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The Latest on COVID-19

I am following the latest developments on COVID-19 and our efforts to control the pandemic. I will update this page regularly, so if you are interested, check back often. As of September 6, 2021, nobody has shown that ivermectin is effective or safe for prevention or treatment of COVID-19.  If you have been treated for COVID-19 with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, you should wait 90 days before getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

Get Your Flu Shot Now

This coming winter could be the worst flu season in years since last winter we had one of the lowest incidences of flu cases and deaths because of the isolation techniques, mask wearing and hand washing so many people used to try to prevent COVID-19 Since very few people will have natural immunity from getting the flu last winter, we can expect a marked increase in flu cases and deaths this year.

Does Ivermectin Treat COVID-19?

A review of 41 studies found no good evidence that ivermectin prevents or treats COVID-19 infections. No study compared ivermectin to an intervention with proven efficacy. Additionally, 31 studies are ongoing and 18 studies are awaiting classification until publication of results or clarification of inconsistencies.

Suspected Carcinogens in Some Sunscreens

In May 2021, an independent testing lab, Valisure, found elevated levels of benzene, a suspected carcinogen, in some sunscreens. As a result, Johnson & Johnson recalled five kinds of Neutrogena and Aveeno sunscreen sprays, and CVS stopped selling some of its sunscreen products.

High Sugar Intake Associated with Increased Risk for Alzheimer’s Disease

Researchers at Rush University followed 837 patients with 19 different tests for memory and other brain functions. They found that higher consumption of foods and drinks with added sugars was associated with greater loss of ability to recognize objects and remember facts, and with greater risk for developing dementia.

Masks Do Not Block Breathing

Researchers showed that “wearing a surgical face mask did not cause gas exchange abnormalities in healthy adults or even in adults with lung function impairment”. The authors measured carbon dioxide exchange and oxygen saturation before and after wearing a surgical mask in physicians with healthy lungs and in people with severe chronic obstructive lung disease.

Almost All U.S. COVID-19 Hospitalizations and Deaths Are Now In Unvaccinated People

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) list of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths shows that of more than 18,000 people who died from COVID-19 in May 2021, only 150 deaths occurred in fully vaccinated people. That's less than one percent.

Chronic Constipation May Need a Medical Workup

The first-line treatment for chronic constipation is to eat lots of foods that are full of fiber such as fruits and vegetables, to severely restrict processed foods, particularly those made from refined carbohydrates (bakery products, pastas and many dry breakfast cereals), and to exercise. If these lifestyle changes do not solve your problem, you may benefit temporarily by taking over-the-counter laxatives

Dementia May Be Preventable

The American Heart Association has published a scientific statement on “Harnessing Healthy Behaviors to Prevent Dementia” (Stroke, Mar 15, 2021:52(6A);52:e295–e308). They report that dementia is associated with the following modifiable risk factors: depression, all heart attack risk factors, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, high cholesterol, physical inactivity, an inflammatory diet, smoking, social isolation, excessive alcohol use, sleep disorders and hearing loss.

Routine CT Scans Can Increase Cancer Risk

More than 80 million CT scans are done in the U.S. each year to help diagnose many medical conditions. In 2007, the National Cancer Institute predicted that 29,000 future cancer cases could be linked to the CT scans performed in the U.S. in that year alone, and doctors have ordered more CT scans every year since then.

Jim Allison’s Nobel Prize: Toward a Cure for Cancer

In August 2015, the world learned that former U.S. president Jimmy Carter’s melanoma skin cancer had spread to his liver and his brain. Patients with melanoma that had spread through their bodies were expected to die from their disease, but doctors radiated Carter's tumors and then gave him Keytruda, a check point inhibitor. Three months later, there was no evidence of cancer in his 91-year old body.

Risk Factors for Dementia and Heart Attacks Start Early in Life

Researchers in Finland followed 3,596 children (3-18) for 31 years to see whether cardiovascular risk factors in childhood and adolescence were associated with cognitive performance later in life. Cognitive testing was performed in 2,026 of the participants at 34-49 years of age, and the researchers found that early heart attack risk factors were also major risk factors for reduced mental function.

COVID-19 Update – Vaccines Are Very Effective

An Israeli study followed 596,618 people who were newly vaccinated with the Pfizer-BioNTech mRNA vaccine during a six-week period from December 20, 2020, to February 1, 2021, and a matched group of the same number of unvaccinated controls. The researchers found that the vaccine offered a high degree of protection, similar to the results shown in the clinical trials.

Lack of Sleep Linked to Risk for Dementia

Researchers in the Whitehall Study followed 7959 British men and women for 30 years, with data on their sleep habits collected at ages 50, 60 and 70. They found that those who slept six hours or less per night had a 30 percent increased risk for dementia, compared with those who slept seven hours or more.

Treatable Risk Factors for Severe COVID-19

Don't believe the claims made for nutritional products that are supposed to boost your immunity and protect you from infections, unless you suffer from a specific medical condition or deficiency that can be corrected by that product. The current evidence shows that you are at increased risk for infection with, and severity of, COVID-19 if you have a medical condition that interferes with your immune system such as diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease, liver disease, kidney disease, and so forth.

Sunscreens and Sun Protection

Sunscreens help to prevent sunburns and skin cancers because they actually block the ultraviolet rays of the sun that damage the skin. However, some sunscreens are safe, while others may not be safe.

COVID-19 Precautions May Affect Other Respiratory Infections in the Future

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that we may need to continue social distancing and hand washing for years to come. The significant reduction in non-COVID-19 respiratory infections this year could decrease the number of people who are immune to other respiratory viruses, and increase the frequency and severity of other respiratory infections in the future.

Guidelines for COVID-19 Fully Vaccinated People

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released recommendations for fully vaccinated people who are two weeks past their second injection of the Moderna or Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines, or have had the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. As of March 8, 2021, more than 31 million people (9.4 percent of the U.S. population) had completed these vaccines.

Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 Vaccine Approved

The Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for emergency use in the U.S., and millions of doses are now being shipped. We already have mass immunizations underway with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which look better and better as we keep getting new reports of their benefits and minimal side effects.

Gut Bacteria and Colon Cancer Risk Factors

A review of 45 prospective studies found that risk for suffering colon cancer is increased by drinking alcohol and eating red meat, and decreased by eating more fiber and yogurt. More than 1.3 million North Americans have had colorectal cancer, a disease associated with lifestyle factors that cause bad bacteria to thrive in your colon.

People Who Have Had COVID-19 Are Protected for Three Months, Probably More

Two studies suggest that you can get long-term immunity after being infected with COVID-19. People who previously had COVID-19 have high protective antibody titers for at least three months, and at six months still had persistent parts of the COVID-19 virus in their intestines that continued to cause high protection antibodies.

Messenger RNA May Help to Beat Cancer

The two currently-approved COVID-19 vaccines use a technique called messenger RNA (mRNA) that could lead to cures for cancer and many other diseases.

Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 Vaccine is Coming

The soon to be approved vaccine for COVID-19 from Johnson & Johnson requires just one injection, instead of the two required for the previously-approved vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna. The J&J vaccine can be stored with ordinary refrigeration and does not need the extremely cold storage required for the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.

Second Dose of COVID-19 Vaccine Can Be Delayed if Necessary

Many people are worried that they may not receive their second dose of the vaccine on schedule because of delayed deliveries of the vaccine, or because of suggestions that the scheduled second doses of the vaccines should be given as a first dose to others so that more people can be immunized.

Two New COVID-19 Vaccines Coming Soon

The Pfizer\BioNTech and Moderna messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines are already available for some people. They require two injections and look better all the time, with very few serious reactions so far and good antibody response for prevention of COVID-19. Two more vaccines appear ready to be available soon for public immunization.

Many Cases of COVID-19 Come from People with No Symptoms

People with no symptoms transmit more than half of all cases of COVID-19, according to a model developed by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This reinforces the importance of following the CDC's basic guidelines: wear a mask, wash your hands, and stay socially distant.

Safety of the Messenger RNA Vaccines for COVID-19 (Pfizer and Moderna)

Results from clinical trials of the Pfizer-BioNTech and the Moderna COVID-19 vaccines showed about 95 percent effectiveness in preventing COVID-19 infections, and they were given Emergency Use Authorizations (EUA) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on December 13 and December 20, 2020. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says...

Low Vitamin D Increases COVID-19 Risks

If your vitamin D level is below 30 ng/mL, you are at increased risk for contracting COVID-19. A review of 40 studies showed that adequate vitamin D reduced the frequency and severity of COVID-19 infections and hospital admissions, and lowered the death rate

Long COVID-19 Syndrome

Most people who develop COVID-19 recover in 2-6 weeks, but between 10 and 70 percent of recovered COVID-19 patients develop “Long COVID-19 Syndrome,” suffering at least one symptom for many weeks or months after their initial infection.

Many Common Drugs Linked to Risk for Dementia

The American Geriatrics Society strongly recommends avoiding the use of anticholinergic medications in older adults, because seniors may be more likely to experience unwanted side effects than younger people. One out of every three drugs prescribed for men and women over 65 are anticholinergic drugs, which are associated with increased risk for dementia.