How long the COVID-19 pandemic will last is one of the biggest questions facing the world at present—and one of the major issues addressed at the TIME100 Health Summit that took place on July 15.
At the summit, White House COVID-19 adviser Dr. Ashish Jha said this pandemic will end, just as all previous pandemics have ended, but that’s not likely to happen in the next few months. “We need to get to a point where we have vaccines that are truly variant-resistant,” he told Senior Correspondent Alice Park at the virtual event, which was sponsored by Fujifilm. He said such vaccines could still be three to five years away, though that timeline might be sped up with strategic investments, as the science is “moving very quickly.”
The TIME100 Health Summit also addressed mental well-being. Michelle Williams, a mental-health advocate and former member of Destiny’s Child, opened up about how she has struggled with depression since the seventh grade—even though she didn’t receive an official diagnosis until her 30s. She told TIME100 Talks host Lola Ogunnaike that while her success did not “heal the pain” of mental illness, it gave her a way to afford therapy, hospitalization, and retreats.
Executive editor John Simons interviewed Michael Acton Smith, the co-CEO and co-founder of meditation app Calm, and James Park, Fitbit vice president and general manager, about their work at the intersection of health and technology. Park said Fitbit has helped him personally develop healthier habits, like spreading out exercise throughout the workday, and Smith explained how, when Calm data showed usage spiked around 11 p.m. as people listened to meditations to fall asleep, he worked to create a line of bedtime stories read by stars like LeBron James and Harry Styles.
Representative Lauren Underwood, a nurse and Democratic Congresswoman representing a northern Illinois district, talked about the challenges of governing since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June. She called for the end of the filibuster so that the U.S. Senate, which has a narrow Democratic majority, could take up the Women’s Health Protection Act, passed by the U.S. House of Representatives, which enshrines abortion protections into law. “The Senate Republicans are united in their opposition to protect[ing] our health care despite the majority of the American people wanting this solution,” she told senior correspondent Janell Ross.
You can watch the entire summit at time.com/time100-talks.
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Contributor: Olivia B. Waxman