It’s time to start defining our criteria for victory over COVID-19.

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After what we’ve all been through, it sounds almost crazy to talk about — but we really should start thinking about what we would call “victory” in the fight against coronavirus.

Lately, there have been a slew of think-pieces about when life will get back to normal, but that’s not really what I want to talk about. I’m thinking farther into the future, 5-years, 10-years. What are the potential scenarios? And what can we honestly say means we won?


A new analysis of Pfizer data suggests good protection starting 14 days after the first shot.

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Data sleuths trolling through the FDA filings for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have uncovered, what they say, is a critical fact — these vaccines may be highly effective after just a single dose. Given that vaccine demand vastly outpaces supply, as well as the concern that more coronavirus variants will emerge if we don’t rapidly squelch the infection rate, calls for a one-shot-only approach abound.

Is that the right move? Well, like all things public health, it’s complicated.

But first let’s reconstruct what the researchers did.

If you dig a bit into Pfizer’s FDA filing, you’ll find this table…


A well-conducted study doesn’t support supplementation.

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Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a treatment for COVID-19 that was safe, effective, cheap, and out of the control of faceless pharma executives beholden more to shareholders than to patients? The dream of such a magic bullet has led to a number of similar claims that a given drug, or supplement in some cases, has dramatic effects against COVID-19. We saw it first with hydroxychloroquine, but similar hype surrounded Vitamin D, ivermectin, melatonin, Vitamin C, and of course Zinc.

What made the claims so compelling were two things: one, a dose of biologic plausibility — biologists could argue…


Do they reduce asymptomatic infection?

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Coronavirus lives here

No one talked about it much, but public health professionals were all aware of a potential nightmare scenario when COVID vaccinations started up in bulk. No, not a slew of severe adverse events — the clinical trials made it clear that these were fairly safe interventions. The nightmare scenario — discussed in small groups online and on campus, was this: What if the vaccines reduce the severity of COVID-19, but not the transmissibility? …


He’ll tell you — for a price.

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Thomas Edward Patrick Brady, Jr. The quarterback of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (that’s still weird for this Connecticut boy to say) is quite possibly the greatest quarterback of all time.

Super Bowl Sunday will mark Brady’s 10th — 10th Superbowl — a record. He already has six superbowl wins, a record. His career combined passing yards, over 91,000 are the highest in the NFL. Same with career touchdowns — 661 of them. He’s also the oldest player to be named Superbowl MVP and the oldest player to win a Superbowl as starting quarterback.

Brady is 43 years old — he’s…


The highly-rigorous trial suggests that a whole-foods, plant-based diet may be the superior choice.

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Welcome to Impact Factor, your weekly dose of commentary on a new medical study. I’m Dr. F. Perry Wilson of the Yale School of Medicine.

There is a right way and a wrong way to do a diet study. The wrong way is to send a survey to a few thousand people asking them to recall what they eat and linking those responses to outcomes down the road. That’s how we get studies that tell us that eggs kills you, or keep you healthy, or something.

The right way is to do what the good folks at the NIH did…


Most births are uncomplicated, but coronavirus still increases the risk of bad outcomes dramatically.

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In the coronavirus era, pregnant women represent a unique cohort in the hospital. They can have florid COVID-19 symptoms, and deaths have been reported. But of course, they may also be in the hospital just to deliver a baby, and can have COVID detected essentially incidentally.

Early on in the pandemic, a friend of mine — anesthesiologist in New York City — told me how overwhelmed he was with COVID cases. Not in the ICU — he was working in the maternity ward. Ordinary pregnancies became complicated — c-sections spiked — and outcomes worsened. …


New, more transmissible strains of COVID-19 are more damaging than more fatal strains.

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Well… it’s 2021. We made it.

But forgive me if I say it doesn’t exactly feel like it. The challenges of 2020 have chased us right into the New Year.


Trying to preserve the integrity of the trial is a fool’s errand.

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Jason Santosuosso has been in biotech for decades. He has founded and sold companies in that space. So he knew what he was getting into when he volunteered to be part of Pfizer’s phase 3 coronavirus vaccine trial.


New survey study finds that binge-drinkers are at particularly high risk of increased drinking during the coronavirus pandemic.

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Whether you’re an essential worker or not, most of us have spent a lot more time at home this past year than we ever have before, and — let’s face it — there’s not that much to do there. We made our sourdough bread, we binge-watched Queen’s Gambit, but anecdotally — Americans have been doing something else a lot more since they’ve been stuck at home — drinking.

And a new study from the American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse suggests this is more than just anecdote. …

F. Perry Wilson, MD MSCE

Writing about medicine, science, statistics, and the abuses thereof. Commentator at Medscape. Associate Professor of Medicine at Yale University.

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