“Covid zero is impossible with omicron, so what’s the point in even trying to reduce/slow transmission?”

My answer: 🧵 1/
False binaries are harmful, and don’t lead to good reasoning 2/

Not everyone is going to get omicron. And the difference between 80% vs 60% (both still very big) of a population catching it would be a huge difference in absolute numbers of people that wind up permanently disabled. 3/
(your regular reminder: "mild" covid can still involve damage to the vascular, immune, & central nervous systems) 4/
Many seem to be assuming that covid provides lasting immunity, even though we already know it does not. Each covid infection raises the risk of creating a new "pre-existing condition" that will make subsequent infections more dangerous 5/

Not everyone's immune systems will be able to take the repeated hits. In a population, getting covid 1x (on average) over the next 2 years vs. 3x (on average) over next 2 years is likely to result in significant differences in how many end up permanently disabled. 6/
Even if EVERYONE does get covid, delaying WHEN we do so has benefits. The longer we can wait, the greater the chance of new treatments being developed, more effective vaccines, better anti-virals, scaling production of paxlovid, etc. 7/
Adults deserve to be told the truth. Too much public health messaging about covid has been infantilizing, patronizing, & flat-out inaccurate. 8/

Due to bad messaging, many people misunderstand:
- Severity & prevalence of LongCOVID
- Airborne spread
Many may voluntarily choose to change their behavior if they better understood (particularly if given options: free N95s, work-from-home when possible, etc) 9/
The intervention (vaccines) changed our goal. Vaccines are great at reducing hospitalization & death, but not at reducing transmission. But "mild" cases can still result in long-permanent disability, so reducing transmission remains crucial 10/
It is ableist to ignore the many people (including some children) who are high health risk and more likely to die or experience extreme illness if they get covid. Again, any reduction in transmission can save lives. 11/

Here are some ideas about additional things we could be doing to slow the spread of omicron 12/

Related: 🧵 on why vaccines alone are not enough & need for a multipronged approach

Related: 🧵 & essay about efforts to downplay the devastating impact of #LongCovid

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More from @math_rachel

31 Dec 21
I want to share some essays I wrote & talks I gave in 2021 🧵 1/
Machine Learning + Medicine:
- Data can be biased, missing, incorrect
- Expertise of patients overlooked
- Med system is already disempowering & often traumatic for patients
- Machine learning systems can centralize power

Jan 2021 @BostonReview 2/
In topics ranging from #LongCOVID to HIV research to the long history of wrongly assuming women’s illnesses are psychosomatic, we have seen again & again that medicine, like all science, is political. 3/

Read 9 tweets
30 Dec 21
My state has pivoted to herd immunity (saying widespread covid is not just inevitable but “necessary”) BEFORE they have even STARTED vaccinating 5-11 year olds. I will be taking my child out of in-person school. #auspol 🇦🇺 1/
Research shows covid can cause changes to the brain, blood vessels, & kidneys in CHILDREN. (Much more research has been done on adults showing covid impacts: brain, heart, pancreas, central nervous system, vascular system, ovaries, & more) 2/

Long covid sounds like hell, and children can get it too. #LongCovidKids 3/

Read 8 tweets
22 Dec 21
If there was a vaccine for cholera, would you be willing to drink sewage-contaminated water?

"We are constantly breathing in one another’s lung secretions." @sarahzhang 1/

For decades, governments have passed legislation & invested heavily in food safety, sanitation, & drinking water for public health. By contrast, airborne pathogens & respiratory infections are addressed weakly, if at all. 2/

science.org/doi/full/10.11… A paradigm shift to combat ...
Ireland has > 2.5 million buildings, yet half of the people who died from Covid there were infected in fewer than 400 buildings 3/

Read 10 tweets
19 Dec 21
Focusing on vaccines ALONE:
- Does not work (many countries tried & failed)
- Hospitals can still collapse
- Sig # of vaxxed get LongCOVID
- Rooted in neoliberalism: individual responsibility as soln to collective problems
We need: vaccines + N95s + ventilation + air filters 1/
Vaccines alone are not enough. We saw this with Delta in UK, Israel, Denmark, & others that reopened w/out masks. Denmark had >90% vax rate for over 12s and here’s what happened with Delta. (for vax: 2x against delta may be like 3x against omicron) 2/
If you are 3x vaxxed, you should still care:
- Breakthroughs not rare
- Significant # of breakthroughs get LongCovid
- You may need functioning hospital system
- Many are ineligible for vax (kids) or can’t mount antibody response (eg cancer patients) 3/

Read 21 tweets
18 Dec 21
Many leaders say people are fed up w/ restrictions, so we can’t try to do anything about Omicron:
- Premise questionable, as several polls show majority want mask mandates
- There is a TON government could do (but isn’t) that does NOT involve individual restrictions 1/
Things govt could do that are NOT individual restrictions:
Mail everyone free KF94s & rapid tests
Fund ventilation upgrades & air filters
Set indoor air quality standards
Paid support to isolate when sick
Public education: #LongCovid is hell
Public education: #COVIDisAirborne 2/
More things govt could do that are NOT individual restrictions:
Public education: KF94/N95 >>> cloth/surgical mask
CO2 monitors for all indoor spaces, results displayed clearly for all occupants to see
Replace all the "fight covid w/ hand-washing signs" 3/
Read 7 tweets

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