Martin writes:

Dickson’s sandman rendition was brilliant. A cappella isn’t easy. Who knew vertical gardens and Victor Borge quality and style entertainment. Pearls before swine is Mathew 7:6  isn’t it. 

Another brilliant ep., keep ’em  comin! 



Trevor writes:

Hi Team TWIV,

I’m just a community pharmacist from the City of Sunshine, Dauphin, Manitoba, Canada.  Today it is a brisk -37 C or -34.6 F.  Unfortunately, due to Global Warming, this year I don’t think we’ll hit -40 where Celsius and Fahrenheit converge.  I’ve attached a pic of my son demonstrating deposition or de-sublimation.  This happens when you throw boiling water into cold dry air and the water vapour goes straight from a gas to a solid.

I recommend TWIV to anyone who will listen to me.  The most fun recommendation was to my Dad, a retired physicist and metallurgist.  Despite taking no biology, let alone microbiology, on the way to his PhD, he is really enjoying the Podcast.  In fact when my sister, just a physiotherapist, called him to say she got a rash after her Moderna Shot, my Dad told her, “Don’t worry, Daniel Griffin said that is most likely the 7-day itch.”

My question is about potentially getting many vaccines at the same time.  Our local docs are being told by Public Health to not give another vaccine 14 days prior to a COVID shot and not for another 28 days after the final COVID shot.  Daniel Griffin said a similar thing, but said it was a “soft” recommendation.  My memory from vaccine training years ago was that a person could theoretically get hundreds of vaccines at the same time and still have them all work against their appropriate infectious agents and not harm the patient.  From an immunology and effectiveness standpoint, is there any reason not to give other vaccines, like Shingrix, close to a COVID shot?  How many vaccines could theoretically be given to one patient at a time and have them all still be effective?



John writes:

Drs TWiV:

A friend up in Missoula posted this from a newspaper up there, attached.  Lunacy all right there in black & white.  We know the structures of the Avian flu and Coronaviruses in molecular detail, but sure, let’s tell people that COVID is just re-branded seasonal flu.  

Best regards,


in currently cloudy/rainy Historic Braddock where it’s 57/13, coming off of yesterday’s sunny 61/16. I got my first Moderna jab Monday at a clinic just 8blocks away – Hoo-ray!

Josh writes:

Hello TWiV doctors;

I want to start by thanking you all for the great work you have been doing during the pandemic. Simply providing real information is so valuable. You have no idea how much it’s meant.

I realize this isn’t this week in vaccine logistics, but California’s vaccine rollout has been a complete fiasco. My friends and colleagues have all been asking for months when the vaccine is coming. Asking me because I keep up with TWiV. I always say you need to be patient. They believed me for a long time, but they don’t believe me any more. They think it’s never really coming. That the companies and government are just making up the numbers. That no one has a real plan. 

After months of this, I don’t believe it either anymore. Like Waiting for Godot, we will be always waiting, hearing “Oh it’s coming” and it will never actually materialize.I wish I didn’t feel like this but I can’t come to any other conclusion after the incompetence shown by everyone involved.

Most of the states are now saying screw it and just reopening anyway. Now I honestly believe that by the time we become “eligible” for it, it will not exist in any real numbers, and the government will say “oh you don’t need it now anyway”. This pandemic has not only broken our economy, it’s broken my faith.



Brian writes:

Mask soliloquy


To be or not to be, that’s the mask question,
Is it nobler to suffer
The slings and arrows of contagion
Or wear a mask against its spread
And thereby end it?

Alas, research was done in China and HK a year ago.1,2 N95s intercept virus, but they aggregate on the mask surface. IoM reported this a decade ago.3 Mask movement, especially removal, sheds.

N95s were and are being reused in hospitals. Also, most cleaning methods reduce electret charge, the method used to trap virions in the mask matrix. 

IoM and others recommend wearing a second mask over the N95 in high transmission environments. Hard to do.

About masks in restaurants: it’s physically impossible to eat/drink while wearing a cloth or surgical mask. Breathing does emit virus if one’s infected, but it’s a fraction of what gets shed when talking or laughing. Talking loudly is equivalent to singing, according to Chen et al..4

So when people de-mask to eat, the real risk comes when they do what people go to restaurants for – have a good time.

I have a conflict of interest. An inventor, I patented a “butterfly” mask that goes over N95s, to absorb some pathogens without causing discomfort. It folds off and fits in a bag for cleaning/disposal, and to test as a biosensor. Also invented (but open source) ‘mask on a stick’, which restaurants can put at a place setting. Customers use it when talking, especially to the server. Still, I patented the first in Japan, and “mask on a stick” may end up in Asia too.

Americans, we just don’t do masks.

This country puzzles the will
its native hue of intelligence
is sickled o’ver with the pale cast 
of anti-intellectualism

Apologies to Will. 

Thanks to TWIV. 


1 Lui et al., Aerodynamic Characteristics and RNA Concentration of SARS-CoV-2 Aerosol in Wuhan Hospitals during COVID-19 Outbreak 

2 Chin et al., Stability of SARS-CoV-2 in different environmental conditions

3 Institute of Medicine, 2006 Reusability of Facemasks During an Influenza Pandemic: Facing the Flu.

4 Chen PZ, Bobrovitz N, Premji Z, et al. Heterogeneity in transmissibility and shedding SARS-CoV-2 via droplets and aerosols. medRxiv; 2020

Suzanne writes:

Hi Vincent,

I found your podcast in Spring 2020 and have been listening to every episode since that time. I’m an education researcher and have been enjoying delving into virology and learning new things through your podcast. As so many others have said, our dogs are certainly the winners of the pandemic: first because we’re home with them almost all the time and second because of the longer walks so I can listen to more TWiV! 

My question today is silly and quite tangential, but I’m asking anyway! It’s about the photo icon that appears when I listen to your podcast in my car. At first, I thought perhaps it was an older photo of you, but then I looked at photos of you online. I noticed that you seem to have straight hair and darker eyes, while the person in the photo has curly hair and lighter eyes. I’ve attached a picture of my vehicle’s screen so you can see the photo too. Perhaps other listeners have the same image pop up, and it’s not just my Toyota that displays it?  Please let me know if it’s you in the photo, or if you happen to know why this is the picture that shows up whenever I listen to TWiV in my car!

Many thanks for your excellent podcast and all the work that you and your colleagues put into it!


Heidi writes:

Dear Vincent (and others if you care to share)

I am among the many dog-walking TWIV fans, but I also listen to TWIV while I draw and cartoon.

I often find myself wanting to convey my enormous gratitude to the scientific and medical communities for all they have done for us throughout this pandemic, but it is impossible. This amateurish caricature featuring my favorite scientific podcast host will have to suffice. For no particular reason, I have included you in the attached Jeopardy scenario, my tribute to the late Alex Trebek. You are playing with the rapper Killer Mike of Run the Jewels, and Marie Antoinette. 

Thanks again for all you and the TWIV team do, 

Heidi in Montana

Lainie writes:

Hi Team Twiv!

Here’s my quote for the week: 

“Prior Proper PPE Prevents Piss Poor Pandemic Performance”. 

This is adapted from the original 7 Ps quote – Prior proper planning prevents piss poor performance, rumored to have originated from the military.

I have attached a photo of a vaccine pin that my employer gave to me (purchased from The combination of being fully vaccinated, having access to adequate PPE, and listening to your podcasts allows me to feel prepared to handle the challenges of this pandemic. 

Thank you for what you do! I look forward to your each and everyone of your episodes, especially the Dr. Griffin clinician updates. 

Lainie Heine

Physician Assistant

Knoxville, TN