Abigail writes:

Good Afternoon,

First, thank you for all the information you so freely share for those of us who are information junkies but are desperate to know where to find accurate, evidence-based information. Your podcast, along with the Unbiased Science podcast and Your Local Epidemiologist’s blog have been my go-to resources during the pandemic. I am grateful for the time you put into sharing science and making it accessible.

 I want to start by saying that our family has been very Covid conscious. My children (ages 7 and 11) wore masks at school, all day, every day, from Fall 2020 through Spring 2022. Until recently, my husband and I masked at work and indoors in crowded spaces. We were vaccinated as soon as we were eligible in early 2021, and our children received their vaccines in November and December 2021. We have all also been boosted, again as soon as we were eligible. My husband is in active duty military and has a vaccination record that is a mile long, and that’s not great hyperbole. Only my husband has ever tested positive for Covid, but that was in Iraq, and he had no symptoms (2020).

But, I admit that I have a lot of pause about getting the new bivalent booster. I have received three Moderna shots, and the second and third made me horribly ill. I did not have the typical flu-like symptoms; instead, I had an excruciating headache accompanied with vomiting for about 48 hours each time. I was completely unable to care for myself, much less care for my children and my home. And, I subsequently felt “off” for several weeks. I am loathe to tempt that again, especially with voices like Dr. Offitt’s, positing that benefits for me would be short-lived. I also admit that my anxiety is fueled a bit by reading this study (and the accompanying anti vaccine, pro ivermectin, anti establishment comments- made by doctors- on Sensible Medicine):


If adverse events are occurring with such frequency, and at greater frequency than some other vaccines whose usage was discontinued, the risk does not seem worth the benefit. What I would love from your hive mind is an assessment of the data.

I do not believe in some great conspiracy, but I do wonder why we do not hear more about the risks of these new vaccines if the incidence of adverse events is so great.

Thank you!


Visto writes:

TWIV 944 with Kathryn Hanley was very interesting.

So eloquent, adventurous and knowledgeable she is.

Borneo fieldwork does not sound like the cushy academic work environment.

She mentioned that VSV, dengue and other mosquito borne viruses overwinter somewhere unknown to re-emerge the next summer.

Could it be that we could eradicate some vectored viruses by removing the vector?

I’m thinking of Gene-Drive technology that can eliminate a species of mosquito from the environment.

Because I am not Dr Evil, stroking a white pussy-cat, I propose that a virus free population of the temporarily extincted mosquito species be kept in the lab for later release.

Would breaking the transmission cycle for a year or two have a chance of succeeding in eliminating some of these vectored viruses?



Neva writes:

Hi TWIVissimos,

The confusion about ‘the two Sean Carrolls’ was understandable.

 Since I am familiar with both, let me tout the physicist Sean M Carroll. There is plenty of online bio you can check out. Having followed him on the webs for years, I especially look forward to his Mindscape podcasts as he interviews a wide variety of folk from various fields. Recently he has moved from Catech Physics to be Homewood Professor of Natural Philosophy at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.  His interview with biologist Sean B Carroll is Mindscape #117 from October 2020. Look at the list of other interviewees and I bet you’ll find some that interest you. 

He, like youall, is wonderful at and devoted to explaining science clearly and with good humor. Many aspects of physics, especially particle physics, just dizzy my brain, but much of it is fascinating. His Mindscape website is https://www.preposterousuniverse.com. Yes, the Universe is Preposterous indeed. As  Vincent says about viruses “You just can’t make this stuff up”.

His latest book, The Biggest Ideas in the Universe, can be a TWIV pick if you like for the curious who are ok with a bit of challenge. I am enjoying it very much.

TWIV has been hitting it out of the park even more lately. 

Thank you,

Neva from Buda

P.S. Time for another lunch on the patio, Rich and Ibby.

Michael writes:

Hello! I’m an avid TWIV listener, and a historian of modern and contemporary art. Given how often you discuss vaccination, particularly in the clinical updates with Dr. Daniel Griffin, it occurred to me you might be interested in this piece I wrote on what is arguably the most important and widely recognized modern image of vaccination, a panel by Diego Rivera in his series of murals in Detroit:


The unnerving resonance of Diego Rivera’s Vaccination – Artforum International


OVER THE COURSE of the past couple of years, I’ve kept coming back to the image of Diego Rivera’s Vaccination. I can’t get it out of my head. The primary reason should be fairly obvious: This is arguably the most iconic and widely recognized artistic treatment of a subject that many of us have been reading, talking, and thinking about incessantly during the pandemic. But there’s more to it than that. If conventional accounts would lead us to expect mural art to be direct, didactic, and declarative, Rivera’s image is anything but. Its effect is subtly disquieting; it gets under your skin. Measured.

I noticed the pictures by Keith Haring behind Amy during the most recent livestream, so thought she might be interested in this art history angle as well-


Michael Lobel
Art History
Hunter College & The Graduate Center, CUNY

Debby writes:

HI, TWIVers,

As a fan of TWIV for nearly 3 years, I’m sending you a link to my favorite science show on Canada’s CBC radio network. 

Bob MacDonald has hosted Quirks and Quarks for 30 of its 40 or so years on air. This celebratory episode gives a lovely overview of who he interviewed, the subjects he has covered, and how this show has inspired people. Bob will continue as a science broadcaster (it’s not a retirement show) and I recommend it to anyone who is curious about science.


With much appreciation for all you do to educate us about the science of very little things called viruses.