Due to limited numbers being allowed for indoor gatherings, the first James E Holshouser Jr. Lecture has been posted to the series’ website.
Organizers of the series were able to schedule a timely lecture by Dr. M. Nixon “Nick” Ellis, a Southern Pines resident and experienced medical virologist, who gave background and a professional opinion on the COVID-19 virus and pandemic.
He received his doctorate from the Department of Medical Microbiology in the School of Veterinary Medicine at The University of Georgia. While in graduate school, Ellis was a research assistant in the Department of Avian Medicine, and worked extensively with the avian coronavirus, known as infectious bronchitis virus, a release from the lecture series said.
The COVID-19 pandemic was the first viral crisis Ellis said he has been on the sidelines for after working through many worldwide pandemics in his career.
Ellis’ presentation gave background information collected so far for the coronavirus in the United States as well as other countries across the globe. His expertise allowed him to describe transmission of the virus down to the cellular level, as well as looking at the mutation and evolution of the virus that has been found so far.
Information presented by Ellis showed that COVID-19’s fatality rate was lower than many other recent viral crises, but those in older populations have been inversely affected by the virus.
Ellis commented on the viral management measures put in place. Because of the mask mandates, he showed on a graph the reduction of flu cases in the United States as compared to years in the past.
“This shows that things we are doing for COVID have obviously impacted the influenza, and that’s a good sign,” Ellis said, adding that data has shown that states with longer and more restrictive lockdowns have seen higher rates of viral spread than other states.
Through Operation Warp Speed, Ellis said the fast-tracked vaccines have come available at a record speed compared to the Food and Drug Administration’s typical timeline of 10 to 15 years for a vaccine.
The vaccine provides the quicker of the two “exit” options for the pandemic, Ellis said. With no vaccine, Ellis estimated that it would take 55 months for the country to reach “herd immunity,” but that time was more than cut in half with vaccine availability.
The full lecture with informative slides can be found on the lecture series’ website https://www.jehlectures.com/. Organizers are meeting to decide on future lectures and also about updating the first lecture with Ellis with more up to date information going forward.
“All of us working on this project are looking forward to in-person programs and plan to bring nationally known experts to Moore County for live dialogue,” George Little said during the introduction of the first lecture.
Owens Auditorium at the Bradshaw Performing Arts Center of Sandhills Community College is still closed for public events and will be used for in-person lectures once reopened, organizers said.
In the meantime, organizers said that two types of donations can be made either online or by mail. An unrestricted donation will be fully tax deductible and will allow donors to be classified as a “Founder Donor.” With that, it will include two complimentary tickets to the first two lectures and a permanent program listing.
“Founder donors believe in the mission,” said Walter Bull, speaking for the organizing team. “Without their support the series could not get off the ground.”
The JEH Lecture organizers have incorporated a North Carolina non-profit corporation to sponsor public educational lectures envisioned for the Sandhills. The application to be tax exempt has been submitted to the IRS for approval in 2021.
Further information may be found at https://www.jehlectures.com/.
Contact Jonathan Bym at (910) 693-2470 or firstname.lastname@example.org.