Dr. Robin’s Covid-19 Updates

Covid Holiday Planning, Mostly

As variants sputter along

Robin Schoenthaler, MD
5 min readOct 10, 2022

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(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. If you liked this and some of my other missives, you can support both Medium and me here.)

We are in a stage of the “mostlies.”

Things Covid-wise are mostly pretty good right now, with most of our numbers (deaths, hospitalizations, cases) mostly at lowish points. Not the lowest they’ve ever been but close and currently going downward and we always love downward.

However, as we approach another winter, I think it’s reasonable to expect our numbers will go up to some degree and we should be prepared for this.

Both our 2020 and 2021 winters were dreadful, but they were dreadful for different reasons:

  • The winter of 2020 was terrible because so many people were unvaccinated
  • The winter of 2021 was tough because Omicron appeared and was/is so contagious that jillions of people got infected which led to a higher number (not proportion) of deaths.

The hope is this winter, while worse than right now, will mostly be better than last winter. Lots of people have had Covid, lots of people have been vaccinated, and we now have the new bivalent vaccine which should help some.

We now (mostly) know that:

a) with a prior infection you mostly don’t get re-infected (although you certainly can)

b) vaccinations reduce but don’t prevent infections — but they mostly keep the vast majority of us out of the hospital.

c) vaccinations and prior infection are mostly keeping us from dying. The chances of dying of Covid right now are really small, like under a single digit. Not zero but mostly pretty unlikely. And the younger and healthier we are, the smaller the chance.

On top of that the bivalent vaccine appears to amp up our immunity for a while. (And the gossip is the bivalent will be approved for kids 5–11 after mid-October.) So that’s all good, and way different from a couple of years ago.

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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