BREAKING: Universal mask use could prevent nearly 130,000 deaths from Covid-19 by next spring, and without mask use, the death toll could top 500,000, acc to new estimates. 1/x

nytimes.com/2020/10/23/hea…
These are extremely rough approximations, susceptible to all the flaws of modeling studies, but plausible nonetheless, experts say. We’re already seeing a fall surge. The trends will continue through to a peak in Jan, and hold at high levels till March, acc to the model. 2/x
If states ease all social distancing mandates, the death toll could hit a million by spring. But more plausibly, if states put some restrictions back in place because of rising rates, the number might be closer to 500K. 3/x
The most intriguing part of this model (again, with all flaws of models) is mask use. With universal (95%) mask use, deaths might drop by 130K, and with 85% mask use by nearly 100K. The exact numbers may be way off, but the overall point is important.

4/x
But will that happen? Masks have become incredibly politicized, and mask wearing right now is at about half the levels needed. Mask mandates and penalties may help, but not if private gatherings are fueling the spread. 5/x
For a full discussion of what the model found, where the flaws lie and the potential impact of masks, please read the story:

feat. @IHME_UW @bansallab
@AshTuite and @CarlosdelRio7

nytimes.com/2020/10/23/hea…

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More from @apoorva_nyc

19 Oct
NEW: The Great Barrington Declaration has received a lot of attention, especially from the Trump administration. How did they gain access? And what exactly do they envision? 1/x

nytimes.com/2020/10/19/hea…
Here are some of the main pts: 1) protect the older/vulnerable while letting young people get infected
2) No testing of asymptomatic people
3) No contact tracing. 2/x
BUT how exactly would this work? How do you define, let alone "protect the vulnerable," when a third of the population has underlying risk factors? And how do you physically separate them from the rest of the population? 3/x
Read 7 tweets
19 Oct
In August I wrote a story questioning whether PCR tests are too sensitive. Many clinical microbiologists and others took issue with the piece because they saw it as undermining the PCR. This Medium post raises some of those points: 1/x

medium.com/@aminkina/covi…
The post makes some very important points about PCR, including the huge variability across machines of cycle thresholds (Ct) and even from sampling method. 2/x
The FDA's own analysis confirms this concern. See, for eg, this recent attempt at figuring out the analytical sensitivity of some of the tests with an EUA, the range is very wide: 3/x

fda.gov/medical-device…
Read 12 tweets
16 Oct
There are SO MANY concerns about rapid tests for the coronavirus but a real-world experiment in SF has found that Abbott's BinaxNOW is just as good as PCR at detecting people who are infectious

nytimes.com/2020/10/15/hea…
The study is small, and it has limitations. But the team tested people at a train station in a Latino neighborhood. Looking at a likely range for infectiousness (CT < 33), the test detected 15 of 16 cases picked up by PCR. 2/x
But not rapid tests are equal. and neither, by the way, are all PCR tests. One analysis by the FDA found massive differences in sensitivity, with another Abbott test, ID now, towards the bottom. 3/x
Read 6 tweets
14 Oct
NEW: President Trump has been saying his immunity makes him feel like Superman. But the treatments he got may have prevented his body from making antibodies of his own, leaving him more susceptible in a few weeks than the average Covid-19 survivor. 1/x

nytimes.com/2020/10/14/hea…
The Regeneron antibodies have a half life of 21 and 25 days. meaning that by Oct 23, their levels in his body will fall by half and then keep declining. 2/x
Mr. Trump did not have antibodies of his own when he got the Regeneron cocktail. The cocktail suppresses virus + dexamethasone tamps down immune system, so there's a good chance he didn't make any antibodies. 3/x
Read 5 tweets
13 Oct
NEW: Reports of reinfection with the coronavirus, like the one in Nevada, evoke a nightmarish future: Repeat bouts of illness, impotent vaccines, unrelenting lockdowns — a pandemic without an end. But that nightmare doesn't reflect reality. Here's why 1/x

nytimes.com/2020/10/13/hea…
What these cases tell us is that reinfection is possible, and in at least 3 cases so far, have been more severe. But that’s well within the natural variation in immune response and happens with every pathogen. 2/x
Take a look at the numbers: > 38 mil reinfections; fewer than 5 confirmed with peer review. “That’s tiny — it’s like a microliter-sized drop in the bucket” said @angie_rasmussen 3/x
Read 6 tweets
12 Oct
NEW: Everyone is talking about the Regeneron and Lilly monoclonal antibodies. But some scientists are betting on "Prometheus," a ragtag group of scientists who are months behind in the competition — and yet may deliver the most powerful antibody. 1/x

nytimes.com/2020/10/12/hea…
The Prometheus antibody won’t enter human trials till December, but unlike other mabs which would last weeks, the Prometheus would last up to 6 months. 2/x
It is also one of the only mabs that broadly neutralizes the new coronavirus, SARS and also other bat-origin coronaviruses. Meaning it’s a good weapon in the arsenal for any future coronaviruses that might decide to drop by. 3/x
Read 6 tweets

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