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 #172 12/26/21

By Judy Stone | December 26, 2021 | 1 Comment

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: Let’s Stop Hand Hygiene Theater and Focus on Airborne Transmission https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/965238 News  See What to do if newly infected, under Tips, below: ~ ~ ~ Desperate times re HCW staffing ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Omicron is more contagious and requires more protective masks. Wear mask indoors when around other people. Wear an N95 or K95 or KF94 . https://npr.org/sections/health-shots/2021/12/23/1066871176/mask-n95-omicron-contagious… ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Long-Acting Antibody Combo Retains Neutralizing Activity Against Omicron Delaware-based AstraZeneca U.S. announced today Evusheld, a long-acting antibody combination to prevent COVID-19, retains neutralization activity against the Omicron SARS-CoV-2 variant (B.1.1.529). https://www.precisionvaccinations.com/2021/12/23/long-acting-antibody-combo-retains-neutralizing-activity-against-omicron ~ ~ ~ Breakthrough infections generate ‘super immunity’ to COVID-19, study suggests Breakthrough infections greatly enhance immune response to variants of the virus that causes COVID-19, according to a newly published study…

Read More

Coronavirus Tidbits #171 12/19/21

By Judy Stone | December 19, 2021 | Comments Off on Coronavirus Tidbits #171 12/19/21

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: ***Let’s Admit That Covid-19 Is Airborne – How Can You Protect Yourself? Contains considerable practical information, including about DIY box fans, CO2 monitors, and more. https://www.forbes.com/sites/judystone/2021/12/14/lets-admit-that-covid-19-is-airborne—how-can-you-protect-yourself/?sh=31e61504306f ~ ~ ~ COVID-19 Interrupted Poliovirus Surveillance and Immunization https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/965010 News  Omicron: appears to have an astonishing doubling time of 2-3 days, and (in Denmark) 83% of cases are occurring in fully vaccinated.–hence the need for boosters. Given the rapid spread of Omicron, Danish officials announced that they would shorten the recommended interval between the second shot and the booster shot to 4½ months, rather than the standard 6 months. Incubation periods with Omicron have been short, at 3 days. Even though 85 countries have reported Omicron cases now, the US continues its irrational, useless, and punitive travel ban against African countries. ~ ~ ~ Preliminary laboratory…

Read More

Coronavirus Tidbits #170 12/12/21

By Judy Stone | December 12, 2021 | Comments Off on Coronavirus Tidbits #170 12/12/21

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. Two new posts: Travel Bans: More Security Theater  https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/964043 Specialists Think It’s Up to the PCP to Recommend Flu Vaccines. But Many Patients Don’t See a PCP Every Year https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/964258 News  Omicron News: ~ ~ ~ I recommend this entire thread explaining how a new variant may appear milder even with no change in underlying virulence. This can occur because, when calculating the fraction of cases that are severe, the denominator now includes many re-infections that had previously been averted. ~ ~ ~ In its latest risk assessment, the UK’s Health Security Agency (HSA) yesterday said that, based on test findings and case numbers, Omicron is showing a significant growth advantage over Delta and will likely become dominant. 21=>now57 countries report Omicron cases. “The travel restrictions come at the height of the end-of-year tourist season,…

Read More

Coronavirus Tidbits #169 12/5/21

By Judy Stone | December 5, 2021 | Comments Off on Coronavirus Tidbits #169 12/5/21

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. News  Poll: Americans worried about contracting COVID, missing family and procuring and affording gifts According to a new poll, Americans are five times more likely to say their level of stress increases rather than decreases (41% to 7%) during the holidays. This year, top areas of concern are contracting COVID-19 during gatherings (38%), and finding (40%) and affording (46%) gifts. The unvaccinated are less worried than the vaccinated about contracting COVID-19 (28% to 43%). Additionally, nearly half of adults (47%) are anxious about missing family members around the holidays. https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-12-poll-americans-covid-family-gifts.html? ~ ~ ~ Worth a read: In the wrong hands, vaccination statistics can prove deadly. Simpson’s Paradox shows why There has been much discussion of late about data published on 1 November, 2021, by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). It is titled…

Read More

Coronavirus Tidbits #168 11/28/21

By Judy Stone | November 28, 2021 | 1 Comment

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: Surveillance for Measles Is a Victim of the COVID Pandemic A drop in surveillance and missed vaccine schedules due to the pandemic means potential new outbreaks of measles and other infectious diseases. https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/963438 News  New COVID variant alarms researchers, triggers travel bans South Africa’s health ministry, in an urgent media briefing yesterday, announced the detection of a new SARS-CoV-2 variant, B.1.1.529, that has quickly outpaced the Delta (B1617.2) variant and has a host of mutations that might change how the virus behaves. The new findings triggered an unprecedented and fast response in science and government ranks yesterday, with experts raising deep concerns about the new variant’s mutation profile and the World Health Organization (WHO) today convening its technical advisory group (TAG), with speculation swirling that it would designate B.1.1.529 as the…

Read More

Coronavirus Tidbits #167 11/21/21

By Judy Stone | November 21, 2021 | Comments Off on Coronavirus Tidbits #167 11/21/21

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 post: Should You Worry About Disease Transmission in Public Bathrooms?  https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/963106 News  Austria moves to full COVID-19 lockdown, national vaccine mandate Battling an unprecedented surge like some of its neighbors, Austria’s government today announced a full lockdown, the first in Europe to take such dramatic steps amid the continent’s fourth surge. Europe’s latest surge is its biggest, and last week, the World Health Organization’s European region recorded its highest weekly total of the pandemic: nearly 2.19 million cases. Meanwhile, in the United States ahead of the winter holidays, cases continue to spike in the Midwest, with numbers rising in the Northeast, as well. High vaccination level not enough Earlier this week, Austria ordered a lockdown for unvaccinated people, but Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg said the measure didn’t boost vaccination levels enough, according to the Washington Post….

Read More

Coronavirus Tidbits #166 11/14/21

By Judy Stone | November 14, 2021 | Comments Off on Coronavirus Tidbits #166 11/14/21

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 post: Covid Vaccine Equity, G20 And Moderna https://www.forbes.com/sites/judystone/2021/11/13/covid-vaccine-equity-g20-and-moderna/?sh=7f61c64238e4 News  Almost 80% of Americans believe or are unsure about at least one Covid falsehood https://www.kff.org/coronavirus-covid-19/poll-finding/kff-covid-19-vaccine-monitor-media-and-misinformation/?utm_source= ~ ~ ~ Germany joins France and others to advise against Moderna vaccine for people under 30 Germany’s vaccine advisory board issued a recommendation on Wednesday against using Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine in individuals under 30. The Standing Commission on Vaccination, a group of health experts that develops national recommendations for vaccine policy, said only Pfizer’s vaccine should be used for individuals under the age of 30 and pregnant women. “Current reporting analysis shows that heart muscle and pericardial inflammation in boys and young men and in girls and young women under 30 years of age were observed more frequently after vaccination with (Moderna’s vax)than after vaccination with (Pfizer’s),” a…

Read More

Coronavirus Tidbits #165 11/7/21

By Judy Stone | November 7, 2021 | Comments Off on Coronavirus Tidbits #165 11/7/21

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: Covid-19, Brazil’s Bolsonaro, And Herd Immunity If Bolsonaro is charged with crimes against humanity in part for pushing herd immunity. Should other leaders be, too? An interview w Dr. Deisy Ventura, Prof of Ethics at the Faculty of Public Health, University of São Paulo https://www.forbes.com/sites/judystone/2021/11/06/covid-19-brazils-bolsonaro-and-herd-immunity/?sh=41c3eb015af6 ~ ~ ~ Pediatric Community Acquired Pneumonia: Lower Amoxicillin Dose and Shorter Duration May Be Effective For mildly-moderately ill children, 3 days treatment with Amoxil appears no worse than 7 days, with fewer side effects. https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/962250   News  Good communication from a trusted source: ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Unvaccinated? Don’t Count on Leaving Your Family Death Benefits These days, workers who refuse to get vaccinated against covid-19 may face financial repercussions, from higher health insurance premiums to loss of their jobs. Now, the financial fallout…

Read More

Coronavirus Tidbits #164 10/31/21

By Judy Stone | October 31, 2021 | Comments Off on Coronavirus Tidbits #164 10/31/21

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 post: CDC Sleuths Find Source Of Deadly Melioidosis Outbreak Is A Room Spray Sold At Walmart https://www.forbes.com/sites/judystone/2021/10/24/cdc-sleuths-find-source-of-deadly-melioidosis-outbreak-is-a-room-spray-sold-at-walmart/?sh=73014fc7e307 News  FDA authorizes Pfizer vax for kids 5-11 yo https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-authorizes-pfizer-biontech-covid-19-vaccine-emergency-use-children-5-through-11-years-age ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Merck to allow other nations to produce new COVID-19 antiviral Merck and the United Nations-based Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) today announced a licensing deal that will allow pharmaceutical companies in other countries to make molnupiravir-an investigational antiviral to treat COVID-19-a step that would ease access in low- and middle-income countries. First agreement of its kind for the pandemic Results from promising clinical trials suggest that the drug, the first oral treatment of its kind for COVID-19, could be an important tool for cutting hospitalizations and deaths. Fearing a repeat of the inequitable global rollout of COVID-19 vaccine, global health…

Read More

Coronavirus Tidbits #163 10/24/21

By Judy Stone | October 23, 2021 | Comments Off on Coronavirus Tidbits #163 10/24/21

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. My latest posts: Florida’s Private School –The “Brain School Centner Academy– With $25,000 Price Tag Promotes Anti-Vax Misinformation https://www.forbes.com/sites/judystone/2021/10/20/floridas-centner-academy-promotes-anti-science-anti-vax-misinformation/?sh=7f1ac2975816 ~ ~ ~ Florida’s DeSantis Taps Controversial Surgeon General Ladapo As Covid Rates Soar https://www.forbes.com/sites/judystone/2021/09/25/whats-going-on-in-florida-are-they-trying-to-bring-back-deadly-infections/?sh=6b26e96ead1b News  PSA: ~ ~ ~ Co-Administering COVID-19 and Influenza Vaccines Found Safe and Effective During today’s U.S. CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) meeting, Ruvim Izikson, M.D., MPH, presented ‘Phase II safety and immunogenicity study of the coadministration of an influenza vaccine and high-dose flu shot. This study is essential since the new COVID-19 vaccine primary series timing and strategy, and older adults are most likely eligible for COVID-19 boosters and their annual influenza vaccine during the same window of time. This scheduling conflict creates the risk that many seniors get vaccinated only for one or the other; with the priority on the…

Read More