• COVID-19

    Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast: COVID-19 taking toll beyond patients

a person, a nurse or doctor, in medical scrubs holding their head in their hands in exhaustion, sadness, burnout

The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine has received full approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as have booster doses of COVID-19 vaccines. These are welcome developments as the COVID-19 delta variant wave continues to rip through many U.S. communities, exhausting and wearing people down.

"I cannot tell you the emotional toll this has taken on us as physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists, and many, many others," says Dr. Gregory Poland, an infectious diseases expert and head of Mayo Clinic's Vaccine Research Group

"One of my colleagues said, 'I walk around now and see people with comorbidities, not wearing a mask, and I can tell you what size tracheal tube they're going to need.' We don't normally think like that, but it's illustrative of the steady 18-month drumbeat of seeing people sick and dying of something we can prevent," says Dr. Poland.

In this Mayo Clinic Q&A, Dr. Poland talks more about FDA approvals for COVID-19 vaccines, goes into detail about the COVID-19 virus replication rate and he answers a listener question about the reliability of home COVID-19 tests. Dr. Poland also explains and speaks to the importance of "cocooning" for protection, especially with newborns and toddlers.

Watch: Dr. Poland discusses the latest information about the COVID-19 pandemic with Dr. Halena Gazelka.

Read the full transcript.


For the safety of its patients, staff and visitors, Mayo Clinic has strict masking policies in place. Anyone shown without a mask was either recorded prior to COVID-19 or recorded in a nonpatient care area where social distancing and other safety protocols were followed.

Information in this post was accurate at the time of its posting. Due to the fluid nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, scientific understanding, along with guidelines and recommendations, may have changed since the original publication date

Research disclosures for Dr. Gregory Poland.

For more information and all your COVID-19 coverage, go to the Mayo Clinic News Network and mayoclinic.org.

Learn more about tracking COVID-19 and COVID-19 trends.

August 19, 2021- Mayo Clinic COVID-19 trending map using red color tones for hot spots