This seems like an odd statement but the skeptical cardiologist has become addicted to the scientific discussion on Twitter. Prior to a year ago I was mostly reading discussions and multiple tweets from same-author threads on cardiology and nutrition. Now, I’m getting my most cutting edge info on COVID-19 from Tweets.
Dr. Bob Wachter, one of my favorite experts on COVID-19 regularly issues a series of tweets, a “tweetorial” if you will, updating us on the developments.
Robert M. Wachter, MD is Professor and Chair of the Department of Medicine at UCSF, where he is the Holly Smith Distinguished Professor in Science and Medicine and the Benioff Endowed Chair in Hospital Medicine. The department leads the nation in NIH grants and is generally ranked as one of the nation’s best. Wachter is author of 300 articles and 6 books. He coined the term “hospitalist” in 1996 and is often considered the father of the hospitalist field, the fastest growing specialty in the history of modern medicine. He is past president of the Society of Hospital Medicine and past chair of the American Board of Internal Medicine. In the safety and quality arenas, he has written two books on the subject, including Understanding Patient Safety, the world’s top selling safety primer. His 2015 book, The Digital Doctor: Hope, Hype and Harm at the Dawn of Medicine’s Computer Age, was a New York Times science bestseller. In 2016, he chaired a blue-ribbon commission advising England’s National Health Service on its digital strategy. In 2020, his tweets on Covid-19 were viewed over 100 million times by 150,000 followers and served as a trusted source of information on the clinical, public health, and policy issues surrounding the pandemic.
Dr. Wachter just posted this series of 25 tweets which addresses how we should be looking at risk and our behaviours in light of the emergence of more transmissible SARS-CoV2 mutants and widespread vaccination.
On Twitter, they are more difficult to follow but a website called Thread Reader allows them to be bundled into one PDF document and for a small fee you can download that PDF without ads or annoying comments.
You can read the original tweet complete with links by clicking below
1/ Covid Chronicles, Day 307— Bob Wachter (@Bob_Wachter) January 19, 2021
One of the most challenging parts of Covid has been grappling with decision-making under uncertainty. It’s natural for MDs to weigh risks & benefits; med school trained us in probabilistic decision-making. But it’s an unnatural act for most people.
My personal risk estimate now that I am 2 weeks post my second vaccination is very similar to Wachter’s.
Given 95% protection against COVID-19, I’ll still wear a mask and try to minimize situations which give me a high exposure to SARS-CoV2.
I plan on seeing my dentist, getting bloodwork I’ve been putting off, visiting my new granddaughter in North Carolina (assuming the former eternal fiancee’ (FEF) can get vaccinated). I, too, haven’t had a professional haircut since the pandemic began but the FEF has been doing an outstanding job so that has become a low priority.
6 thoughts on “Weighing COVID-19 Risks in Light of Mutants and Vaccines: A Tweetorial”
Its interesting to see the efficacy rates of these vaccines in regards to infection post vaccination. One thing I’m curious about is what are the risks to the virus being spread to the non vaccinated from vaccinated individuals. I have not found much information on this topic and I’m wondering if vaccinated individuals can still produce sufficient viral load during the incubation and prodromal stages to transmit to the antibody naive. I think Dr. Wachter’s comments on being precautionary can also be applied not only to infection for those already vaccinated but also potentially infecting those antibody naive individuals as well.
Thank you for this good information. How much protection from Covid-19 does a person have if they are not wearing a mask but the other person who is 5-6 feet away from them is wearing a mask? My relative often refuses to wear a mask when answering the door for a delivery person, citing that the other person’s mask is sufficient protection? (He insists on greeting the delivery person at the door.) Thank you
Questions: As to the previous comment, has anyone seen an analysis of the risk of the vaccine? Is the risk discussed above about illness from COVID (some people test positive for COVID and have little to no symptoms)… or death? Has anyone done the same type of statistical analysis to determine their risk of injury and death in driving in their car? Has anyone done the same type of statistical analysis to determine their risk of illness and death from smoking any type of substance? Drinking alcohol? What about traveling to a foreign country where water is not sanitized to the same standards as the U.S.? What about the risk of illness and death from scuba diving? Or cycling? It would be interesting to gather this type of data to assess our risk of illness or death from a variety of different activities that require us to leave our homes and/or interact with other people, and not just COVID,
One complication is that vaccination changes BOTH the probability of infection and the expected harm from infection. I haven’t seen that adequately addressed anywhere.
Thanks very much for this!