This is the #1 question I get asked: What can newly vaccinated do? Is it safe to see grandkids?

Though there are still unknowns, we need to give a better answer than "follow all precautions".

My dos/don't in this week's @PostOpinions column:… (1/5)
The #covid19 vaccine is extremely protective against severe disease. There's growing evidence that it may reduce the likelihood of people being carriers.

People should resume essential activities but were being put off--like cancer screenings & dental screenings. (2/5)
It's probably fine to resume some non-essential activities, like going to the gym & out to eat. People should still abide by masking & distancing in case they can infect others. I'd still avoid crowded bars--& be extra cautious if others in your home are unvaccinated. (3/5)
What about grandparents who want to see their families? If the reason the visits didn’t occur before was concern for the elderly, then many families may decide it’s fine now because the grandparents are protected. Wear masks during travel & limit social gatherings before. (4/5)
We finally have #covid19 #vaccines that provide extraordinary protection. Let’s help people use them to protect themselves while reclaiming some degree of normality and giving everyone hope for a post-pandemic future. (5/5)

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More from @DrLeanaWen

4 Feb
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.

Read 4 tweets
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

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