This week Carmen interviews ER doctor Matt Rogers about COVID-19. They discuss the nature of the virus, why it's so serious, how people should respond, and a few silver linings. Listen here or on your favorite podcast platform.
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Note: The following questions were submitted by listeners that we didn't have time to discuss on the podcast, but Matt kindly answered them via email:
1. Are you seeing a difference in severity of COVID-19 between those immunized with the flu vaccine and those that didn't receive the vaccine?
Not personally, no. I would not expect there to be any significant difference, since the flu vaccine is pathogen-specific. That being said it's still a good idea to get the flu vaccine every year. It can prevent you from getting the flu, and even if you do still get the flu your symptoms are likely to be milder than they otherwise would have. It's also possible to contract both COVID-19 and influenza simultaneously. 2. There's a lot of speculation that the accurate number of COVID deaths is being skewed by faulty classifications. Any insights on this?
I'm not personally involved in that process, so I can't speak to it directly. I'm doubtful, though, that the fatality numbers are being meaningfully skewed. At least as of now, we're not going around testing large numbers of asymptomatic people.
There may be some people who die while infected with COVID-19 (but not necessarily because of COVID-19). But there are also going to be people who die from COVID-19 and never get tested for COVID-19. There are reports from Italy, for example, of significant percentages of patients dying in nursing homes who were never tested for COVID-19 or added to the tally.