TWiV 607: Coronavirus epidemiology with Jeff Shaman

April 29, 2020

Jeff Shaman returns to TWiV to explain why more SARS-CoV-2 testing and contact tracing is needed to stop the pandemic, and provide insights on immunity and reinfection from seasonal CoVs, the problems with antibody tests, and what to expect in the coming months.

Hosts: Vincent Racaniello and Rich Condit

Guest: Jeff Shaman

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Download TWiV 607 (41 MB .mp3, 68 min)
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Intro music is by Ronald Jenkees.

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19 comments on “TWiV 607: Coronavirus epidemiology with Jeff Shaman

  1. Nancy L Hope Apr 29, 2020

    Hello Dear Profs,

    Can you discuss what kinds of experiments are done by people working on coronavirus? I have just listened to a talk where “gain of function” was discussed. Could you tell if the virus was artificially changed in a lab versus a natural change in nature? Do coronvirus researchers do gain of function experiments?

    Here in Quebec it is sunny and 10C and the snow is melting.

    Thanks to you all for the great discussions.


  2. Michael Irvine Apr 29, 2020

    Hello Vincent

    Should a country’s politics, for example the USA, be a variable factored into modelling for predicting the spread and mortality of viral infections when it appears they will lead to a pandemic?

    Michael Irvine

  3. Philipp Apr 29, 2020

    Hi Twiv team,

    Another awesome episode!
    Had me thinking and I wanted to ask a clearly controversial question:
    “Who do you think should be advising politicians in a crisis like this? Should it be virologists or epidemiologists? ”

    Don’t get me wrong I just want to understand more what the differences are in practice.
    The episode with Jeff was awesome, as usual!

    Take care an please continue.


  4. Dear Twivers – please comment on what might be called “The Arizona Miracle” (tongue in cheek). Although the case load in Arizona has been simply exponentially increasing for weeks (TC = 990.4exp(0.044D ; 7,000 cases as of the 28th), there have been no deaths in 3-4 days. I believe this is unprecedented.
    Plots of the relevant JHU data:

    • PattiMichelle Apr 29, 2020

      Typo: TC = 990.4exp(0.044D)
      TC: Total Cases
      D = days since 100th case in AZ

    • PattiMichelle Apr 30, 2020

      In the U.S., the JHU data show that, although the exponentials have occasionally abruptly “slowed down,” the total fatalities and cases are still exponentially increasing as of April 30.
      JHU data for U.S. and 5 states:

  5. Martin Apr 29, 2020

    The meme that ”the virus can not be eradicated” needs to die. It is simply wrong. It is only based on the assumtions of 20th century epidemiology.

    Testing will become so cheap, quick and efficent that errarication from most countries will be easy.

    South Korea has for the last weeks had 5 to 10 new cases each day. But they were found at the airport!
    The same us true for Taiwan.

    • Kiril Dimitrov May 1, 2020

      Martin, I truly think that eradication of a respiratory disease whose etymological agent easily spreads with droplets and through contact surfaces, in the lack of efficient vaccine (if at all possible for a coronavirus) is a “bit” over-ambitious.

    • Kiril Dimitrov May 1, 2020

      Autocorrect typo: etiological

  6. Nathan Letts Apr 30, 2020

    Hello TWIV Hosts- Thanks for an outstanding episode! Prof. Jeff Shaman was an extraordinary guest. I now understand much better how epidemiologists analyze the coronavirus pandemic and why the non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) have been so effective in China and South Korea. This is a must listen episode for policy makers globally.

  7. Tim H Apr 30, 2020

    Greetings from India. I am enjoying TWIV as well as your virology lectures immensely, Dr Racaniello. But there’s something I don’t understand, You have described well our immune system, including its robustness, in your lecture Episodes 12, 13 & 14. I know it’s possible to hamper or even cripple that system with diet and lifestyle. Is that something that you cover in another lecture? Here on TWIV, I keep hearing about the epidemiology and the transmission but, again, where are the experts to discuss what the diet and lifestyle factors are that an individual can take control of to deal the immune system the best possible hand?

  8. Richard Cornell Apr 30, 2020

    Try to keep up with you. Starting from this year cast on Jan 3, 2020.

  9. Nicole Apr 30, 2020

    When analyzing epidemiology is there an incorporation of number of test administered?
    Knowing that available testing will either increase or decrease the number of reported positive cases, is there a way to incorporate the fluctuation of available test in mortality and cases reported. theoretical example if one week my county has 200 tests available and 84 are positive and the next week my county has 2,000 test available and 1200 are positive. Does this availability affect the curve or are only the number of positives taken into account?

  10. Michael Irvine Apr 30, 2020

    Florida Governor bans publication of Corona Virus statistics.

    “Chairman of the Florida State Medical Examiners Commission Dr. Stephen Nelson said state officials were planning on redacting certain information, such as causes of death and descriptions of the cases. Data from medical examiners have not been released in over seven days.”

  11. michelle Apr 30, 2020

    I don’t know how to find out how many beds (especially ICU beds) of various hospitals. I’m mostly concerned by my local hospitals. Does anyone know how to find this out online? Google searches haven’t turned up numbers. One would ideally want to know 1) number and rates of local infections w/hospitalizations, 2) actual capacities of hospitals.
    Thank You,

  12. What a fascinating study, which has a wealth of information yet to reveal! Great episode, thank you to the hosts and the great guest!

  13. Rebecca P Smith MD May 3, 2020

    Hi – first of all -Thanks. I love this podcast. The sessions with Mark Dennison and Ralph Baric made me realize how much I miss being around virologists – back in the day, doing AIDS clinical trials. Epidemiologists are allowed to innovate in pandemics ( I wonder if it would be fun to have a clinical trials statistician talk about clinical trials designs appropriate for vaccines and treatments in this setting -I have been listening to a colleague -WHO just put up the very first randomized clinical trial it has ever done).
    And also – thanks for not correcting Dr. Shaman when he kept talking about South Korea and MERS.
    Appreciate you guys

  14. Dr ben hoffman May 24, 2020

    These are marvelous