Hint: It’s not just the efficacy numbers

The debate over Covid-19 boosters continues to heat up. The demand is enormous — about 1 million Americans have already received boosters, many by lying about being immunosuppressed or prior vaccination. …

What I hear in Pfizer’s promising vaccine news

I can’t resist offering a few quick takes on the latest Pfizer vaccine news: 90% efficacy is far better than even the most optimistic projections. An election analogy that captures the “margin of victory” — these are like California results for Biden/Harris, rather than Pennsylvania results.

Efficacy and safety

The 90% refers to…

Yash S. Huilgol
Robert M. Wachter, MD

While the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been disappointing and disjointed, one area the Trump administration got right was its support for telemedicine. In late March, the administration lifted the antiquated requirement that physicians licensed in one state cannot treat patients in another.

It is vital that this change be made permanent.

Even before SARS-CoV-2 struck, many patients living in rural areas or those with specialized problems but no nearby specialist found telemedicine to be a godsend. …

Robert M. Wachter, MD & Zoe M. Lyon

In the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic, we were desperate to have a test — any test — to help sort out which patients with symptoms were infected with the coronavirus. Three months later, we face an entirely different problem: there is a bevy of tests — some for the virus, others for antibodies to the virus — and interpreting them has become increasingly confusing, to patients and clinicians alike.

With more testing and various versions of the two different types of tests, the confusion isn’t surprising. Last month’s “Can I fly?” or “Can I touch the mail?” questions have increasingly been replaced with questions like this: “My daughter tested positive, then…

The UCSF Chair of Medicine says there’s no debate: Masks are a simple and effective strategy to save lives

One of the amazing parts of the Covid-19 crisis has been seeing new issues crop up constantly: the (largely false) dichotomy between health and the economy, the accuracy of the death count, antibody testing, the effectiveness of various medications (and, yes, bleach). The list goes on.

In the past couple…

Robert Wachter, MD

Professor & Chair, Dept of Medicine, UCSF. What happens when poli science major becomes an academic physician. Thinks/writes on digital, quality, safety, Covid.

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