Why are some people fully protected by vaccination, or infection-acquired immunity to COVID, when others are not? Does the fault lie with the vaccines? Do some individuals mount a more robust immune response? A new study provides an answer that lies in between those choices and gives me a chance to write about the power and limitations of metaphors.
Another article in the ongoing war over the protective value of masks. The latest report, with senior author Vinay Prasad, effectively builds and demolishes a straw man of the authors’ creation, then does some out-of-season cherry-picking. In the end, the “study” sheds more shade than light.
An infection with Clostridioides difficile (or C. diff in the trade) that occurs 72 hours after admission to the hospital is considered hospital-acquired. Medicare penalizes hospitals financially if they have more hospital-acquired C. diff. infections than the national average. A new study suggests that C. diff is not so much hospital-acquired, but that patients bring the bacterium with them, in their gut microbiome, into the hospital. That makes it more transported than acquired.
Flu is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality every year. Flu vaccines are safe and effective, but far too many Americans decide to forgo them. The result is preventable illnesses and deaths. We must do better at encouraging flu vaccination.
Local surveillance of COVID-19 in wastewater (WW) is widespread and reported by the National Wastewater Surveillance System (NWSS). We previously used NWSS data to examine national trends and relationships in attempts at wastewater epidemiology (WWE). Now, we consider the consistency of geographic trends at scales ranging from local treatment plants in the five boroughs of New York City to statewide coverage.
A new study suggests that the antiviral Molnupiravir may “paradoxically” be driving COVID-19 mutations, creating variants of concern. What is going on? It is all about molnupiravir’s mode of action and evolution.
The media reports that colchicine, a very old drug, has now been discovered to reduce the risk of recurrent heart disease and has a new FDA indication. Of course, the “discovery” has taken 10 years, and the data for the FDA approval is from 2020. Just how helpful will colchicine be to you and me?
The process of selecting viruses for the yearly flu vaccines is complex and inexact. For the 2023-2024 flu season, there is reason to be optimistic that the vaccines will provide good protection.
Last week, the FDA and CDC presented their recommendations for the newest round of COVID-19 vaccines. As with everything COVID, there are proponents and detractors, or, putting it another way, both knowledgeable experts and disinformation-spreading attention-seekers. The reality is that a group of experts made a judgment based on actual data.  We discuss the evidence here so you can make your own informed decision.
Two bills – one in Idaho, the other in the U.S. Senate – defy science, logic, and civic responsibility. The first would criminalize the administration of life-saving mRNA vaccines, while the second would ban mask mandates.
I just finished reading a study on the correlation between the use of beta blockers and the need for a total knee replacement in patients with osteoarthritis. I will share the results and their underlying hypothesis, but I want to discuss their map illustrating the “cause” of what they found.
In case you haven’t noticed, the coronavirus is still with us. The First Lady has COVID-19, and cases and hospitalizations are rising. Some people where I live are wearing masks, and one of them has Long Covid. The virus is likely in our sanitary sewer systems, and we are responsible for putting it there.