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 #230 1/29/23

By Judy Stone | January 28, 2023 | Comments Off on Coronavirus Tidbits #230 1/29/23

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. Reminder, Resilience: One Family’s Story… is increasingly pertinent, as some of our politicians shift rightward. All proceeds go to Holocaust education. Available here.         News  In its weekly situation report, WHO said Covid cases have declined 25% over last 4 weeks. However, deaths rose 13%. #Covid deaths have been rising since early Dec, even without adding the more than 72,000 hospital deaths reported from China’s recent surge https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/covid-19/global-covid-deaths-rise-who-emergency-committee-weighs-covid-status ~ ~ ~ A very important thread on #LongCovid from Hannah Davis: @ahandvanish   Jan 21 I’ve debated for a long time about being public with this, bc it’s heavy & I still haven’t come to terms with it. But I have a rare pre-COVID datapoint so will do it, hoping it helps people: Right before I got COVID, I did neuro testing to see if I had…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #229 1/22/23

By Judy Stone | January 21, 2023 | Comments Off on Coronavirus Tidbits #229 1/22/23

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. Reminder, Resilience: One Family’s Story… is increasingly pertinent, as some of our politicians shift rightward. All proceeds go to Holocaust education. Available here.         New posts: –a 2-part series on homelessness “Rough Sleepers”- The Growing Problem Of Homelessness In America https://www.forbes.com/sites/judystone/2023/01/18/rough-sleepers–the-growing-problem-of-homelessness-in-america/?sh=1a0405dc8998 and What We Can Learn About Homelessness From ‘Rough Sleepers’ https://www.forbes.com/sites/judystone/2023/01/19/what-can-we-learn-from-homelessness-and-rough-sleepers/?sh=70f1390b7ee7 News  Covid: COVID-19 infection at any time during pregnancy boosts mother’s risk of death Pregnant women were nearly 8 times as likely to die as their uninfected peers. And they were nearly 4 times as likely to require intensive care; 15 times as likely to require mechanical ventilation; and more than 5 times as likely to need any type of critical care. They were also more than 23 times as likely to be diagnosed with pneumonia and more than 5 times as likely to have…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #228 1/15/23

By Judy Stone | January 14, 2023 | Comments Off on Coronavirus Tidbits #228 1/15/23

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. Reminder, Resilience: One Family’s Story… is increasingly pertinent, as some of our politicians shift rightward. All proceeds go to Holocaust education. Available here. News  Covid: US extends COVID health emergency Health officials in the United States extended the COVID-19 public health emergency again, as the world closely watches developments there with XBB.1.5 and looks for clarity on China’s evolving surge. Cases and deaths are still rising. The 7-day average for new daily COVID-19 cases is 67,514, up 17% compared to a week ago, according to Washington Post tracking. By the same measure, deaths are up 8%, while hospitalizations are down 9%. As schools resume after the holidays, some are ordering temporary mask mandates due to elevated levels of COVID and other respiratory viruses, ABC News reported. More than 82% of XBB.1.5 sequences are from US Along with BQ.1 subvariants, XBB.1.5 is one of…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #227 1/8/23

By Judy Stone | January 8, 2023 | Comments Off on Coronavirus Tidbits #227 1/8/23

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. Reminder, Resilience: One Family’s Story… is increasingly pertinent, as some of our politicians shift rightward. All proceeds go to Holocaust education. Available here. News  Covid: XBB.1 variant At today’s briefing, Maria Van Kerkhove, PhD, said XBB.1.5 has been detected in 29 countries so far and is the most transmissible subvariant detected so far. “We are concerned about its growth advantage,” she said. So far, there are no data on severity or the clinical picture, (also) while XBB.1.5 is equally as immune evasive as the two other XBB lineages — which had a significant amount of antibody escape, according to a paper in Nature — it has a higher affinity for ACE2, which explains its increased transmissibility. ~ ~ ~ FDA warns it does not anticipate that the drug Evusheld will neutralize XBB.1.5 ~ ~ ~ US metrics all on the upswing…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #226 1/1/2023

By Judy Stone | January 1, 2023 | Comments Off on Coronavirus Tidbits #226 1/1/2023

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: A fun post to end the year, reminding me of why I like infectious diseases so much as a specialty. So much weirdness and sleuthing! What Do A Raccoon, Aquarium, And Walmart’s Aromatherapy Spray Have In Common? https://www.forbes.com/sites/judystone/2022/12/28/what-do-a-raccoon-aquarium-and-walmarts-aromatherapy-spray-have-in-common/?sh=da709c7723a1 News  Covid: “There are currently more than 66,045 cases reported in the United States per day, with test positivity of 12%. When test positivity is above 5%, transmission is considered uncontrolled. There are more than 473 deaths per day, and hospitalizations have increased 22% over the last two weeks. Since many are using home tests that are not reported through public health or are not testing at all, the official case counts underestimate the actual prevalence of COVID-19. https://www.nebraskamed.com/COVID/what-covid-19-variants-are-going-around ~ ~ ~ @morganstephensa   Dec 29, 2022  some important research. Latest in @Nature find…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #225 12/25/22

By Judy Stone | December 24, 2022 | Comments Off on Coronavirus Tidbits #225 12/25/22

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: Planning A Caribbean Vacation? Here Are Some Infections To Consider Protecting Yourself Against https://www.forbes.com/sites/judystone/2022/12/19/planning-a-caribbean-vacation-here-are-some-infections-to-consider-protecting-yourself-against/?sh=623576535ac0 News  Covid: Pre-procedure and pre-admission COVID-19 testing no longer recommended for asymptomatic patients Health care facilities should no longer routinely screen symptom-free patients for COVID-19 upon admission or before procedures and rely instead on enhanced layers of infection prevention interventions, according to a recommendation from the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) published today in Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology. https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-12-pre-procedure-pre-admission-covid-longer-asymptomatic.html? ~ ~ ~ Scientists find key reason why loss of smell occurs in long COVID-19 The reason some people fail to recover their sense of smell after COVID-19 is linked to an ongoing immune assault on olfactory nerve cells and an associated decline in the number of those cells, a team of…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #224 12/18/22

By Judy Stone | December 17, 2022 | Comments Off on Coronavirus Tidbits #224 12/18/22

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  Infectious diseases fellowships go unfilled for newly minted doctors: 44% of training programs are unfilled. Why do 2-3 more years training to get lower pay? Unfolding disaster https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2022/12/12/1142250941/newest-doctors-shun-infectious-diseases-specialty ~ ~ ~ Vaccine effectiveness: A new CDC study of non-immunocompromised adults finds that receiving a bivalent Covid booster dose (after 2, 3, or 4 monovalent doses) reduced the risk of hospitalization by 57% compared with being unvaccinated and by 45% compared with being unboosted. https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/71/wr/mm715152e2.htm? ~ ~ ~ @JReinerMD  Dec 12 COVID cases are up 53% over the past 14 days. Hospitalizations are up 30% and deaths are up 39%. Protect yourself. ~ ~ ~ COVID-19: What we know about new omicron variant BF.7 Since the COVID variant omicron emerged in late 2021, it has rapidly evolved into multiple subvariants. One subvariant, BF.7,…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #223 12/11/22

By Judy Stone | December 10, 2022 | Comments Off on Coronavirus Tidbits #223 12/11/22

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  Covid: Which Respiratory Virus Do I Have? – There’s a range of possibilities, and it’s not easy to tell them apart [Good summary] https://www.medpagetoday.com/special-reports/features/102007? ~ ~ ~ Nanobody treatment shows promise against SARS-CoV-2 infection https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-12-nanobody-treatment-sars-cov-infection.html ~ ~ ~ 41.6 percent of adults have serology indicative of past COVID-19 infection More than 40 percent of U.S. adults have serology indicative of past COVID-19 infection, of whom 43.7 percent report never having had COVID-19, https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-12-percent-adults-serology-indicative-covid-.html ~ ~ ~ Paxlovid Has Been Free So Far. Next Year, Sticker Shock Awaits. Currently $530 each, a discount for buying in bulk. Pfizer’s Covid shots will quadruple in price, from the discount rate the government pays of $30 to about $120. Federal law restricts Medicare Part D – the prescription drug program that covers nearly 50 million seniors –…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #222 12/4/22

By Judy Stone | December 3, 2022 | Comments Off on Coronavirus Tidbits #222 12/4/22

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: Learn To “See” C. Difficile To Protect Yourself From This Serious Infection https://www.forbes.com/sites/judystone/2022/11/28/learn-to-see-c-difficile-to-protect-yourself-from-this-serious-infection/?sh=7afb157b6fb9 ~ ~ ~ What Can We Learn From The Growing Measles Outbreak In Ohio? https://www.forbes.com/sites/judystone/2022/11/29/what-can-we-learn-from-the-growing-measles-outbreak-in-ohio/?sh=7283b4813430 News  Covid US markers show upward trends In the United States, the 7-day average for new daily COVID-19 cases is at 43,692, up nearly 8% compared to the week before, according to the Washington Post tracker. Daily averages for new COVID hospitalizations and deaths are also up, 21% and 24%, respectively. In other developments, Twitter announced last week that it will no longer enforce a policy put in place to curb COVID-19 misinformation. https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2022/11/covid-19-cases-stable-globally-rise-2-regions ~ ~ ~ FDA ended its emergency authorization for bebtelovimab the only remaining Covid-19 antibody therapy cleared for use, saying variants BQ.1 and BQ.1.1  that render it ineffective are now dominant in the…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #221 11/26/22

By Judy Stone | November 26, 2022 | Comments Off on Coronavirus Tidbits #221 11/26/22

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 format: Apparently Tidbits is not loading properly for some. While my web techie helpers try to figure this out, I’ve drastically reduced images. If this doesn’t work, I will be sending posts in 2 parts, 1 the Covid/medical and the other, the Politics. I will also be embedding far fewer Tweets and images to try to reduce load time. Please let me know if that helps it work better, though it’s not as eye-catching. Or would you prefer more images (like those that go with Tweets) and the newsletter split into two? You can reach me at drjudystone at gmail dot com. Please put “Tidbits” in the subject line. Thx. Thanks. News  Covid: Study ties Paxlovid to lower COVID-19 hospitalization rate Adult US COVID-19 patients who received the antiviral drug Paxlovid within…

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