Everything You Want to Know About COVID Vaccines

This is the best article I have read about the COVID-19 vaccines. Two of the vaccines that have completed Phase III trials will soon become available to those in the top priority groups–frontline healthcare workers and first responders, plus those who are at higher risk because of their age; and those who have underlying conditions that increase their risk for severe disease. This superb article explains how the vaccines are being produced, tested, how they actually protect against the disease and many other key issues.

Read the article

COVID Now Hits Rural America

Last spring, many of the folks living in rural America watched in horror as the pandemic raced through major urban areas–but thought they would be safe. That has now changed. Kathryn Jones tells her story in Texas Monthly.

“The pandemic felt so far away out here. My husband and I live eight miles south of Glen Rose—the nearest town of any size—barely over the Somervell-Bosque county line. Our house sits a mile and a half off Texas Highway 144, past two ranch gates and cattle guards, and at the end of a winding, up-and-down gravel road that leads to a ridgetop. There are no other houses in sight, just a wide western view of layered blue mesas.”

Kathryn and her husband followed the rules–even though many in her sparsely populated county did not. Katheryn rarely went to town, but when she did, she wore a mask and vinyl gloves at the grocery store and for a trip to the courthouse to vote. After a week of rationalizing the telltale symptoms (low fever, dull headache, sudden loss of smell and taste) she went in to the local hospital to be tested. She was positive.

Read Kathryn’s story

Herd Immunity

The concept of herd immunity can be confusing–particularly with the wide variety of “opinions” of TV talking heads. However, this article by Dr Gigi Kwik Gronvall and Rachel West provides a clear explanation of the facts–without political spin. This is what you need to know to protect your family.


Important Vaccine Information–Flu and COVID-19

Flu season will soon begin, so it is important that all members of your family (6 months of age and older) get their flu shot within the next few weeks. Flu shots are most important for older adults since the age group generally accounts for 70% to 85% of flu-related deaths and 50% to 70% of flu-related hospitalizations each flu season. 

Despite the “internet myths” you will not get the flu from the vaccine. Some people get a sore arm for a day or so, but that is about the only down side. The up sides are many, including avoiding hospitalization or death for you and your loved ones.

For more information on flu shots for the elderly members of your family, read this article.

Within the next few months, we expect to have one or more vaccines for COVID-19. Frontline medical personnel, first responders and the elderly (over 65) are at greatest risk from this disease. CDC states that 8 of 10 COVID-19 deaths in the US have been people 65 years of age or older. We need to focus efforts on protecting those people at the highest risk.

For more information, read this article.

Good News on COVID-19 Vaccine Development

This National Geographic article provides a comprehensive update on COVID-19 vaccine development–focusing on the progress of nine notable candidates. This unprecedented scientific effort is the equivalent of completing the Manhattan and Apollo programs in less than a year.

“More than 150 coronavirus vaccines are in development across the world—and hopes are high to bring one to market in record time to ease the global crisis. Several efforts are underway to help make that possible, including the U.S. government’s Operation Warp Speed initiative, which has pledged $10 billion and aims to develop and deliver 300 million doses of a safe, effective coronavirus vaccine by January 2021.”

Read the full National Geographic article

The Only Hydroxychloroquine Story You Need to Read

Dr. Amesh Adalja explains the science behind the story on Hydroxychloroquine. Most importantly, he describes the difference between double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trials (science) and the anecdotes you may have heard reported by physicians and various non-medically trained talking heads on several cable news channels and internet videos..

There are many things we do not know about the COVID-19 disease, but the role of Hydroxychloroquine is not one of them. The evidence is in. Hydroxychloroquine is not a safe and effective treatment for COVID-19.

Dr. Adalja is a board-certified physician in internal medicine, emergency medicine, infectious diseases, and critical care medicine. He has been treating COVID-19 patients for more than 6 months . Early on, he treated patients with Hydroxychloroquine, but based on the overwhelming evidence from double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trials, Dr Adalja no longer prescribes Hydroxychloroquine, a position endorsed by professional medical organizations such as the American College of Physicians and the Infectious Diseases Society of America

Several people have contacted me about the stories of physicians who have treated COVID-19 patients with Hydroxychloroquine and claimed it to be a “”miracle drug”, including Dr. Stella Immanuel . Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Immanuel was best known for her theories regarding the use of rituals to cleanse people of evil spirits or demons. She has said she also believes in alien DNA, and in 2013 she shared a video saying that certain women’s diseases are caused by sex with demons in dreams.

Bottom-line: If any of my family members contracted COVID-19, I will want them treated by Dr. Adalja, not Dr. Immanuel, Laura Ingram or Donald Trump.

Read the article by Dr. Adalja.

Understanding COVID-19 Numbers

There is no question in my mind the pandemic will be with us for at least another year. Therefore, we all must learn to function in this new reality. It will mean dealing with risks that are acceptable to us and our families. 

To do that, we must first understand the risks. That is not always easy for most of us who read the sensational headlines and watch hyperventilating TV talking heads and TV anchors (aka political pundits poorly disguised as journalists—on both ends of the political spectrum).

When making decisions on risks for your family, keep these two important data points in mind:

  • 74% of all COVID-19 death in the US have been in people over 65 years of age
  • Only 19 children under age 15 have died from COVID-19

These figure are from CDC (2-1-20 to 7-25-20)


Dr. Amesh Adalja: COVID-19 Update on CBS Saturday Morning

Dr Adalja is a longtime colleague and the person I call when I have questions about COVID-19. In addition to being a Senior Scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, he is also a board-certified physician in internal medicine, emergency medicine, infectious diseases, and critical care medicine.

In this short interview, Dr. Adalja talks about the treatment he uses on COVID-19 patients, plus things you need to know about virus tests, getting your children back to school and your vacation plans.

CBS Saturday Morning