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 281, February 11, 2024

By Judy Stone | February 10, 2024 | Comments Off on Coronavirus Tidbits 281, February 11, 2024

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. All copyrights belong to their respective owners! Message me if you don’t want them posted here. News  ~ ~ ~ Review of Long Covid in Children: https://publications.aap.org/pediatrics/article/doi/10.1542/peds.2023-062570/196606/Postacute-Sequelae-of-SARS-CoV-2-in-Children? ~ ~ ~ New analysis reveals many excess deaths attributed to natural causes are actually uncounted COVID-19 deaths Published in the journal PNAS, the study compared reported COVID-19 deaths to excess deaths due to non-COVID natural causes, such as diseases and chronic illnesses, and found that increases in non-COVID excess deaths occurred at the same time or in the month prior to increases in reported COVID-19 deaths in most US counties. Focusing on excess deaths by natural causes rather than all-cause excess death estimates provides a more accurate understanding of the true number of deaths attributable to COVID-19, https://medicalxpress.com/news/2024-02-analysis-reveals-excess-deaths-attributed.html ~ ~ ~ COVID-19 vaccination in pregnancy was not associated with any increased…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #280, February 4, 2024

By Judy Stone | February 3, 2024 | Comments Off on Coronavirus Tidbits #280, February 4, 2024

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 am excited to have had a Letter to the Editor in the Washington Post: The best way to prevent long covid is to not get covid Here is a free, gift link: https://wapo.st/3SA8gbC (suggesting masking and ventilation are too often overlooked) News  @BNOFeed   Jan 28 U.S. reports more than 2,000 new COVID deaths for the 4th week in a row Wastewater levels are somewhat lower (“High”), x in SE. https://www.cdc.gov/nwss/rv/COVID19-nationaltrend.html ~ ~ ~ Vaccine efficacy: @CDCgov The XBB.1.5 “updated” Covid vaccine booster provided ~54% increased protection *against symptomatic infections* (including vs. JN.1 variant) compared with not getting it. https://cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/73/wr/mm7304a2.htm? ~ ~ ~ Lung Function Decline After Mild Covid: @RajeevJayadevan Lung function declines long term – even after *mild* COVID. Major Denmark study measured PFT before, 6 months after and 2 years later….

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Coronavirus Tidbits #279, January 28, 2024

By Judy Stone | January 27, 2024 | Comments Off on Coronavirus Tidbits #279, January 28, 2024

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. My latest: California Drastically Cuts Isolation Guidelines For Covid https://www.forbes.com/sites/judystone/2024/01/22/california-drastically-cuts-isolation-guidelines-for-covid-19/?sh=336a683f595d News  ~ ~ ~ % Test Positivity   11.8%   (January 7 to January 13, 2024) Hospital Admissions   32,861, -9.6% % of All Deaths in U.S. Due to COVID-19   4.3%, +10.3% in most recent week https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#datatracker-home ~ ~ ~ Good news re HICPAC and CDC! To many people’s surprise, the CDC has sent the awful recommendations to water down Covid protections (e.g., saying a surgical mask is adequate rather than an N95) back to the HICPAC advisory committee for revision! They say they will expand the scope of technical backgrounds of participants on the committee, which currently does not meet Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) regulations. They ask: Should there be a category of Transmission-based Precautions that includes masks (instead of NIOSH Approved® N95® [or higher-level] respirators) for…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #278, January 21, 2024

By Judy Stone | January 20, 2024 | Comments Off on Coronavirus Tidbits #278, January 21, 2024

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:  Hospitals Vary On Universal Masking Amid Covid-19 Surge How little even prominent hospitals are doing is obscene… https://www.forbes.com/sites/judystone/2024/01/17/hospitals-need-to-resume-universal-masking-heres-what-they-are-doing-now/?sh=342242362d5b ~ ~ ~ #LongCovid treatment survey has launched! There are many treatment surveys, but this one is special – the data will be used as evidence to help inform which drugs to study in clinical trials! Please share! They need several thousand case reports to create enough data. Anyone in the world can submit cases. Please send to every #LongCovid patient and clinician you know. There are two links to submit reports: For #LongCovid patients: https://cure.ncats.io/create/quick-case?form-type=pasc… For #LongCovid clinicians, please see https://cure.ncats.io/create/quick-case?form-type=pasc… News  ~ ~ ~ Senate HELP hearings were pretty remarkable. I’ll have more as I go through transcripts. Watch/read Dr. Ziyad Al-Aly’s testimony, in particular: https://www.help.senate.gov/hearings/addressing-long-covid-advancing-research-and-improving-patient-care ~ ~ ~ Could long Covid’s signs of immune dysregulation in the…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #277, January 14, 2024

By Judy Stone | January 13, 2024 | Comments Off on Coronavirus Tidbits #277, January 14, 2024

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. ~ ~ ~ My latest: Doctors Aren’t Prescribing Paxlovid Often Enough. Here’s Why https://www.forbes.com/sites/judystone/2024/01/09/doctors-arent-prescribing-paxlovid-often-enough-heres-why/?sh=3e9e6cc92d10 ~ ~ ~ Check out Field Team 6: MISSION:Register Democrats.Save the World. https://www.fieldteam6.org/ I’ve just started text banking with them–they’ve automated much of it! Looking forward to exploring them further. They claim: Every $0.70 you donate helps us register one Democratic voter in a swing state. Compare that to the Obama re-elect campaign, who spent $150/voter. ~ ~ ~ #FDA and #CURE-ID’s #LongCovid treatment survey has launched! There are many treatment surveys, but this one is special – the data will be used as evidence to help inform which drugs to study in clinical trials! Please share! They need several thousand case reports to create enough data. Anyone in the world can submit cases. Please send to every #LongCovid patient…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #276, January 7, 2024

By Judy Stone | January 6, 2024 | Comments Off on Coronavirus Tidbits #276, January 7, 2024

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. It’s hard getting settled back into work. Our trip to Costa Rica was a dream of mine; more and better pics are now posted at bugdoc.smugmug.com/Travel/Costa-Rica-1/ Given what is going on with the Supremes and in the world, it’s clearly more important than ever that we work to defeat the GOP and protect democracy. There are so many ways you can help, from GOTV, to supporting various grassroot efforts, to phone banking, etc. Strongly suggest checking out NOPE Neighbors for direction and opportunities. https://nopeneighbors.org/ I’ve done a lot of work with/through them. Highly recommend. News  Covid-19 levels in wastewater, a leading measure of viral transmission, are very high nationally – higher than they were at this time last year in every region, CDC data shows. Weekly emergency department visits rose 12%, and hospitalizations jumped…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #275, Dec 31, 2023

By Judy Stone | December 29, 2023 | Comments Off on Coronavirus Tidbits #275, Dec 31, 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. Happy New Year to all! After years of writing Tidbits weekly (or more often),  I actually found that I missed doing it. Having had a wonderful bucket list trip, I’m back at it. Apologies that this is an unusually long edition–a lot has happened. You can savor it over the next few days… News  Covid hospitalizations up 10.4% and deaths up 3.4% this past week. JN.1 variant now behind nearly half of US COVID cases JN.1 is similar to BA.2.86 (Pirola) but has an additional mutation (L455S) in the spike protein. The speed at which the JN.1 variant has spread this month suggests it may spread more easily and be better at evading people’s immune systems than other circulating variants, according to a recent CDC report. existing vaccines, tests, and treatments still work well against…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #274 Dec 3, 2023

By Judy Stone | December 2, 2023 | Comments Off on Coronavirus Tidbits #274 Dec 3, 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. I’m going to be taking a vacation! As I prep to leave and then go, there may not be a Tidbits for the next several weeks. I’ll try though…don’t forget me! ~ ~ ~ New Post: CDC has improved its Covid Wastewater Dashboard: https://www.forbes.com/sites/judystone/2023/12/01/cdc-improves-their-covid-19-reporting-with-a-new-wastewater-dashboard/?sh=106c479d70b9 ~ ~ ~ Please join a letter calling upon CDC Director Mandy Cohen to REJECT the HICPAC recommended Healthcare Infection Control Guidelines Dear Colleagues and Friends: I am writing to ask you to join a sign-on letter urging CDC Director Dr. Mandy Cohen to reject HICPAC’s draft infection control guidance updates and to develop a new draft that engages input from all stakeholders and key experts, including health care workers, unions, patient advocates, and experts in occupational health, industrial hygiene, aerosol science, ventilation, engineering, respiratory protection, and other affiliated fields in updating infection control guidance….

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Coronavirus Tidbits #273, November 26, 2023

By Judy Stone | November 25, 2023 | Comments Off on Coronavirus Tidbits #273, November 26, 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: CDC Advised To Weaken Infection Protections As Mysterious Pneumonia Brews Overseas https://www.forbes.com/sites/judystone/2023/11/24/cdc-told-to-weaken-infection-protections-as-mysterious-pneumonia-brews-overseas/?sh=5f4703a348de News  hospitalizations rose 8.6% compared to the previous week. More than 16,000 people were admitted to the hospital for COVID last week. COVID-related deaths rose 9.1% over the same period, with COVID responsible for 2.4% of all deaths. ED visits for COVID rose 7.1% test positivity is at 8.4%, reflecting a 0.1 percentage-point rise, Vaccine uptake: at 31.7%, followed by 14.8% in other adult age-groups, and 5.4% for children. https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/covid-19/covid-data-show-small-rise-ahead-holidays COVID-19 vaccination before infection strongly linked to reduced risk of developing long COVID Receiving at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine before the first infection is strongly associated with a reduced risk of developing post-COVID-19 condition, commonly known as long COVID, finds a study published by The BMJ…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #272, November 20, 2023

By Judy Stone | November 18, 2023 | Comments Off on Coronavirus Tidbits #272, November 20, 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. News  Americans’ Trust in Scientists, Positive Views of Science Continue to Decline Pew Research Center Overall, 57% of Americans say science has had a mostly positive effect on society. This share is down 8 percentage points since November 2021 and down 16 points since before the start of the coronavirus outbreak. 73% of U.S. adults have a great deal or fair amount of confidence in scientists to act in the public’s best interests. But trust in scientists is 14 points lower than it was at the early stages of the pandemic. https://www.pewresearch.org/science/2023/11/14/americans-trust-in-scientists-positive-views-of-science-continue-to-decline/ ~ ~ ~ Survey finds many Americans are letting their guard down during respiratory illness season A third believe they don’t need vaccines if they’re not high risk and that their decision on whether to get vaccinated doesn’t affect others COLUMBUS,…

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