From: Howard Jacobson <>
Subject: Confused about masks, immunity, and hydroxychloroquine? So was I...

Michael Rothberg, MD, returns to Plant Yourself to share the latest actual scientific understanding of COVID-19. We spoke first in mid-March, when we didn't know much. Fast forward five months, and we now know a lot, but in the US at least, we're ignoring most of the science and suffering for it.

I've been as confused as anyone else, daunted by epidemiological models I can't evaluate for accuracy, overwhelmed by social media fights about masks and free speech and hydroxychloroquine and vaccines and government overreach that have riven the plant-based community, and befuddled by competing claims of conferred immunity and how long it might last.

So I got Michael on the Zoom and peppered him with my questions.

Michael is the perfect person to talk about all this. First of all, he's been one of my best friends since September, 1977, when we met at South Orange Junior High and immediately started arguing with each other about anything and everything. I've never know anyone less afflicted by confirmation bias – he really just wants to know the truth, and actually delights in being shown evidence that conflicts with or even better, disproves his own hypotheses.

Second, he's been studying the gap between medical evidence and medical practice for about 30 years, and has a deep understanding of the weight of evidence, and where claims of efficacy overreach. He's spent decades studying the flu, and medical responses to it, and so has a strong background in public health around viruses.

Michael is Vice Chair for Research in the Medicine Institute of the Cleveland Clinic and Director of the Center for Value-Based Care Research.

If you're curious about whether hydroxychloroquine works (spoiler: it doesn't), whether someone who's gotten COVID-19 can get it again (probably not for at least a few years), whether it's safe to eat in restaurants (probably not), whether masks work (they work to protect others, and it's just common decency to wear one), and whether asymptomatic people can have the virus (yup!) and spread it (double yup!!), then you just have to read this paragraph.

If you want the science, the backstories, the color commentary, and a fundamental understanding of how the coronavirus wreaks havoc in the body and what the current medical standard of care is, you'll have to listen to or watch our conversation.


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