Robin Schoenthaler, MD
6 min readNov 25, 2020


Dr. Robin’s Covid-19 Updates

How to Outlast the Pandemic with Grace

Working That Resiliency Muscle

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

The US has hit a quarter of a million deaths, a mind-numbingly terrible milestone. We try to picture how it’s more than all the deaths in World War I and Vietnam and Korea combined, but it’s just not fathomable. And the worst of it is, hospitalizations are rising so rapidly now — with no clear-cut way to turn them around — there is no clear picture of when this terrible tsunami will recede.

Regarding Thanksgiving: I’ve been thrilled at how many people have deliberately decided to dial the day down to immediate bubbled family.

It appears more and more people are using our science to make mindful decisions about Thanksgiving. Almost everyone I know has changed their plans somehow — inviting fewer people, eliminating travel, eating take-out or pot-luck, shortening the get-together, using more ventilation or outside gatherings, planning widely spaced tables and chairs, and masking around everybody at risk hopefully keep us all a little bit safer

Some people have found this Brown Med School calculator helpful. You put in the details of your gathering — eg numbers of guests, duration, indoors/outdoors, what % masked — and it will tell you whether it’s a high, low or medium risk activity.

What I especially like is how you can change the parameters and see how those changes affect your risk.

a) Cut the event time in half? Cut the risk in half.

b) Cut the guest list by 50%? Cut the risk by a lot.

c) Eat outdoors? Radically decrease risk.

I also think the calculator helps you pinpoint how much risk you are willing to accept. It’s remarkable to see how every little change helps.

Unfortunately, unless every single family in the country dials back/stays home, I am afraid we are going to be facing some rough times.

Starting out with the high numbers we have now and adding in Thanksgiving means we’re probably going to have an awful Christmas, and then if we have a bad Christmas, most of January is going to be extremely difficult — for us, for our families, but most of all for our health…



Robin Schoenthaler, MD

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