Dear TWIVers and Dr. Griffin,
I just want to thank you for all the work and time you put in to keep your listeners informed as our country deals with this awful pandemic. I enjoy your banter, which keeps my spirits up, and rely on your expertise.
I would like to ask Dr. Griffin, who I greatly admire for his hard work and brilliance, to address this heartbreaking story I read in the Washington Post. This poor doctor, who is partially retired, is dealing with an outbreak in Jerauld County in South Dakota. He relates the death of his parents in a nursing home, and then goes on to say that “this virus makes you powerless,” and “It kind of does whatever it’s going to do.” It seems the treatments that Dr. Griffin talks about on TWIV haven’t been shared across the country. It’s frightening that people are dying because doctors don’t know how to treat COVID-19 patients. Is this true? And what can be done to rectify this? If we get sick and go to the hospital, can we suggest what should be done?
PS – This series “Voices from the Pandemic” in the Washington Post is amazing, but it’s hard to read right now.
First, I want to say great job doing what you are doing. I haven’t been following TWIV as rigorously as my wife, but the information you provide has been super helpful in evaluating risk and navigating our way through the COVID pandemic.
I have a few questions that have accumulated that I’d appreciate your time in answering.
I’ve been trying to find a table that breaks down COVID outcomes (mortality, hospitalization, health impacts) by age group AND presence/absence of co-morbidities. Ie, what are numerical risks for healthy people of different ages? Dr. Griffin and the rest of you have convinced me that this is a serious disease for healthy people and that I don’t want to get it. There are lots of accounts of healthy people getting wrecked or killed by COVID. While stories make attractive journalism, they do not help us evaluate risk. I’ve been looking and looking for a table of covid outcomes reported by age group AND presence/absence of co-morbidities and haven’t been able to find. Your help appreciated.
Second question. Several people have told me that they know someone who died of X (cancer, car wreck) and it was reported as a COVID death. I have told these people that if they suspect fraud, they need to report this to the state attorney general. However, my state’s health authority (Oregon) web page does say deaths “associated” with COVID, leading me to think that the way this is being reported could be sliced a little more cleanly. How are hospitals and health officials deciding who died of COVID vs something else (cancer, car wreck, bee sting)? Are deaths of patients that had COVID reported as COVID deaths, even if patient didn’t actually die from COVID? At some point, deaths from ER being overwhelmed are COVID deaths, even though the disease is tertiary cause. Ie., a car accident victim who can’t get in to ER. Thoughts? Prevalence of mis-reporting/over-reporting of COVID deaths? Is this a silly conspiracy theory, or how would you explain these anecdotes? I’m not a COVID doubter, but the fact that several people have said these things to me makes me think there is education work to be done here.
I completely agree with overall assessment that we have a long way to go with COVID. 9.5 million US cases reported. Using https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-020-18272-4
Thanks for sharing the Figure showing the different phases of COVID-19 and opportunities for treatment with antivirals and immunomodulators. I’m really interested to see the article that contains this Figure. Please could you share the article with me as soon as you feel able to do so.
Christopher Ring MSc PhD
Senior Lecturer in Microbiology
Gina and Joe write:
Dear TWiV Team,
It’s 20 degrees Fahrenheit in Vail, CO today, with six inches of glorious new snow!
We are inspired by every episode of TWiV, and wait with great anticipation for the next one. We have introduced several other non-scientist and non-clinician friends to the TWiV podcasts, and they are now as addicted as we are. We find all of you interesting, very engaging and lots of fun! We love the banter, the weather reports, and, of course, all the meaty scientific information and weekly COVID updates. Thank you!
We have been enjoying your Picks: the OSIRIS-REx asteroid study mission on YouTube, and the books Lab Girl, The Story of More, and A Lab of One’s Own. We have read these and are now taking the big leap – we have ordered Principles of Virology. So thank you for this part of your podcast as well!
While the opera business has been hit very hard, and basically flatlined for a while with COVID restrictions, we are all getting creative and figuring out how to connect to our communities with performances. We did many dinner theater concerts this summer in our driveway, with audiences were limited to 12 people, the maximum number allowed for outdoor gatherings in Colorado this summer. Joe’s opera company, Ft Worth Opera, created a mobile stage on a flatbed trailer, and has been doing live socially-distanced concert and opera programs for a month already, with more than 200 performances already booked. They go to schools, parks, homes, churches, food banks, and even performed at the voting places in Fort Worth on November 3. All of the creative activity in the opera world may have escaped your notice, so with that in mind, we have a Pick for you and your listeners.
Our Pick is the Finnish National Opera’s take on a famous Mozart opera called COSÌ FAN TUTTE (meaing All Women are Like That), completely rewritten and called COVID FAN TUTTE (meaning Everyone is Doing COVID.) It’s in Finnish with English subtitles. You can enjoy the parts that work for you and fast forward through those that do not. This is a witty, clever and creative take on both COVID and the opera world. We in the arts believe that the arts, and in our case, the performing arts, elevate humanity, inspire creativity and joy, and bring us all together as a community to cry, laugh and find release outside our quotidian anxieties, especially now.
This is the YOUTUBE link. It’s just under 1 hour and 40 minutes.
We hope you and your listeners enjoys this insane romp through COVID and opera!
Gina and Joe
Santa Fe, NM