January 24, 2022


#192 – COVID Part 2: Masks, long COVID, boosters, mandates, treatments, and more

“I think people are starving out there for honesty on this topic that's not tribal” - Marty Makary

Read Time 54 minutes

This episode is a follow-up to our recent COVID-19 podcast with Drs. Marty Makary and Zubin Damania (aka ZDoggMD). Here, we address many of the listener questions we received about our original discussion. In addition to Marty and ZDoggMD, we are also joined by Dr. Monica Gandhi, an infectious disease specialist and Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. In this episode, we talk about new data on Omicron, long COVID, masks, kids and schools, vaccine mandates, policy questions, and treatments. We also discuss some of the most prevalent misinformation and spend time talking about claims made by Robert Malone. We end with a conversation about our exit strategy.

*Please note: we recorded this episode on January 17, 2022, and in an effort to get it out as soon as possible, this won’t have full show notes or a video. Additionally, Monica was only able to join us for the first section of the podcast, so you’ll hear her drop off partway through.


We discuss:

  • Severity of infection from Omicron—reviewing the data [5:15];
  • Factors contributing to the relative mildness of Omicron infections [8:30];
  • Is SARS-CoV-2 evolving to cause less severe disease? [13:00];
  • Potential of Covaxin—an inactivated virus-based COVID-19 vaccine [17:45];
  • How B cells and T cells work together to defend against viruses [22:00];
  • Comparing the COVID-19 vaccines, and the rationale for the time between doses  [25:30];
  • Reviewing the purpose and effectiveness of boosters for reducing severity and transmission [32:30];
  • Debating vaccine mandates, and putting COVID’s mortality risk in perspective [41:00];
  • Why the topic of COVID has become so polarized [1:03:15];
  • Reviewing the data on masks for protecting oneself and protecting others [1:06:30];
  • The inconsistent logic used for mask mandates [1:16:00];
  • Long COVID and the potential for vaccines to reduce risk [1:21:45];
  • Risks for children and policies for schools [1:27:30]; 
  • Reviewing the outcomes from Sweden, where the government didn’t impose lockdowns [1:31:00];
  • Draconian measures implemented in Canada [1:38:15];
  • Antiviral treatments for COVID and a common-sense approach [1:42:15];
  • Importance of ending tribalism and having rational discussions with humility [1:47:30];
  • Treating infection with monoclonal antibodies and convalescent sera [2:01:45];
  • Reviewing claims made by the controversial Dr. Robert Malone [2:11:15];
  • A potential exit strategy from the current situation [2:30:30];
  • Change needed at the NIH [2:40:00];
  • More.


Pre-show notes:

  • A couple of weeks ago Peter, Dr. Marty Makary, and Dr. Zubin Damania (aka ZDoggMD) sat down and had a relatively informal discussion of the COVID-19
    • Podcast #189 – COVID-19: Current state of affairs, Omicron, and a search for the end game (January 3, 2022)
    • Different from our usual podcasts, this is a discussion among a group of us
    • We have tried to call out what is fact and what is opinion
      • We have a healthy mix of both
    • The format seemed to resonate a lot with people, and the follow- up was surprising
    • Peter thought it would be a one-and-done episode as they put to rest as many of the misconceptions as they could
    • It may be helpful to go back and listen to the earlier episode linked above if you didn’t hear it
  • We are back with Marty and ZDoggMD, and this time Dr. Monica Gandhi joins us
  • We will get into the newest data on Omicron
  • We’ll talk about how viruses evolve over time
  • Monica gives a great explanation of what B cells and T cells do, and how antibodies work
    • She explains the implications for different types of immunity: vaccine-induced and natural immunity
  • We’ll talk about the ideal timing for vaccines and number of doses
    • We’ll talk about how natural immunity plays into this and if a booster is needed
  • We’ll discuss some side effects of current vaccines
  • We’ll get into the controversial topics of: vaccine mandates, masking, the lock-down in Canada, kids in school, Sweden’s approach to COVID, Joe Rogan’s podcast with Robert Malone
    • Podcast, December 2021 – #1757 – Dr. Robert Malone, MD 
    • ZDoggMD does a pretty good point-by-point analysis of where he thinks Malone is off the mark and where he is saying something valid
  • We spend a lot of time discussing the fact versus fear approach to COVID
    • We’re still very much in a fear approach and it’s not clear why this is
  • We end this conversation again talking about the future and what the exit strategy is 
    • We are in an endemic; this is no longer a pandemic
    • We should have strategies geared toward an endemic now

Severity of infection from Omicron—reviewing the data [5:15]

  • Preprint in medRxiv Jan. 11, 2022 – Clinical outcomes among patients infected with Omicron (B.1.1.529) SARS-CoV-2 variant in southern California
  • They found 52,000 cases of Omicron, none required mechanical ventilation
    • And remember, 52,000 documented means there are 4-5 cases out there in the community for every 1 that is picked-up with testing
    • Roughly half of infections are asymptomatic and a lot of people have a tough time getting access to testing
    • So we’re really looking at a population of, say, a quarter million people with Omicron and nobody required a ventilator
  • There was 1 death in this group (not in the ICU or intubated)
  • Infection with the Omicron variant was determined using PCR diagnosis where S gene dropout was observed
  • There was a net total of 154 people who were hospitalized out of, say, a quarter million infected with Omicron
  • Of those hospitalized, 83% were there in the hospital for less than 48 hours
    • Remember way back about 2 months ago, this is exactly what the South African doctors observed early on
    • They noticed people were in the hospital about two days instead of eight days, and they proclaimed to the world this is a mild infection 
  • According to the most recent CDC numbers, 98.3% of new cases of COVID in the United States are Omicron 
    • On December 10th, it hit 73%
    • Now, we’re at 98.3%
    • So we’re dealing with a different virus
  • People who are still in the hospital are those who came in with Delta
    • Unvaccinated people who got Delta
    • And remember, people stay in the hospital a long time especially right now and it’s very difficult to discharge a COVID positive patient to a skilled facility or rehab so that’s inflating the numbers a little bit
    • Hospitals are truly strained, but it’s really those who had Delta
  • If we look at the future, Omicron promises to be a mild virus based on all of this data


Factors contributing to the relative mildness of Omicron infections [8:30]

Current numbers of people in the hospital with Omicron

  • Marty just looked this up, NYU, for example, reported 53% are not there for COVID, but they are COVID positive
    • These are incidental COVID admissions
  • In Jackson Memorial in Florida, 65% are incidental COVID positive cases
  • Perhaps 50% to 60% of the COVID hospitalizations are incidental
  • This depends on how highly vaccinated the region is
  • The numbers are even higher out in California for people with COVID in their noses because so many people are tested
    • So LA County reported 67%
    • This was closest to what we saw in South Africa during the Omicron surge which was 63%. 
    • And it wasn’t that South Africa was a highly vaccinated region; it was about a 25% vaccinated region
      • Instead, a seroprevalence study in SARS-CoV-2 in South Africa that showed 79% of adults had SARS-CoV-2 antibody
      • So think of South Africa, between natural immunity and vaccines, as likely having the same degree of immunity as California
    • So the higher the vaccinated region, the higher the incidental rate is

Study in South Africa just released aims to dissect the contribution of immunity to outcomes with Omicron versus the contribution a milder variant 

The contribution of immunity, both natural immunity and vaccine induced, estimated vaccination probably led to a 0.24 hazards ratio of a severe outcome” – Monica Gandhi

  • A hazard ratio compares the risk in 2 groups
    • A hazard ratio of 1 means there is not difference between the 2 groups
    • A hazard ratio of more than 1 or less than 1 means outcomes were better in 1 of the groups
  • Here this study is looking at the risk of severe outcomes from COVID infection in people who have some form of immunity (from vaccination or recovery from infection) compared to people without immunity
    • They conclude that immunity provided protection from severe COVID outcomes with a hazard ratio of 0.24
    • The hazard ratio here divides the occurrence of severe COVID outcomes in people with immunity by the occurrence of severe COVID outcomes in people without immunity 
  • As doctors in South Africa kept saying the Omicron variant is more mild, the fundamental question became, “Okay, is Omicron more mild because we have so much immunity in the population at this point, January 2022 now, that our T cells and B cells are attacking that SARS-CoV-2 variant?
  • It takes a while for the B cells to make antibodies; one may not have antibodies right away
  • Maybe if one just got boosted, they may have antibodies right away if they’re older
  • But say someone has been vaccinated or has natural infection
    • They now have T cells; and their B cells produce antibodies
    • This attacks that virus; it brings down the viral load quickly
    • This will make it less infectious and it helps the person do well with the virus
  • And so, immunity, of course, will help one do well
  • This is what probably what happened in 1918 when the world was transitioning from pandemic to endemic
    • There was a lot of immunity to influenza in the world
  • The next question is also, is Omicron less virulent inherently than the other strains that we’ve had so far, the other variants we’ve had so far? 
    • Yes, it seems to be not just based on the 6 laboratory studies, including 2 in ex vivo lung transplants
      • So this is human lung tissue
    • And then also animal studies that show it can’t infect lung cells very well
    • 6  studies now
  • What the South Africa study showed us was very good analysis distinguishing between immunity making it more mild and also having fewer less virulent,

They estimated it’s 25% less virulent than Delta above and beyond immunity” – Monica Gandhi

  • So it’s not just our increasing immunity in the population that’s making Omicron more mild, but it’s something to do with the virus itself likely, that it can’t infect lung cells well


Is SARS-CoV-2 evolving to cause less severe disease? [13:00]

Do viruses cause milder disease as they become endemic?

{end of show notes preview}

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Marty Makary M.D., M.P.H.

Dr. Marty Makary is a Johns Hopkins professor and public health researcher. He is a member of the National Academy of Medicine, serves as Editor-in-Chief of the 2nd largest trade publication in medicine, called Medpage Today, and he writes for The Washington Post, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal. He is the recipient of the Business Book of the Year Award for his New York Times bestselling book The Price We Pay. He is a graduate of the Harvard School of Public Health, has served on the faculty of the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health for the past 16 years, and served in leadership at the World Health Organization.

Zubin Damania, M.D.

Zubin Damania, aka Zdogg MD, is a UCSF/Stanford trained internal medicine physician and founder of Turntable Health, an innovative primary care clinic and model for Health 3.0 that was part of an ambitious urban revitalization movement in Las Vegas spearheaded by Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh. During a decade-long career as a hospitalist at Stanford, Zubin led a shadow life performing stand-up comedy for medical audiences worldwide as a way to address his own burnout. His videos and live shows have since gone epidemically viral with nearly a half a billion views on Facebook and YouTube, educating patients and providers while mercilessly satirizing our dysfunctional healthcare system. The goal of his movement is to rapidly catalyze transformation by leveraging the awesome power of passionate and engaged healthcare professionals. [zdoggmd.com]

Facebook: ZDoggMD

Twitter: @zdoggmd

Instagram: @zdoggmd

Monica Gandhi, M.D., M.P.H.

Monica Gandhi earned her M.D. from Harvard Medical School and did her internal medicine residency and ID fellowship at UCSF. After her residency, Dr. Gandhi completed a fellowship in Infectious Diseases and a postdoctoral fellowship at the Center for AIDS Prevention Studies, both at UCSF. She also obtained a Masters in Public Health from Berkeley in 2001 with a focus on Epidemiology and Biostatistics.

Dr. Gandhi’s current research program is on identifying low-cost solutions to measuring antiretroviral levels in resource-poor settings, such as determining drug levels in hair samples. Dr. Gandhi also works on pre-exposure prophylaxis and treatment strategies for HIV infection in women. .

Dr. Gandhi also has an interest at UCSF in HIV education and mentorship. Dr. Gandhi co-directed the “Communicable Diseases of Global Health Importance” course in the Global Health Sciences Masters program from 2008-2015, and serves as the overall Education Director of the HIV, ID and Global Medicine Division. She also served as the principal investigator of an R24 mentoring grant from the NIH focused on nurturing early career investigators of diversity in HIV research, is the co-Director for the Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) Mentoring Program, and is the Chair of the Advisory Board for the UCSF Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women’s Health (BIRCWH). She directs the HIV/ID Consult Service at San Francisco General Hospital (SFGH) and attends on the inpatient Infectious Diseases consult service. [UCSF Department of Medicine]

Twitter: @MonicaGandhi9

Disclaimer: This blog is for general informational purposes only and does not constitute the practice of medicine, nursing or other professional health care services, including the giving of medical advice, and no doctor/patient relationship is formed. The use of information on this blog or materials linked from this blog is at the user's own risk. The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Users should not disregard, or delay in obtaining, medical advice for any medical condition they may have, and should seek the assistance of their health care professionals for any such conditions.


  1. Thank you for this podcast
    Two comments. I am a health coach and see about 20 – 30 people a day..in a hospital based health club
    Most people I train feel that if you are not vaccinated.. you have cooties … the vaccinated people think unvaccinated all have Covid.. it is crazy
    Also I am half way through podcast.. I hope you talk about how vaccinated people feel that they cannot pass Covid on to others
    Thank you Doctor

  2. I just read through the show notes of this episode and it’s a vast improvement over the previous COVID podcast episode with Zdogg and Marty.

    * It was helpful having Dr. Ghandi as another voice (additional bonus that she is female – this has no bearing on the medical info she brings, it’s just nice to have a diversity of backgrounds).
    * I listened to about 80% of the previous COVID podcast and had to stop as it wasn’t helping to clarify the state of COVID affairs. After reading the detailed show notes, I understand a lot more and agreed more with the points being made. Although I’m still in the process of listening to the episode, it feels like it has much less negative, “ranty” vibe to it.

  3. I only listened to the part on masks. My children have to wear cloth masks to school and I couldn’t be more pissed about it. You shouldn’t have someone on that never changed there stance on masking. Propaganda.

  4. Peter,
    I am a physician in a book club with several other MDs (multispecialty, multinational, and politically diverse). We have recently tackled “The Real Dr. Fauci” by Robert Kennedy. The beginning of the book was nearly impossible for me to get through as it read to me as highly inflammatory, sensationalized and political. But, I find the sections on our medical political system, HCQ, Ivermectin and the processes by which we ultimately focused on vaccines over cheaper therapies highly compelling.

    I have followed many of the footnotes up and not surprisingly found some to misleading, but many have opened my eyes to a possibility that we are missing or missed something with these therapies. It is not too late. Can we learn something here?

    Can you please form a panel willing to discuss these important topics? I would eagerly enjoy listening to the analysis of this book and its contents.

    Thanks Brian Coan, MD

  5. “Nuance is not the forte of the mob”

    You said that at the end and to me it’s not only a concise summation of covid but also one of virtually every political and social issue in America. Thanks for a balanced discussion.

    • AMEN — As cogent a comment as I’ve heard anywhere about the state of the West (at least, the North American part of ‘The West’)

  6. Would’ve liked to hear Monica answer your question RE: Which creates greater immunity; having omicron but no vaxx or vaxx but no omicron. I’m guessing it’s the former. Also, find it interesting that on one hand you and zdogg stated that if you could wave a magic wand and get everyone vaccinated, you would… but on the other hand you all agreed (and spoke at great length about) 1. Natural immunity is effective 2. Children are at essentially no risk (and even weren’t under delta) 3.Omicron is very mild…so what’s the point of vaccinating for it?

    • I agree, I don’t really get this idea that naturally immunity is being unfairly dunked on. Look, it is probably true the world’s best drunk driver is safer than the world’s worst sober driver. But that’s not the question. The question is whether the world’s best drunk driver is an even better driver sober? The drunk driver only has a sensible argument if he can demonstrate being drunk actually improves his driving. Likewise unless natural immunity somehow goes down if vaccinated, what’s the argument?

      Now as for why it’s not a substitute in terms of policy:
      1. A lot of people are claiming it with no real proof. I have a family member who swears he had Covid before November 2019. If true he had it almost before patient zero in China.
      2. It’s not clear simply having antibodies means you had enough of an infection to generate natural immunity. In other words, it is probably the case that not all infections are created equal but vaccine doses are equal to each other.

    • It’s in big bold letters within the show notes:

      “Really to me that might be one of the more potentially compelling reasons to be vaccinated if you are otherwise young and healthy is to mitigate the risk and the downside of long COVID” – Peter Attia”

      • Didn’t see the notes but that’s suspect reasoning as 1. Long covid in young and healthy is vastly overestimated and 2. Where’s the data that vaccines prevent long covid better than natural immunity?

  7. The Great Reset, like UN Agenda 2030, are not conspiracies. They are actual agendas which can easily be researched and verified on the World Economic Forum website and United Nations Website. Some bedtime reading for you maybe Peter.

  8. Monica is pro mask I get it. Her bias is clear and from where she comes from at this time San Fran Cal it’s no surprise. She doesn’t talk about the downside of wearing a mask especially the N95 and these harder to breath through masks. Maybe she also thinks we should all wear a helmet when in any car because it will save some lives I’m sure. She wears a mask even though she is vaccinated. That’s a sign of how well she thinks the vaccine will do to prevent anything. A vaccine that reduces symptoms but you can still get it and pass it to others is not a vaccine. If we have to wear a mask to be safe that is not a world anyone should want to be live in. It’s dehumanizing and damages our social connection with others. Peter I think you know this but when you have people on who ignore the downside of things that’s a problem. Also I hear the basic ignoring of the VARES system. Saying anyone can report while true it’s also a federal offence to misreport on the site. Its not a easy form to fill out discouraged or not even known about by some doctors. Its’s off the charts high but we should mandate it? I’m glad you are not for mandating. That would be like everyone has to eat a handful of peanuts every 3 months. Doesn’t matter if it harmed you in the past if you don’t get it you could lose your job or not be able to do many things in society. That’s where we are at in many parts of our country.

    • “A vaccine that reduces symptoms but you can still get it and pass it to others is not a vaccine. If we have to wear a mask to be safe that is not a world anyone should want to be live in. It’s dehumanizing and damages our social connection with others. Peter I think you know this but when you have people on who ignore the downside of things that’s a problem. Also I hear the basic ignoring of the VARES system.”

      1. Yes it is a vaccine.
      2. “but you can still get it” is a phrase crafted to hide the fact that your odds of getting it is reduced, your odds of passing it to others is reduced and your odds of a bad outcome if you do get is also reduced.
      3. VARES is not reporting massive vaccine injuries or deaths. It’s a very open system but that does mean overreporting can happen even if people are not purposefully playing games with it (for example, if someone has a bad reaction or dies his family may report to VARES but also his doctor, VARES doesn’t try to verify or filter out duplicate reports). We’re well over a billion shots at this point and not a single ER ever reported being filled with vaccine reactions. Yet not hard to find ones overloaded multiple times with Covid.

      • 1. No, according to the actual definition of vaccine, it’s not a vaccine.

        2. Doubly vaxxed are getting and spreading omicron around the globe at a greater rate than unvaccinated.

        3. There are an unprecedented number of deaths and adverse reactions reported to VAERS from the covid shots…more so than all combined over the past couple of decades. And it’s common knowledge that VAERS is vastly under reported.

      • No it should not be called a vaccine. It is a gene therapy. By your take Vit D would be called a vaccine as it reduces your odds of getting it, passing it to others, and having a bad outcome from it. So why are we not giving people a free Vit D test and Vit D to get their levels over 50? https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34684596/

        VARES is not reporting massive vaccine injuries or deaths. So over 1 million reports and over 22000 deaths is not enough? Compared to the past it’s off the charts high. I know people who have died from the shot and others who have been injured. https://openvaers.com/covid-data

        How about deaths we have seen in the last year. Deaths up by 40% so what happened? Only thing that changed is we started giving the “vaccine”.https://www.zerohedge.com/medical/life-insurance-ceo-says-deaths-40-among-those-aged-18-64-and-not-because-covid

    • Thanks for an open and pretty broad discussion … lots to think about and digest as we all/ ok some of us fight against falling into the tribal mind set.
      I deeply appreciate the statistical data, but there are some missteps – something human/ real missing when the glibness shows up.
      This topic is so important – the implications for society, for the poor living in multi family settings – essential workers making minimum wage, for children left orphaned by unvaccinated parents, the elderly and 7-10 million immunocompromised; NIH, for medical messaging; how we restructure health policies and of course for our democracy as it’s being used as a wedge issue … words matter guys. Bringing Monica on brought greater balance and weight to the discussion.
      (By the way the way the neuronal/ hive mindset is spot on.)
      Thanks – once again – this open discussion is much needed, and unfortunately missing in every aspect of social discourse in this country.

  9. I’ll simply ask the question I asked about the previous podcast. It seems literally everything in this podcast cuts towards doing less rather than more. We probably have boosted too many people, mandated too many vaccines, too much masks. OK. And yet the US has had more death than many other developed nations…which is odd since we got the vaccine first and got it out to millions of arms before anyone else (well Russia and China did have a vaccine earlier but it’s unclear how good their vaccines are).

    Even today we have one to three thousand people dying a day. So very simple question, how exactly could it be the optimal thing at this point is doing less against the virus? I mean literally the entire podcast revolved around ways to do less against the virus, yet how would that not increase infection and death?

    Now many you could argue omicron will burn thru the population so fast sparking immunity that the virus will just diminish on its own. OK if that’s the case it will become very clear over the next few months.

    But suppose this podcast was done four or five months ago? All the talk about doing less and embracing natural immunity….what of all the people who died of delta right before omicron took over the virus? I mean aren’t those literally like the last people to die in a war? If they had not been infected in October because of vaccine mandates, masks, testing, etc. they could have perhaps gotten it in December when it was less deadly?

    Regardless, there’s 1-3K deaths per day still happening. Maybe that will drop dramatically and stay down after all the vaxxing, boostering and natural infections. Maybe that won’t. I’m unclear how doing less will not cause more rather than less of that in the meantime.

    • The US also has much higher rates of comorbidity and risk factors that lead to poorer COVID outcomes than most other developed countries, so it’s not just a simple matter of doing more. We should have the choice to decide for ourselves how we want to go about mitigating risk at this point, and what other consequences our actions have. We don’t want the excess morbidities and mortalities that go along with people being isolated, the economy being crushed, depression and anxiety that are current consequences of the way all of this has been handled. We have to take a look at the consequences of all of our actions, including our pre-COVID lack of self-care. In particular, our dependence on medicine to manage diseases that can be managed through proper diet and exercise and how they have led to the US having poorer outcomes than other developed nations.

      • “The US also has much higher rates of comorbidity and risk factors that lead to poorer COVID outcomes than most other developed countries” Ahh yes, the old “the US is full of fat people’ theory. There’s probably a lot of truth to that but it doesn’t change the problem. The US did much worse than other developed nations despite having the vaccine first (and I suspect the vaccine does a lot more to stop death than simply being thinner. In other words if you could choose between making 100M Americans 25lbs thinner or having 100M vaccinated a year earlier, better to choose the vaccine).

        It doesn’t change our failure. If you have a population of less healthy people, then you have to do more to protect them. Not do less and shrug and say “well we’re all less healthy than other people to begin with”.

        “We don’t want the excess morbidities and mortalities that go along with people being isolated, the economy being crushed, depression and anxiety that are current consequences of the way all of this has been handled.” Suicides actually went down slightly in 2020 and 2021-22 the US was nowhere near shut down, not even in the Bluest of Blue states. I know Covid-dove types want to link every drug overdose to people depressed over ‘shutdowns’, but overdoses have been a problem in the US since before Covid ever came along.

        This all comes back to my point. We have killed over 800K people. If you say we should have done less and saying things like schools should have stayed open *before* we had a vaccine and all is saying we should have had more cases and more dead. I think it is pretty hard to argue that some alternative goods….a better economy (BTW unemployment is super low but I’ll leave that there), open schools and movies would have made people less depressed and fewer, err, overdoses and sucidies would make up for the additional deaths we would get by doing less?

        There are a few places where I can buy doing less would not have increased deaths. The initial fear about being outside…playgrounds and such. Since it is very hard for the virus to transmit outdoors and by surfaces we probably could have relaxed on that from the start without adding cases (it didn’t matter much in the north since we were in the middle of winter in early 2020).

        But let’s be honest here. Dr. Attia and friends in this podcast advocated for doing less…less vaccination, less masking, less testing to stop transmission (or policies that would result in people doing less of those things). How does that NOT result in more cases and death? They did NOT say “let’s all spend a month doing cardio and weight training exercise then do less”.

  10. Thank you Peter and esteemed guests for providing this podcast for us listeners. I greatly appreciate the logic that you, Peter, inject and hammer at during this podcast. I was applauding as I listened to your analysis of risk for young people regarding death from other causes vs, COVID. This should be published on the broader stage for more to appreciate!
    While I was happy to see the addition of Monica to your group, I interpreted much of what she said by reading between the lines to guess at her real thoughts and feelings about an issue. I felt that she was very cagey in her responses, especially in the beginning, and I interpreted that to mean that she was attempting to be overly politically correct, something which I do not regard very highly. I wish that she would have spoken more directly, as I would have learned more from her, and would not have found myself becoming annoyed as she spoke.
    I am thankful that you and your other guests speak directly, and do not seem so concerned with political correctness, or maybe she was worried about fallout from the institution that employs her, which is my alma mater as well, by the way, and I know that is a very real issue currently.
    Please continue to inform us with your unbiased, logical discussions. I will be listening and sharing with my family and friends.

    • As a follow up question/request, data has come out regarding the seemingly huge increases in certain diseases and conditions after vaccination in our military personnel. In addition, I spoke at length with a patient last week who works in a lab that tests bone marrow at a major hospital in my area. He, while very much pro vaccine, is extremely concerned about the 6-8 fold increase in blood cancers in the under 40 age group his lab has seen in the last few months. In fact, an oncologist he works with is beginning to study this in an attempt to determine any potential correlation with the mRNA vaccines.
      As a side note, I saw my seventh patient with significant apparent vaccination adverse reaction a few days ago. She has developed painful neuropathy in her extremities, in addition to headaches and severe TMJ pain. All of this is very concerning to me. Please include some of these topics in a future podcast and maybe dissect and comment on the military data. Thanks again for all that you do!

  11. I just finished this episode and don’t really feel like I received a full answer from Dr. Ghandi on why she feels vaccine mandates make sense. It seemed a little like she could only see issues through a risk reduction state and couldn’t take into account other factors that may be more societal.
    Additionally a point of clarification regarding the recent Supreme Court decisions. Those decisions did not validate the science behind requiring vaccines for healthcare workers but instead allowed it to move forward if they accepted federally funded insurance is my understanding. My view on that, just because something can legally be done, does not mean it is morally right.

    • The fact is vaccination reduces the risk of transmission. No it isn’t perfect but it is absurd to think that it would be moral for health care workers, who by definition are treating at risk people, to not be vaccinated.

      • No that’s not fact. Data from Scotland and the rest of UK show doubly vaxxed getting omicron at a higher rate than unvaxxed.

  12. “Consider deaths from any of the top causes of death as a fraction of COVID deaths”
    Do we have a vaccine against those other causes of death? Can someone spend 2 hours of their life to reduce the chance by an order of magnitude?

  13. Gotta say, I thank Odin for Monica. She leaves then there are comments like I can’t wait or I feel left out because I don’t have COVID. Comments referring to Poland. Sheesh.
    Zdog made some fake gang sign once referring to LatinX people and lost all my respect.
    I just one man so no one cares. Peter, he is into racing, he knows every single means something. If his car is 5 kilos lighter than the next person’s by the end of the race, it could mean that he can break two meters later than the next person. That can win him the race. That analogy sums up what the public health officials are having to do. Even if they don’t believe what they’re doing 100%, who wants to be the one that says yeah, we don’t need masks, then have family members die because they weren’t wearing their masks. It’s nice to be an armchair commentator. The one person who is the expert seemed to be the one person who made sense

  14. During the discussion of Sweden. Dr Z said unlike America , Sweden used health officials not politicians to communicate about Covid. In America, we relied on politically driven health professionals to preach to us. For example, the CDC changed their guidance on school closures and masks based on advice from the teachers union. Love your podcast, keep up the great work

  15. I listened to the podcast and read the show notes. The discussion of boosters was a bit noncommittal, i.e.:
    “This is an argument to say, “Only give boosters if there’s a clinical benefit””, and
    “We don’t want to train the immune system to respond to the ancestral strain”.
    I am a double vaccinated very healthy 66 yr old who has not been convinced he needs the booster. I am also hesitant because my very good friend dropped dead 9 days after his first Pfizer shot.

  16. great discussion. i am surprised about masks though. i don’t like them but logically, any kind of mask would block some percentage of exhalation and some percentage of inhalation, depending on the type of mask, so if both parties are masked, the total virus load transmission would be reduced and would make both parties safer.

  17. Hi Peter,
    I’m a bit disappointed that you didn’t share the full show notes for this one – even if I understand, and still love your podcast, I was hoping to find links to some of the studies in masks. I guess I’ll have to rewind and listen to that part one 3rd time.
    As for the podcast loved it, it was great this time there was an adult in the house 😉
    This is my first time commenting but I have been a long time listener. Your episod with Paul Offit (sp? circa Nov/Dec 2020) informed my decision make process for vaccination. Was it 3 months after the first million doses?
    I also wish you guys had been a bit more rigorous when talking about Sweden. When comparing stats like mortality and vaccination, the appropriate comparison are the 3 other neighbouring nordic countries, which have similar values and demografics. It makes no sense to compare to african nations, as pointed out, but neither makes much sense to compare with southern europe.

  18. Thanks for this follow-up, Peter. As stated above, much less ranty. The previous podcast could be interpreted as “masks, vaccines, and any measures are bs” though obviously this is not any of your beliefs.

    I would appreciate it if you could do a “studying studies” on some of the studies that show vaccine immunity is superior to natural immunity (I am sure you’ve reviewed all available evidence but I would like your thoughts specifically on Bozio et. al. which came out Nov 2021, from MMWR). I am assuming there is a fatal flaw there but I don’t see it, and people like Nicholas Christakis (though unsure where he stands today) seemed to think vaccine immunity was superior.

    Of course this doesn’t change the take-home message that in an era of Omicron, mandates/lockdowns need to be re-evaluated realistically through the lens of an exit strategy.

    Thank you for always being honest. Personally I am more pro-measures/mandates but specifically for healthcare workers as I believe we took an oath and should bear the risks/costs in order to benefit out patients.


  19. Great follow-on to the first episode.

    I think the damage that has been done to science as an institution has been profound. People in the US are far less trusting of what scientists, especially government scientist, tell them since so much of it has turned out to be untrue or politically motivated.

    If the discussions you have had on the 2 podcasts relating to vax pros and cons were articulated by the Fauci’s of the world, we would have many, many more people vaccinated today as fear and loathing would have been replaced with knowledge and understanding.

    Keep up the great work.

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