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 # 27 4-2 to 4-3-20

By Judy Stone | April 4, 2020 | 0 Comments

Quick links News     Diagnostics     Drugs     Epidemiology/Infection control     Tips     Politics    Feel good du jour     Comic relief     Perspective/Poem     Bits of beauty  Note: Tidbits will be abbreviated for a bit while I try to catch up and deal w technical issues. Also need to take a bit more breaks. I’ve moved people from my emails to this automated mailing when I have a new issue. Please refer people to this site: https://www.drjudystone.com/politics-science-and-other-assorted-musings/ My web designer is working to put that signup on each post as well, to make it easier for folks to sign up. Please continue to send questions, great resources, or nice things that are happening. Thx. News: CDC now advises people to wear a mask in public to help slow spread of Coronavirus from asymptomatic people. Setting a bad example yet again, and asked why he won’t wear a covering, Trump said: “I just don’t want to wear one myself…I’m feeling good…I just don’t want to…somehow sitting in the Oval Office…the great Resolute Desk…I think wearing a face mask as I greet presidents…dictators…I dunno, I don’t see it.” ~ ~ ~ Americans are underestimating how long coronavirus disruptions will last, health experts say https://t.co/VL50YikQeC?amp=1 via @statnews ~ ~ ~ Capt….

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Staying Safe: Bone Marrow Transplant Survivor Tells You How

By Judy Stone | April 3, 2020 | 0 Comments

I had no immune system for months after my bone marrow transplant. Here’s how I avoided viral illness, and how you can, too. It’s easier than you think. writes AM Carter  This is by far and away the best post I’ve read on how to stay safe. I urge you to check it out here. Her major advice: “Constant, thorough hand washing and hand sanitizing. Constant, thorough cleaning and sanitizing of surfaces that I touched. Completely avoiding primary vectors of transmission. Clean the things you touch.   Avoid People, and the things people touch. Upon returning home from any excursion, I wipe down my keys, phone, credit card (if I used it), car door handle, car steering wheel, garage door handles and front door handles.”   Carter specifically address concerns about food that were heightened by the otherwise very good PSA on handling Groceries: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sjDuwc9KBps “Porous surfaces just aren’t significant vectors for coronavirus. There’s an extremely low likelihood of picking up any meaningful quantity of active virus from cardboard, clothes, paper, grocery store produce, grocery bags, etc. I rinse my produce with warm water, just a basic rinse to remove debris and chemical residues, like I’ve always done. I don’t…

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Staying Safe: Bleach and Gloves

By Judy Stone | April 3, 2020 | 0 Comments

COVID-19 Protection Strategy: BLEACH and GLOVES from Dr. Robin Bissell https://www.facebook.com/groups/DrBandG/ COVID-19 transmission was once thought to be primarily caused by infected persons with symptoms and airborne transmission. We now realize that a significant form of transmission of COVID-19 occurs by this path: An infected person who may have no symptoms is shedding the virus and they touch their face They touch a surface (like a doorknob or a credit card machine). The virus survives 3 days. A non-infected person touches the same surface and later they touch their face The virus enters the body through the eyes, nose or mouth The newly infected person may develop no symptoms, mild symptoms or severe symptoms. In all cases, they will be shedding COVID-19 virus for days before symptoms occur, and for weeks after the infection has symptomatically improved. This explains why this is a Stealth Virus that is spreading so fast. The GOOD News is that you can PROTECT YOURSELF!! Using inexpensive and easy to find supplies, you can stop this sneaky, stealthy, BAD BUG. Not everyone, especially those still working outside the house, will be able to do ALL these things. Please share work arounds or variations you are creating….

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Coronavirus Resources for Community Support

By Judy Stone | April 3, 2020 | 0 Comments

This page will have be “live” with real-time updates as I learn of them. If you have other ones of national or regional interest I should add, please let me know via comments. Thanks. From AARP and Town Hall Project of MoveOn.org (an interesting partnership, the new Odd Couple) Everywhere we look, people are working together—city by city and block by block—to develop teams and resources to meet the needs of our most vulnerable loved ones and face this pandemic together. These are mutual aid networks. Small groups of neighbors asking for and offering help. Click here to find a mutual aid network near you. This will take you to a map of local groups that’s been compiled by Town Hall Project and AARP (which is not a MoveOn project, but we think it’s an incredible resource many of us will want to plug into). You might need help right now, or maybe you can deliver groceries, pick up prescriptions, offer translation services, provide tutoring support, or just be virtual company for someone struggling with self-quarantine. We know there are a million ways (not an exaggeration) that individuals are helping each other and communities are creating mutual support. The map keeps growing, and you…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #26 4-1-20 

By Judy Stone | April 2, 2020 | 2 Comments

Quick links News     Diagnostics     Drugs     Epidemiology/Infection control     Tips     Politics    Feel good du jour     Comic relief     Perspective/Poem     Bits of beauty  News:  New post: People Can Spread Coronavirus For Up To Three Days Before Having Symptoms This means we will have to be much more careful to maintain distancing and STAY at HOME. It will also likely lead to a push for the public to wear masks when out. ~ ~ ~ NYTimes: nearly a quarter of the city’s emergency medical service workers out sick, according to the Fire Department. In all, 2,800 members of the Fire Department are sidelined, including about 950 of the city’s 4,300 paramedics. Nearly 16% of the New York Police Department’s uniformed force is off sick, with more than 1,000 officers testing positive for the virus so far. ~ ~ ~ NYC is converting *all its public hospitals* in ICU units for COVID-19. “Patients who do not have the virus will be sent to large-scale temporary hospitals or to hotels that are being converted into temporary medical facilities.” ~ ~ ~ We’re Betraying Our Doctors and Nurses – “Many of my colleagues are making wills, they’ve sent their families away. People are scared, & rightfully…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #25 3-31-20

By Judy Stone | April 1, 2020 | 7 Comments

Quick links News     Diagnostics     Drugs     Epidemiology/Infection control     Tips     Politics    Feel good du jour     Comic relief     Perspective/Poem     Bits of beauty Coronavirus Tidbits #    News: Please take the time to do this: It is a travesty that publicly funded research is behind a paywall! @WHOSTP  has extended the comment period on the request for information on public access to peer-reviewed scholarly publications, data, & code resulting from federally funded research to May 6, 2020.  Comments submitted in response to this notice may be submitted online to Lisa Nichols, Assistant Director for Academic Engagement, OSTP, at publicaccess@ostp.eop.gov. Email submissions should be machinereadable [pdf, doc, txt] and not copyprotected. Submissions should include ‘‘RFI Response: Public Access’’ in the subject line of the message. Further info well-hidden at p 17907-8 of https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2020-03-31/pdf/2020-06622.pdf Travesty: Captain of aircraft carrier with growing coronavirus outbreak pleads for help from Navy https://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/Exclusive-Captain-of-aircraft-carrier-with-15167883.php? ~ ~ ~ And another WTH??? DoD said it was making 2,000 ventilators available — Today we learn not one ventilator has shipped because Pentagon hasn’t been told where to send them. And only 2 mill of 5 mill masks shipped. DOD needs to know where to ship we are told. – Barbara Starr, CNN…

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Coronavirus Tidbits # 24 3-30-20

By Judy Stone | March 31, 2020 | 3 Comments

Quick links News     Diagnostics     Drugs     Epidemiology/Infection control     Tips     Politics    Feel good du jour     Comic relief     Perspective/Poem     Bits of beauty Coronavirus Tidbits #24   News: My new post How Much Should You Worry About Your Pets? A Cat Was Confirmed To Be Infected With COVID19 By Its Owner ~ ~ ~ From Orban to Kaczynski, Wannabe Autocrats Love the Pandemic In Hungary and Poland — as in Israel and elsewhere — liberty suddenly seems cheap. Even in a pandemic, it shouldn’t be. bloomberg.com Hungarian legislature adopted an “empowerment law” (which sounds very much like the 1930’s “enabling act” which led to Hitler’s rise. Orban can now rule by decree, with no limits–indefinitely.  It is an appalling story, done in the name of the coronavirus emergency. I wonder how many wannabe dictators will follow suit. He has extensive new powers including imprisoning people for “distorting” facts. The author, Andreas Kluth, says Poland and Hungary are providing a user’s manual for such takeovers, a “coronavirus coup.” He says Bibi, Cambodian PM, India’s Modi, and Brazil are following suit. Hungary and Poland have also stacked the court with loyalists who will presumably support their moves, and the EU can’t punish them w/o unanimity….

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Coronavirus Tidbits # 23-3-29 20

By Judy Stone | March 29, 2020 | 9 Comments

Quick links News     Diagnostics     Drugs     Epidemiology/Infection control     Tips     Politics    Feel good du jour     Comic relief     Perspective/Poem     Bits of beauty Coronavirus Tidbits #    News  Fauci predicts millions of coronavirus cases in US, and more than 100,000 deaths Trump now agrees to extend the social distancing recommendation until the end of April, after recently saying he wanted the country “opened up and raring to go” by Easter” ~ ~ ~ This morning’s WTH? Pay cuts and withholding back pay for some doctors and nurses as they battle on the front line of #COVID19 https://www.bostonglobe.com/2020/03/27/metro/coronavirus-rages-doctors-hit-with-cuts-compensation/?event=event25 via @BostonGlobe ~ ~ ~ Damning article on #preparedness vs profit: The U.S. Tried to Build a New Fleet of #Ventilators. The Mission Failed. https://nyti.ms/3arXrzD ~ ~ ~ Lack of PPE and ventilators is criminal negligence: ER Doctor Sick With Coronavirus: ‘Nothing Right Now Is Sustainable’ | HuffPost More than 150 health care workers are out ill with COVID19 in Boston hospitals, though these are being attributed to community spread. The question remains, how soon will there be a desperate shortage of HCWs. And in Seattle, as I wrote yesterday, nurses are issuing…

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Coronavirus Tidbits # 21 3-28-20

By Judy Stone | March 29, 2020 | 0 Comments

News:  Best news of the day: ‘Going full-on MacGyver’ – U of MN doctor creates makeshift ventilators to battle COVID-19 Even better, in some ways, he’s also made the plans OPEN Source and will be updating here Physical Prototype Video: https://youtu.be/3ssVoWEVxw4 CAD Prototype Video: https://youtu.be/RpEqtGa2vTI Diagnostics: Rapid diagnostic tests are winning approval, like this 5-minute coronavirus test by Abbott Laboratories that won emergency FDA approval The problem is that we don’t yet know enough about the accuracy of the tests, known as sensitivity and specificity? In particular, is a negative test really negative. Until we know more, many ID experts recommend assuming someone who has symptoms is infectious, even if the test is negative. Drugs: Trump’s push for risky malaria drugs disrupts coronavirus response “All this buzz is confusing the American public,” said one senior Health and Human Services official involved in drug policy. “Using untested medicines without the right evidence will raise false hope and even do more harm than good — and cause a shortage of essential medicines that are needed to treat other diseases,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization. The battle over chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine: On the one hand: Medical experts and scientists “We need to…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #20 3-27-20  

By Judy Stone | March 28, 2020 | 0 Comments

News  Wondering if you should seek care for suspected COVID-19? Apple and CDC have a new app and symptom checker with a decision tool. https://www.apple.com/covid19 When can we stop the social distancing? We can’t…at least until there is widespread testing. Then you could monitor and slowly loosen restrictions in selected areas. “To consider letting off on social distancing will require sharp decline in cases, widely available rapid diagnostics wherever pts get clinical care, the right PPE available to all HCWS who need it, safe and good hospital capacity to deal with all pts with COVID.” Tom Inglesby, Johns Hopkins Here’s a thread by Scott Gottlieb that explains more: Our path to safety rests on massive support for our healthcare system to care for sick, and forceful steps by local leaders to break chains of transmission and quell epidemic spread. If we’re smart and aggressive across nation, cases nationally could peak by late April.  Then what’s next? We’ll be able to transition away from population based tactics aimed at keeping people at home, to more case based interventions that target people with disease. But we’ll need new public health tools, technology, and tactics to make this transition work…more at https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1243333347012751361.html ~~~…

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