Here’s my best-case scenario: With existing vaccines, we turn #covid19 into an illness akin to the seasonal flu. By the end of 2021, we can resume much of our pre-pandemic lives.

This @PostOpinions column explains how this could happen:…

I’m optimistic because of a specific result in the vaccine trials that, so far, has received little attention: very few vaccinated people have become severely ill to the point of requiring hospitalization.

This one measure could change everything. Families could safely spend holidays together again if the worst-case scenario shifted from being put on a ventilator or dying to possible fever and body aches. Schools could reopen and much of the economy could return to normal.

The bad news is that it’s looking more and more like we might not be able to eradicate #covid19. But let’s not overlook the potentially excellent news that the fear and isolation could be over — if we all get vaccinated and stay safe until that happens.


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More from @DrLeanaWen

27 Jan
Many Qs about why it is that new #covid19 variants that are more transmissible will cause exponentially more infections (i.e. why something that is 70% more transmissible doesn't just cause 70% more infections & deaths). 

A thread with an illustrative example (1/5):
Let's say that R0 (virus reproduction number) is 1.1

In the first round of infection, number of people infected = 1 (original person) + 1.1 =2.1

Next round = (2.1-1)*1.1 + 2.1 = 3.3
Third round = (3.3-2.1)*1.1 + 3.3 = 4.6

After 9 rounds, we get to 15.9.
Now, let's say a new variant is 70% more transmissible--say the R0 for the new strain is 1.1*1.7.

You still start out with 1. Then:

First round = (1)*1.1* 1.7 + 1 = 2.9
Second round = (2.9-1)*1.1*1.7 + 2.9 = 6.4

After 9 rounds, we get to a whopping 600 infected.
Read 5 tweets
9 Jan
While I applaud pres-elect @JoeBiden's commitment to speeding up vaccinations, I'm concerned about the new policy to release all available doses without guarantee of timely administration of 2nd doses for all 1st doses given.

My @PostOpinions op-ed (1/6):…
First, the bottleneck now is not supply, but the "last mile" between getting the vaccine to distribution sites & injecting it into people's arms. Speeding up this process should be the focus, or else vaccines will just sit in different freezers.

I'm also deeply troubled by the idea that we could be rushing first doses out without a guarantee of timely 2nd doses. Clinical trials were conducted with 2nd dose 3- or 4-weeks after the 1st. If we deviate from science, this could fuel vaccine hesitancy.

Read 6 tweets
29 Dec 20
At the current rate of #covid19 vaccinations, it will take the U.S. 10 years to inoculate 80% of Americans.

Instead of obfuscating & deflecting responsibility, the federal government needs to take 3 urgent steps.

My @washingtonpost op-ed (1/6):…
I know ramping up a complex operation is hard. It's possible 2 million is an undercount.

What concerns me most is that officials are backtracking on their promises. It's giving me flashbacks to the testing debacle (remember "everyone who wants a test can get one")? (2/6)
So what can be done? 3 things.

1) Set up a real-time public dashboard to hold the right officials responsible and to target additional resources to where are most needed. (3/6)
Read 6 tweets
10 Jul 20
In my testimony to the House Homeland Security Subcommittee today, I provide 10 actions Congress must take to reduce the unequal impact of #covid19 on Latinos, African-Americans, Native-Americans & other communities of color.

My recommendations: (1/7)…
1. Target testing to minority & underserved communities. Congress must instruct FEMA to ramp up testing & set up facilities all across the country.
2. Track demographic information to ensure equitable resource allocation. 
3. Hire contact tracers from minority communities. (2/7)
4. Provide free facilities for isolation & quarantine. 
5. Suspend immigration enforcement for those seeking medical assistance for covid-19. Congress should prohibit ICE from accessing records of those seeking care for covid-19. (3/7)
Read 7 tweets
26 Jun 20
So much wrong with @WhiteHouse presser on #covid19. We have record #s of infections in the U.S.--40,000 yesterday, and if only 1 in 10 being detected, means 400,000 people became infected. Hospitalizations are rising. Deaths will soon follow. Where is the urgency? (1/4)
They're saying testing is important. That's what public health experts have been asking for all along.

But where's the national plan for testing (& tracing + isolation)? We need at least 10X amount of testing we have now. (2/4)
In some areas, testing, tracing, isolation will not be enough: we need aggressive social distancing measures. Yes, it's individual responsibility, but public officials need to emphasize public health messaging + institute policies. Require masks. Limit indoor gatherings. (3/4)
Read 4 tweets
4 Jun 20
Testifying now to U.S. House of Representatives Select Subcommittee on #Coronavirus Crisis, on how #covid19 has unmasked long-standing health disparities among African-Africans & other minorities, who now bear the greatest brunt of this pandemic… (1/9)
The problems of structural racism & systemic inequities are huge and cannot be solved overnight. But there are concrete actions that can be taken now.

I outline four in my oral testimony. Full written testimony to be posted on @COVIDOversight…. (2/9)
1. The federal government must target public health resources to minority and underserved communities. This includes targeted testing with a real-time dashboard for testing & contact tracing  + providing free housing for those who need to self-isolate. (3/9)
Read 9 tweets

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