I mention this every few months, but the only guy who had real-world experience with eradicating an epidemic disease wrote a paper on how to deal with a COVID-like disease & he was quite critical of both school closures and quarantines

He basically called quarantines a outdated policy that only government officials take seriously but that has no good examples of actually controlling any disease spread in the past half-century Image
He was ok with school closures, but only for a week or two during seasonal outbreaks on practical grounds for when too many teachers where sick to keep schools running

Otherwise, he said the negative effects of school closures were unacceptable Image
Finally, he called vaccination "by far the most important preventative measure"

Far more than masks, this is where all our focus should be. If we could trade mask mandates for an extra 5-10% vaccinated, that should be considered an instant win.

When you listen to health officials discussing booster shots, they are more concerned about the unvaccinated getting vaccinated & are anxious that this focus on boosters will make the unvaccinated feel like the finish line keeps getting pushed away so what's the point?
That is why the main focus for booster shots is those who are in a high-risk category. The general agreement within the ACIP is that vaccines are proven incredibly effective so let's keep a focus on that and not on the still-unknown efficacy of additional shots

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More from @politicalmath

14 Sep
An interesting thing about DeSantis is watching the pundit class out themselves as helpless useless political whiners

Take this recent controversy and walk through the steps with me. What did they want DeSantis to do?

The press conference was about trying to protect employees (especially first responders) from being fired over vaccine mandates

The guy talking is a police officer who was invited to talk. He had no prepared remarks.
Now, what is the appropriate strategy? The pundits say "DeSantis stood by and let that guy spread misinformation, he didn't correct it".

So they wanted DeSantis to, on stage, reprimand that guy for saying the vaccine re-writes your RNA.
Read 9 tweets
14 Sep
This week's substack is about vaccine boosters. Do you need one? Why are we suddenly fighting over something that everyone seems to agrees on?

All this and cartoons.

It's weird that people feel a political need to have a "position" on boosters. This was an unnecessary fight that the Biden administration picked when they announced that everyone would have access to boosters by Sept 20.
The case for boosters run roughly like this:

1) boosters increase antibody response
2) higher antibody response correlated with protective efficacy

Which... yes. But that correlation plateaus at 2-4 on this chart.
Read 7 tweets
13 Sep
I strenuously object to this framing

The Biden admin wasn't "blindsided" by anything unless they were blindsided by the fact that they can't bully regulators into making vaccine recommendations before they can see the data

Here is the ACIP meeting (skip to 37 minutes in to listen to the boosters conversation)

They lay their case out cleanly and calmly and, towards the end, gently suggest that the Biden administration stop making claims about boosters without evidence.

In that conversation (if I heard it correctly) they say they haven't even gotten the booster data from the vaccine manufacturers, so it's not like they're dragging their feet.

I'm annoyed that Politico has basically none of that info in their piece.
Read 5 tweets
13 Sep
I've got a piece on this coming out tomorrow, but it's super super hard to have a conversation about what "needed" means when most people have no idea how to operate in an environment of varied risk
Most medical regulators are still operating in a system in which, if they cannot prove that something is effective in substantially reducing the risk, they don't make it a recommendation

For the "general public" boosters are not needed
The reason boosters are not "needed" is because, for the general public, vaccine efficacy remains quite high against symptomatic infection, hospitalization, and severe disease
Read 5 tweets
10 Sep
One of the most valuable things I think I've been able to impart to my kids is this crisis is this:

No one is bad for getting COVID. No one failed, no one is at fault. If you get COVID, we'll take care of you, everything will be ok.
If you get COVID, that's not because you weren't careful enough or your teacher didn't wear a mask or anything like that.

It's b/c sometimes we get sick. COVID is just another disease. We might get it. We might be lucky and not get it.

But there's nothing special about it.
Daddy got the vaccine b/c he looked really hard at the data and thinks the vaccine will help him stay safe. I will take care of you the same way. We'll do everything to protect you.
Read 6 tweets
10 Sep
I was made aware of this by @physicsgeek and it absolutely made my day

Not that anyone was asking for this, but I've always been fascinated with the weird personality differences between physicists and chemists

I'm more of a physicist. I like math, I like when equations tell me things

My sister is a chemist. She does not like math
the only class I ever came close to failing was a chemistry class and it was b/c I just couldn't complete the labs adequately

No matter how carefully I did the lab, no matter how precise I was, I couldn't get the "right" result
Read 8 tweets

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