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.
The 90% refers to preventing symptomatic disease (that is, fever, cough). But we don’t know yet how well this vaccine prevents severe symptoms that lead to hospitalizations, ICU admissions, and death. Knowing that will be key. It seems likely it will hold up well, but that still needs to be demonstrated.
Now that the…
Yash S. Huilgol
Robert M. Wachter, MD
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. However, the COVID-19 pandemic quickly turned telemedicine from a “nice to have” into a “must have” for even more patients.
First, older patients with chronic diseases are at particularly high risk from coronavirus, so it was crucial that they stayed away from clinics that might be filled with infected patients. Second, given the high risk of viral spread, many…
Robert M. Wachter, MD & Zoe M. Lyon
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 negative, then…. What does that mean?”
While the tests themselves are confusing, partly because they are new and have wildly variable test characteristics, part of the problem is that patients and the media often lack some of the fundamental knowledge required to interpret any diagnostic test. …
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 of weeks, the issue of face masks has become a hot topic. Masks are simple things, and yet they have become the subject of a lot of confusion and debate: Do they really work? Where and when are they most effective? Should they be required? …
Professor & Chair, Dept of Medicine, UCSF. What happens when poli science major becomes an academic physician. Thinks/writes on digital, quality, safety, Covid.