Remarkably, yesterday was my 366th blog post on this site. I started pandemicpondering.com a year ago as a way to provide information to the many friends and colleagues who were asking me questions about pandemics, therapeutics, and vaccines. It turned out to be a useful source of information for an impressive number of people and a bit more of an effort than I ever could have imagined.
At the beginning I jokingly suggested that I was being an optimist by only paying to register the site and name for a single year. I have renewed the site for a second year, but truly hope that well short of that time widespread vaccination of the population will make the COVID-19 pandemic a thing of the past. This doesn’t mean we won’t have to deal with this infection in the future, but I believe it will become more of a controlled problem like some of the enteric viruses and mild flu outbreaks.
Medically, I’ve been most surprised by two issues in the past year. The first was the success of the RNA based COVID-19 vaccines. The speed with which they were developed and the incredible efficacy were beyond anything I could have hoped. These are truly the reasons that we will be able to move beyond this pandemic and return to normal life.
I was also shocked by the failure to find any really effective therapies (other than steroids). Remdesivir has some benefit and the monoclonal therapies are finally beginning to look like they can impact ill patients, but for the most part I truly believed that effective therapies would happen long before vaccines. The failure to develop therapies is the central reason for most of the deaths seen in the United States.
I plan to continue publishing posts as warranted, pointing out misinformation, or explaining scientific issues in a way that everyone can understand. Because I don’t feel a need to simply talk to folks, I’m not going to commit to publishing everyday anymore. For sure, however, you will understand that when I do publish, it is something worth your time and worth reading.
I need to thank once again Judy Malcolm, who has served as my editor, and Melissa Rennells who provided excellent support in organizing the site. I also want to thank the many people who provided input and feedback, almost all of it being positive and helpful.
I have always felt that this is not my personal site but a place for everyone who is truly looking for answers. If I were most disheartened by anything during the past year it was the remarkable amount of misinformation and politicization of what should have been purely a medical and public health issue. If pandemicpondering.com helped clarify what was important in the pandemic, then it was a valuable effort. Biscuit would be proud!
Please get vaccinated so we can look forward to a time in 2021 when we can all interact normally again.