Liz Szabo Profile picture
Senior correspondent at Kaiser Health News. I normally cover the quality of medical care for seniors. Now, I cover COVID-19. She/Her RTs aren't endorsements.
16 Jul
I don't want to criticize nurses, b/c they work incredibly hard. But when my dad was hospitalized, it wasn't helpful for them to tell me every day that he was "looking better today." He was elderly, w/ dementia & other comorbidities. He was never going to get better. 1/
His nursing home sent him to the hospital, where he was in the ICU on bipap. (He was DNR and we said no ventilators.) After a few days, his breathing improved, he switched to a nasal cannula for oxygen. That doesn't mean he was 'better." 2/ #hpm
Do nurses feel pressure to keep families' hopes up?I've written about hospice & the end of life for years, but that sort of false hope could keep other families from accepting reality. #hpm /3
Read 23 tweets
15 Jul
ICYMI: The @cdc's Dr. Jay Butler talked to the @IDSAInfo this week on the Delta variant and vaccines.

2/3 of all adults have gotten 1 dose of vaccine, including 90% over age 65 have gotten one dose, 80% of those over 65 are fully vaccinted.
@cdc's Dr. Jay Butler says no evidence of waning immunity from covid vaccines.
@AndrewPaviaMD Hospitalizations in Utah have doubled. Case positivity rates have tripled. ICU's are now operating at over 100% capacity. Haven't yet had to create emergency ICUs, which is normally full in summer due to trauma.
Read 17 tweets
17 Mar
@theNAMedicine @PublicHealth LIVE: Speakers at @theNAMedicine webinar on variants include some heavy hitters of science: @CarlosdelRio7, @angie_rasmussen, Dr. David Ho of @Columbia & @MonicaGandhi9 .
@theNAMedicine @PublicHealth @CarlosdelRio7 @angie_rasmussen @Columbia @MonicaGandhi9 Live: @angie_rasmussen: Viruses have smaller genomes but mutate much more than complex cells.
@theNAMedicine @PublicHealth @CarlosdelRio7 @angie_rasmussen @Columbia @MonicaGandhi9 Live: @angie_rasmussen: Mutations are scattered randomly through coronavirus genome, although the ones of most concern relate to the spike protein, which helps virus enter our cells.
Read 26 tweets
16 Mar
Live from International Antiviral Society–USA (IAS–USA)

One monoclonal antibody is good, two is better.
Live from International Antiviral Society–USA (IAS–USA)

Dr. Jonathan Li: Mutations occur between the areas where antibodies bind to virus and the spike protein.
Live from International Antiviral Society–USA (IAS–USA) @DrJLi is talking about variants. Vaccines appears to protect against the B.1.1.7 variant (originally found in the UK) as well as the original virus.
Read 15 tweets
15 Mar
JAMA LIVE. @CarlosdelRio7 notes there will be PTSD caused by the pandemic.
JAMA LIVE: When asked which vaccine she recommends, @PreetiNMalani said to get the first vaccine you can. "They all work beautifully on severe disease."
JAMA LIVE: @CarlosdelRio7 and @PreetiNMalani said the vaccines reduce infectivity, likely protect against infection. "Even if you get infected, you may not make enough virus to be infectious."
Read 4 tweets
5 Mar
LIVE @NC4HR: Dr. Paul G. Auwaerter of @JohnsHopkinsDOM notes that people infected with B.1.1.7 variant are infectious longer -- eight days instead of five days.
LIVE @NC4HR: Dr. Paul G. Auwaerter of @JohnsHopkinsDOM notes effectiveness of mRNA vaccines in Israel as good as in clinical trials.
Good protection in people over 70, who normally don't do as well with vaccines. Image
LIVE @NC4HR: Dr. Paul G. Auwaerter notes Houston has four variants circulating in the city.
Read 18 tweets
3 Mar
This slide includes data that could be used to argue both for/against giving everyone one dose before giving people a second.
Here's another slide contrasting the arguments for/against giving everyone one dose before anyone gets the second. One major point: The one-dose strategy would violate the FDA's emergency use authorization.
CDC advisory panel yesterday also debated whether people who've had covid need 2 shots or 1. Once again, giving only one shot would violate the FDA's emergency authorization.
Read 16 tweets
1 Mar
An advisory committee to the CDC is meeting as we speak. You can watch here: #acip…
@InfectiousPS said she's gotten 80% of her staff vaccinated, with 10% waiting to see how others do. Dr. Tom Shimabakuru is speaking now about safety monitoring. Here's his presentation. #acip…
Who serves on the CDC vaccine advisory group? Here's the list: #ACIP…
Read 27 tweets
17 Feb
@WHCOVIDResponse is holding another live briefing. I'll be live tweeting. @KHNews
Live @JeffZients: 13.5 million doses going out this week. On track to have vaccines for 300 million Americans by July. 700 federal personnel to be vaccinators. 1000 members of military will support community vaccination sites.
Live @JeffZients: Covid vaccines will be available at community centers, high school gyms, churches, stadiums, pharmacies.
Read 30 tweets
11 Feb
LIVE @DrPaulOffit: Good news. No difference in rates of Bell's palsy between vaccinated people and non-vaccinated.

Some ppl have developed bleeding issues a day after vaccine, but that's "too soon" for the vaccine to have caused the bleeding.
I'm live tweeting another great interview w/ Dr. Howard Bauchner. He notes that we have 6 months now of vaccine data, since first large study began. No serious safety issues. He said he's reassured.
LIVE: "Here's when to worry" about covid variants eluding vaccines, @drpauloffit says, when people who were vaccinated gets covid again and is hospitalized."
Read 27 tweets
27 Jan
LIVE @DrNunezSmith: "We're removing all out-of-pocket costs for these vaccines."
LIVE @DrNunezSmith said people need paid time off to go get the vaccine.
LIVE @DrNunezSmith: Biden team is launching a public relations campaign so everyone can learn facts about vaccines.
Read 16 tweets
27 Jan
FAUCI LIVE is updating us on therapeutics. Dexamethasone reduces mortality late in the disease. Remdesivir works earlier in the disease, as well as some monoclonal antibodies and convalescent plasma.
FAUCI LIVE: Here are the vaccines in development.
FAUCI LIVE: Covid variants are more infectious and possibly more deadly. B.1.1.7, the UK variant, has a "very slight if at all" vaccine-induced antibodies. "Things get a bit more problematic" for the South African variant.
Read 6 tweets
10 Dec 20
It's the day you've all been waiting for. An @fdagov advisory committee will evaluate @Pfizer's covid-19 vaccine and recommend whether to issue an emergency authorization. Watch here or follow this tweet thread.
Officially, this is a meeting of the @fdagov's Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee, or #VRBPAC. They are independent experts, not government employees, who are asked to scrutinize vaccine data and make recommendations.…
Although the @fdagov commissioner listens to the advisory committee, he is not legally required to follow its recommendations. @SteveFDA committed early on to convene this committee to show process wasn't political.
Read 108 tweets
9 Dec 20
Can science end the pandemic? Not if we don't socially distance and mask up. @drsanjaygupta tells public health forum, "As good as the science is, no amount of science can rescue us from ourselves."…
Fauci said schools aren't a big source of covid-19 infections. "Given the level of infection we’re seeing in schools, it doesn’t appear that the risk to teachers isn’t any greater than they would just being in the community."
Fauci: "The number and percentage of children getting infected (in school) is less than you would have expected.
That’s really good news for keeping he children in school
In general, it looks like we can keep the children in school and get them back to school safely."
Read 30 tweets
4 Dec 20
LIVE: The National Vaccine Advisory Committee from @HHSGov is meeting now.

Watch here, or follow my tweets.…
LIVE: @HHS_ASH says he'd like National Vaccine Advisory Committee to discuss the need to vaccinate children, who has a case fatality rate of 0.2% (although kids can also develop rare inflammatory syndromes).…
LIVE: Nearly 180 million flu vaccine doses have been distributed this year, the highest number ever. "The great news is that seasonal influenza activity has remained low this year," said @HHS_ASH.
Read 28 tweets
2 Dec 20
@DrPaulOffit tells @JAMA_current he was totally surprised that both mRNA vaccines have 94-95% efficacy. In January, he said, "no one would have thought this was possible."
In his live interview, @JAMA_current debunks some myths about covid-19 vaccines that are really important. A doctor friend texted me and wanted me to ask @drpauloffit about it for her! Instead, read this slide.
LIVE: @drpauloffit tells @JAMA_current that it's extremely encouraging that both mRNA vaccine got the same results, even though they use different doses and have other technical differences in the way they're put together. #CovidVaccine
Read 41 tweets
2 Dec 20
LIVE: Operation Warp Speed's Moncel Slaoui said @modernatx vaccine has efficacy of 94.1% overall, 87% efficacy in preventing moderate disease in adults over 65, 100% effective at preventing severe disease in all ages. #HHS #OWS
LIVE: Slaoui says we should be able to vaccinate 100 million people by end of February, protecting most of the higher risk people. #ows #hhs
LIVE: Gen. Perna says OWS has shipped 6.4 million doses of @pfizer vaccines to states, territories, major cities, and 12.5 million doses for @modernatx. They're shipping first doses only, to avoid sending more than states/clinics can store. #ows #hhs
Read 14 tweets
1 Dec 20
LIVE: A @cdcgov advisory committee is meeting right now to recommend who should get first covid-19 vaccines when they're available. Here are the work group members.…
LIVE: A @CDCgov advisory committee will vote on recommendations for allocating the first covid-19 vaccines. Health care personnel and nursing home residents are getting top priority in the discussion.
LIVE: Nursing home residents make up less than 1% of the population but account for 40% of deaths. @cdcgov #acip
Read 10 tweets
27 Oct 20
Epidemiologist @michaelmina_lab is giving a free online lecture through MIT about covid-19. The decline of covid-19 cases in the summer may have misled people into thinking it had gone away. It didn't. The decline may have shown the "seasonality" of virus.…
LIVE: Epidemiologist @michaelmina_lab is doing a pilot study to test blood, looking for antibodies, to reconstruct introduction of virus into U.S. He asks, "Could we have early warning system for viruses like we have for hurricanes?"…
LIVE: Epidemiologist @michaelmina_lab says widespread antibody testing can be a better way to know what's going on in an outbreak than PCR testing, providing slightly faster answers.…
Read 10 tweets
7 Aug 20
Among other achievements, Dr. Tony Fauci was one of the architects of PEPFAR, the President's Emergency Fund for AIDS Relief (created under Republican President George Bush). PEPFAR has saved millions of lives.
Fauci said if we ALL do these five things, we can reopen the country.

Masks and social distancing
Avoid crowds
Outdoors is better than indoors
Washing hands
Stay away from bars
FAUCI: An AIDS vaccine is very very different than covid-19.

If you have a disease in which the body's natural response to the virus is inadequate, it is very very hard to make a vaccine... You've got to do better than natural infection to get a vaccine for HIV>
Read 21 tweets
31 Jul 20
What's the scoop on coronavirus vaccines? Follow this thread and read our story to get the essentials. 1/… via @sciam
@khnews asked Dr. Anthony Fauci about reports that antibodies to covid-19 fade after a few months. If true, would that mean that vaccine protection would wear off after a few months? He said, “If we don’t get as long a response as we want, we can always give a booster shot.” 2/
Leading covid-19 vaccine candidates are based on new approaches that have never resulted in a licensed vaccine. Moderna, a relatively young company, has yet to produce any approved vaccines.

“Even more so than usual, as we create vaccines, we’re sailing in uncharted water.” 3/
Read 20 tweets