Politics, Science, and Other Assorted Musings

I love helping people understand issues and look at them from a different perspective. In this blog, I hope I can offer you some new insights—bridging the gap between basic science and your medicine chest—as I am still a practicing physician, as well as having had broad clinical research experience. I'm interested in developing new medicines and treatments, as well as caring for patients—and explaining these topics for you.

As medicine has evolved, so have my interests. I have also become increasingly interested in health disparities, social justice issues, and ethics. I invite you to join me as we explore a variety of territories. I hope that reading these posts will encourage you to learn, engage, and above all, work for the forces of good.

If there are topics you'd like to see me cover, please let me know—I welcome your input as to what you would like us to discuss in this column.

Coronavirus - COVID19

Please note that I will be posting Coronavirus Tidbits of news here. You can sign up for updates by clicking the box at the right and subscribe to Covid, Politics, and Science. All Covid posts will go here, and I will upload back issues as I have time. Please share w friends. Thanks!

I’m going to have a reference file here for articles I have found particularly worthwhile, and will update this here as we learn new information. Click on the COVID-19 Resources, below, to expand that.

If you see something terrific, please share. We’re all in this together.

Coronavirus Tidbits #176 January 23, 2022

By Judy Stone | January 23, 2022 | 0 Comments

Quick links News     Diagnostics     Drugs    Devices    Epidemiology/Infection control     Tips     Politics    Feel good du jour     Comic relief     Perspective/Poem     Bits of beauty Announcements: First, there is now a Resources Page here for the most commonly asked questions I’m getting. Happy to continue to answer your questions/concerns as best I can, so don’t be shy about that. New Post: Even better–family is donating proceeds from the book and film to research on phages and antimicrobial resistance. News  Omicron news: Israeli study shows 4th shot of COVID-19 vaccine NOT able to block Omicron JERUSALEM, Jan 17 (Reuters) – A fourth shot of COVID-19 vaccine boosts antibodies to even higher levels than the third jab but it likely is not enough to prevent Omicron infections, according to a preliminary study in Israel. The vaccines led to a increase in the number of antibodies “even a little bit higher than what we had after the third dose”, said Regev-Yochay, adding that the results were preliminary and not yet published. Israel was the fastest country to roll out initial vaccinations a year ago and last month started offering a fourth shot, or a second…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #175 2/16/22

By Judy Stone | January 16, 2022 | 0 Comments

Quick links News     Diagnostics     Drugs    Devices    Epidemiology/Infection control     Tips     Politics    Feel good du jour     Comic relief     Perspective/Poem     Bits of beauty Announcements: First, there is now a Resources Page here for the most commonly asked questions I’m getting. Happy to continue to answer your questions/concerns as best I can, so don’t be shy about that. Recent posts: ACIP Releases New Dengue Vaccine Recommendations https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/966519 ~ ~ ~ Some Prisoners Face Risk for COVID From the Community https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/965506 ~ ~ ~ CDC’s Isolation Guidelines Are Inadequate https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/966003 News  Omicron: ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Other news: Polish scientists have found a gene that more than doubles the risk of developing severe COVID-19. (Reuters) https://www.reuters.com/business/healthcare-pharmaceuticals/polish-scientists-find-gene-that-doubles-risk-serious-covid-2022-01-13/ Diagnostics: still an incredible, negligent last of testing. Drugs and Vaccines: Omicron thwarts some of the world’s most-used COVID vaccines Inactivated-virus vaccines elicit few, if any, infection-blocking antibodies – but might still protect against severe disease. Nature Elie Dolgin 13 January 2022 Inactivated-virus vaccines contain SARS-CoV-2 particles that have been chemically treated to make it impossible for them to cause an infection. Stable and relatively easy to manufacture, such vaccines have been distributed widely as part of China’s…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #174 1/9/22

By Judy Stone | January 9, 2022 | 0 Comments

Quick links News     Diagnostics     Drugs    Devices    Epidemiology/Infection control     Tips     Politics    Feel good du jour     Comic relief     Perspective/Poem     Bits of beauty Announcements: First, there is now a Resources Page here for the most commonly asked questions I’m getting. Happy to continue to answer your questions/concerns as best I can, so don’t be shy about that. Recent articles: Freshwater Aquarium Provides Source for Melioidosis Infection https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/965928  — a fascinating CDC sleuthing case discovering how a Maryland woman got a life-threatening infection from a bacteria mostly found in SE Asia. ~ ~ ~ While Covid-19 Skyrockets, Florida’s Gov. DeSantis And Surgeon General Ladapo Are Still Spreading Misinformation https://www.forbes.com/sites/judystone/2022/01/04/while-covid-19-skyrockets-floridas-gov-desantis-and-surgeon-general-ladapo-are-still-spreading-misinformation/?sh=1846376b49c3 ~ ~ ~ CDC’s Isolation Guidelines Are Inadequate https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/966003   News  See What to do if newly infected, under Tips, below:   Omicron: US hits 1m Covid infections in one day (and 2 mill/d globally) Covid-19 infections in the US surpassed one million cases in one day for the first time on Monday, The Guardian reported. In total, 1.06 million new positive tests were recorded, according to the Johns Hopkins University database. The figure is almost double the previous record of about…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #173 1/2/22

By Judy Stone | January 2, 2022 | 0 Comments

Quick links News     Diagnostics     Drugs    Devices    Epidemiology/Infection control     Tips     Politics    Feel good du jour     Comic relief     Perspective/Poem     Bits of beauty Announcements: First, there is now a Resources Page here for the most commonly asked questions I’m getting. Happy to continue to answer your questions/concerns as best I can, so don’t be shy about that. ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Recent posts: COVID Misinformation From the Top Offers False Cheer and True Risk https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/965724 ~ ~ ~ Climate Change And Infections https://www.forbes.com/sites/judystone/2021/12/30/climate-change-and-infections/?sh=2b21953a3fd4 News  See What to do if newly infected, under Tips, below: ~ ~ ~ Omicron: Beyond case counts: What Omicron is teaching us STAT  By Andrew Joseph  and Helen Branswell  12/30/21 The Omicron wave in the United States is upon us. If you were fortunate enough to tune out from Covid-19 news over the holidays, you’re coming back to startling reports about record high case counts and, in some places, increases in hospitalizations. The wave will crest, of course; the question is when. For now, experts say, the country still has a ways to go to get through the Omicron surge. Below, STAT outlines what Omicron is already teaching us…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #172 12/26/21

By Judy Stone | December 26, 2021 | 0 Comments

Quick links News     Diagnostics     Drugs    Devices    Epidemiology/Infection control     Tips     Politics    Feel good du jour     Comic relief     Perspective/Poem     Bits of beauty Announcements: First, there is now a Resources Page here for the most commonly asked questions I’m getting. Happy to continue to answer your questions/concerns as best I can, so don’t be shy about that. New Posts: Let’s Stop Hand Hygiene Theater and Focus on Airborne Transmission https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/965238 News  See What to do if newly infected, under Tips, below: ~ ~ ~ Desperate times re HCW staffing ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Omicron is more contagious and requires more protective masks. Wear mask indoors when around other people. Wear an N95 or K95 or KF94 . https://npr.org/sections/health-shots/2021/12/23/1066871176/mask-n95-omicron-contagious… ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Long-Acting Antibody Combo Retains Neutralizing Activity Against Omicron Delaware-based AstraZeneca U.S. announced today Evusheld, a long-acting antibody combination to prevent COVID-19, retains neutralization activity against the Omicron SARS-CoV-2 variant (B.1.1.529). https://www.precisionvaccinations.com/2021/12/23/long-acting-antibody-combo-retains-neutralizing-activity-against-omicron ~ ~ ~ Breakthrough infections generate ‘super immunity’ to COVID-19, study suggests Breakthrough infections greatly enhance immune response to variants of the virus that causes COVID-19, according to a newly published study…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #171 12/19/21

By Judy Stone | December 19, 2021 | 0 Comments

Quick links News     Diagnostics     Drugs    Devices    Epidemiology/Infection control     Tips     Politics    Feel good du jour     Comic relief     Perspective/Poem     Bits of beauty Announcements: First, there is now a Resources Page here for the most commonly asked questions I’m getting. Happy to continue to answer your questions/concerns as best I can, so don’t be shy about that. New Posts: ***Let’s Admit That Covid-19 Is Airborne – How Can You Protect Yourself? Contains considerable practical information, including about DIY box fans, CO2 monitors, and more. https://www.forbes.com/sites/judystone/2021/12/14/lets-admit-that-covid-19-is-airborne—how-can-you-protect-yourself/?sh=31e61504306f ~ ~ ~ COVID-19 Interrupted Poliovirus Surveillance and Immunization https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/965010 News  Omicron: appears to have an astonishing doubling time of 2-3 days, and (in Denmark) 83% of cases are occurring in fully vaccinated.–hence the need for boosters. Given the rapid spread of Omicron, Danish officials announced that they would shorten the recommended interval between the second shot and the booster shot to 4½ months, rather than the standard 6 months. Incubation periods with Omicron have been short, at 3 days. Even though 85 countries have reported Omicron cases now, the US continues its irrational, useless, and punitive travel ban against African countries. ~ ~ ~ Preliminary laboratory…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #170 12/12/21

By Judy Stone | December 12, 2021 | 0 Comments

Quick links News     Diagnostics     Drugs    Devices    Epidemiology/Infection control     Tips     Politics    Feel good du jour     Comic relief     Perspective/Poem     Bits of beauty Announcements: First, there is now a Resources Page here for the most commonly asked questions I’m getting. Happy to continue to answer your questions/concerns as best I can, so don’t be shy about that. Two new posts: Travel Bans: More Security Theater  https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/964043 Specialists Think It’s Up to the PCP to Recommend Flu Vaccines. But Many Patients Don’t See a PCP Every Year https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/964258 News  Omicron News: ~ ~ ~ I recommend this entire thread explaining how a new variant may appear milder even with no change in underlying virulence. This can occur because, when calculating the fraction of cases that are severe, the denominator now includes many re-infections that had previously been averted. ~ ~ ~ In its latest risk assessment, the UK’s Health Security Agency (HSA) yesterday said that, based on test findings and case numbers, Omicron is showing a significant growth advantage over Delta and will likely become dominant. 21=>now57 countries report Omicron cases. “The travel restrictions come at the height of the end-of-year tourist season,…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #169 12/5/21

By Judy Stone | December 5, 2021 | 0 Comments

Quick links News     Diagnostics     Drugs    Devices    Epidemiology/Infection control     Tips     Politics    Feel good du jour     Comic relief     Perspective/Poem     Bits of beauty Announcements: First, there is now a Resources Page here for the most commonly asked questions I’m getting. Happy to continue to answer your questions/concerns as best I can, so don’t be shy about that. News  Poll: Americans worried about contracting COVID, missing family and procuring and affording gifts According to a new poll, Americans are five times more likely to say their level of stress increases rather than decreases (41% to 7%) during the holidays. This year, top areas of concern are contracting COVID-19 during gatherings (38%), and finding (40%) and affording (46%) gifts. The unvaccinated are less worried than the vaccinated about contracting COVID-19 (28% to 43%). Additionally, nearly half of adults (47%) are anxious about missing family members around the holidays. https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-12-poll-americans-covid-family-gifts.html? ~ ~ ~ Worth a read: In the wrong hands, vaccination statistics can prove deadly. Simpson’s Paradox shows why There has been much discussion of late about data published on 1 November, 2021, by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). It is titled…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #168 11/28/21

By Judy Stone | November 28, 2021 | 1 Comment

Quick links News     Diagnostics     Drugs    Devices    Epidemiology/Infection control     Tips     Politics    Feel good du jour     Comic relief     Perspective/Poem     Bits of beauty Announcements: First, there is now a Resources Page here for the most commonly asked questions I’m getting. Happy to continue to answer your questions/concerns as best I can, so don’t be shy about that. New Post: Surveillance for Measles Is a Victim of the COVID Pandemic A drop in surveillance and missed vaccine schedules due to the pandemic means potential new outbreaks of measles and other infectious diseases. https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/963438 News  New COVID variant alarms researchers, triggers travel bans South Africa’s health ministry, in an urgent media briefing yesterday, announced the detection of a new SARS-CoV-2 variant, B.1.1.529, that has quickly outpaced the Delta (B1617.2) variant and has a host of mutations that might change how the virus behaves. The new findings triggered an unprecedented and fast response in science and government ranks yesterday, with experts raising deep concerns about the new variant’s mutation profile and the World Health Organization (WHO) today convening its technical advisory group (TAG), with speculation swirling that it would designate B.1.1.529 as the…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #167 11/21/21

By Judy Stone | November 21, 2021 | 0 Comments

Quick links News     Diagnostics     Drugs    Devices    Epidemiology/Infection control     Tips     Politics    Feel good du jour     Comic relief     Perspective/Poem     Bits of beauty Announcements: First, there is now a Resources Page here for the most commonly asked questions I’m getting. Happy to continue to answer your questions/concerns as best I can, so don’t be shy about that. New post: Should You Worry About Disease Transmission in Public Bathrooms?  https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/963106 News  Austria moves to full COVID-19 lockdown, national vaccine mandate Battling an unprecedented surge like some of its neighbors, Austria’s government today announced a full lockdown, the first in Europe to take such dramatic steps amid the continent’s fourth surge. Europe’s latest surge is its biggest, and last week, the World Health Organization’s European region recorded its highest weekly total of the pandemic: nearly 2.19 million cases. Meanwhile, in the United States ahead of the winter holidays, cases continue to spike in the Midwest, with numbers rising in the Northeast, as well. High vaccination level not enough Earlier this week, Austria ordered a lockdown for unvaccinated people, but Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg said the measure didn’t boost vaccination levels enough, according to the Washington Post….

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