Robin Schoenthaler, MD
6 min readDec 6, 2023

Dr Robin’s Covid-19 Updates

Go get your shots!

Vaccines to help get you and your family through the Holiday Spike intact

Photo by Iván Díaz 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. If you liked this and some of my other essays below, you can support both Medium and me here .

You can tell Covid is relatively quiet since I’m only writing once a month. I guess it’s come down to: the less Covid and fear is out there the less I feel the need to write.

What is quiet? Well, it’s still >1000 deaths a week, which is awful but for perspective it’s not 21,000 like the worst of Omicron.

So it’s lower, but it’s still there and most of us know somebody whose plans have been wrecked by a recent infection so they’ve had to miss work or school or trips or whatnot. And we’re about to know some more because wastewater numbers are going up most places and all the numbers always go up during the holidays.

Hospitalizations remain relatively rare and deaths rarer still; both are mostly seen in the “elderly elderly” and the very immunocompromised and in people who should have but didn’t take Paxlovid.

Covid will, I’m afraid, be around forever. It’s super rare for any bug to actually disappear: in fact, the only virus we’ve ever truly eliminated is smallpox. One reason we’ll never be able to get rid of Covid is because it lives in other animals and because we spread it before we know we are sick. So we are stuck with it. So we have to figure out how to maneuver around it.

What is very lucky right now is that our current Covid bug hasn’t mutated very much. The last big mutation was this time two years ago when it changed into Omicron. Since then there’s been no end of little changes but no big fat terrible ones (and they’re keeping an eye on them all).

This no-big-mutations thing is super good news:

  • the vaccine still works (it doesn’t prevent all infections but it’s still pretty good at preventing serious infection)
  • the tests still work well enough (not perfect, nothing’s perfect, but well enough)
Robin Schoenthaler, MD

Covid-Translator. Cancer doc: ~Three decades at MGH. Writer and storyteller: Moth Grand Slam Champion. Mom., @robinshome,