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 #99 11/29/20

By Judy Stone | November 29, 2020 | 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  Outrageous, unscientific, and unsurprising decision from the stacked Supremes, undermining public health during the middle of a pandemic: Supreme Court on 5-4 vote blocks NY Gov. Cuomo from reimposing strict capacity caps on Catholic churches and synagogues that sued. Barrett joins conservative wing in majority; Roberts joins liberals in dissent. ~ ~ ~ Thoughtful perspective from Pope Francis Pope Francis: “… With some exceptions, governments have made great efforts to put the well-being of their people first, acting decisively to protect health and to save lives. The exceptions have been some governments that shrugged off the painful evidence of mounting deaths, with inevitable, grievous consequences. But most governments acted responsibly, imposing strict measures to contain the outbreak. Yet some groups protested, refusing to keep their distance, marching against travel restrictions — as…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #98 11/25/20

By Judy Stone | November 25, 2020 | 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. Tidbits will likely be a bit shorter and a little less frequent for the next little bit. I have been immersed in it and I need to spend a little more time on self-care, which for me means seeing the spring flowers emerge and digging in the dirt. Pesach is always a bit rough anyway, so I will turn to more nature. Happy to continue to answer your questions/concerns as best I can, so don’t be shy about that. News    Trump has not met with his coronavirus task force in at least 5 months, according to a senior administration official, and rarely reads daily reports prepared for him by task force coordinator Deborah Birx, MD. His administration has largely been ignoring the pandemic, hindering efforts to curtail it before an expected winter surge,according to the Washington Post. ~ ~ ~ Hospitals in half the states are facing a massive staffing…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #97 11/22/20

By Judy Stone | November 22, 2020 | 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  ‘People are going to die’: Hospitals in half the states are facing a massive staffing shortage as Covid-19 surges STAT By OLIVIA GOLDHILL @OliviaGoldhill NOVEMBER 19, 2020 Hospitals in at least 25 states are critically short of nurses, doctors, and other staff as coronavirus cases surge across the United States, according to the industry’s trade association and a tally conducted by STAT. The situation has gotten so bad that in some places, severely ill patients have been transferred hundreds of miles for an available bed — from Texas to Arizona, and from central Missouri to Iowa. Many of these hospitals spent months building up stockpiles of medical equipment and protective gear in response to Covid-19, but the supplies are of little use without adequate staffing. https://www.statnews.com/2020/11/19/covid19-hospitals-in-half-the-states-facing-massive-staffing-shortage/? ~ ~ ~ China has begun its first prosecution of…

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Coronavirus Tidbits # 96 11/18/20

By Judy Stone | November 18, 2020 | 2 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  Another successful looking vaccine! Moderna, joined by U.S. government scientists, announced Monday that their mRNA vaccine candidate was 94.5% effective in preventing Covid-19. The Moderna vaccine appears to have been protective in important subsets of participants — the elderly and people from communities of color, the latter of which make up 37% of the volunteers in Moderna’s trial. There were 11 cases of severe disease, all of them in the placebo group. As with Pfizer’s vax, there are unanswered questions–including duration of immunity, “if the vaccine candidates can block infections entirely, or if they’re just making people less sick. Another: If people can still contract SARS-2 after getting vaccinated, are they less infectious to other people?” (I wrote about other questions surrounding the Pfizer vax here. They have released fewer details than…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #95 11/15/20

By Judy Stone | November 15, 2020 | 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  ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Excellent thread from Ed Yong. Start here: ~ ~ ~ After many childhood vaccinations got put on hold at the start of the pandemic, global measles cases are expected to spike in the coming years. (Vox) Diagnostics: still an incredible, negligent lack of accurate rapid testing. Drugs: ~ ~ ~ Small study–COVID-19 survival among elderly patients could be improved by arthritis drug baricitinib The research team say the findings are being followed up with large-scale clinical trials. https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-11/icl-csa111320.php ~ ~ ~ Gates Foundation adds $70 million more funding for COVID vaccines for poor thru COVAX and GAVI An extra $50 million will go to the COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC) led by the GAVI vaccine alliance, the foundation said, and another $20 million to the Coalition for Epidemic…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #94 11-12-20

By Judy Stone | November 12, 2020 | 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. I have 2 new posts: President-Elect Biden Names New Covid-19 Task Force – What’s The Enthusiasm About? I’m thrilled that appointees are well-respected physicians and scientists, though there are some additional groups that need to be represented. There is a focus on social justice and health disparities among the appointees. https://www.forbes.com/sites/judystone/2020/11/09/president-elect-biden-names-new-covid-19-task-force–whats-the-enthusiasm-about/?sh=398fbb86458f ~ ~ ~ Pfizer’s Covid-19 Vaccine Results Look Exciting—But Come With Big Warnings My somewhat contrarian view of the Pfizer vaccine. https://www.forbes.com/sites/judystone/2020/11/10/pfizers-covid-19-vaccine-results-look-exciting-but-come-with-big-warnings/?sh=fdf9d021bc88 News  Cases are skyrocketing across the US, especially in areas which ignore masking and distancing. ~ ~ ~ I still find this shocking:  “Despite President Donald Trump’s brazen negligence in handling the coronavirus, the president actually performed better this year than he did in 2016 in counties with high COVID-19 death rates, according to an internal analysis from Reuters. The…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #93 11/8/20 – Hallelujah

By Judy Stone | November 8, 2020 | 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. Tidbits will likely be a bit shorter and a little less frequent for the next little bit. I have been immersed in #GOTV, text banking and voter hotline. Took today off, then already found a need for texting again for ballot curing in AZ, and have signed up to volunteer for GA. We need all hands on deck for that one! Happy to continue to answer your questions/concerns as best I can, so don’t be shy about that. News  My first reaction to the electoral vote counts: Alleluia, The Great Storm Is Over  words and music by Bob Franke The thunder and lightning gave voice to the night, The little lame child cried aloud in her fright, Hush little baby, a story I’ll tell, Of a love that has conquered the powers of hell. CHORUS: Alleluia, the great storm is over, Lift up your wings and fly! Alleluia, the great…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #92 11/4/20

By Judy Stone | November 5, 2020 | 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. Tidbits will likely be a bit shorter and a little less frequent for the next little bit. I have been immersed in #GOTV. Now I will shift to ballot “curing” briefly, and mourning the divide and craziness in our country. Happy to continue to answer your questions/concerns as best I can, so don’t be shy about that. News  Incomprehensible to me how, despite Herculean efforts to get out the vote on one side (and overcome voter suppression), the vote is so close this am. That half the US voted for a lying narcissist who is hell bent on ignoring science and destroying the environment for his profit, is heartbreaking and sickening. ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Diagnostics: still an incredible, negligent lack of rapid, accurate testing. Drugs: Regeneron, Lilly Setbacks Raise Questions on the Effectiveness of Antibodies in Severe COVID-19 By  Alex Philippidis  November 2, 2020 …

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Coronavirus Tidbits #96 11/1/20

By Judy Stone | November 1, 2020 | 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. Tidbits will likely be a bit shorter and a little less frequent for the next little bit. I have been immersed in #GOTV efforts. Now there are opportunities to help w post-election challenges. Don’t know if I can muster the energy for that… Happy to continue to answer your questions/concerns as best I can, so don’t be shy about that. News  ~ ~ ~ Another maskless mega-rally. Trump is spreading Covid and hate-mongering throughout sleepy little towns, this in PA–hours after this study came out: What are the health consequences of Pres. Trump’s campaign rallies? A Stanford study examined 18 Trump rallies and estimated that just those rallies led to 30,000 Covid infections and 700 deaths. https://sebotero.github.io/papers/COVIDrallies_10_30_2000.pdf This is also after last week’s sh*t show in Omaha, where fans were left stranded in the cold, with no transportation back to their cars. At least 7 were taken to hospitals for…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #95 10/29/20

By Judy Stone | October 30, 2020 | 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: I’ve been trying to stick on a 2x/week schedule recently, weekend and midweek. Since Sunday’s issue failed to send, these two are back to back. But I know you won’t mind, since there is such interesting content and pics, right? First, there is now a Resources Page here for the most commonly asked questions I’m getting. Tidbits will likely be a bit shorter and a little less frequent for the next little bit. I’m still immersed in #GOTV efforts. Happy to continue to answer your questions/concerns as best I can, so don’t be shy about that. News  Good way of viewing Coronavirus: ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Turning the Corner on Covid in the US—Into an Oncoming Tsunami of Cases, Hospitalizations, and Death Dr. Tom Frieden ~ ~ ~   Diagnostics: still an incredible, negligent last of testing. Drugs: ~ ~ ~ Moderna ~ ~ ~ Growing drug shortages–thank our dependence on China (and India) “As of now, 43%…

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