Thank you so much for your reliable, reasoned and accessible science podcast. I love your banter and humor, which only makes the in depth information more enjoyable. I always listen to the end, unlike some I guess.
We’re headed into another heatwave here in the Northwest. Triple digits in a region where 90+ degrees for more than two weeks in the summer used to be big news.
I wanted to bring some perspective on your references to “breakthrough” cases. I know you don’t like that term. I have an 85-year-old friend who was just released from the hospital after a frightening bout with COVID-19, despite being fully vaccinated. (Her healthcare provider sent her home after a positive test. I’m still angry that she wasn’t even offered monoclonal antibodies.)
I know statistics show her case is rare, and the vaccines usually prevent serious illness and death, but I am hearing from friends about more and more cases like this among older people in my circle. It seems like the science community is slow to accept that the vaccines might be waning. It reminds me of the beginning of the pandemic when the CDC didn’t want to admit that there was asymptomatic spread. I respect the fact that scientists wait for the evidence, but it seems prudent to warn people that they should act cautiously. I wonder, if the CDC had told people like my friend to mask up, would she have ended up in the ICU? You talk about using the delta variant to scare people, but I have to admit I am spooked, and judging by the state of hospitals in my area, and the anecdotal evidence in my circle of friends, this approach might be warranted.
I just wanted to make you aware of the concerns a lot of people have about the minimizing of the threat we see in our communities.
Thanks again for all the hard work you put in for our edification.
From near Portland, Oregon
PS – My partner manages a production facility where many of the workers are vaccine hesitant. He puts their reluctance down the fact that many are gamers, thus exposed to conspiracy theories that swirl in that sphere.
I thought you and your twiv team might be interested in this talk by Stanley Plotkin given to the Human Vaccines Project. He is definitely of the opinion that we (of a certain age) need a booster dose of the mRNA vaccine. He also explains very thoroughly something you talk a lot about on Twiv, correlates of protection.
Vincent and Twiv team,
Just a quick note of thanks for everything you do. I’m an ophthalmologist in private practice in Philadelphia and have relied heavily on your podcast to stay current on COVID-19. After the discussion this week about the new medical Barbie doll and someone joked that Dr Fauci’s ken doll should be next, I wanted to pass along a little laugh for your team. My son Andrew loves Dr Fauci and dressed as him for Halloween last year (at age 4) and the photos are too funny not to share.
Thank you again for everything!
I’ve been reminiscing about the beginning of the current pandemic and listening to some of the TWiV shows from around that time. You may remember a bit of discussion about a scientist in China asserting that COVID-19 is a “punishment” from nature. That discussion made me think of a quote from the great agnostic, Robert Green Ingersoll:
“In nature there are neither rewards nor punishments; there are consequences.”
Thanks for such an informative show!
Joe Holzhauer, DVM, MBA, MPM
Fall greetings to my favorite meteorologicomaniacs* from sunny but cooling Seattle, 66F/21C, where I am preparing to send my daughter to 3rd grade by reallocating a good chunk of pantry space to…not prepackaged healthy snacks, but PPE and BinaxNOW boxes! 🎉 Around here, in the last several months we have definitely shifted from worrying about our kids killing our parents to worrying about our parents killing our kids, and those rapid antigen tests have played a major role this summer in our peace of mind.
I have two picks for kids that can help create both a love for — and fluency in — science and infectious disease in children. We have purchased both for countless 1st and 2nd graders and they devour them again and again:
Human Body Theater is a graphic novel that teaches kids all about the human body’s systems. Thanks to this book, my now-8-year-old daughter has for years been able to talk mad shop about the endocrine and immune systems and also carry out embarrassment-free discussions about human reproduction.
Plagues: The Microscopic Battlefield, a science comic about infectious disease. This is the book that led to my daughter as a 1st grader hand sewing her own vibrio cholerae bacterium that she still sleeps with every night.
Lastly, a joke my kid made up:
Q. Why does Bamlanivimab take a shower every day?
A. So it doesn’t get antibody odor.
Thanks and cheers,
*Shout-out to Sinclair Lewis for teaching me the word meteorologicomania last night in chapter XVI of Arrowsmith, where he writes, “He was contented enough in gossiping about fishing with the barber, nor was he condescending to meteorologicomania…” I think you should add a METEOROLOGICOMANIAC pin or t-shirt to your merch site! If you want, I’ll design it for you…
Jody Rieck // L O S T L A B O R A T O R Y // lostlaboratory.com