I haven’t written a COVID blog in a while (too busy chasing my toddler). But I’ve been fielding the same COVID questions from people, so it’s maybe more efficient to put it in writing. First, I thought it would be worthwhile to examine a tough question I received in February 2021, more than year ago. […]
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Entries by Martha Nelson
Americans’ desire for normalcy is beginning to outweigh fear of the virus. But as we loosen the belt, we need to do so strategically. A guiding principle is to loosen the belt during refractory periods between variant waves and tighten the belt as variants spread like wildfire to “flatten the curve” on explosive growth to […]
Interviewer: Nice to see you. You haven’t said anything in a while. Me: I’m burned out. Interviewer: Join the club. But we’re out of this pandemic hellhole soon, right? Me: I have no crystal ball. But we’ve been watching respiratory virus pandemics for more than a hundred years. There have been at least five – […]
You heard: Breakthrough infections are uncommon. What that means: Breakthrough infections are uncommon when you look at the totality of data spanning from when vaccines began to be rolled out in December 2020. The New York Times and other papers often cite a Kaiser Family Foundation report that states Almost all (more than 9 in […]
“Wear a mask!” I stopped running and wheeled around. A middle-aged woman ambled towards me on DC’s Glover-Archibald hiking trail. She was alone and walked with a long stick. “Wear a mask!” she repeated, closing to within five yards of me. “Don’t judge me,” I glowered. “I’m not judging you, I just want you […]
If you thought controversies over masks and lab-leaks were fever pitched, just hold your hats until the COVID-19 vaccine is licensed for kids under 12 this fall. Nothing gets Americans lathered up like policies that affect the safety of their kids. The diversity of opinions on this matter is about to skyrocket because the cost-benefits […]
TL;DR: Everything is in place for the COVID-19 pandemic to end in America. The vaccines are working beautifully, even against new variants. But vaccine hesitancy remains a stubborn barrier to full normalcy, putting American on course to reach equilibrium, not eradication. Ahead of last summer I was telling everyone they were fools for declaring the […]
COVID-19 slashed red tape and poured in government funding to spark giant leaps forward in scientific innovation, most prominently in vaccinology but also behind-the-scenes in genetic sequencing to track a fast-evolving virus generating new variants. These developments set the stage for promising new strategies for a range of infectious disease threats, from malaria to influenza. […]
The World Health Organization’s recent probe into the origins of COVID-19 in Wuhan has renewed interest in piecing together when, where, and how the virus jumped from animals to humans during the fall of 2019. The Wuhan Seafood Market outbreak appears to be a red herring, serving as an early amplifier of a simmering outbreak […]
TL;DR: New variants cropping up globally are headed to America and threaten to overwhelm hospitals. Our highly potent vaccines still protect pretty well against new strains, but we are not rolling out vaccine fast enough to prevent new epidemic spikes. November’s announcement of highly effective COVID-19 vaccines brought a refreshing break in the otherwise bleak […]