespan and have shown that regular strength training can reduce the risk of heart disease by 80% or more. In addition to improving your cardiovascular health and your longevity, strength training can have a dramatic impact on your mood. We each can’t start our day without some form of workout, and we’re passionate about sharing the benefits of regular training to people who haven’t yet experienced these benefits firsthand.
At this stage in life for me and my cofounders, it’s not about the aesthetics of being fit, but rather about helping our members