Mary writes:

Hi Vincent and TWIV-ers, I am going to out myself as “mariposa,” which is my New York Times commenter handle. I was so tickled that Rose Hoban (Health Reporter and

Founding editor – North Carolina Health News) sent you my comment singing the praises of TWIV and Your Local Epidemiologist on a recent NYT article about Covid, titled “Amid Signs of a Covid Uptick, Researchers Brace for the New Normal.” In fact, I sing your praises every chance I get, but sadly many of my friends, family, neighbors, and acquaintances are so done with Covid that they aren’t interested. Yet I persist. And it’s good to know that I have the best information in my pocket to whip out when someone has a question, if they ever do…..

I heard your plea for support, so I just signed up on Patreon.

Thank you again.



Corvallis, Oregon

JP writes:

Hi I’m hoping this feedback will be forwarded to Dr. Racaniello.  I shared the Special Episode with Desiree Townsend with a group of like minded scientific types which most appreciated.  One, however, pushed back and shared some links to videos with pretty disturbing videos of Ms. Townsend that I want to send.  Ms. Townsend seemed genuine on the TWiV episode, but after viewing these early videos I am uneasy.  I said to my friend Ms. Townsend seems to have seen the light or perhaps, more accurately, a former cult member who’s been successfully deprogrammed.  After seeing the links below, I wondered if Dr. Racaniello was aware of them.  If not, I wish he had been and would have respectfully confronted her about her past, no matter how noble her current actions are.


         JP Ph.D.

Desiree Jennings on Inside Edition

Desiree Jennings

Woman Who Claimed Flu Shot Made Her Disabled Caught Not Being Disabled [VIDEO]

Desiree replies:

Dear Listener,

Thank you for writing in and voicing your concerns. I understand your unease, but please refer back to the podcast starting at minute mark 31:00 where I discuss how Inside Edition, who produced the videos you linked to, spun the segment to increase ratings. I had been on treating medication for the disease for at least 4 months before Inside Edition ever approached me, which allowed me to walk without spasms. 

This is a very important point, because if after I explicitly explained this on the TWiV episode you or your colleagues STILL do not believe me, nor have changed your thoughts of me, then what hope do we have in changing the beliefs of the anti-vaxx movement?

If we are to make any change in the anti-vaxx movement, we have to serve as role models and be open to changing our own previously held assumptions or beliefs. Otherwise, there is little hope for any change at all. If you or your colleagues have any further questions, I would be more than happy to address them.

Best regards,

Desirée Townsend

Leah writes:

Hey there!  I love listening to the clinical update every week. 

A friend told me about Enovid.  The site shares some clinical data ( ) and I found an article in PubMed which I’m attaching to this message.  It sounds like it could be useful in both treatment and prevention, although I’m primarily interested in the latter since I would take Paxlovid if I tested positive.  However, if it’s as good as they say, I imagine you guys would have talked about it and the company would have applied for FDA approval.

Also, my daughter asked if regular use would increase “immunity debt”, assuming such a thing exists.  

Thanks for your help!!


She sent:

Tom writes:

TWiV 1028 Asymptomatic..

Missing data is OTC Analgesics. 

Given the common large economy size of OTC analgesics used for exercise, hang overs, colds and other discomforts there is likely (yes speculation) opportunity for masked mild symptoms.   Tens of million doses are sold and prescribed.  

And they are effective symptom reducers.

Early rapid tests could be expected to be negative so OTC flu and cold products will be consumed for relief of discomfort.

Add OTC med sales to sewerage tracking.

Yegor writes:

Dear Vincent,

I’ve been listening to TWiV for at least 10 years, likely longer (my memory is not that good) and wrote in a couple of times with some comments. It’s been a great pleasure to listen to your discussions of papers as well as all the sidetracks and rants.

I am writing this time because in recent episodes (especially the one on RFK Jr) I felt your frustration with the various denialists out there and I think I can offer some helpful comments. I’m a virologist with a PhD and experience in working in academia, non-profit, biotech and, most recently pharma. It so happened that I started a blog back in 2002 and then began writing about science around 2003, primarily about my own area of expertise – HIV. My blog was one of the very small number of russian-language science blogs and thus became quite popular and well-known in the Russian-speaking internet community. As such, it became a magnet for all kinds of denialists. I did not turn them away or block them, but instead engaged with them, spending hundreds of hours (literally) over many years on arguments and conversations, trying to understand their positions while also arguing mine.

Speaking from this experience, I would say that the approaches and tactics you discussed in recent episodes are very unlikely to be successful. I tried to summarize my suggestions in an email, but it became so wordy, that I deleted it and am now writing this second shorter version with the offer to come at some point to TWiV and discuss what I learned over all these years.I hope it’s not too presumptuous of me. 

Very briefly:

– even when people are irrational, they use logic to support their positions

– be aware of the context for the conversation and define what success looks like 

– losing a fight has more impact than winning, so don’t get into fights lightly

– know your opponents and their arguments before engaging or you will lose

Happy to chat more if you are interested.

Best regards,

Yegor Voronin, PhD, currently Director of US Scientific Collaborations at Bristol Myers Squibb

My blog, which I no longer maintain:

Tom writes:

Hello TWiV,

This may interest your viewers; a new video about the variola virus from the animation masters whose YouTube channel is called ‘kurzgesagt – in a nutshell’:

Thank you for your informative podcasts.


Charles writes:

Hello TWiVers;

About 90 F in Chapel Hill.  I have a pick inspired by Dr. Racaniello’s pick from TWiV 2007*.  Having Tom Lehrer and Oppenheimer in the same pick had me going back and listening to a couple of other Tom Lehrer songs.  Well one I listened to last week because of articles about Is the U.S. Ready for a Nuclear Attack.  Here they are:

We Will All Go Together When We Go

And one of my favorites

So Long, Mom (A Song for World War III)


Charles Fischer

* Not a typo.  If no one gets the 2007 reference and you use the pick, I will explain it later.