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 #192 5/15/22

By Judy Stone | May 15, 2022 | Comments Off on Coronavirus Tidbits #192 5/15/22

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. News  North Korea reports first COVID deaths, explosive outbreak spread News reports, citing North Korea’s state media, said the country has reported six COVID-19 deaths, including at least one linked to the Omicron variant, amid explosive spread that has led to about 350,000 people being treated for fevers. Yesterday, 18,000 more people with fever symptoms were reported, with 187,800 under isolation, according to the Associated Press (AP). It’s not clear how many cases are COVID-19, due to lack of information on North Korea’s testing capacity. Global health officials are concerned about the country’s widening health crisis, due to a lack of vaccines and treatments, alongside a weak medical infrastructure. North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un was seen wearing a mask for the first time yesterday. He criticized officials for failing to prevent the…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #191 5/8/22

By Judy Stone | May 8, 2022 | Comments Off on Coronavirus Tidbits #191 5/8/22

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. News  ~ ~ ~ Important thread (see Drugs) After ending treatment, if virus rebounds w a strong positive, it is the same virus It is actively replicating/causing test to go from Neg to Pos. It should be considered infectious. ? is also if people should take Paxlovid for 10 days. Do NOT stop isolation at 5 days. Go for at least 5 more days after stopping Paxlovid and have a negative rapid test. ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Quite the thread–worth a read on how we are grossly underestimating impact of Covid by not measuring it. ~ ~ ~ Secretary of State Blinken tested positive after dinner. Too dangerous to have our leaders at a likely superspreader event. They did…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #190 May 1, 2022

By Judy Stone | May 1, 2022 | Comments Off on Coronavirus Tidbits #190 May 1, 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: We’re Facing A Critical Shortage Of Medical Laboratory Professionals https://www.forbes.com/sites/judystone/2022/04/28/were-facing-a-critical-shortage-of-medical-laboratory-professionals/ News  the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new seroprevalence data suggesting that as many as three in four children ages 17 and under in the United States has been infected with COVID-19, most during the Omicron surge. https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2022/04/global-covid-deaths-drop-lowest-early-pandemic-months ~ ~ ~ Moderna applies for authorization of vaccine for young children In a welcome development for many parents of young children, Moderna announced today that it has submitted a request to the Food and Drug Administration for emergency use authorization (EUA) of its COVID-19 vaccine for children 6 months to under 6 years of age. The request is based on a 25-microgram two-dose primary series of mRNA-1273. The application is based on favorable results seen during a phase 2/3 trial. No major…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #189 4/24/22

By Judy Stone | April 24, 2022 | Comments Off on Coronavirus Tidbits #189 4/24/22

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: What’s Causing A Sudden Outbreak Of Hepatitis In Kids In Europe And The US? https://www.forbes.com/sites/judystone/2022/04/16/whats-causing-a-sudden-outbreak-of-hepatitis-in-kids-in-europe-and-the-us/ ~ ~ ~ Experts Decry CDC’s Long Pause on Tropical Disease Testing The CDC stopped testing for parasites last September without telling anyone, later saying it was to “make improvements.” Testing for some can’t readily be done elsewhere–especially hurting poor people of color and immigrants, most likely to be infected. #Chagas #leishmania https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/972413 News  COVID-19 pneumonia increases dementia risk A new study from the from the University of Missouri School of Medicine and MU Health Care shows patients hospitalized with COVID-19 pneumonia have a higher risk of developing dementia than those with other types of pneumonia. A team of MU researchers pulled Cerner Real World Data from 1.4 billion medical encounters prior to July 31, 2021. They selected patients hospitalized…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #188 April 17, 2022

By Judy Stone | April 17, 2022 | Comments Off on Coronavirus Tidbits #188 April 17, 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 posts: Run Into a Rabid Animal? What to Know https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/971878 ~ ~ ~ Nontuberculous (Atypical) Mycobacterial Lung Disease Challenging to Treat https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/971985 ~ ~ ~ The Gridiron Club Dinner Was a Predictable Superspreader Event https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/972051 ~ ~ ~ What’s Causing A Sudden Outbreak Of Hepatitis In Kids In Europe And The US?’ https://www.forbes.com/sites/judystone/2022/04/16/whats-causing-a-sudden-outbreak-of-hepatitis-in-kids-in-europe-and-the-us/?sh=1f4e89de1e4a   News  The 7-day average of new daily COVID-19 cases is 33,691, with 513 daily deaths, according to the New York Times tracker. Daily case counts are up 22% in the past 2 weeks. ~ ~ ~ Going into the holiday weekend… ~ ~ ~ New York reports on emergence of Omicron subvariants The New York State Department of Health today announced the emergence of two Omicron subvariants in New York State, BA.2.12 and BA.2.12.1. Both variants are sub-lineages of BA.2, which now…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #187 4/10/22

By Judy Stone | April 10, 2022 | Comments Off on Coronavirus Tidbits #187 4/10/22

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: ~ ~ ~ On the Receiving End of Care https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/971420 News  ~ ~ ~ Why the WHO took two years to say COVID is airborne Early in the pandemic, the World Health Organization stated that SARS-CoV-2 was not transmitted through the air. That mistake and the prolonged process of correcting it sowed confusion and raises questions about what will happen in the next pandemic. As 2021 drew to a close, the highly contagious Omicron variant of the pandemic virus was racing around the globe, forcing governments to take drastic actions once again. The Netherlands ordered most businesses to close on 19 December, Ireland set curfews and many countries imposed travel bans in the hope of taming the tsunami of COVID-19 cases filling hospitals. Amid the wave of desperate news around the…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #186 4/3/22

By Judy Stone | April 3, 2022 | Comments Off on Coronavirus Tidbits #186 4/3/22

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: Blood Collection Tube Shortages Continue – “Routine” Labs Should Be Limited https://www.forbes.com/sites/judystone/2022/03/28/blood-collection-tube-shortages-continueroutine-labs-should-be-limited/ ~ ~ ~ Can Higher Dose Primaquine Shorten Malaria Treatment? https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/971313 News:  Heart problems much more likely with COVID infection than vaccine Myocarditis or pericarditis are much more likely to follow infection with SARS-CoV2 compared with COVID-19 vaccinations, according to research published today in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The study was based on electronic health records from 40 US health care systems from Jan 1, 2021, through Jan 31, 2022, and heart conditions following COVID-19 infections among stratified age groups (5 to 11, 12 to 17, 18 to 29, and ≥30 years). The rates were compared to documented cases of cardiac conditions following one or two doses of mRNA vaccines. Myocarditis is inflammation of the heart muscle, and pericarditis is…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #185 3/27/22

By Judy Stone | March 27, 2022 | Comments Off on Coronavirus Tidbits #185 3/27/22

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. News  Better Collection, Better Data The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is working to improve how it collects and analyzes data, Politico reports. It adds that in a letter to CDC employees, Director Rochelle Walensky urged them to help with the “success of the Data Modernization Initiative” The agency, Politico notes, suffered from data gaps that hindered its response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The CDC relies on state and local health departments to collect and provide it with lab and hospital records, but as Politico points out, local health departments are typically underfunded and many have not updated their data collection methods – some, it says, rely on labs to fax their results. . . https://www.genomeweb.com/scan/better-collection-better-data? ~ ~ ~ Experts worry about how US will see next COVID surge coming As coronavirus…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #184 3/20/22

By Judy Stone | March 20, 2022 | Comments Off on Coronavirus Tidbits #184 3/20/22

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: Aerosolized Hydrogen Peroxide Can Significantly Reduce C. difficile Infections https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/970559 ~ ~ ~ Politicians Overrule Board of Health’s Medical Officer https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/970093   News  China, Hong Kong cases climb In global COVID news, China today reported 4,130 new cases today, 1,742 listed as asymptomatic, with the more transmissible Omicron variant pushing cases to 2-year highs. More than half of today’s new cases were from Jilin province, one of the handful of locations that are under lockdown. At a briefing today, Chinese officials emphasized that the country must learn Hong Kong’s painful lesson about deaths in vulnerable people by ensuring that older people are vaccinated, according to Reuters. Currently, only 19.7% of Chinese seniors have been boosted, and only 50.7% are fully vaccinated. [and this is w less-effective Sinovac] Meanwhile, Hong Kong today reported 20,082 new cases, along with…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #183 3/13/22

By Judy Stone | March 13, 2022 | Comments Off on Coronavirus Tidbits #183 3/13/22

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: Another CDC Study Supports Masks In Schools. So Why Are We Dropping Masks Rather Than Caring For Vulnerable People? https://www.forbes.com/sites/judystone/2022/03/10/another-cdc-study-supports-masks-in-schools-so-why-are-we-dropping-masks-rather-than-caring-for-vulnerable-people/?sh=33a77d475f4b CLOVER Trial Shows Mixed Results There’s mixed news from Pfizer on results from their CLOVER trial (CLOstridium difficile Vaccine Efficacy TRial), a phase 3 study involving 17,500 adults aged 50 and older that evaluated their candidate vaccine (PF-06425090) against Clostridioides difficile (C diff) for the prevention of C diff infection (CDI). The bad news is that the trial didn’t meet its efficacy endpoint – a reduction in the incidence of the first primary case of CDI. https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/969900 News  ~ ~ ~ Surges continue in Omicron hot spots BA.2 is increasing in elderly in UK. Germany, New Zealand, China, and esp Hong Kong are hotspots. [I suspect that we will see a…

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