Category Archives: health

New article: coronavirus lingers on surfaces longer than we thought

While most cases of Covid-19 are surely contracted via interperson contact (hugging, respiratory droplets, talking next to someone, handshakes, and so on), this new article from Virology Journal, produced by five Australian researchers, suggests that the virus can linger on various surfaces substantially longer than we suspected, and those infection-bearing surfaces (called “fomites”) can carry […]

Dr. Alex’s latest advice on Covid 19, and a chance to ask questions

From time to time, my primary care physician Dr. Alex Lickerman posts articles on his website from about what’s going on with the pandemic, concentrating on the scientific research and what it means. The latest post on the website, below, “lays out the evidence for wearing masks, talks about the development of a vaccine, and […]

The efficacy of different face masks in reducing droplet emission

What kind of mask should you wear during the pandemic? (Yes, you should always wear one if you’re around people.) A new paper in Science Advances (click on screenshot below, free pdf here, reference at bottom) gives a tentative answer to that question, assuming that you’re wearing the mask to avoid infecting other people. And […]

Trump administration places severe restrictions on fetal tissue research, impeding medical progress

Let me make this clear from the outset: fetal tissue used for research is taken from abortions that women elect to undergo.  The tissue has shown enormous promise for medical research, including its past use in developing the polio vaccine, as well as making useful advances in AIDS research, birth defects, Down Syndrome, spinal cord […]

Andrew Sullivan’s last piece for NY Magazine

Andrew Sullivan is moving to a new site, his own Daily Dish revived as the Weekly Dish. But his farewell piece in New York Magazine is not last week’s column, but today’s long article—about plagues. Well researched and engagingly written, it’s a change from Sullivan’s usual discussions of politics and sociology. It’s long (7 pages […]

What’s the risk of death from coronavirus? A summary from Nature

A new article in Nature has gathered statistics from several studies to come up with an estimate of the overall death rate from coronavirus (click on screenshot below to read it, pdf here). If you’re paywalled, a judicious request might work. I’ll put the latest estimates at the bottom, as you’ll need to read the […]

Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine are not only useless in treating Covid-19, but very harmful

UPDATES: The discussion of this paper has gone back and forth, and the cause is that neither Alex nor I read the paper carefully. I just skimmed it, and Alex read it quickly but paid most of his attention to the tables. That led to this first update in which he concluded (and I agreed) […]

Trump’s doctor, an osteopath, approved his patient’s use of hydroxychloroquine. That’s quackery, regardless of the doctor’s credentials.

As you know, last week Donald Trump asserted that he was taking hydroxychloroquine as a preventive for coronavirus, said that thousands of front-line medical workers were also taking it for the same reason, and argued that the drug had proved efficacious against the virus.  Yesterday I thought that all three claims might be lies (the […]

Dr. Lickerman on coronavirus: is a vaccine in the offing, what’s your risk of infection from casual contact, and what rules should businesses follow if they’re allowed to reopen?

I’m calling attention to a new post by my physician, Dr. Alex Lickerman—part of his continuing series on the pandemic and the virus.  In this one, he lays out guidelines about how a business should operate to be opened safely if it’s allowed to and wants to; but he emphasizes at the outset that he […]

Faith-soaked physician to conduct study of prayer in curing Covid-19

Does prayer work to cure diseases? Anecdotal evidence from Lourdes, where amputees and the eyeless aren’t cured, suggest not. And we all know the results of the Templeton-funded study of the effects of intercessory prayer on recovery of cardiac patients, the most thorough study of intercessory prayer yet, involving over 1800 patients (Benson et al. […]