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 #182 3/6/22

By Judy Stone | March 6, 2022 | Comments Off on Coronavirus Tidbits #182 3/6/22

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: CDC’s New Mask Guidelines For Covid-19 Throw Vulnerable People Under The Bus https://www.forbes.com/sites/judystone/2022/02/28/cdcs-new-mask-guidelines-for-covid-19-throw-vulnerable-people-under-the-bus/?sh=6395435c1573 News  New National COVID-⁠19 Preparedness Plan  The White House March 2, 2022 https://www.whitehouse.gov/covidplan/ The President’s National COVID-19 Preparedness Plan focuses on four key goals: Protect Against and Treat Covid-19 Prepare for New Variants Prevent Economic and Educational Shutdowns Continue to Vaccinate the World ~ ~ ~ Masking still ‘important layer of protection’ for children: AAP In light of new masking recommendations from the CDC, the AAP has updated its own masking guidance but says that masking is still an “important layer of protection” for children. The updates come less than a week after the CDC released new COVID-19 guidance indicating that most Americans live in areas where they can go maskless, and nearly a month after the Democratic governors of…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #181 2/27/22

By Judy Stone | February 27, 2022 | Comments Off on Coronavirus Tidbits #181 2/27/22
first flower pushing up through the ground

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: Can Phages Help Where Antibiotics Have Failed? This is a full feature and explainer on the current status of phage therapy for antibiotic resistance. I know registering for Medscape is a nuisance–they just want an email and name. Feel free to use a burner account, or unsubscribe after. Medscape does have good content, overall. https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/969001 News  Omicron: WHO says Omicron subvariant BA.2 is not more virulent  https://blognamic.com/who-says-omicron-subvariant-is-not-more-virulent-science/ ~ ~ ~ BA.2 Slowly (so far) increasing in US (unlike rapid growth overseas) BA.2 has now been found from coast to coast and accounts for an estimated 3.9% all new infections nationally, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It appears to be doubling fast. “If it doubles again to 8%, that means we’re into the exponential growth phase and we…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #180 2/20/22

By Judy Stone | February 20, 2022 | Comments Off on Coronavirus Tidbits #180 2/20/22
Dogs caught in snow squall

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: New Nanosensor Assay Detects Viruses Like SARS-Cov-2 and Ebola https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/968479 ~ ~ ~ Recommended reads: ~ ~ ~ The Moral Danger of Declaring the Pandemic Over Too Soon Gregg Gonsalves- https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/17/opinion/aids-pandemic-covid.html News  Omicron: Rumblings suggest the CDC may relax its indoor masking guidelines for states as early as next week, basing the recommendations on a new formula that includes severe cases. (NBC News) Only 28% of the U.S. population has been fully vaccinated and received a booster dose, according to a CNN analysis, and new vaccinations have hit an all-time low. (CNN) ~ ~ ~ We still don’t know enough about BA2 to make any great predictions, let alone the fear-mongering that EFD and others like to flame. ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Other news: Challenge Trial Shows People With COVID Shed Virus After Just 2 Days…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #179 2/13/21

By Judy Stone | February 12, 2022 | Comments Off on Coronavirus Tidbits #179 2/13/21

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: Bans On Mask Mandates To Protect Against Covid Endanger Students With Disabilities https://www.forbes.com/sites/judystone/2022/02/06/bans-on-mask-mandates-to-protect-against-covid-endanger-students-with-disabilities/?sh=67b5d02d6d2f   News  Omicron news: A coronavirus variant once helped the global pork industry. Could one protect us? A killer pig virus vanished when a tamer mutant evolved-a provocative, but not perfect, parallel with Omicron Science 4 FEB 2022 BYJON COHEN Long before COVID-19 became a household word-in 1946, to be precise-veterinary researchers at Purdue University reported that something invading the guts of young pigs was causing diarrhea, vomiting, and weight loss, ultimately killing most of them. The scientists did not know the cause of the sickness, which devastated U.S. pig farms, but they could trigger the disease by feeding ground-up bits of a sick pig’s guts to healthy piglets. This pig farmers’ nightmare, in time, proved to be a coronavirus, which…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #178 2/6/22

By Judy Stone | February 6, 2022 | Comments Off on Coronavirus Tidbits #178 2/6/22

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: COVID and the Holocaust (sadly, submitted before I heard Rabbi Paskoff’s sermon, below) https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/967498 ~ ~ ~ Mosquito Nets Do Prevent Malaria, Longitudinal Study Confirms https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/967803 News  Omicron news: US COVID-19 cases continue steep decline Cases of COVID-19 continue to drop significantly across the country, as the most recent surge caused by the Omicron variant is declining at a rapid pace. The United States reported 330,128 new COVID-19 cases yesterday, and 3,546 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 tracker. The 7-day average of new daily cases is 385,425, with 2,658 daily deaths, according to the New York Times tracker. New daily cases have decreased by almost 50% in the last 2 weeks, but the average daily death rate – which lags by 4 to 6 weeks behind case rates – has increased by…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #177 1/30/22

By Judy Stone | January 30, 2022 | Comments Off on Coronavirus Tidbits #177 1/30/22

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: My latest: I’m excited about this new #saliva based #rapidtest for #Covid in part because it is #OpenAccess. No patent, inexpensive, free technology as “a gift to the world” fr @UCSB researchers Smartphone And Spit: A Game-Changing Test For Covid And Flu https://www.forbes.com/sites/judystone/2022/01/28/smartphone-and-spit-a-game-changing-test-for-covid-and-flu/?sh=2f087ea49961 News  Omicron: What to know about BA.2, the newest Covid omicron variant (Thus far, no evidence that BA.2 is more severe. It is likely more infectious). https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/what-to-know-about-ba-2-the-newest-covid-omicron-variant/ar-AATdEPL? ~ ~ ~ (via ECDC, Europe’s CDC) Denmark’s Statens Serum Institute said yesterday that early calculations suggest BA.2 is 1.5 times more infectious than the original Omicron variant and that so far, there’s no sign of a difference in hospitalizations. https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2022/01/ecdc-details-covid-vaccine-payoffs-plan-post-peak-phase ~ ~ ~ China’s zero-COVID strategy: what happens next? With Omicron or Delta outbreaks already in multiple provinces, scientists say…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #176 January 23, 2022

By Judy Stone | January 23, 2022 | Comments Off on Coronavirus Tidbits #176 January 23, 2022

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 | Comments Off on Coronavirus Tidbits #175 2/16/22

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. 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 | Comments Off on Coronavirus Tidbits #174 1/9/22

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. 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 | Comments Off on Coronavirus Tidbits #173 1/2/22

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. ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 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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