BREAKING: What will a post-vaccine world look like? Once most adults are immune — following natural infection or vaccination — the virus will be no more of a threat than the common cold, according to a new modeling study. 1/5…
The virus is the grim menace it is now only because it's an unfamiliar foe. That will no longer be the case once most people have been exposed. Eventually, young children will be its only "naive" hosts -- and in them it will cause mostly cold-like symptoms, if any 2/5
We. can get there one of two ways. The hard way -- vaccinating everyone -- or the horrible way, letting infections kill millions. Either way, we will get there, but only if the virus turns out to be like common cold coronaviruses (likely). 3/5
The most fascinating thing I learned reporting this story is that scientists are revisiting a theory that the pandemic of 1890, frequently ascribed to the flu, may in fact have been caused by OC-43, one of the four common cold coronaviruses. 4/5
Read up on this comforting and promising news (for a change!)

Feat. work by Jennie Lavine @EmoryUniversity and comment from @profshanecrotty @JenGommerman @mlipsitch and @VeilletteAndre…

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More from @apoorva_nyc

10 Jan
At hospitals affiliated with NYU, Columbia, Harvard and Vanderbilt, 20- and 30-something grad students, IT and billing staff and administrators (none of whom see patients) have been vaccinated ahead of the elderly and other high-risk populations 1/x…
You may say, well, so what? At least the doses are being used. That's true, but hospitals, especially, are well positioned to vaccinate high-risk groups (their patients!) and many have interpreted "frontline staff" very liberally. 2/x
As a member of the CDC advisory board said to me, they the recommendations were never intended to include administrators or grad students who never come into contact with patients. 3/x
Read 6 tweets
9 Jan
Proud to have two stories on the homepage today — both, sadly, about the failures of leadership in coping with this pandemic.
The first, with my colleagues @mattapuzzo and @selamgkidan is about how utterly unprepared the world is to cope with the rapidly evolving virus, despite years of warnings from experts…
We charted how, as experts caught on to the emerging variants in Britain, South Africa and Brazil, governments have responded, again and again, with measures that are woefully misguided and inadequate.
Read 7 tweets
7 Jan
NEW: The mob that stormed the Capitol yesterday did not just unleash invective and a threat to American democracy. They may also have transformed the riot into a super-spreader event. 1/4…
The circumstances were ideal for a super spreader event: throngs of unmasked people, crowding into hallways and rooms, shouting and yelling. Sone GOP lawmakers also did not wear masks, putting their colleagues at risk when they all sheltered from the violence. 2/4
We may never know the full impact of a super spreader event if there is one, though, because even the rioters who are identified by the FBI are unlikely to comply with the kind of contact tracing it would require. 3/4
Read 4 tweets
31 Dec 20
This year has been momentous, with a new virus, a new job writing about that virus (114 articles!) and many new sources, readers and Twitter followers. To chronicle this insane year, I'm compiling some of the stories I'm proudest of. A thread.
Exactly a year ago, my family and I were headed back from Vietnam, with no idea how close we had been to the outbreak brewing in China. It took me a while to realize the gravity, but this first story I wrote about the virus still (mostly) holds up:…
In March, it became increasingly obvious from research being published that the virus could spread in the absence of symptoms. Yet US officials were still mostly pooh-poohing it. In this article I talked to scientists who knew better:…
Read 16 tweets
30 Dec 20
BREAKING: B 1.1.7, the variant first identified in the U.K., has been identified in California and in Colorado, and may alter the course of the pandemic in the United States 1/x…
Neither confirmed case has a travel history, suggesting that there is community transmission. Also, a household contact of the California case started feeling symptoms yesterday and is being tested. Bottomline: the variant is here and will spread. 2/x
One estimate, from @trvrb, is that the new variant accounts for less than 1% of cases now but will grow to become the dominant variant, as it did in the UK, by March 3/x
Read 6 tweets
29 Dec 20
NEW: Did you know that the PCR test offers a rough approximation of the viral load and not just a yes/no to the question of infection? So why do labs not report it? Dozens of studies have shown that the viral load can predict outcome, including death 1/7…
Baked into the PCR is a metric called Ct, or cycle threshold-- the number of cycles the PCR has to run to get a positive signal. The more virus a person has, the lower the Ct--and, apparently, the greater the odds of severe illness and death, according to these studies 2/7
So why do labs not report Ct values? Every lab scientist I've spoken with has been under the impression that the FDA's authorization of the tests only extends to a yes/no, but in fact, acc to the FDA, that is NOT SO, and this month the FDA updated its FAQ to reflect this 3/7
Read 7 tweets

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