LISTEN: Dr. Oz on how to stay safe as NYC reopens this fall


NEW YORK (1010 WINS) – Dr. Oz joined 1010 WINS on Wednesday to give updates on the coronavirus for the fall as researchers work on a vaccine, students head back to school and New York City prepares to reopen indoor dining.

When it comes to talking with kids who are apprehensive about going back to school, Oz said “kids are going to mirror whatever emotion you share with them.”

“If you’re calm, collected and confident, they will be as well,” he said, adding that he has had the conversation with his grandchildren in Florida.

He told his grandkids that the CDC has been very clear about what schools need to do to open safely, including having students stick to one classroom so classes impacted by a positive case can quarantine while the rest of the school stays open. He also told them about other changes, including students coming and leaving school at different times and not eating lunch together as they used to.

“But that’s just going to take place for a few months, because we believe the vaccine, the data, will be available to us within two months. And if it’s successful, as we hope, then by the end of this year, we’ll start vaccinating people who are high risk,” Oz said. “And once the vulnerable population and the doctors and nurses get vaccinated, it makes it much safer for society. And kids, thankfully, don’t pay a big price if they happen to get COVID-19. So once the teachers and the grandparents are safe, then it’s going to be much easier for kids to stay in school without problems.”

Oz said he’s optimistic we’ll have a COVID-19 vaccine sooner than later and that the White House Coronavirus Task Force has been giving promising updates on his show.

“The White House task force is letting me know that the last patient enrolled in the 30,000-patient trial is this week. So now everyone’s already in the trial,” Oz said. “Now we need to wait a couple weeks to see their side effects and also is it really effective at reducing the chance of getting COVID-19. If that bears out—and we should know that by November—then within a month or two, we’ll be able to start giving vaccinations to the frontline workers.”

Oz said that in China, officials just announced they’ve immunized hundreds of thousands of people with their vaccine.

“So it’s already starting in other parts of the world. If we just look outside the U.S., we see examples of success and some failures. I mean Israel just re-shut-down again. But we’re seeing lots of examples of success. So let’s be smart for the next few months until we get to the finish line,” he said.

In the meantime, Oz said there is “no excuse” not to get a flu shot this year. He said he knows people have had different reasons for not getting the flu shot in the past, including fearing potential side effects.

“But here’s the deal,” he said. “This year, you don’t want to be confused with having COVID-19 if you do happen to get the flu. And you don’t want to get them both at the same time. So of all the years, instead of only half the population getting the flu shot, this year I really want it to be much, much higher.”

He also spoke directly to the third of the population that is hesitant to get a potential COVID-19 vaccine.

“I want to talk honestly to that group of folks,” Oz said. “This is a vaccine that has so meticulously been examined by the nine major pharma companies that are involved in it. And these guys, you know, their reputations are completely dependent on this thing being safe. So there’s no such thing as a completely, 100% safe anything. If you give 100 million people any pill, product, injection, whatever, you’re going to have an issue. But this is about as safe as it will be when it’s released. And it it’s not safe, it will not be released.”

When it comes to indoor dining—which is set to resume in New York City on Sept. 30 at 25% capacity and with a long list of restrictions—Oz gave some advice about what restaurant-goers should ask when they dine in.

“I would ask questions that you normally don’t ask of restaurants” he said, including how many times an hour the restaurant changes its air and what kinds of filters they have.

“We can make a huge difference and make indoor dining seem like it’s outdoor if we’re really careful about making sure it’s a well-ventilated, air-purified space,” Oz said. “Also, obviously, you can’t pack people in.”

He said when he talks with the White House task force about keys to success, “The things that really help are wearing a mask and avoiding a super-spreader event, like being in a crowded restaurant that’s poorly ventilated without a mask.”

“So if you’re in a restaurant, you’ve got to take your mask off to eat,” Oz said. “If it’s too crowded or if it’s poorly ventilated, it sets you up for failure, because one person in that big restaurant being ill can make many others ill. We want to avoid those scenarios.”