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Coronavirus: How Scary Are the Variants?

Coronavirus: How Scary Are the Variants?

Update: 2021-04-0219


UPDATE 4/13/21: Since this episode published, there has been some evidence linking the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine to rare blood clots. As of April 13, there were six cases in the U.S. out of more than 6.8 million doses, and one person had died. The CDC and FDA have recommended pausing the vaccine while they learn more.

Details are here: 

Just as coronavirus vaccinations are ramping up, a bunch of new variants are here, threatening to muck everything up. So we’re wondering — will these jabs still work, or is this the pandemic that never ends? To find out, we talk to Dr. Ben Reis, biochemist Prof. Pei-Yong Shi, virologist Prof. Ann Sheehy, and infectious disease expert Dr. Katy Stephenson.

Check out the transcript here:

This episode was produced by Wendy Zukerman, Rose Rimler, Nick DelRose and Meryl Horn, with help from Michelle Dang and Taylor White. We’re edited by Blythe Terrell, editing help from Caitlin Kenney. Fact checking by Taylor White. Mix and sound design by Bumi Hidaka. Music written by Peter Leonard, Marcus Bagala, Emma Munger and Bobby Lord. A huge thanks to the researchers we got in touch with for this episode as well as all the listeners who told us about their vaccine experience! And special thanks to the Zukerman family and Joseph Lavelle Wilson.

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Comments (5)

Adam Itinerant

Way to talk to listeners like we're idiots

Apr 16th

Mae Arant

What is terrifying is that we don't learn and want everything "back to normal". we can't. we have to change our quest for more stuff and destruction of the natural world to do it. the more we destroy climate change will reveal new viruses. more animal to human viruses will be released. humans are the virus that planet earth is fighting.

Apr 12th


Where is the science in this podcast? The overly exuberant host seems to think mere data are science. E.g., @7:37: This is a moronic and unscientific assessment of claims about blood-clotting from AstraZeneca. For Pete's sake, she doesn't even mention the base rate of incidence in the general population! Who told this host that she knows anything about science, let alone that she's qualified to broadcast her opinions as science?!

Apr 2nd


The host is TERRIBLE about interpreting data in the context of methods. E.g., @5:45: The results should be interpreted in light of the fact that the treatments were not randomly assigned. I'm not saying the vaccines are ineffective, but it's entirely plausible that the people who self-select for vaccination--especially early vaccination--also take other precautions. To ignore these methodological considerations is anti-scientific.

Apr 2nd
Reply (1)








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Coronavirus: How Scary Are the Variants?

Coronavirus: How Scary Are the Variants?