Robin Schoenthaler, MD
5 min readMar 24, 2023

Dr. Robin’s Covid-19 Updates

The Covid Wind-Down?

Maybe the benchmarks have arrived

Photo by Khamkéo Vilaysing 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

I’ve been writing Covid missives pretty much non-stop for three years but I paused writing them this winter.

I paused because things were improving so much. Everything we measure about Covid was getting better — cases, deaths, hospitalizations. And no scary mutants were appearing.

And this has continued. All our “benchmarks” are continuing to get better, and the better the benchmarks are, the better we can feel about going back to something akin to normal.

Covid isn’t “done” or “over”: we’re still on our way to 100,000 deaths a year (a flu season death rate is 30–60,000). And Covid is never going completely away; it will probably be here for centuries.

But Covid is right now a shadow of its former threatening self.

The science is clear about those for whom Covid is still a serious threat:

— the elderly (we can squabble over the exact number but let’s say 75)

— the seriously ill (likewise, definitions can waffle but basically the more major medical issues, the higher risk)

— the profoundly immunosuppressed

These groups still need to be intent about vaccines and boosters and have a treatment plan for when they do get Covid. These people still need protection.

But now most of us have gotten vaccinated or been infected with Covid at least once. The vast majority of these cases have been a “disruptive brief no-major-aftermath” case like the one I got, in December, in Vegas (!) — or sometimes a severe case that has ended with total recovery.

And some people have gotten Long Covid that improved after a year and some have developed Long Covid that isn’t getting better at all and some have developed long-term consequences we don’t yet have a handle on.

Robin Schoenthaler, MD

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