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The Current Coronavirus Pandemic – Updated

The World Health Organization (WHO) gave the new coronavirus the name "COVID-19" on February 11, 2020, and declared it a pandemic on March 10, 2020. COVID-19 is not more severe than many flu viruses. However, it is incredibly contagious.

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.

Latest Advice on the COVID-19 Pandemic

Federal guidelines now require most Americans to avoid non-essential travel, non-essential work, eating at bars and restaurants, and gathering in groups of more than 10, at least through April 30, 2020. Many states and local governments have stricter directives that take precedence over the federal guidelines.

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...

Inflammation Can Help or Harm

Your body uses inflammation to protect you from invading germs and to heal injuries. When a germ gets into your body, you make cells and proteins to kill that germ. As soon as the germ is gone, your immune system is supposed to dampen down and stop making large amounts of these cells and antibodies.

Should You Get a COVID-19 Vaccine?

Are you concerned about getting one of the new COVID-19 vaccines as soon as they are approved? We have no long-term safety information because no one has more than 10 months of experience with this disease. However, we do have decades of experience with other vaccines.

Dementia Risk May Be Increased by Some Common Drugs

A study of 58,769 patients over 55 years of age diagnosed with dementia and 225,574 people of the same age without dementia found a 50 percent increased risk of dementia among people who used a strong anticholinergic drug daily for about three years within the 10-year study period

Alcohol At Any Dose Can Increase Cancer Risk

Compared to non-drinkers, people who take one or two drinks per day for one year are at increased risk for cancer, and drinking even one glass of wine a day raises the risk of cancer of the throat, esophagus, liver, colon, rectum or breast.

Herd Immunity With Vaccines

The only way that the pandemic will end is when a sufficient percentage of people become immune to COVID-19, most by being vaccinated plus a lesser number of people who have been infected with the virus and recovered. This is called herd immunity. Researchers tell us that in the U.S., the pandemic will not end until about 40 to 70 percent of the population is immune.

Sunlight: More than Vitamin D

For many years I have offered my opinion that sunlight provides benefits that are not gained just from taking vitamin D pills. Recent research is confirming that opinion, and many scientists now believe that low vitamin D blood levels are only a marker for not getting enough sunlight.

Some Cases of Dementia Have Effective Treatments

More than six million North Americans suffer from dementia, which affects three percent of people age 65-74, 17 percent of age 75-84, and 32 percent of those age 85 and older. Anything that damages brain cells can cause dementia and many of the causes are treatable.

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

Night-Time Leg Cramps

Up to 60 percent of North American adults suffer from night-time leg cramps, a sudden painful contraction usually of the calf muscles that can last from a few seconds up to 10 minutes or more. Doctors do not know what causes most cases of leg cramps, but usually they are not caused by dehydration or lack of minerals.

Fungus Toenails – Deformed Toenails

Fungus infections cause less than five percent of deformed nails. Drying of skin and skin conditions such as psoriasis are more common causes. The part of nails that you see is dead. Living nails are located underneath the skin at their base.

A First Vaccine for COVID-19

Oxford University in England has developed a vaccine and will start trials on more than 6,000 people on Thursday, April 30, 2020, to see if their new vaccine is safe and effective.

Protecting Yourself from COVID-19

As businesses and activities are re-opening, many people have decided to relax their precautions to avoid infection with COVID-19. If you are a person who is at high risk for complications from this virus, I believe that you should continue to be on guard.

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.

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.

The Search for Drugs to Treat COVID-19

Today there are no drugs that have been proven to treat the coronavirus, COVID-19, but a study from China showed that the inexpensive anti-malarial drug, Chloroquine phosphate, was safe and effective in shortening the course and decreasing symptoms in patients suffering from COVID-19 pneumonia.

How Would I Treat Myself If I Got COVID-19?

If I had COVID-19 and was not very sick, I do not know if I would take anything. Today there are no drugs or treatments proven to prevent or cure COVID-19, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not licensed any treatment specifically for the virus.

Aging and Risk for Dementia

Dementia means loss of brain function, and your chance of having dementia increases with age. Doctors can now predict increased risk for developing dementia by ordering an MRI which can show decreased volume of grey matter in the brain.

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.

Do Not Overdose on Vitamin D

You cannot be poisoned by vitamin D through sun exposure or diet alone, but vitamin D poisoning can occur when people take high-dose supplements for an extended time. Excess vitamin D can cause blood calcium levels to rise and after several months of having high blood calcium levels and having no symptoms at all, you can develop kidney failure and not even know it.

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.

Drugs Given to President Trump for COVID-19

As reported by the White House medical team, the drugs given to President Trump to treat COVID-19 included Regeneron's antibody cocktail (monoclonal antibodies), Gilead Sciences' remdesivir (brand name Veklury), and dexamethasone.

What We Have Learned So Far from Eight Months of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Infection with COVID-19 comes primarily from breathing air in indoor spaces where people with the coronavirus have been, and the more virus you breathe in, the more likely you are to become infected.

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.

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.

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

Hammer Toes

A hammertoe is a general name for a toe that is bent. Hammertoes are caused by genetics, arthritis, poor-fitting shoes, or feet that are either excessively high-arched or flat. You can't change genetics, and in most cases, you can't prevent arthritis.