Dr Robin’s Covid-19 Updates

Our Unvaccinated Kids Are Unprotected

How We Can Keep Them Safe

Photo by Atoms on Unsplash

I’m a Boston-based cancer doctor and I’ve been writing weekly fact-based-no-blame-no-rumors-all-science-all-the-time essays about Covid-19 since March 2020. You can read about other ways to navigate our post-vaccine world here and here and you can read about vaccines (and anti-vaxxers) throughout history here.

Our darling children are unvaccinated so they are unprotected and we need to keep protecting them.

They are unvaccinated because the vaccines trials were deliberately set up to not include them:

— we often wait to test kids until after vaccines are proven safe in adults

— kids…


Dr. Robin’s Covid-19 Updates

Dr. Covid, Party Pooper

Navigating a Partially-Vaccinated World

Photo by Austrian National Library on Unsplash

I have an old pal named Julia who lives in a nearby state. I don’t get to see her very often but I was going to be in her town for a few hours last Thursday so we made arrangements to meet up.

She’s going through (like so many other people) a terrible divorce situation, a hideous mess, and I was glad to have the chance to see her in person.

I’m completely vaccinated but she’s not. How to meet up safely?

We thought about going for a walk but the forecast…


Dr. Robin’s Covid-19 Updates

Grandparents Unmasked? Friends without Bandanas?

…..Negotiating Through a Post-Vaccine World

A mask and a prayer (photo by Robin Schoenthaler)

There are now over 74 million vaccinated people in the US (and 300 million in the world), most of whom are very excited to be returning to a post-vaccinated life slowly starting to resemble some kind of normal.

Those of us who haven’t gotten our shots yet are trying to contain our VUVE (Very Understandable Vaccine Envy) — the “2021 Version of FOMO” — and are counting the days til it’s our turn.

But many of us are confused or concerned about how we should behave after we are fully vaccinated (which is defined as 14…


Dr. Robin’s Covid-19 Updates

Covid and the Train of History

Lessons From the Past, Hope for the Future

Photo by Frankie Lopez on Unsplash

I’m writing this on Saturday March 6, 2021. Exactly one year ago — on March 6, 2020 — I wrote my first Covid post.

Everybody has their own story of how they realized what Covid was going to be.

For me, it started in late February as friends and colleagues in New York City and Italy sent out deeply frightening first-hand reports about what they were seeing: every night my in-box filled up with horror.

For me, it solidified on March 2. I had taken a quick trip…


Dr. Robin’s Covid-19 Updates

Living in a Post-Vax World

What Happens After Aunt Petunia Gets Her Shots?

Artist Tiziana Barbaranelli; used with permission

Hi, I’m back as Robin-Schoenthaler-the-Boston-cancer-doctor-who-writes-about-Covid.

Every day there’s more science about the likelihood of post-vaccination transmission. And every day the science looks more reassuring.

And that’s so important; that’s the everything, right? Post-vax ransmission is the trump card.

Let’s say Aunt Petunia at last gets both her vaccines; her niece from the bridal shower loves her to pieces and helped her with the techie part.

So now Aunt Petunia knows her chances of getting sick with symptomatic Covid is super low, and her chances of getting a serious or deadly case of Covid is now exceedingly…


Why the CDC Changed Them

A Prized Fauci Mask

On Feb 8, 2021 I wrote, “There’s no science yet showing you should double mask.” On February 10, 2021, boom, the CDC published new science showing just that.

Because, boom, that’s how it works. Science marches on and with Covid more than ever we need to keep our science game up.

The CDC prioritized mask studies throughout January. They did new mask experiments and it turned out they showed much less particle transmission using double masking or tight masks so they have now changed their recommendations to reflect hat.

This is a good reminder once…


Dr. Robin’s Covid-19 Updates

Q&A On Variants

Ten Questions, Many Answers

Photo by Elisa on Unsplash

How come we are all of a sudden hearing about variants?

Good question. But let’s start at the start.

What is a variant?

A virus’ goal in life is to

a) get into somebody’s cells and

b) reproduce.

When they reproduce they often change a little, aka they “mutate.” If the way they change helps them get better at

a) getting into somebody’s cells and

b) reproducing,

then that version of the virus can become “dominant.”

Cue up any of the many YouTube versions of songs with the words “Only the Strong…


Dr. Robin’s Covid-19 Updates

My Covid Ode to Science Teachers

Vaccines and Variants and Career Arcs

Photo by bady abbas on Unsplash

Vaccines and Safety

Last week 10 million Covid vaccines had been given. Today it’s 20 million.

There’s been no changes in safety issues. We see a serious allergic reaction maybe six times in a million doses; and many people are getting (as expected and welcomed) mild to moderate reactions of sore arms and sometimes fevers and discomfort.

So so far, so good with safety. Now we just need to rebuild a mass vaccination program out of thin air with no public health infrastructure. It’ll happen, but unfortunately not overnight.

As soon as the vaccine program gets…


Dr. Robin’s Covid-19 Updates

Vaccine Stories

After A Year of Fear, Relief is Just a Shot Away

Used with permission of the photographer Dr. Anitha Leonard

Almost every time I talk to somebody I hear about another friend/family member/neighbor who has Covid. It can feel so scary — like the noose is tightening.

But — the miracle of the vaccines is upon us.

So now almost every time I talk to one of my health care worker friends, I hear about another person who has gotten the vaccine. It’s just fantastic, an instant sigh of relief.

Tearing Up In The Vaccine Room

One of my buddies who got her vaccine last week said when she got her injection she felt such a…


Dr. Robin’s Covid Updates

What To Do If You Get Sick With Covid

Twenty-Two Tips from the Trenches

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

So you got the dreaded email/phone call: you’ve got the Covid. Maybe you’re completely asymptomatic, or maybe you’re already sickly. No matter what, it’s a rough moment, and can be pretty scary.

Fundamentally, this positive test means you are infected and infectious (contagious) and you need to stay home for at least ten days after your positive test or onset of symptoms. What should you do now?

a) First thing: call your doctor. Let them know you’re positive and see what they have to say.

b) Then, right away, call everybody you’ve seen the last few…

Robin Schoenthaler, MD

Covid-Translator. Cancer doc: ~Three decades at MGH. Writer and storyteller: Moth Grand Slam Champion. Mom. www.DrRobin.org, @robinshome, robinshome2@gmail.com

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