Harm Reduction

Fear is a strong motivator; it is the basis of fight or flight. Long before a shutdown for businesses was declared in Florida, many individuals who felt they were "at-risk" voluntarily stay at home. What is the role of fear in the time of COVID-19, more specifically, to what degree is fear driving our behavior?
There's no doubt that COVID-19 infections are spiking. State and local governments are introducing a range of lockdown strategies. Super spread is real, but it varies from place to place. So how do we decide where to draw the line? Are our leaders making this up as they go? A new paper may help science lead the way.
COVID-19 has brought supply chains more prominently into our lives. Those include getting toilet paper onto store shelves, assuring take-out food gets delivered, as well as deliveries being made during the Christmas season. And the first COVID-19 wave revealed our Strategic National Stockpile cupboards were mostly bare. (Spoiler Alert: The "why" has far more to do with logistics than political affiliation.)
Since 1986, the federal government has tracked vaccines' adverse effects through the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, or VAERS. It's a post-approval mechanism that captures any adverse event reported to it.
As the search for a COVID-19 vaccine continues, we also continue to ponder who will be in the front of the queue. If we wish to restore our economy, we must undoubtedly consider vaccinating essential workers early on. But who exactly are they?
To reduce payments to doctors by device manufacturers and pharma companies, the federal government instituted a regulatory policy, the Sunshine Act, in 2013. The goal was to allow the disinfecting nature of transparency to reduce the ethical problem of obligation when receiving "gifts." Two reports update how that battle seems to be going.
America is now facing its second lockdown. Other countries are verging on a third. Repeated efforts at COVID-19 containment seem elusive. No respite seems in sight – other than hope of a vaccine. Along with concerted efforts in this direction, the vexing incidence of escalating vaccine resistance is raising its ugly head – yet again, stoked by a growlingly effective anti-vax movement and false prophets of vaccine doom. This trend seems to have hit the Black community particularly hard.  
As the possibility of an effective COVID-19 vaccine grows, there are questions of distribution. The first-come, first-served approach seems (and is) too random to save lives or the economy. We need some form of prioritization, and here we are in uncharted territory; there are no facts, only computer models. Let's consider one optimized to save the most lives. 
There's growing concern about plastics' ultimate fate, as that kind of waste continues to fill our oceans, landfills, and ourselves. It seems logical that banning single-use plastics would help stem the tide. But a new review finds that to be not quite as true, as advocates argue.
Of course, COVID-19 has been disruptive to our lives, both at home and at work. The effect across industry varies. For instance, the fortunes of Amazon and Jeff Bezos soar, while the deaths of mom and pop retail stores have accelerated.
The short answer is "no," but how that lab value is interpreted appears to have been based upon unintentional bias and may have resulted in harm. It is time to unpack a critical, overlooked discussion in medicine.
There is something uniquely human about blaming someone else for our problems – so much the better if you can sue someone for causing them. COVID-19 doesn't change the calculus.  Since the epidemic began, we've already seen four breeds of lawsuits emerge: