Jamie writes:

Hello everyone at TWiV!

I am an ICU nurse in Portland, Oregon that specializes in the pulmonary side of things and as a result have been in the primary Covid cohort ICU since the start of the pandemic.  My colleagues and I are among the few thousand in Oregon who have had both doses of the Pfizer series.  I was listening to episode 706 this morning on my way to work when the question of symptom severity after each shot came up.  I know this isn’t a full data set, but an overwhelming majority of people I have talked to who have had the second dose have experienced more severe symptoms.  The types of symptoms have been very different between people, but for the most part everyone had a more pronounced reaction for the second dose. 

Just thought I would share our perspective, a bunch of us got the shot the first day it was available (December 12th, I work at a large academic campus with plenty of cold storage) and then again exactly 21 days later.  Thank you for the work you do, I’ve shared your podcast with my entire unit to help people with questions about how the vaccine works and what the science is behind it.  It helped many of us feel more secure stepping to the front to get this new therapy as soon as it was available. 

Thanks again,


Wendy writes:

Hi Vincent and Twivy team!

You have inspired and informed millions of us out here in the blogosphere by engaging in rational discourse on science.  Count me in as one of your true fans!  Now you, Vincent, have set upon us the poetry bug as well!  I  was shocked to watch myself crack open another new document to compose Covid song lyrics.  

After my annual viewing of the iconic rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar (known now as JCS rock opera for the lazy Googlers among us), I couldn’t get “The Last Supper” tune out of my head so, at 3 am, I created new  lyrics to the famous song of the apostles.  Like the original, it speaks to the crush of reality on expectations.

Enjoy! And thank you for such thoughtful and useful programming.

 Wendy, Iowa

What Went Wrong?

(score from The Last Supper, Jesus Christ Superstar rock opera)

Written by Wendy, big fan of TWiVy Podcast, Northwest Iowa

Always thought that I’d be a virologist,
Knew that I would make it if I tried.
Then when Covid came, I could work on therapeutics
So we’d help the sick among us to survive.

Seems like we have failed to help each other.
Christmas parties, weddings all too soon.
Science has pushed ahead but the culture didn’t bother,
Now our mores held in conflict with the truth.

Somehow thought that we would have a leader,
Making plans to stop the viral spread.
Trump said drinking bleach could make us feel better,
Now the U.S. leads the world in people dead.

YouTube of music https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ICHIbP-4VQU 

Chrissy writes:

Hello TWiV Team,

      I’m one of the “pandemic bump” recent listeners since March, but your podcast is so fascinating that I plan on continuing after the current situation ends — Since first listening in March 2020, I’ve been inspired by your conversations to listen to Dr. Racaniello’s Virology course and Dr. Barker’s Immunology course (which I just finished, btw).  I have a question relating to your recent TWiV Episode 705, regarding your review of antigenic drift of coronaviruses, which I very much enjoyed.

      If I’m understanding correctly, it seems like most of the TWiV team expressed cautious optimism about the possibility that, during the period of vaccine efficacy for COVID-19, there might be a chance that later exposures to SARS-COV2 would trigger a secondary (or tertiary, etc) immune response, producing antibodies that might match up with epitopes of the Spike protein from Variants of Concern.  This indeed, would be terrific.  However, I recently listened to Dr. Barker’s lecture on how the epitopes of Influenza change regularly, and wonder if perhaps this lecture would give reason to curb over-enthusiasm about this possibility.  Again, if I understand (I’m a historian and not a scientist in real life), Dr. Barker pointed out that when we are re-infected with a different strain of Influenza, we may well give a secondary response that prevents us from getting sick, but that response might happen so quickly that our bodies do not have enough time to develop antibodies to any new epitopes on the virus.  Could this be something to consider?  Is there a chance (I hope there is) that I am wrong?  

     At any rate, it was a fascinating episode, as usual, and I was comforted to hear that at least mRNA vaccines can quickly adapt to new variants of the Spike protein on SARS-COV2.  

Thank you as always!


Richard writes:

Drs Racaniello and Griffin, 

Making an appointment for vaccination as a dentist in LA is basically getting on a waiting list. Not surprising considering that that state has not had the leadership to prepare adequate responses to the various challenges such as tesiing and the surges. Everything is “Please” and “do the precautions as much as you possibly can” and window dressing with ill conceived plans and inconsistent communication. Of course, California is not alone. 

I hope New York fares better, but this seems to be a national problem that is not going to go away. 

Stay covered up and avoid crowds, Thank you for TWiV and the Clinical Update. They have been very helpful and reassuring when performing the mental gymnastics related to the Testing and The Phases of Covid. I see a lot of people that just don’t get it. In fact, I have to remind myself at times. 


Richard Schoenbaum, DDS
Culver City, CA

Brenda writes:

Hi TWiVVers! 

Your podcasts help keep my spirits up and they inform at the same time.  Keep up the good work!

I came across this:

Why viruses love winter

Winter is a wonderland for viruses. Scientists don’t know the exact equation for transmission risk, but they know the major factors. For starters, lower outdoor temperatures, lower humidity, and less sunlight all favor virus survival


Also, this by the same person:

Do I really need a mask outdoors?

Yes, if you’re near others. Risk is lower outdoors, but it’s not zero.

While there’s little risk of catching Covid-19 outside while, say, briefly passing several feet from an infected person who is not talking, the risk rises with proximity, duration, and activity. An hour around a picnic table with an infected person laughing or shouting would raise the risk considerably.

Here’s the common analogy offered up by aerosol experts: Imagine if the people around you were smoking, and think of the smoke as a plume of virus-laden aerosols. If there’s no wind, the smoke would linger and you would not want to be in the plume without a mask. You also don’t want to be downwind.


So here are my questions:

  1. I have made a habit of trying to go to town when it is raining, based on the notion that it is less crowded. It looks like I have made a good decision just by luck. Is that right?
  2. I also wear a mask outdoors in any place that is frequented by people, which is all parts of the local town and most places round the village I live in. Most folk here only wear a mask in shops or on transport. Is it good practice to keep it on out of the house or are there any occasions when I could or should take it off.
  3. I know the writer has a financial interest in humidifiers but if what he says is true, it could affect a lot of different things. In pursuit of resilience, should we be looking to change modes of transport and construction to look at humidity controls as being more important than we do now? Would that reduce or help prevent transmission?