Harm Reduction

Why is so much attention being given to those who refused to get vaccinated? Why would someone trade the safe harbor of vaccination for the risk of death from COVID-19 and its variants in the tradeoff calculus?
1.4 million or 2% of Medicare beneficiaries reside in nursing homes – the burning center of the COVID-19 morbidity and mortality before vaccines. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) report how those beneficiaries fared between March and December of 2020. Let’s review the carnage. 
48 of the 50 states allow some form of legal cannabis sale and use, the exceptions Nebraska and Idaho. 31 states have decriminalized its use. At last count, 17 states are allowing recreational sales. The feds continue to maintain it as a Schedule 1 drug, its possession punishable by up to a year in jail and a minimum fine of $5,000. 
Last week Governor de Santis of Florida threatened to withhold funding (and salaries) from local superintendents and school board members who disregarded his executive order, effectively prohibiting mask mandates in local school districts. The order came in the face of the Fort Lauderdale-Broward County’s school district vote to require masks. The President immediately interceded -- promising federal funds to cover local salaries. Some days later, the Governor seems to have backtracked. But conflict between local, state, and federal powers to regulate pandemic conduct has rooted and is spreading. Interestingly, this is nothing new. Pandemics invite politics, often including scientifically apathetic politicians. Exactly 129 years ago, it happened like this:
Studying the spread of infections in nursing homes and prisons may guide how best to prepare to return to school.
As the fall approaches, the Delta variant continues to infect our citizens as the climate becomes more hospitable to respiratory viruses. Booster immunizations have arrived, and they’ll be rolled out soon.
There’s an epidemic of obesity and diabetes, and everyone is trying to lose weight. Many individuals use artificial sweeteners to reduce their caloric intake. A recent article titled “Aspartame and cancer: new evidence for causation” is just the latest of several studies over the years that have attempted to link artificial sweeteners – in this case, aspartame – with cancer. Is there any evidence for an association?
As another wave of infections washes across the land, and officials call for or against the non-pharmacologic interventions (NPI) a new battle is being waged. Do these interventions work? Where is the science to follow? Let’s ignore your favorite expert or talking head; I’ll report, you decide.
According to a recently released study by the Environmental Working Group (EWG): “Wireless radiation exposure for children should be hundreds of times lower than current federal limits.” It recommends stricter, lower exposure limits for all radio frequency sources, especially for children. Is there a reason for concern?
Stuart Little aside, laboratory animals aren’t people. And – yes – I know that this is pretty obvious to most of us, but it needs to be said. This is one limitation in studying the effects of…well…anything on rats and mice and applying the results to humans.
On February 9, 2001, the Ehime Maru, a Japanese trawler off Diamond Head in Hawaii, was rammed and subsequently sank by the USS Greeneville with the loss of nine lives. The Naval Court of Inquiry found the captain responsible. What does any of this have to do with COVID-19, let alone swiss cheese? Let’s start with the findings of the naval inquiry that will get us to the cheese.
Last week with little fanfare, the Environmental Working Group released its latest “report” on the putative harmful effects of cellphone radiation. Right from the start, it features two eye-catching words, "radiation" and "children."