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 #159 9/26/21

By Judy Stone | September 25, 2021 | 0 Comments

Quick links 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. What’s Going On In Florida? Are They Trying To Bring Back Deadly Infections? State Government Penalizes Vaccinated by Rationing Regeneron Antibody Treatment… to preserve supplies for those who are unwilling to get vaccinated and remain most vulnerable   News  ~ ~ ~ Diagnostics: still an incredible, negligent last of testing. Drugs and Vaccines: This (below) is a good perspective on why there was a discrepancy between what the ACIP recommended and what Dr. Walensky/CDC decided about boosters–which was to extend them to people at occupational risk. I believe that was the correct decision to make. ~ ~ ~ 26. Even with highly effective boosters, if there’s a lot of #Covid in the community & a lot of introduction into nursing homes by unvaccinated staff, boosters won’t stop cases in nursing homes, #ACIP is told. Higher vax rates among staff would have a greater impact. 29. Among people who got a 3rd dose of mRNA, side effects were comparable to dose 2, but were reported at slightly lower…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #158 9/19/21

By Judy Stone | September 19, 2021 | 0 Comments

Quick links 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. Betadine Is This Week’s Covid-19 “Cure,” Vying With Ivermectin Pet Store Puppies Linked to Campylobacter Infections C auris Transmission Can be Contained in Postacute Care Settings News  ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Forceful vaccine messages backfire with holdouts: How can it be done better? With the FDA approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and the continued surge of the delta variant, governments across the world have renewed their push to increase the number of vaccinated individuals by persuading the holdouts. On Sept. 9, 2021, President Joe Biden announced sweeping vaccine mandates, expressing frustration at the vaccine holdouts: “We’ve been patient, but our patience is wearing thin. And your refusal has cost all of us.” How COVID is derailing the fight against HIV, TB and malaria The pandemic’s effects on efforts to thwart other infectious diseases could exceed the direct impact of COVID-19. Nature Leslie Roberts 10 September 2021 The COVID-19 pandemic has had a “devastating” impact on the fight…

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Coronavirus #157 9/12/21

By Judy Stone | September 12, 2021 | 0 Comments

Quick links 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  Kids and COVID: why young immune systems are still on top Innate immunity might be the key to why children have fared better with the virus. But the Delta variant poses fresh unknowns. Early last year, children’s hospitals across New York City had to pivot to deal with a catastrophic COVID-19 outbreak. “We all had to quickly learn – or semi-learn – how to take care of adults,” says Betsy Herold, a paediatric infectious-disease physician who heads a virology laboratory at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. The reason: while hospitals across the city were bursting with patients, paediatric wards were relatively quiet. Children were somehow protected from the worst of the disease. Data collected by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from hospitals across the country suggest that people under the age of 18 have accounted for less than 2% of hospitalizations due to COVID-19 – a total of 3,649 children between March 2020 and late August 2021. Some children do get very sick,…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #156 9/4/21

By Judy Stone | September 5, 2021 | 0 Comments

Quick links 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. Malaria Vaccine + Antimalarial = 70% Reduction in Disease, Death Very well done study with dramatically better results than expected. ~ ~ ~ GOP Governors’ Hypocrisy on COVID Endangers Their Citizens News  Simple safety measures reduce musical COVID-19 transmission As the COVID-19 pandemic swept the globe in 2020, musicians around the world were desperate for the answers to two pressing questions: Can playing musical instruments transmit COVID-19? And if so, what can be done? Now, halfway through 2021, the first official research results are in-and it’s good news: The show can go on. Published today in the journal ACS Environmental Au, University of Colorado Boulder and University of Maryland researchers have found that while playing musical instruments can emit the same levels of potentially COVID-laden airborne particles as singing, simple safety measures, such as masking instruments (the bell of the wind instrument), social distancing and implementing time limits, significantly reduce this risk. ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Diagnostics:…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #155 8/29/21

By Judy Stone | August 29, 2021 | 0 Comments

Quick links 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. Covid-19 Vaccine Boosters – What You Should Know EpiPen: Price-Gouging of Essential Medicine News  ~ ~ ~ New SARS-CoV-2 variants have changed the pandemic. What will the virus do next? …The Delta strain circulating now-one of four “variants of concern” identified by the World Health Organization, along with four “variants of interest”-is so radically different from the virus that appeared in Wuhan, China, in late 2019 that many countries have been forced to change their pandemic planning. Governments are scrambling to accelerate vaccination programs while prolonging or even reintroducing mask wearing and other public health measures. As to the goal of reaching herd immunity-vaccinating so many people that the virus simply has nowhere to go-“With the emergence of Delta, I realized that it’s just impossible to reach that,” says Müge Çevik, an infectious disease specialist at the University of St. Andrews. Yet the most tumultuous period in SARS-CoV-2’s evolution may still be ahead of us, says Aris Katzourakis, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Oxford. There’s…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #154 8/22/21

By Judy Stone | August 22, 2021 | 0 Comments

Quick links 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  How does COVID-19 affect the brain? A troubling picture emerges. large portion of COVID-19 patients-possibly as high as 30 percent, according an estimate from the National Institutes of Health-who suffer some type of neurological or psychiatric symptoms…”The big surprise was the people who never required hospitalization that are having persistent trouble.” ~ ~ ~ Diagnostics: still an incredible, negligent last of testing.   Drugs and Vaccines: Boosters: U.S. officials’ decision on Covid-19 booster shots baffles – and upsets – some scientists Many flat-out challenged the need for booster doses at this time. Others questioned the morality of the decision. ~ ~ ~ The Science Supporting the U.S. Case for COVID Boosters ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Opinion: To vaccinate more Americans, lean into outbreaks Excellent perspective on our missed opportunities to vax ppl going for testing, etc ~ ~ ~ STUDY: AstraZeneca Says Antibody Combo Can Prevent COVID Not yet approved, but looks promising for pre-exposure prophylaxis ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #153 8/14/21

By Judy Stone | August 15, 2021 | 0 Comments

Quick links 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: CDC Reports #Burkholderia cepacia and B pseudomallei #Outbreaks – The #Melioidosis is especially intriguing because this bacteria is tropical, usually found in SE Asia. Why here, in 4 different states?  https://medscape.com/viewarticle/956548?src=soc_tw_share… via @medscape News  ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ The pandemic is not coming to an end soon – given that only a small proportion of the world population has been vaccinated against Covid-19, a well-known epidemiologist told CNBC. Dr. Larry Brilliant, an epidemiologist who was part of the World Health Organization’s team that helped eradicate smallpox, said the delta variant is “maybe the most contagious virus” ever. In recent months, the U.S., India and China, as well as other countries in Europe, Africa and Asia have been grappling with a highly transmissible delta variant of the virus. WHO declared Covid-19 a global pandemic last March – after the disease, which first emerged in China in late 2019, spread throughout the world. The good news is that vaccines – particularly those using messenger RNA technology and the one…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #152 8/8/21

By Judy Stone | August 8, 2021 | 0 Comments

Quick links 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. My latest posts: Probable Marburg virus in W. Africa for first time https://www.forbes.com/sites/judystone/2021/08/06/probable-case-of-ebola-like-marburg-virus-in-guinea/?sh=6f6aed1f1373   interesting issues at play between economic development and #publichealth: Malaria Transmission in Africa Worsened by Small Dams https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/956114?src=soc_tw_share via Medscape News  Monoclonal Antibody Cocktail Authorized for Post-COVID Exposure ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Research shows many with mild COVID-19 infections still experience long-term symptoms The majority of individuals who experience mild or moderate COVID-19 infection also experience long COVID, or persistent symptoms more than 30 days after they test positive, according to research data from the longitudinal CoVHORT study at the University of Arizona Health Sciences. Among participants who tested positive for COVID-19, 68.7% experienced at least one symptom after 30 days, marking the distinction for long COVID. This prevalence increased to 77% after 60 days of follow-up. Diagnostics: still an incredible, negligent lack of testing. A test that detects COVID-19 variants in your spit Drugs and Vaccines: ~ ~ ~ One dose of Pfizer vaccine may be enough for folks who’ve…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #151 8/1/21

By Judy Stone | August 1, 2021 | 0 Comments

Quick links 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. Politics Trumping Science Is Increasingly Disheartening https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/955487 and Summer, Saltwater, And Sickness From Vibrio Untreatable, Drug-Resistant Fungus (C. auris) Found in Texas and Washington, DC   News  New Covid cases reported on July 23, 2020 => 70,006 New Covid cases reported on July 23, 2021 => 81,732 ~  ~ ~ Arizona, Arkansas, Iowa, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, and Vermont & Florida have banned schools from requiring masks. #Texas passed #NewYork in #COVID19 deaths ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~  ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Diagnostics: still an incredible, negligent last of testing. Drugs and Vaccines: ACOG and SMFM Recommend COVID-19 Vaccination for Pregnant Individuals American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM), Data from tens of thousands of pregnant people show vaccines are safe during pregnancy, but a COVID infection puts pregnant people at increased risk of severe complications & death. Only about 22% of pregnant people have received one or more doses of the COVID vaccine. ~…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #150 7/25/21

By Judy Stone | July 25, 2021 | 1 Comment

Quick links 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  A coming wave of diabetes? The link with COVID-19 Researchers are observing a new long-term health concern in patients hospitalized with COVID-19-an increase in new-onset hyperglycemia lasting months after infection. An Italian study found that about half of the patients admitted to the hospital for COVID-19 during the start of the pandemic had new cases of hyperglycemia, or high levels of blood sugar. They also had poorer outcomes. ~ ~ ~ How concerned should we be about breakthrough coronavirus infections? One expert weighs in https://www.statnews.com/2021/07/23/how-concerned-should-we-be-about-breakthrough-coronavirus-infections-one-expert-weighs-in/? Joshua P. Cohen has an article in Forbes that: fully vaccinated healthcare workers who contract coronavirus can transmit it, whether they are symptomatic or asymptomatic. Also, According to the Dutch RIVM (CDC counterpart in the Netherlands), 9% of all positive cases tallied last week in the Netherlands were fully vaccinated individuals, ~ ~ ~ _ _ _ Novel autoantibody adds fuel to COVID-19 ‘firestorm’ of inflammation, blood clots, may guide future Rx Researchers at Michigan Medicine have discovered yet another functional autoantibody in…

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