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Showing posts with the label COVID-19

Tragic Math: The U.S. Exceeds 200,000 COVID-19 Deaths

Body count has long been the yardstick by which we measure calamity. There were the 58,000 U.S. lives lives lost in the Vietnam war; the 1,496 souls who perished on the Titanic. In the hours after the September 11 attacks, when the death toll was not known, then-New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani famously said, “The number of casualties will be more than any of us can bear, ultimately.” We are, once again, trying to bear the unbearable as the U.S. today surpassed 200,000 deaths caused in the still-rampaging COVID-19 pandemic. We remain, as we have long been, the world’s hardest-hit country, with just 4% of the global population but roughy 21% of both deaths and overall cases; it’s a dubious distinction that was fast in coming. It was not long ago, on Feb. 29, that the U.S.’s first COVID-19 death was recorded, in Washington state. By March 29, the death count had exceeded the 2,977 people who ultimately did die in the 9/11 attacks. At that time, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the

Confused About the Testing Guidelines For COVID-19? Here's Who Should Be Swabbed

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There's been a lot of uncertainty around COVID-19 testing in the US. Recently, the Centers For Disease Control (CDC) seemed to soften its testing guidelines - explaining that people who had been exposed but hadn't developed symptoms no longer needed to be tested - only to reverse course when it was reported that the changes had come under pressure from the White House . If you're feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the back and forth, you're not alone - but experts want Americans to know testing is essential, especially with cases expected to climb this fall . "The most effective approach to fighting the pandemic is widespread testing," Natasha Bhuyan , MD, a family physician and regional medical director at One Medical, told POPSUGAR. "It allows us to isolate cases and to contact trace in order to quickly identify other cases." However, politics aside, the line public health experts are trying to toe is a challenging one. "When faced with limi

COVID-19 Conspiracy Theories Are Spreading Rapidly—and They’re a Public Health Risk All Their Own

Public health crises have spawned conspiracy theories as far back as when the Black Death ravaged Europe in the 1300s, as people desperately try to make sense of the chaotic forces disrupting their lives. While modern science offers a better understanding of how diseases infect people and how to contain them, COVID-19 conspiracy theories are spreading rapidly via social media, unreliable news outlets and from our own political leaders, including U.S. President Donald Trump. The result: many Americans now believe pandemic-related conspiracy theories—and, alarmingly, those same people are less likely to take steps to prevent the virus from spreading. In a University of Pennsylvania Annenberg Public Policy Center study published Monday in Social Science & Medicine , researchers surveyed a group of 840 U.S. adults—first in late March, and then again in mid-July—to determine how Americans’ beliefs and actions regarding the pandemic changed over time. Overall, they found tha

The CDC Posted—But Then Suddenly Deleted—Critical Guidance About How COVID-19 Actually Spreads

New language acknowledging that the virus that causes COVID-19 spreads more easily than once believed disappeared from a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website Monday just days after being published, replaced with a message saying the previously uploaded information was a mistakenly posted “draft version of proposed changes.” The now-missing language, which was posted Friday to a page titled “How COVID-19 Spreads,” cited small droplets called aerosols as the most common method of viral spread—reversing the agency’s previous stance that the virus was mostly spread by larger droplets that typically don’t travel as far. The move was lauded by scientists who have for months argued that aerosols account for a significant share of coronavirus transmission. ( Mounting pressure from experts led the World Health Organization to acknowledge the threat of aerosol spread this past July.) “CDC is currently updating its recommendations regarding airborne transmission

We Need a COVID-19 Vaccine. We Also Need Transparency About Its Development

The authorization of an effective vaccine will mark perhaps the biggest turning point in the battle against coronavirus, but only if enough people are willing to get vaccinated. There have been substantial declines in public willingness to get vaccinated against COVID-19 , despite immense, unprecedented public investments in vaccine development. In one survey, barely half of Americans said they would get the vaccine as soon as it was available, numbers that will undermine the benefits of even a highly effective vaccine. It is no mystery why trust in a potential vaccine has plummeted. Operation Warp Speed, the Trump Administration’s $10 billion vaccine initiative, and other vaccine efforts have compressed processes that usually take years into months. This speed alone can raise concerns, but to date, that pace has been matched with strict adherence to the basic principles of scientific integrity. However, increasing politicization of key regulatory bodies and unexplained decis

These Are the Underlying Conditions That Could Put You at Risk For Severe COVID-19

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While anyone can contract the coronavirus, the question of whether you'll get a severe case of COVID-19 is on a lot of our minds. The CDC estimates that 40 percent of coronavirus cases are asymptomatic , and while that means you can still spread the virus and be in danger of the long-term side-effects , it goes without saying that an asymptomatic or mild infection is preferable to a case that lands you in the hospital. Based on what doctors currently know, there are a few underlying conditions that may make you susceptible to a severe case, and we'll go over them ahead. Remember that having one of these conditions doesn't mean you're 100 percent certain to contract a more serious case of COVID-19; instead, take this as another reminder that this disease can be life-threatening, and another reason to keep wearing a face mask and practicing social distancing to protect yourself and others. Older People Have Higher Risk of Severe Coronavirus "As you get older, yo

Everything You Need to Know to Vote Safely in Person During COVID-19

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The 2020 election is quickly approaching, and, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic , a number of states are giving voters the option of mailing in their ballots or voting absentee . If you're able to vote without waiting in a line full of people, medical experts strongly recommend doing so. "All politics and controversy aside, from an infectious-disease standpoint, if you mail in your ballot, you are less likely to be exposed to infection," Chad Sanborn , MD, a pediatric infectious-disease specialist at KIDZ Medical Services in Florida, told POPSUGAR. To find the voting guidelines and options for your local election site, visit usa.gov . The ability to vote by mail or absentee varies from state to state , leaving many voters with no option other than casting their ballots in person. If you fall into this category, here are steps you can take to keep yourself as safe as possible when you arrive at your polling location. Related: If You're Voting by Mail This Y

College Professors Made Models Showing How Bad COVID-19 Would Be on Campus. Some Administrators Ignored Them

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Who thought it would be a good idea to move thousands of teenagers and young adults across the country to college campuses, where, unencumbered by parental supervision, many college kids did what college kids do? Actually, Nigel Goldenfeld and Sergei Maslov , two University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign physics researchers, thought they had it figured out . They created a predictive model for the campus, which showed that with a robust, twice-a-week testing program for students, faculty and staff who are regularly on campus, a mask mandate and an app for contact tracing, COVID-19 cases could be kept below 500 people for the whole semester on a campus that includes about 46,000 people. They even accounted for close interactions among college students. But that model failed to take into account that kids who test positive for the virus, whether sick or asymptomatic, might continue to party. From Aug. 16, when campus reopened, to Sept. 13, more than 1,800 new cases of COV

The COVID-19 Pandemic Has Erased Decades of Progress on Childhood Vaccination

While the world waits for a COVID-19 vaccine , children across the globe are going without shots already known to be life-saving. With the world in disarray due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of children vaccinated this year against infections like diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, measles and pneumococcal disease has fallen to levels not seen since the 1990s, according to a new report from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. “In other words,” the report reads, “we’ve been set back about 25 years in about 25 weeks.” That stark figure comes from the Gates Foundation’s annual Goalkeepers report, which evaluates global progress on the United Nations’ sustainable development goals , a set of global health, equity and sustainability benchmarks the group hopes to hit by 2030. Progress on nearly all of the goals has stalled or reversed this year as the world struggles to contain the pandemic. Rates of poverty, malnutrition and childhood mortality are going up for the fir

These Are the Underlying Conditions That Could Put You at Risk For Severe COVID-19

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While anyone can contract the coronavirus, the question of whether you'll get a severe case of COVID-19 is on a lot of our minds. The CDC estimates that 40 percent of coronavirus cases are asymptomatic , and while that means you can still spread the virus and be in danger of the long-term side-effects , it goes without saying that an asymptomatic or mild infection is preferable to a case that lands you in the hospital. Based on what doctors currently know, there are a few underlying conditions that may make you susceptible to a severe case, and we'll go over them ahead. Remember that having one of these conditions doesn't mean you're 100 percent certain to contract a more serious case of COVID-19; instead, take this as another reminder that this disease can be life-threatening, and another reason to keep wearing a face mask and practicing social distancing to protect yourself and others. Older People Have Higher Risk of Severe Coronavirus "As you get older, yo

COVID-19 Workers, Our Heroes, Are the Faces of Reebok's "Wonder Woman" Collection

Hormonal treatments for prostate cancer may prevent or limit COVID-19 symptoms

Men have roughly twice the risk of developing severe disease and dying from COVID-19 than women. Scientists say this is in part because women mount stronger immune reactions to the disease’s microbial cause: the infamous coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2. Now research with prostate cancer patients points to another possible explanation, which is that the male sex hormone testosterone helps SARS-Cov-2 get into and infect human cells. SARS-CoV-2 initiates infections by first latching onto its human cell receptor. But it can only pass into a cell with the aid of a second protein called TMPRSS2. Testosterone regulates TMPRSS2 , such that levels of the hormone and the protein rise and fall together in tandem. If testosterone levels are depressed, scientists speculate, then TMPRSS2 levels might also be so low that the novel coronavirus is blocked at the gates. At least five clinical trials are now investigating if drugs acting on testosterone and its own receptor “could either prevent or cure

These Are the Underlying Conditions That Could Put You at Risk For Severe COVID-19

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While anyone can contract the coronavirus, the question of whether you'll get a severe case of COVID-19 is on a lot of our minds. The CDC estimates that 40 percent of coronavirus cases are asymptomatic , and while that means you can still spread the virus and be in danger of the long-term side-effects , it goes without saying that an asymptomatic or mild infection is preferable to a case that lands you in the hospital. Based on what doctors currently know, there are a few underlying conditions that may make you susceptible to a severe case, and we'll go over them ahead. Remember that having one of these conditions doesn't mean you're 100 percent certain to contract a more serious case of COVID-19; instead, take this as another reminder that this disease can be life-threatening, and another reason to keep wearing a face mask and practicing social distancing to protect yourself and others. Older People Have Higher Risk of Severe Coronavirus "As you get older, yo

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