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Driving equity in health care: Lessons from COVID-19

Editor’s note: Third in a series on the impact of COVID-19 on communities of color, and responses aimed at improving health equity. Click here to read part one and here for part two.

If there is a silver lining of COVID-19, it’s that it has required us to address monumental health care disparities, particularly racial and ethnic disparities. I’ve been working on health care disparities for more than two decades, yet I’ve never seen our health system move so fast. Across the US, those of us in health care have been scrambling to bridge gaps and better understand why COVID-19 disproportionally impacts communities of color and immigrants — and, indeed, anyone who struggles with social determinants of health like lack of housing, food insecurity, and access to a good education.

A key lesson: Lived experience should guide change

I came to this country as an undocumented immigrant when I was 13 years old. English was not my first language. My mother was a single, teen mother and I’ve only seen my father twice in my lifetime. My childhood was filled with all the trauma that we hear about from many of our patients: domestic violence, drug addiction, mental health issues, foster care, and more. You can imagine, then, that all of this feels immensely personal to me, and drives me in the work that I do as director of the Disparities Solutions Center at Massachusetts General Hospital.

One key lesson is that there is no substitute for lived experience. We need people with lived experience to help redesign our health care systems so that we can take care of all our patients, and to help reimagine emergency preparedness for future events like the COVID-19 pandemic. Our health care teams should routinely include people from communities that bear the brunt of health inequities. Currently, our health care system is designed by default for the English-speaking person who is health literate and digitally literate, and who has access to computers and/or smartphones — because that is who is designing our systems. As we work toward change based on lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, and those we’ll continue to learn, we need to keep this in mind.

If you’re a member of the communities hit hardest by the pandemic, you can help by sharing your experiences — what worked, what didn’t — and advocating with health care institutions, community leaders, and through social media for approaches that address COVID-19 health care disparities. The ones I describe below are common themes from hospitals we’ve worked with, as well as what we have seen in our own healthcare system.

Take the steps required to build community trust

Trust is key to having messages about lessening the spread and impact of COVID-19 resonate with the community. But trust is often shaped by historical events. Health care organizations must look deeply at ways in which historical events have led to mistrust within the communities they serve. The messenger to each community needs to be a trusted community member, and outreach needs to happen in the community, not just at your health care facility.

Invest time in addressing language barriers

Integrating interpreters during a medical visit, whether in person or via a virtual platform, is not easy. And in fact, it’s not intuitive in most US health care systems. At MGH, we saw this with the intercom system used to safely communicate with our hospitalized COVID patients, and the virtual visit platform used for outpatient settings. Adding a third-party medical interpreter into these systems proved challenging. Input from an interpreter advisory council and bilingual staff members who took part in redesigning workflow, telehealth platforms, and electronic health records helped.

Making sure educational materials are available in multiple languages goes beyond translating them. We also need to get creative with health literacy-friendly modalities like videos, to help people understand important information. Ideally, our workforce would include bilingual health care providers and staff who could communicate with patients in their own language. Absent this, integrating interpreters into the workflow and telehealth platforms is key.

Understand that social determinants of health still impact 80% of COVID-19 health outcomes

COVID-19 disproportionally impacts people who are essential frontline workers and who can’t work from home, can’t quarantine through isolation, and depend on public transportation. So yes, social determinants of health still matter. If addressing social determinants seem overwhelming (for example, solving the shortage of affordable housing in Boston), then perhaps it is time for us to reframe the challenge. Rather than assuming the burden is on a health care system to solve the housing crisis, the question really needs to be: how will we provide care to patients who don’t have housing and live in a shelter, or are couch surfing with friends and families, or live in cheap hotels or motels?

Use racial, ethnic, and language data to focus mitigation efforts

Invest time in improving the quality of race, ethnicity, and language data in health care systems. Additionally, stratifying quality metrics by these demographics will help identify health disparities. At MGH, already having this foundation was key to quickly developing a COVID-19 dashboard that identified in real time the demographics of patients on the COVID-19 inpatient floors. At some point during our first surge, over 50% of our patients on the COVID units needed an interpreter, because the majority came from the heavily immigrant Boston-area communities of Chelsea, Lynn, and Revere. This information was crucial to our mitigation strategies, and would help inform any health care system.

Address privacy and immigration concerns

Overwhelmingly, our health center providers, interpreters, and immigration advocates tell us that immigrant patients are reluctant to participate in virtual visits, enroll in our patient portal, or come to our health care facility because they are afraid we will share their personal information with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). We worked with a multidisciplinary group and our legal counsel to develop a low-literacy script in multiple languages that describes to these patients how we keep their information secure, why we are legally required to keep it secure (HIPAA), and in what scenario we would share it this with law enforcement (if there is a valid warrant or court order).

Additional strategies include educating providers to avoid documenting a patient’s immigration status, and educating patients on their rights and protection under the US constitution. In short, this relates back to the first point of creating trust between the health care organization and the community it serves.

Equitable care is a journey, not a single goal. Only by taking crucial steps toward it can we hope to achieve it, course-correcting with new lessons learned from this pandemic as we go.

The post Driving equity in health care: Lessons from COVID-19 appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.

This content was originally published here.

Viral video shows New York business owners take defiant stand when health inspector barges inside: ‘Go get a warrant’

Business owners in Buffalo-area took a defiant stand against Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s coronavirus-related restrictions on Friday, telling a local health inspector and sheriffs deputies, who showed up to enforce Cuomo’s arbitrary restrictions, to immediately leave their property because they did not have a warrant to be there.

What happened?

Robby Dinero, owner of Athletes Unleashed in Orchard Park, gathered dozens of area business owners at his gym on Friday night to discuss Cuomo’s latest business-killing restrictions, according to WGRZ-TV. Their goal was to plan how to survive the newest restrictions.

But, about 20 minutes into the meeting, members from the Erie County Department of Health and deputies from the Erie County Sheriff’s Department barged into the meeting, telling those gathered that they were violating Cuomo’s restrictions that prohibit gatherings of more than 10 people.

What happened next was caught on video and is going viral.

One of the people at the gatherings told the health department official to have compassion on area businesses and went she said that she does, another business owner told the official, “OK, well you need to go have compassion out in the parking lot.”

“This is private property. This is private property. This is private property,” the man told the health department official. The man then told the sheriff deputies to “do your jobs.”

“Your job is to remove people who are not wanted here,” the man said. One of the deputies responded by lecturing the business owners for not wearing face masks.

Another man then said, “You guys need to leave because right now, you’re trespassing without a warrant. You need to leave.” Others repeated, “Go get a warrant.”

After more back-and-forth, the business owners continued to tell the health department official and sheriff deputies that they needed to leave because they were trespassing on private property.

“You don’t get to violate the Constitution,” one of the business owners said. “You don’t circumvent or subvert the Constitution.”

The video ends as the business owners shout in unison, “Get out!” The deputies and health department worker are then driven out of the gym.

Business owners in Buffalo, NY demand “health inspector” leave private property. “Go get a warrant.”

People have… https://t.co/Jfub54t0e7

— Justin Hart (@Justin Hart)1605993989.0

What was the response?

In an interview with the Buffalo News, Tim Walton, who attended Friday night’s event, said the business owners are not doubting the existence of COVID-19, but rather the arbitrary nature of Cuomo’s restrictions.

Meanwhile, Health Department spokeswoman Kara Kane told the Buffalo News, “We are gathering information and will have more to share in our press conference on Monday.”

This content was originally published here.

Mayor de Blasio and wife tout new plan to send mental health workers instead of NYPD on some calls

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) and his wife, first lady Chirlane McCray, have announced a new pilot program for parts of the Big Apple that will see mental health teams deployed in lieu of police officers in response to some emergency calls.

What are the details?

A news release sent out by the mayor’s office on Tuesday explained that “Mental Health Teams of Emergency Medical Services health professionals and mental health crisis workers will be dispatched through 911 to respond to mental health emergencies in two high-need communities.”

The news alert did not reveal which “high-need communities” would serve as the testing grounds for the initiative, but did explain that the “new Mental Health Teams will use their physical and mental health expertise, and experience in crisis response to de-escalate emergency situations, will help reduce the number of times police will need to respond to 911 mental health calls in these precincts.”

However, the mayor’s office noted, “In emergency situations involving a weapon or imminent risk of harm, the new Mental Health Teams will respond along with NYPD officers.”

“One in five New Yorkers struggle with a mental health condition. Now, more than ever, we must do everything we can to reach those people before crisis strikes,” de Blasio said in a statement. “For the first time in our city’s history, health responders will be the default responders for a person in crisis, making sure those struggling with mental illness receive the help they need.”

The New York Post reported that during a news conference on the project, de Blasio and McCray “revealed scant details” on the unnamed plan, and that “the pair also failed to reveal how much the project will cost or how many workers it will involve.”

What does the police union say?

Meanwhile, the union representing NYPD police officers slammed the mayor and first lady’s latest idea.

“Police officers know that we cannot single-handedly solve our city’s mental-health disaster, but this plan will not do that, either,” Police Benevolent Association President Pat Lynch said in a statement. “It will undoubtedly put our already overtaxed EMS colleagues in dangerous situations without police support.”

Lynch argued, “We need a complete overhaul of the rest of our mental-health-care system so that we can help people before they are in crisis, rather than just picking up the pieces afterward.”

“On that front, the de Blasio administration has done nothing but waste time and money with ThriveNYC and similar programs,” he continued, referring to the highly criticized $850 million mental health initiative ran by McCray, which will operate the pilot program.

Lynch added, “We have no confidence that this long-delayed plan will produce any better results.”

This content was originally published here.

Hypertension, health inequities, and implications for COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has led many people to forego follow-up and treatment of chronic health conditions such as hypertension (high blood pressure). It is now quite evident that people with hypertension are also more likely to develop severe complications from the coronavirus. In the US, African Americans and other racial and ethnic minorities, including Hispanics and Native Americans, are more likely to have hypertension, and consequently have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

What is the link between high blood pressure and heart disease?

Hypertension is the most common modifiable risk factor for major cardiovascular events including death, heart attack, and stroke, and it plays a major role in the development of heart failure, kidney disease, and dementia. Over the past few decades, major efforts have been launched to increase awareness and treatment of hypertension.

Hypertension increases stress on the heart and arteries as well as on other organs including the brain and kidneys. Over time, this stress results in changes that negatively impact the body’s ability to function. To reduce these negative effects on the heart, medications are typically prescribed when blood pressure goes above 140/90 for those without significant cardiovascular risk, or above 130/80 in people with known coronary artery disease or other coexisting diseases like diabetes.

Certain groups are disproportionately affected by hypertension and severe COVID-19

According to a recent study published in JAMA, the proportion of study participants with controlled blood pressure (defined as < 140/90 mm Hg) initially increased and then held steady at 54% from 1999 to 2014. However, the proportion of patients with controlled blood pressures subsequently declined significantly, to 44% by 2018. Further, certain subgroups appeared to have a disproportionately higher rate of uncontrolled hypertension: African Americans, uninsured patients, and patients with Medicaid, as well as younger patients (ages 18 to 44) and older patients (ages 75 and older). An accompanying editorial noted that the prevalence of uncontrolled blood pressure was disproportionately higher in non-Hispanic Black adults from 1999 to 2018.

With a higher prevalence of hypertension, African American, Native American, and Hispanic communities have had higher rates of hospitalization and death during the pandemic, according to the CDC. While vulnerability to severe complications of COVID is highest among older patients regardless of race or ethnicity and socioeconomic circumstance, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research, “vulnerability based on pre-existing conditions collides with long-standing disparities in health and mortality by race-ethnicity and socioeconomic status.”

How does hypertension result in severe COVID-19 complications?

The link between hypertension and severe coronavirus disease remains complex. Some experts believe that uncontrolled blood pressure results in chronic inflammation throughout the body, which damages blood vessels and results in dysregulation of the immune system. This results in difficulty fighting the virus, or a dangerous overreaction of the immune system to COVID-19. Certain classes of blood pressure medicines (ACE inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers, or ARBs) were initially thought to worsen infection, but this has since been disproven. Several research groups have shown that with close monitoring, these medications are safe to use during COVID infection.

What do people with hypertension need to know about reducing their risk?

Proper blood pressure control has long-term health benefits and may help prevent severe COVID-19 symptoms. Therefore, we strongly encourage taking your medications as directed and following healthy lifestyle practices like regular exercise, achieving and maintaining a healthy weight, following a low-sodium, heart-healthy diet such as the Mediterranean diet, and reducing stress and practicing mindfulness.

In addition, following up with your doctor to keep blood pressure under control is more important now than ever. While the idea of heading into the hospital or a doctor’s office in the middle of a pandemic may put people on edge, many hospitals and clinics are quite safe due to appropriate safety measures like universal mask wearing and social distancing. Many have also expanded telemedicine or virtual visits for patients.

What can we do to tackle inequities in healthcare delivery?

COVID-19 has forced us to confront inequities in health care delivery that contribute to worse clinical outcomes in vulnerable patient groups.

With rising numbers of people with uncontrolled blood pressure, and the pandemic disrupting management of chronic health conditions, this may serve as a prime opportunity for us to purposefully change the current trends in hypertension and narrow the gap in health inequity. Potential areas of focus include:

  • promoting research on how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected management of chronic diseases like high blood pressure
  • identifying barriers to care, particularly in vulnerable subgroups
  • increasing awareness of the importance of chronic disease management, particularly in communities where health care inequities exist
  • innovating to make virtual health technology more broadly accessible
  • delivering additional resources for chronic disease management to vulnerable subgroups
  • implementing long-term policy solutions to address health inequities.

The post Hypertension, health inequities, and implications for COVID-19 appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.

This content was originally published here.

Invisalign maker Align surges 26% after reporting a boom in 3rd-quarter sales driven by social-media influencers

Summary List Placement

Shares of Align Technology — the maker of Invisalign teeth straighteners — soared by more than 25% in early trading on Thursday after the company crushed expectations for third-quarter earnings. The beat was driven partially by young social media stars using its products. 

The San Jose, California-based company, whose see-through plastic braces have grown in use all over the world, reported net income for the third quarter of $139.4 million, or $1.76 a share, compared with $102.5 million, or $1.28 a share in the same period last year. Analysts had expected EPS of $0.54, according to Yahoo Finance.

Align shares were last up around 26% in pre-market trading around $422.25 a share, having closed at $335.81 on Wednesday, before reporting third-quarter earnings.

Read more: World-beating fund manager Mike Trigg is bringing in huge returns by investing in 3 high-growth areas his peers neglect. He shares the keys to betting on each.

Align Technology President and CEO Joe Hogan said the company had hit a milestone of 9 million patients and that there had been “strong momentum across all regions and customer channels,” for the company’s Invisalign aligners, as well as other services.

“We also saw strong response to our new teen and mom-focused consumer campaign with 118% year-over-year increase in total leads, an uptick in consumer engagement from new social media influencers like Charli D’Amelio and Marsai Martin, and a 25.6% year over year increase in teenagers using Invisalign clear aligners,” Hogan said.

D’Amelio is a dancer, whose videos on social media app TikTok, have gathered nearly 90 million followers, while Martin is a young actor who stars in the ABC comedy show “Black-ish” and who has almost 3 million followers on Instagram. 

Align also posted a 29% year-on-year rise in sales to nearly half a million units and reported total revenue of $734.1 million in the three months between July and September.

This marked a new record, and an increase of 20.9% over total revenue for the third quarter last year, the company said. 

Read more: Big investors pay thousands of dollars for Danielle DiMartino Booth’s research. The former Fed advisor explains how the central bank has distorted markets — and shares 2 areas where analytical traders can still find returns.

Join the conversation about this story »

This content was originally published here.

Obama’s WH Physician Issues Brutal Statement on Biden’s Mental Health

Just in case you were curious, the White House has an enormous basement.

I don’t have the exact square footage — the real estate agent was out when I called and the rental costs are out of my range — but it’s big enough to house a bowling alley, a dentist’s office, a chocolate shop and a flower shop. This isn’t even counting the latticework of tunnels and bunkers that lie beneath that.

There’s no amount of MBNA money that could construct a basement that big under Joe Biden’s house in Wilmington, Delaware. In short, if he becomes the 46th president of the United States, he’ll have a much bigger space to hide in. However, being president isn’t like campaigning and Xi Jinping’s Chinese Communist Party isn’t as pliant as our very objective journalists.

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This sort of thing may have gotten ignored by the establishment media when Biden said it in March:

Does this make any sense to you? pic.twitter.com/Z4kcDpokUQ

Rest assured, however, America’s adversaries noticed.

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But aren’t these just small gaffes? Biden’s people have always pointed toward the president whenever the question was broached: “Oh, you can’t even go there,” Jill Biden, Joe Biden’s wife, said during a September interview. “After Donald Trump, you cannot even say the word gaffe.”

All right, so let’s say Trump goes away. What’s the excuse then? Harmlessness? Ah, so Biden talks about leaving the record player on at night to fight segregation. What’s the big deal?

Should Joe Biden take a cognitive test?
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A lot, says Dr. Ronny Jackson. Earlier this month, Texas’ 13th Congressional District elected Jackson, a Republican, as their new representative.

A retired rear admiral in the U.S. Navy, he was the White House physician under presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Trump, and was both Obama and Trump’s personal physician. In Washington, D.C., this week for congressional orientation, Jackson indicated to Fox News that “there’s something going on” with Biden’s cognitive abilities.

Jackson famously gave Donald Trump a cognitive test in 2018 after the mainstream media’s constant carping regarding the president’s fitness for office — to the point where certain liberals, including sitting legislators, were calling for him to be declared unfit for office.

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Trump scored 30 out of 30 on the Montreal Cognitive Assessment, which tests for the early signs of cognitive issues, according to The New York Times. The same media that wanted him to be tested then roundly mocked him for touting his score.

As for Biden, when asked by CBS News’ Errol Barnett whether or not he’d face the same kind of cognitive test, here was his response: “No, I haven’t taken a test. Why the hell would I take a test? Come on, man.”

Jackson told Fox News there was a “huge double standard” and that he believes Biden’s frequent gaffes could be indicative of a potential issue.

“Nobody from the press is saying … he should be evaluated for his cognitive ability or lack thereof,” Jackson said.

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“And so I just thought it was a huge double standard with regards to President Trump and Biden,” he added. “If they want to be consistent, they should be jumping up and down right and demanding that Vice President Biden get a cognitive test done.”

And Biden’s mistakes have been multifarious.

Here’s Biden’s infamous record player gaffe:

BIDEN’S RACISM
Joe Biden addressed reparations by intimating that Black parents don’t know how to raise children. He said that Black parents should play the record player at night to educate their children. pic.twitter.com/vy2chQoxS7

— DonWinslow20 (@Winslow20Don) November 8, 2020

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Biden saying he’s running for Senate:

Joe “30330” Biden Says He’s Running for the Senate pic.twitter.com/VTY0VdQpDH

— Sean Hannity (@seanhannity) October 13, 2020

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Here’s Joe Biden calling Bernie Sanders President. #DemDebate pic.twitter.com/kYfVgmJo6C

— People for Bernie (@People4Bernie) September 13, 2019

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Joe Biden forgot what state he was in. Again.

While in New Hampshire he said: “I’ve been here a number of times… what’s not to like about Vermont…”pic.twitter.com/L7QLPb9u3T

— Trump War Room – Text TRUMP to 88022 (@TrumpWarRoom) April 25, 2020

Biden forgets who the last president was:

Joe Biden forgot that Obama, not Bush, was the last President.pic.twitter.com/ukXrVeCWzm

— Trump War Room – Text TRUMP to 88022 (@TrumpWarRoom) April 25, 2020

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Biden, positing that “[p]oor kids are just as bright and just as talented as white kids.”

Joe Biden slip-up in Iowa tonight.

“Poor kids are just as bright and just as talented as white kids.”

Yikes…have fun mitigating that one. pic.twitter.com/m2VxZbnFHF

— Andrew Clark 🦃 (@AndrewHClark) August 9, 2019

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“I think there’s something going on there. I honestly do, and I’m not making a diagnosis. He’s not my patient. I never took care of him in the White House,” Jackson told Fox News, who reported that the doctor called for Biden to take a cognitive test, just like Trump did.

“I’ve never examined him. But I was around him a lot,” Jackson said. “He’s always made a few gaffes here and there. But this is different.”

Jackson has sounded the alarm over Biden’s cognitive health before.

“As a citizen of this country, I watch Joe Biden on the campaign trail and I am … convinced that he does not have the mental capacity, the cognitive ability to serve as our commander in chief and head of state,” he told reporters in October, according to The Daily Beast. “I really think that he needs some type of cognitive testing before he takes over the reins as our commander in chief, if that is in the cards.”

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The establishment media, of course, doesn’t care. And why would they? As Jackson said, Biden isn’t Trump — and he bears some vestige of the Obama regime.

“They loved the guy,” Jackson said of Obama, who “was a rock star to them, whereas with President Trump when he first got there, they all wanted to spit on him.”

That’s all very well, but our media isn’t China. They might give Biden an easy time. President Xi won’t.

If Biden takes the Oval Office, the basement strategy won’t work anymore. There only so many dentist’s visits he can make before he actually has to govern.

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

This content was originally published here.

CBD Dentistry | Project CBD

Oral health is an essential part of overall hygiene and well-being. Poor oral hygiene can lead to cavities, gum disease, and gum infection, which, if left untreated, can lead to systemic inflammation. Recently, a number of dental products containing cannabidiol (CBD) and other plant cannabinoids have been introduced to the marketplace. While we’ve seen plenty of outlandish products of dubious benefit (such as CBD-infused pillows and sportswear) come to market lately, CBD products may actually have a promising future in oral health.

When one talks about cannabis therapeutics, oral health has not generally been a topic that figures in the discussion. But recent data suggests that cannabinoids could become a staple in the dental field in the years ahead. Several toothpaste manufacturers have taken note of research showing that CBD and other plant cannabinoids have antimicrobial properties relevant to dental care. infused toothpastes and mouthwashes.

Better than Colgate

A 2020 study conducted by researchers in Belgium showed that cannabinoids were more effective in reducing the bacterial colony count in dental plaques as compared to well-established synthetic oral care products, such as Oral B and Colgate. To demonstrate this, the researchers recruited sixty healthy adults and arranged them into six different groups based on the Dutch periodontal scoring index (DPSI) representing different levels of gum health.2

CBD products may have a promising future in oral health

Samples of plaque were collected from intradental spaces between their teeth, and the samples were then plated on two separate Petri dishes. Four divisions in the dishes were then made, and on each section, cannabinoid (12.5%) or toothpaste (undiluted) was spread/streaked on the surface of the agar plate using microbrush applicator. On Petri dish A, a combination of four plant cannabinoids – CBD, cannabichromene (CBC), cannabiniol (CBN), and cannabigerol (CBG) – were used.  And on Petri dish B, cannabigerolic acid (CBGA), Oral B, Colgate, and Cannabite F (a toothpaste formulation of pomegranate and algae) were used. The resulting bacterial colony count was much higher in the Colgate, Oral B and Cannabite F treatments, whereas significantly less colony count was observed in all the cannabinoid treatments.

In a subsequent study, the same group of researchers demonstrated that cannabinoid infused mouthwashes containing CBD and CBG at <1% (that did not contain alcohol or fluoride) were as effective as 0.2% chlorhexidine mouthwashes in reducing dental plaque. This is both an intriguing and important finding since chlorhexidine mouthwashes are currently considered the gold standard in the field of dentistry for plaque reduction. This second study followed a similar design as the previous study, recruiting 72 healthy adults and placing them in different groups based on their DPSI scores and subsequently harvesting and plating plaques from intradental spaces in each patient. Zones of microbial inhibition were measured to compare the efficacy of each product.3

Based on these findings, it appears that cannabinoid formulations produce desirable results, perhaps even more so than traditional chlorhexidine mouthwashes, which have a propensity to stain teeth when used with regularity.

A Caveat

By highlighting the potential of CBD and other plant cannabinoids in the prevention of dental plaque formation, these two studies hint that the role of cannabinoids in dentistry could be vast. However, it’s important to caveat that these are preliminary in vitro studies, and in vivo studies and clinical trials are needed to fully assess the long-term safety and efficacy of CBD-infused dental hygiene products. Additionally, it is paramount that these findings be replicated by other groups, especially given that the authors of these papers have a financial stake in their findings. In particular, Stahl is a founder of CannIBite, a company involved in making cannabinoid infused dental products.

Kyle Boyar is a cannabis scientist with a background in neurobiology, microbiology, and analytical chemistry. He is currently employed as the Director of Product Science at TagLeaf and also serves as Vice Chair and Awards Committee Chair for the ).

Copyright, Project CBD. May not be reprinted without permission.

  1. Cannabinoids and cannabis extracts are known to possess antimicrobial properties through their olivetol core, which serves as the pharmacophore for this activity. A pharmacophore refers to the part of a compound’s molecular structure that’s responsible for a specific biological or pharmacological interaction with a trigger or target.
  2. Stahl V, Vasudevan K. Comparison of Efficacy of Cannabinoids versus Commercial Oral Care Products in Reducing Bacterial Content from Dental Plaque: A Preliminary Observation. Cureus. 2020 Jan 29;12(1):e6809. doi: 10.7759/cureus.6809. PMID: 32038896; PMCID: PMC6991146.
  3. Vasudevan, K., Stahl, V. Cannabinoids infused mouthwash products are as effective as chlorhexidine on inhibition of total-culturable bacterial content in dental plaque samples. J Cannabis Res 2, 20 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1186/s42238-020-00027-z

This content was originally published here.

Biden puts health care front and center with a call to expand Obamacare

WASHINGTON — President-elect Joe Biden on Tuesday laid out his case for expanding the Affordable Care Act, saying the coronavirus pandemic has laid bare the urgent need to give more Americans access to health insurance.

“Beginning on Jan. 20, Vice President-elect [Kamala] Harris and I will do everything we can to ease the burden of health care on you and your family,” Biden said in a speech in Wilmington, Delaware.

Introducing Biden on stage, Harris said Biden’s election victory over President Donald Trump amounted to a mandate for expanding access to health care and health insurance.

“Each and every vote for Joe Biden was a statement that health care in America should be a right and not a privilege,” she said. “Each and every vote for Joe Biden was a vote to protect and expand the Affordable Care Act, not to tear it away in the midst of a global pandemic.”

Biden’s remarks were timed to pivot off oral arguments Tuesday before the Supreme Court in a major case over the constitutionality of the landmark 2010 health-care law. 

But they also reflect the preeminent position that health and health-care issues occupy within the incoming Biden administration’s broader policy agenda.

Biden was declared the winner of the 2020 presidential election on Saturday, after he secured the 270 Electoral College votes needed to defeat President Donald Trump. 

“My transition team will soon be starting its work to flesh out the details so that we can hit the ground running, tackling costs, increasing access, lowering the price of prescription drugs. Families are reeling right now. … They need a lifeline, and they need it now,” said Biden.

On Monday, his first full workday as president-elect, Biden met with his newly assembled coronavirus task force and spoke afterward about the need for a nationwide campaign to encourage mask-wearing. Biden’s decision to use his second workday as president-elect to speak again about health and health care was noteworthy. 

“This doesn’t need to be a partisan issue. It’s a human issue,” he said of expanding health insurance.

Expanding the ACA to include a government-administered health insurance option was a core promise of Biden’s presidential campaign.

But Biden aides and advisors also knew that it was one of the pledges that relied most heavily on Democrats winning majorities in the House and Senate. 

With Republicans currently expected to hold on to their majority in the Senate, any “public option” expansion of the ACA is likely to exist more as a negotiating platform than a legislative reality.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has repeatedly called Obamacare “the single worst piece of legislation to pass in the last 50 years.”

This content was originally published here.

Ontario shut down non-urgent health services in the spring. Now hospitals are seeing many more patients with advanced cancers | The Star

Cancer surgeons in Ontario are reporting a sharp rise in the number of people coming to hospital with advanced cancers, an unintended consequence of the sudden shutdown of non-urgent health-care services during the spring wave of COVID-19.

In mid-March, the number of people getting routine cancer screening plummeted after the province halted its screening programs for breast, cervical and colorectal cancers.

Physicians say they’ve seen a corresponding drop in patients going for diagnostic imaging tests and that some patients are deferring care, over fears of contracting the coronavirus in hospitals or doctors’ offices.

Now, seven months into the pandemic, experts warn too many cancers are not being caught at their earliest stages, as patients arrive in hospital with more severe symptoms and advanced stages of disease. In turn, this leads to patients requiring more intensive surgery and longer hospital stays, and potentially seeing poorer long-term prognoses.

“I’m worried for people,” said Dr. Frances Wright, the Temerty Chair of Breast Surgery at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. “It’s upsetting as a cancer-care provider.

“Over the years we’ve made huge strides in reducing the mortality and morbidity for cancer, and this is a step backwards.”

Surgeons and physicians are seeing this stark trend even as they work through the backlog of cancer surgeries that accumulated after operating rooms were shut to elective procedures in mid-March.

While hospitals prioritized surgery for the most advanced cancers, many surgical programs for weeks functioned well below capacity as part of a provincial plan to clear beds and free up resources in preparation for a surge of COVID-19 cases.

Hospitals began to slowly ramp up surgical cases in late May after the province loosened restrictions, with patients triaged on a case-by-case basis.

Dr. Jonathan Irish, provincial head of the Surgical Oncology Program at Ontario Health (the new provincial superagency that now includes Cancer Care Ontario), told the Star “there has been a gradual reduction in the backlog” of cancer surgeries.

According to provincial data provided to the Star, 19 per cent fewer adult cancer surgeries have been performed during the pandemic compared to the same period in 2019.

Data from the provincial Wait Time Information System shows 29,341 adult cancer surgeries were performed between March 17 and Oct. 20 in 2019, dropping to 23,629 surgeries during the same 218-day period in 2020.

“Throughout the pandemic, surgeons and other health providers have been attempting to prioritize patients that are more time-urgent,” Irish said, noting wait lists for hip and joint and cataract surgeries, for example, are much longer than for cancer surgeries.

Provincial wait-list data shows 51 per cent fewer adult surgeries (excluding cancer, cardiac and transplant surgeries) have been completed between March 17 and Oct. 20 in 2019 compared to that period this year.

“Don’t get me wrong, if you’re using a cane or wheelchair while awaiting your hip replacement, that’s of course important,” Irish said. “But I think we all appreciate the fact that we’re trying to prioritize patients where survival may be impacted over quality of life. That’s critical.”

In the spring, the province postponed its routine screening programs for breast, cervical and colorectal cancers as part of the move to preserve health resources and curb virus spread by limiting the number of people coming to hospital.

Between March 15 and May 31, screenings for all three cancers plunged compared to the same period in 2019. According to data shared by Ontario Health, there was a 97 per cent decrease in screening mammograms (4,065 from 158,967), an 88 per cent decrease in Pap tests (26,269 from 219,079) and a 73 per cent decrease in fecal tests (38,000 from 141,251) in provincial programs.

Routine cancer screening has largely resumed but the programs are not back to pre-pandemic levels.

Data from Ontario Health for the month of August shows 65 per cent of expected mammograms were done as part of the Ontario Breast Screening Program, falling to 37,364 tests from 57,463 during August 2019. About 60 per cent of diagnostic Pap tests were done as part of the Ontario Cervical Screening Program and 28 per cent of fecal tests for ColonCancerCheck, when comparing August 2019 and August 2020, data shows.

Irish, who is also a cancer surgeon at Toronto’s University Health Network, said there is a growing backlog of cancer patients in the “diagnostic pathway” from primary care through to CT and MRI imaging to a cancer specialist.

“Anecdotally, we are seeing more advanced cancers as patients finally present to their surgical specialist,” he said, noting that usually means patients will require a bigger operation and longer hospital stay and are more likely to need radiation and chemotherapy and other multidisciplinary care. “So the impact to the entire system is significant.”

In a statement to the Star, a spokesperson for Ontario Health said the province is investing $283.7 million to “assist the health system’s ongoing efforts to reduce surgery backlogs by supporting extended hours for additional priority surgeries and diagnostic imaging.”

The spokesperson also said the province will support more surgeries by “adding 139 critical care beds and 1,349 hospital beds in hospitals and alternate health facilities.”

Dr. Roberta Minna, corporate chief of surgery at William Osler Health System, said her team has been keeping up with cancer surgeries by triaging cases and moving surgeons among its three hospitals as time slots opened up.

As well, operating room hours have been extended into the night for elective surgeries, well past the typical closing time of 3:30 p.m., and opened on weekends to sustain cancer surgeries, Minna said.

Osler, which includes Brampton Civic Hospital, Etobicoke General Hospital and Peel Memorial Centre for Integrated Health and Wellness, did 5,029 cancer surgeries in its last fiscal year, April 1, 2019 to March 31, 2020. In the spring, during the provincial shutdown, Osler went down to about 18 per cent of its usual surgical volume, Minna said.

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Rather than a backlog in cancer surgeries, Minna’s current worry is the sizable drop in patients getting diagnostic testing and screening to catch early cancers. At Osler, for example, the number of patients getting mammograms has fallen and the surgical team is seeing more patients presenting with later stages of colon cancer, she said.

“We are going to see some collateral damage in the next year or two related to these cancers.”

Minna said there are several reasons why people are being diagnosed with later cancers. It can be harder for patients to see their primary care provider for an appointment that might trigger a specialist referral; provincial routine screening programs that catch the earliest signs of disease were halted for months; and patients are avoiding the health-care system over fears of getting COVID-19.

“I would urge (people) to continue with their routine screening and not be afraid of getting COVID in the hospital,” she said.

At Unity Health Toronto, gastroenterologist Dr. Sam Elfassy said he is seeing a higher concentration of very sick patients coming to his clinic at St. Joseph’s Health Centre.

“When we’re doing procedures, the frequency of seeing cancers in very advanced diagnosis … I’ve never seen that many in my career in such a short amount of time.”

Elfassy said many of his patients say they are too nervous to come for the procedure — even though the referring physician has identified their case as urgent — for fear of the virus. While he does his best to explain that hospitals are taking extraordinary measures to be safe, Elfassy said some patients still want to defer their colonoscopies or endoscopies.

In November, Unity will open its endoscopy clinics on Saturdays — for the first time — to reduce the backlog of procedures from the spring and keep up with new referrals, said Elfassy, noting the clinics are operating at about 90 per cent capacity.

While the initial backlog of surgeries and procedures has so far taken precedence, Elfassy said he is just as worried about the next wave of people, those who have postponed regular checkups and screening tests.

“The risk of deferring their care, and not having their symptoms investigated or having their screening tests done, far outweighs any risk of coming into the hospital.”

Dr. Samantha Hill, president of the Ontario Medical Association, said while the province has provided additional funding to hospitals, more support needs to flow to primary care providers to help them see more patients in person.

Among the challenges, Hill said family physicians cannot get through as many procedures a day during the pandemic. In addition to doffing and donning personal protective equipment, it takes longer to see patients because offices must space out appointments to prevent crowded waiting rooms and to properly clean exam rooms, she said.

According to OHIP billings, screenings for colon cancer dropped from an average of 210,000 a year to roughly 60,000 so far in 2020, Hill said. Similarly, screening for cervical cancer has fallen from just over 200,000 a year to 80,000 this year.

“These tests are performed by general practitioners. These aren’t things that require you going into a hospital. So it speaks to the challenges that our community infrastructure is facing.”

At Sunnybrook’s Louise Temerty Breast Cancer Centre, Wright said the backlog of patients requiring surgery from the spring shutdown was largely cleared by August.

Two months later, the concern is that the number of people diagnosed with breast cancer is down this year, a similar trend observed across the province, said Wright, a professor at the University of Toronto.

“My guess is it’s because we haven’t been screening women,” she said, adding those who have been diagnosed are presenting to her clinic with more advanced disease and with a physical finding of breast cancer, “either a mass in their breast or lymph node involvement.”

The breast screening program is designed to pick up breast cancers at the earliest stage, often before they are palpable, said Wright.

While Sunnybrook’s high-risk breast cancer screening program restarted about a month ago, Wright said the province’s routine mammography screening is about six months behind.

“We’ve got these missing patients with early cancers. We know they are there and we should be seeing them.”

Megan Ogilvie is a Toronto-based health reporter for the Star. Follow her on Twitter: @megan_ogilvie

This content was originally published here.

‘We have a pandemic out of control,’ public health expert says | PBS NewsHour

Carlos del Rio:

Well, there’s a lot of things that could have been done. And it is always difficult to play Monday-morning quarterback.

But there is still opportunity to do something. There are several things. Number one, we never had a national strategy. We have had — each state has had their own strategy. And, as a result of that, it is really hard to fight a pandemic with 50 different plans.

Number two, we have never had a coordinated approach in looking what we are going to do. So, for example, having a mask mandate across the country, yes, would be difficult, but not impossible. And it’s something that could certainly be coordinated.

As you’re having more or less cases in a community, you can decide what exactly, what interventions you need to do.

Our testing system has not worked well. You still have people — despite having a lot of tests, we still have people that cannot get test results within 24 hours and are waiting four to five days. And, again, if you wait for a test result for that long, a lot more infections are happening.

And our contact tracing is totally broken down. We have not done contact tracing appropriately. And then, finally, I would say that we really are focusing too much on not doing things that need to be done. We’re just saying, let’s open the community and let’s let the virus run, when some things need to be done, for example, avoiding crowded places, avoiding indoor settings, certain things that could be done to prevent the widespread events that we know are important and the super-spreading events in this pandemic.

And that has been not well-coordinated, and that has had consequences as a result of that.

And I have talked to colleagues in Europe. And the colleagues in Europe recognize the mistakes they made. They made the mistakes that I think we are all making, which is, number one, people are tired of the pandemic, right?

There’s COVID fatigue. So, when we locked down initially to prevent cases from going up, people thought that that would be enough to control the virus, but they didn’t realize that the moment you let go of restrictions, if you don’t put in place masking and social distancing and other non-pharmacological measures, the virus is going to come back and it’s going to spread very rapidly.

And by the time you have a wide spread of the virus, it’s really hard to control. So they made the same mistakes that we’re making, and without — again, Europe is much like the United States. It’s not one bloc, but it’s multiple countries doing different things that have not been really well-coordinated.

This content was originally published here.

Russian President Vladimir Putin stepping down amid health concerns: Report

Russian President Vladimir Putin is purportedly planning to step down in 2021 amid reports of health concerns, according to a new report from the Sun.

What are the details?

Putin is reportedly planning to step down next year amid health concerns that the 68-year-old — who has been the Russian president off and on for the last two decades — is suffering from Parkinson’s disease.

Moscow political scientist Valery Solovei told the outlet that Putin’s girlfriend, Alina Kabaeva, and his two adult daughters are pushing him to leave office come January.

“There is a family, it has a great influence on him,” Solovei told the outlet. “He intends to make public his handover plans in January.”

Solovei also appeared to suggest that the Russian president is suffering from Parkinson’s disease or a similar musculoskeletal condition.

The Sun reported, “Kremlin watchers said recent tell-tale footage showed the 68-year-old strongman had possible symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.”

“Observers who studied recent footage of Putin noted his legs appeared to be in constant motion and he looked to be in pain while clutching the armrest of a chair,” the outlet continued. “His fingers are also seen to be twitching as he held a pen and gripped a cup believed to contain a cocktail of painkillers.”

The New York Post reported that speculation over Putin’s plans and alleged medical condition comes as Russian lawmakers consider Putin-proposed legislation that would grant former Russian presidents a lifetime of immunity from any and all criminal prosecution.

If approved, the legislation would entitle a former president to a lifetime seat as a senator in the country’s federation council.

At the time of this reporting, Russian presidents are only protected from convictions while maintaining presidential office.

A spokesperson for the Kremlin told the Sun that speculation on Putin’s alleged medical condition is “nonsense” and that the Russian president is in “excellent health” and that “everything is fine.”

“Putin” quickly became a top-trending term on Twitter Thursday night as news of the allegations broke.

This content was originally published here.

Mnuchin acknowledges Treasury withheld nearly $4M from FDNY 9/11 health program

CNN reported that the letter states New York City was provided with accounts of all debts dating back to 2004, although the letter does not specifically detail them. 

“New York City firefighters are waiting on Secretary Mnuchin to act,” a spokesperson for De Blasio told CNN. “If the Trump administration supports first responders and the fearless men and women who keep Americans safe, then it’s time for them to prove it.”

This comes after the New York Daily News reported last month that documents it had obtained revealed the Treasury Department failed to provide roughly $3.7 million to the first responder fund, with letters from Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) claiming that around $1.5 million was withheld in 2020. 

The congressman had written to Mnuchin in June and on Sept. 10, claiming that the department withheld funding for the program due to “a range of issues dealing with different New York City offices and programs that have nothing to do with the FDNY Clinic.”

“It is essential that you release these funds immediately to the FDNY’s World Trade Center Clinic,” King wrote to Mnuchin in September. “Our firefighters should not [be] punished for an administrative issue with New York City’s Department of Finance.”

According to a response from the Treasury Department shared with The Hill last month, the agency told King on Aug. 20 that money from the FDNY’s World Trade Center Health Program was moved to fulfill other debts New York City had with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). 

“Can I blame Secretary Mnuchin? I guess I can’t because this has been going on for 17 years, but I would appreciate him fixing it, and fixing it to our satisfaction where the money is returned,” Ansbro said at the news conference. “They can chase down New York City’s debt somewhere else, but on the backs of New York City firefighters who are suffering from 9/11-related illnesses, that’s not acceptable.”

The FDNY World Trade Center Health Program provides free physical and mental health services to both active and retired FDNY personnel who served in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. 

In last week’s letter, Mnuchin reportedly said that while it was wrong that FDNY workers were being denied services because of the funding disputes, he claimed it was up to the city to address the situation. 

“HHS has concluded that it has no authority to refund offsets to past payments to FDNY to satisfy valid NYC debts,” Mnuchin wrote. “We agree that it is unfair to burden FDNY with the delinquent debts of other NYC government entities. The City government should directly reimburse FDNY.”

The Treasury Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill on Friday. 

According to CNN, House Democrats Ways and Means Committee Chair Rep. Richard NealRichard Edmund NealTop Democrats call for watchdog to review Trump Medicare drug cards Top Democrats call for investigation into whether there has been interference in Trump’s audits Democrats sense momentum for expanding child tax credit MORE (D-N.Y.) and Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) wrote Mnuchin a letter Tuesday demanding the funding be returned to the program.

“When it comes to ensuring 9/11 frontline responders can get the medical treatment and monitoring they need, any delay that impacts such care is simply intolerable,” the two representatives wrote.

This content was originally published here.

“Bring Hearts and Souls Back”: Ohio’s Former Top Public-Health Official on How America Can Avoid Dual Cataclysms | The New Yorker

On January 13, 1919, as the third wave of the so-called Spanish-flu pandemic began, the governor of Ohio, James Cox, delivered his inaugural address. Propagandist bulletins from the U.S. Public Health Service had called the virus “a very contagious kind of ‘cold,’ ” but Cox used his speech to note the “appalling” number of fatalities—the United States ultimately lost some six hundred and seventy-five thousand people. The federal government was of little help. Only five of Ohio’s cities employed full-time health officers. “And then when the outbreak was acute outside the municipalities, conditions were even worse,” Cox said, referring to an earlier wave. “In fact, they were well-nigh unspeakable.” Cox urged the “radical reorganization” of Ohio’s more than two thousand separate health jurisdictions and said that the need for “scientific resistance” to public-health emergencies was “second in importance” only to fighting in the First World War.

Exactly a century later, a new governor, Mike DeWine, took office. DeWine, a Republican, was Ohio’s former attorney general, and, in the early two-thousands, he had been a U.S. senator. The state’s public-health system now consisted of a hundred and thirteen independent programs in eighty-eight counties. The population was largely older, and there were many smokers; opioid addiction alone had recently killed tens of thousands of Ohioans. “Public health had been ignored for decades,” DeWine told me. “It was something we took for granted.”

Ohio does not require the state’s top health official to be a physician: when DeWine took office, in 2019, the most recent directors had been a lawyer and the former head of the Ohio Turnpike Commission. DeWine wanted a medical doctor for the cabinet position, one who could both lead a large staff and, he told me, “communicate to the people of the state of Ohio about health issues in general.” His top adviser, Ann O’Donnell, recommended Dr. Amy Acton, whom she knew through the Columbus Foundation, one of the country’s largest community charitable organizations.

Acton is fifty-four. In 1990, during the crack-cocaine epidemic, she interned at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, in the Bronx, where she saw “rooms full of babies in incubators” who had contracted diseases in utero and would soon die. “It was devastating,” she told me the other day. “I saw how things can spiral.” Acton left clinical medicine to pursue teaching and philanthropy; by the time DeWine took office, she worked as a community research and grants officer at the Columbus Foundation.

O’Donnell thought that Acton would make a good health director partly because she had heard her mention a “tough childhood.” Acton is from the north side of Youngstown, in northeastern Ohio. Her father, who had worked in a steel mill, and her mother, an artist, divorced when she was three. Acton and her younger brother Philip lived with their mother, who remarried when Acton was about nine, after having moved around a lot. This deeply unstable period ended with the family spending part of one winter living in a tent, and with Acton, at age twelve, accusing her stepfather of sexual abuse. O’Donnell told me, “My mother used to talk about suffering: the people who have suffered have something special about them.”

Acton had a steely warmth that made her approachable; a former Ohio State University professor, she was skilled at explaining complex subjects. She and her husband, Eric, a schoolteacher and cross-country coach in the Columbus suburb of Bexley, had, between them, six grown children. “Her way of seeing, and of operating in the world, is not bureaucratic,” O’Donnell told me, adding that DeWine considers her “as much an artist as she is a scientist.” Acton lacked experience in the public spotlight, but O’Donnell strongly urged the governor to choose her anyway.

Acton began work on February 26, 2019, immediately thinking of Ohio’s nearly twelve million residents as her patients. Shortly after her swearing-in ceremony, she defended her department’s budget before a legislative committee, explaining that part of her duties involved emergency preparedness. Breaking from her written comments, she told the lawmakers, “I will be on call, most nights, for as long as you know me, with the worry of these issues.”

Ohio’s legislature contains a far-right element, and there is anti-vaccine sentiment in the state. Acton wanted to create a path for all Ohioans to understand how they could flourish, and told me, “How do you build that, as a community?” She and I were talking, last week, in Columbus, at the offices of the foundation, which is headquartered at the historic former governor’s mansion. The first time we met, we sat spaced out, on benches, in a leaf-strewn courtyard. Acton, who is dark-haired and lean, wore a black dress, tights, flats, a trench, and, snug around her ears, a taupe toboggan twinkling with subtle sparkles. Wellness, she explained, involves more than the mere absence of disease. Public health calls upon societal protections, many of which are beyond individuals’ control: food safety, immunization, the eradication of poisonous lead. As health director, she had been working on modernizing the state system for nearly a year when she began hearing about a “weird pneumonia” afflicting Wuhan, China.

Wuhan is the capital of Hubei Province—Ohio’s sister state. Scores of people routinely travel between the two locations, for business and school. Thousands of Chinese students attended Miami University, near Cincinnati. Ohioans had been taking sea cruises, and touring places like the Nile River, Acton told me. By the time the C.D.C. and the White House started having regular press conferences about COVID-19, in February, she suspected that the virus was already seeded in Ohio.

The Arnold Sports Festival and Arnold Classic were scheduled for the first weekend in March. The annual sporting event—founded by Arnold Schwarzenegger, the actor and former California governor—draws more than twenty-two thousand athletes and tens of thousands of spectators, and involves a trade show. Acton said, “We had this whole discussion. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s on the phone—so you’ve got that voice.” She and DeWine decided to largely close the event to most spectators. DeWine told me, “Everybody thought we were crazy.” But bringing in thousands of people from eighty countries, for four days, portended “disaster.”

Observing chaos in the federal response—“The C.D.C. was saying one thing, Health and Human Services another”—Acton had been making other defensive moves. She had moved up a long-planned tabletop exercise in pandemic control, and deployed health tips online. Her self-assembled network of advisers included infectious-disease specialists and other experts she had met through her service on the board of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, which represents more than a hundred thousand public-health officials. Her communications director’s brother Rajeev Venkayya was a pulmonologist who had focussed on vaccines at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and who had worked in the George W. Bush Administration, developing the nation’s influenza-pandemic plan. (The Trump Administration later dissolved the federal pandemic office; Joe Biden has said that, if elected, he will restore it.) Acton also had begun making short public-service videos. Wearing a white medical coat, she told Ohioans, “I want you to be prepared.”

DeWine declared a state of emergency on March 9th—when there were only three confirmed COVID-19 cases in Ohio. He and Acton started holding daily press briefings. Ohio’s network affiliates carried the pressers live, at two o’clock. On March 12th, DeWine became the first governor to announce the closing of K-12 schools; he and Acton shut down polling stations, effectively rescheduling the Democratic Presidential primary. Acton told the public, “The steps we’re taking now will absolutely save lives.” On March 22nd, after imposing one of the nation’s earliest stay-at-home orders, she said, “This is our one shot, in this country.” As if speaking directly to those who were accusing her of overreacting, she said, “I am not afraid. I am determined.”

The press conferences became appointment viewing in Ohio. A Times documentary producer watched seven weeks’ worth of these pressers and turned the material into a six-minute op-doc, “The Leader We Wish We All Had,” which declared that “other leaders should pay attention” to Acton’s effective use of vulnerability, empowerment, and “brutal honesty.” One clip showed Acton tearing up when she said, “People at home: you are moving mountains.” Acton told me, “I would look at the camera and I could feel the people on the other side.”

A singer performed an Amy Acton tribute song on YouTube (“I trust you completely”; “You look so fine in your long white coat.”) The National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum unveiled an Amy Acton figure. Little girls dressed up like Acton and staged living-room press conferences. On Facebook, a fan page accrued more than a hundred and thirty thousand members. An Ohio nurse told an NBC affiliate, “I actually cry pretty much every time I watch her, because she’s very inspiring.” At a presser, Acton, after reading one child’s thank-you letter aloud, said that as a public servant it was her “job to do this for you.” In a poll, in March, seventy-five per cent of Ohioans said that they approved of DeWine’s management of the coronavirus crisis while forty-three per cent approved of the way President Donald Trump had handled it. The poll also included Acton. She, too, had a much higher favorability rating than Trump—sixty-four per cent.

Nationally, DeWine was being praised, along with the governors Charlie Baker, of Massachusetts, and Larry Hogan, of Maryland, as “the rare Republican official who does not automatically fall in step” with Trump. In Ohio, DeWine’s over-all favorability rating was also high. But, by the end of April, with the economy in trouble, some of Ohio’s Republican lawmakers were insisting that he reopen businesses. On April 27th, DeWine announced a phased reopening, for May. The next day, after being assailed by other Republicans, he backed off a plan to require masks at reopened businesses, calling the restriction “offensive to some of our fellow-Ohioans.”

Trump and his allies had set a publicly disparaging tone against health officials, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease expert. On April 18th—a particularly dire moment in the pandemic—the President’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, had bragged to Bob Woodward, “Trump’s now back in charge. It’s not the doctors.” In Colorado, nearly seventy per cent of local public-health officials reported receiving threats, and some resigned. In Washington State, one county official had to install a security system after making a simple phone call to remind a quarantining family to stay home: “Accusations started flying that we were spying, that we had put them under house arrest,” the official told NPR. In Nebraska, a former TV meteorologist and mayoral spokesman anonymously sent Adi Pour, head of the Douglas County health department, at least fifteen threatening e-mails, including one that read, “There was a lynching outside the Douglas County Courthouse a century and one year ago. You’re next, bitch”; in another, he wrote, “Maybe I will just slit your throat instead. That will get you to shut the fuck up.” (The meteorologist, Ronald Penzkowski, pleaded no contest to third-degree assault and stalking.) Fauci, after receiving death threats, was assigned a federal security detail.

In June, several physicians, writing in JAMA, called the harassment of health officials “extraordinary in its scope and nature,” and a “danger to the ongoing pandemic response.” They wrote that the attacks on public-health officials represented a “misunderstanding of the pandemic” and “a general decline in public civility.” The incivility started with the President: “The environment deteriorates further when elected leaders attack their own public-health officials.”

An “Anti Amy Acton” page appeared on Facebook, containing such posts as “We will always hate you Abortion Amy!!” (The Ohio health department oversees clinics that perform abortions.) She was called a “witch,” a “disgrace.” In one photo, the marquee at Phil’s Lounge & Beer Garden, in Sharonville, said, “Fuck you DeSwine and Hackton.” Protesters disrupted Acton’s press conferences by chanting outside the statehouse and pressing their faces against the windows. After Acton, who is Jewish, mentioned hosting a virtual seder, for Passover, protesters showed up at her home, with guns, wearing MAGA caps and carrying “TRUMP” flags. Their signs read “Dr. Amy Over-re-ACTON” and “Let Freedom Work.” They brought their children. DeWine told demonstrators, “I’m the elected official” and “Come after me.” Acton was assigned executive protection—a rare measure, for a public-health official—along with a retinue of state troopers.

As pressure mounted for DeWine to fully reopen Ohio, six county-level G.O.P. chairs jointly wrote to the governor, in early June, saying, “We are telling you that the damage you are doing economically is translating politically.” Republicans were “angry, disappointed, and dismayed” at DeWine’s “big-government approach.” In an editorial, the Columbus Dispatch noted certain lawmakers’ contributions to a “toxic hybrid of ignorance, fear, and hatred.”

The state’s three largest amusement parks joined a number of other businesses in lawsuits against Acton, demanding that she allow them to reopen. Republican lawmakers introduced legislation intended to strip her of her emergency powers. DeWine vowed to veto any such bill, but Acton began to worry that she might be forced to sign health orders that violated her Hippocratic oath to do no harm. On June 11th, she resigned.

Trump won Ohio in 2016, with more than fifty-two per cent of the vote. He is expected to win the state again, though narrowly. Despite surging hospitalizations and record infection rates, the President has gone on holding campaign rallies. Thousands of supporters mingle for hours, most not wearing masks, despite evidence of community spread in the wake of Trump gatherings. On October 23rd, the day before a Trump rally in Circleville, Ohio, I met an old man in a Navy cap who complained that the annual pumpkin festival had been cancelled and that the public was being forced to stay outdoors. When I explained that this was meant to protect people, he said, “From what?” Along the highway into Circleville, someone had installed a large stencilled sign that read, “JOE BIDEN IS STUPID” and “TRUMP IS A GREAT MAN.”

The next afternoon, at the rally, at the Pickaway County fairgrounds, Trump lied that “tens of thousands” of people were outside the gates and congratulated attendees for getting in. He ranted about “Sleepy Joe,” “Crazy Bernie,” “Shifty Schiff,” “treasonous things,” the “plague,” “favored nations,” and “quadruple” taxes. Biden, he said, will offshore your jobs, confiscate your guns, open your borders, eliminate your private health care, terminate your religious liberty, defund your police, destroy your suburbs. Fracking, dead birds, widespread blackouts, more fracking: “You frack till your heart’s content!” A trio of masked nuns in habits and purple vestments stood in the crowd behind him; one held a Bible aloft, as if administering a blessing or warding off a curse.

Progressives have complained that DeWine, who co-chairs Trump’s Ohio campaign, has failed to disavow the President at a crucial national moment. When I spoke with the governor, on Friday, he told me, “I know there’s people who want me to spend my time blasting Donald Trump; I’m sure there’s Trump supporters who think I have not talked enough about the President. But I’ve got to stay focussed.” Maintaining “a good relationship with the President of the United States—whoever the President is” allowed him to govern, he said. In 2022, DeWine is expected to seek a second term. His supporters suspect that he will “be primaried” next year by a far-right challenger.

The COVID-19 death toll stands at well over five thousand in Ohio and more than two hundred and thirty-one thousand in the United States. By the end of February, the national toll could reach half a million, according to a recent study by the University of Washington School of Medicine. DeWine has methodically been placing preparatory phone calls to every public-health team in Ohio. He still has not found a permanent replacement for Acton. In September, he named a new state health director. She quit within hours of DeWine’s hiring announcement, having reportedly decided that the job would pose a risk for her family.

After Acton left her cabinet position, she briefly remained an adviser to DeWine. In early August, she vacated that official role, too, and soon returned to the Columbus Foundation. (She still informally counsels the governor.) When I saw Acton last week, homes in some parts of town still displayed “Dr. Amy Acton Fan Club” yard signs.

Acton had given no media interviews since leaving government. She agreed to talk to me because she believes that, as we enter a dire pandemic phase, paired with a potentially tumultuous post-election period, the country needs, in its wellness “playbook,” a long-term emotional-survival strategy. She told me that leaders need to “lay down the science of how we could lose another two hundred thousand people, just like that.” As a public-health figure, Acton, a registered Democrat, strove to be apolitical. She and DeWine worked well together despite their party affiliations. Acton strongly believes that, should Biden win, he must not leave “a quiet space” between now and the Inauguration. “We cannot wait two and a half months to start leading and messaging” about unity, she said.

This content was originally published here.

Connecticut orthodontist indicted in Westchester County love-triangle stabbing

A Connecticut orthodontist was indicted in the stabbing of the girlfriend of her former fiancee in a love-triangle attack where she pretended to be a hero, New York prosecutors said Wednesday.

Alika Crew, 42, of New Rochelle, N.Y., worked at the Stein Dental Group in Stamford, Conn. She faces a slew of charges, including attempted second-degree murder, three counts of first-degree assault, two counts of second-degree assault and unlawful imprisonment, all felonies, and misdemeanor criminal possession of a weapon, Westchester County District Attorney Anthony Scarpino said.

She has pleaded not guilty, lohud.com reported.

Crew is accused of attacking her romantic rival July 28. She reportedly hid in the back seat of the woman’s Jeep and lunged at her. She chased the woman who fled and sliced her neck and hand with a razor blade, prosecutors said.

The woman suffered “significant and possibly permanent damage to the neck,” authorities said. The attack took place a few blocks from where Crew and her ex-fiance were living together at the time.

After the attack, she left the scene, but returned and pretended to be a good Samaritan as concerned neighbors came to help the victim, prosecutors allege. When police officers arrived, the victim pointed Crew out as her assailant and she was arrested.

She was released on $200,000 bail and is expected to appear in court Nov. 2.

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Americans Spent More on Taxes in 2019 Than on Food, Clothing, Health Care and Entertainment Combined

Family dinner in Lordstown, Ohio. (Photo by ELEONORE SENS/AFP via Getty Images)

In 2019, according to the Consumer Expenditure Survey published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Americans on average spent more on taxes than they did on food, clothing, health care and entertainment combined.

Bottom line: Funding their local, state and federal governments cost Americans more on average last year (which was before the COVID-19 pandemic hit) than making sure their families were fed, clothed, had health care — and could keep a dog or cat, buy toys for their kids, pay for cable TV and attend an occasional baseball game or movie.

For each of the last seven years, the BLS has published Table R-1 based on its Consumer Expenditure Survey. This table provides the average annual “detailed expenditures” made by what the BLS calls “consumer units.”

“Consumer units,” explains BLS, “include families, single persons living alone or sharing a household with others but who are financially independent, or two or more persons living together who share major expenses.”

As this column noted last year, all Table R-1s going back to 2013 have shown that Americans on average spend more money on taxes than they do on food, clothing (or what BLS calls “apparel and services”) and health care combined.

But in three of the last four years, according to the data published in the annual Table R-1s, Americans on average not only spent more on taxes than on food, clothing and health care combined but also spent more on taxes than on food, clothing, health care and entertainment combined.

In 2019, American consumer units paid an average of $18,763.99 in taxes, according to BLS. That included $8,831.31 in federal income taxes; $5,240.52 in Social Security taxes (which Table R-1 calls “deductions”); $2,469.76 in-state and local income taxes; $2,159.10 in property taxes; and $63.30 in other taxes.

That $18,763.99 in taxes easily beat the combined $15,245.25 that Americans spent on average in 2019 on food ($8,169.18), clothing ($1,882.96) and health care ($5,193.11).

But it also edged out by $428.84 the combined $18,335.15 they spent on food, clothing and healthcare ($15,245.25) and entertainment ($3,089.90).

This has not always been the case.

In 2013, Americans on average spent a combined $14,319.07 on food ($6,601.72), clothing ($1,604.00), health care ($3,631.08) and entertainment ($2,482.27). That turned out to be $991.85 more than the combined $13,327.22 they spent on federal income taxes ($5,743.10), Social Security taxes ($4,047.50), state and local income taxes ($1,628.71), property taxes ($1,847.99) and other taxes ($59.92).

In 2014, the combined $15,561.90 that Americans paid on average for food ($6,758.62), clothing ($1,785.66), health care ($4,290.06) and entertainment ($2,727.56) exceeded by $897.77 the combined $14,664.13 they paid in federal income taxes ($6,679.73), Social Security taxes ($4,248.20), state and local income taxes ($1,781.56), property taxes ($1,903.06) and other taxes ($51.58).

In 2015, the combined $16,052.90 that Americans paid on average for food ($7,022.59), clothing ($1,846.21), health care ($4,342.03) and entertainment ($2,842.07) exceeded by $504.54 the combined $15,548.36 they spent on federal income taxes ($7,111.03), Social Security taxes ($4,456.54), state and local income taxes ($1,997.36), property taxes ($1,913.48) and other taxes ($69.95).

In 2016, this was no longer the case.

That year, according to BLS, the combined $16,530.38 that Americans paid on average for food ($7,203.16), clothing ($1,802.70), health care ($4,611.74) and entertainment ($2,912.78) was $622.92 less than the combined $17,153.30 than they paid in federal income taxes ($8,367.44), Social Security taxes ($4,695.00), state and local income taxes ($2,046.45), property taxes ($1,969.31) and other taxes ($75.10).

Spending on food, clothing health care and entertainment briefly took back the lead from government in 2017.

That year, Americans on average spent $17,692.26 on food ($7,728.59), clothing ($1,832.76), health care ($4,928.19) and entertainment ($3,202.72). That was $942.06 more than the combined $16,750.20 they spent on average on federal income taxes ($7,818.91), Social Security taxes ($4,717.33), state and local income taxes ($2,097.84), property taxes ($2,065.48) and other taxes ($50.64).

In 2018, government retook the lead — and then maintained it in 2019.

Two years ago, in 2018, the combined $18,617.93 that Americans paid on average in federal income taxes ($9,031.93), Social Security taxes ($5,023.73), state and local income taxes ($2,284.62), property taxes ($2,199.80) and other taxes ($77.85) exceeded by $634.27 the combined $17,983.66 they spent on food ($7,923.19), clothing ($1,866.48), health care ($4,968.44) and entertainment ($3,225.55).

Among the food items that Americans on average purchased in 2019 was $186.69 worth of pork — the kind that comes from actual pigs.

The $18,763.99 in taxes they paid on average for federal, state and local government was more than 100 times that.

Which do you think was the better deal?

(Terence P. Jeffrey is the editor in chief of CNSNews.com.)

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Fauci: ‘You cannot abandon public health measures’ even with COVID-19 vaccine

Sen. Rand Paul questions Dr. Anthony Fauci at the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on the coronavirus pandemic.

Coronavirus restrictions will need to remain in place in some form even after a vaccine becomes available, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Director Dr. Anthony Fauci told the “Fox News Rundown” podcast Thursday. 

Fauci, the most prominent member of the White House coronavirus task force, raised eyebrows Wednesday when he said, “I think it will be easily by the end of 2021 and perhaps into the next year before we start having some semblance of normality” during a webinar with the University of Melbourne in Australia.

On Thursday, Fauci told host Jessica Rosenthal that he was referring to “what we think of as normal, namely prior to December of 2019.” 

Fauci explained that health officials “likely will get knowledge of whether or not we have safe and effective vaccines by the end of this calendar year, likely some time in December.

“If we begin distributing doses of vaccine at the very beginning of 2021 … I think when you start seeing people getting vaccinated in January, February, March, April, May, and it’s clear that it’s safe and that it is impacting the course of the pandemic in the United States, more and more people will want to get vaccinated. That’s going to take several months. And if it takes several months, you’re going to get into the third and maybe the fourth quarter of 2021.”

However, Fauci warned, that timeline depends on “how effective the vaccine is, compounded by what percentage of the population actually wants to get vaccinated.”

For that reason, he said, “as that process evolves, you cannot abandon public health measures because the vaccine is not going to be perfect and not everybody is going to take it.”

As more people take the vaccine, Fauci said, Americans will “gradually be able to do things that we’re not doing now widely. For example, allowing occupancy of theaters, maybe not full capacity, but close to full capacity; having spectators be in the stadium or in the field during athletic events; having restaurants be close to full capacity.

“That doesn’t mean people should not be wearing masks and [that] people should not be avoiding congregate settings where there are big crowds,” he added. “But there will be a gradual lifting of the public health restrictions. And I think that’s going to take a full year.”

The exception, Fauci told Rosenthal, is schools.

“We should, right now, to the best of our capability … [be] trying to get children back to school,” he said. “I think children getting back to school will be much, much sooner than getting people into theaters at full capacity. No doubt about that.”

To hear the full interview, subscribe and download The FOX News Rundown on your favorite podcast player.

The FOX NEWS RUNDOWN is a news-based daily morning podcast delivering a deep dive into the major and controversial stories of the day.

This content was originally published here.

Mississippi Health Official: Maskless White People Are Responsible For Spike In COVID-19 Cases

Mississippi Health Official: Maskless White People Are Responsible For Spike In COVID-19 Cases By Kirsten West Savali ·October 24, 2020October 24, 2020

Maskless white people in Mississippi are responsible for the spike in COVID-19 cases, according to Dr. Thomas Dobbs, a State Health Officer.

“We’ve seen a pretty remarkable shift because early on, African Americans accounted for basically two-thirds, or 60 percent or more, of cases and deaths,” Dobbs said on CNN. “Then over the summer, and especially going into the fall, we’ve seen that shift basically upside down. Sixty-percent of new cases are caucasians and the deaths are nearing that also.”

Dobbs said that the state has been been working hard on safety measures, which have found “more fertile ground in the Black community.”

“As far as the case trends, we have had really pretty good uptake by a lot of folks in the Black community with masking and social distancing,” Dobbs said. “We’ve worked very aggressively to make sure that the Black community understands where the risks are and what can be done to prevent that. “And I just will say … I think big parts of the white community, especially in areas that maybe weren’t as hard-affected (previously), have not been as compliant or engaged actively with social distancing and masking. And I think that does make a difference.”

According to Dobbs, there are white parents sponsoring youth events, dances, and parties. Additionally, get togethers and gathering in bars have helped to undermine the state’s efforts to control the spread of COVID-19.

As of Friday, October 23, the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) reported 1,212 new COVID-19 cases and 17 additional deaths, bringing the state’s totals to 115,088 cases and 3,255 deaths, WDAM reports.

White, maskless people are causing an uptick in Mississippi’s Covid-19 cases, Dr. Thomas Dobbs says.“It may well be that we found a pretty receptive audience in the African American community… We’re not having the same success… with other segments of the population” pic.twitter.com/EfrDZOTh74

— CNN Newsroom (@CNNnewsroom) October 22, 2020

As white people continue to disproportionately endanger themselves and their neighbors, Black people continue to be most at risk from serious COVID-19 complications.

Mississippi is among the southern states that have opted not to expand Medicaid, but whose governors rushed to reopen businesses even though no vaccine or herd immunity had been established, ESSENCE previously reported.

“We—who were already neglected by states who chose profit and partisan politics over the health and well-being of our communities, who are disproportionately impacted by poverty, white supremacist violence, health disparities and more—are seeing less access to emergency care, while the few facilities that remain are becoming the primary source of care for our people,” Ash-Lee Woodard Henderson, Executive Director of the Highlander Research & Education Center, wrote in March. “We’re seeing health care providers leave communities because of the closure of rural hospitals, gaps in specialty care expanding, job loss, and so much more, as the need for services increases beyond our ability to provide them.”

Those facts have not changed.

COVID-19-MississippiCNN

Less than one month after Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves irresponsibly ended the state’s mask mandate on September 30, he has reinstated the mandate for nine counties, WJTV reports.

Still, the Republican governor continues to politicize his COVID-19 response and sharing misleading information about the health of the state he claims to lead, tweeting Friday, “17% decrease in Mississippi COVID cases this week compared to last week. Even as cases surge in most states. Keep up the good work! We can do this without going crazy on government interventions—people get it! Virtue signaling is useless, but limited action in key areas works!”

17% decrease in Mississippi COVID cases this week compared to last week. Even as cases surge in most states.Keep up the good work! We can do this without going crazy on government interventions—people get it! Virtue signaling is useless, but limited action in key areas works!

— Tate Reeves (@tatereeves) October 23, 2020

According to CNN, President Donald Trump, who is known to be anti-science, including in his COVID-19 response, won Mississippi in 2016’s election by 17.8 percentage points.

Perhaps, the maskless white people endangering their own lives and others are following their president’s lead. Trump, who held a super-spreader event at the White House while not wearing a mask, called his own COVID-19 diagnosis a “blessing from God.”

To date, the United States has had 8.58 million COVID-19 cases and 224,ooo deaths.

The post Mississippi Health Official: Maskless White People Are Responsible For Spike In COVID-19 Cases appeared first on Essence.

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Breakthrough for tomorrow’s dentistry speeds tooth sensitivity treatments

teeth toy
Credit: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain

New knowledge on the cellular makeup and growth of teeth can expedite developments in the treatment of tooth sensitivity and regenerative dentistry—a biological therapy for damaged teeth. The study, which was conducted by researchers at Karolinska Institutet, is published in Nature Communications.

Teeth develop through a complex process in which soft tissue, including connective tissue, nerves and blood vessels, is bonded with three types of hard tissue into a functional body part. As an explanatory model for this process, scientists often use the mouse incisor, which grows continuously and is renewed throughout the animal’s life.

Despite the fact that the mouse incisor has often been studied in a developmental context, many fundamental questions about the tooth cells, stem cells and their differentiation and cellular dynamics remain to be answered.

Using a single-cell RNA sequencing method and genetic tracing, researchers at Karolinska Institutet, the Medical University of Vienna in Austria and Harvard University in the U.S. have now identified and characterized all cell populations in mouse teeth and in the young growing and adult human teeth.

“From stem cells to the completely differentiated adult cells, we were able to decipher the differentiation pathways of odontoblasts, which give rise to dentine—the hard tissue closest to the pulp—and ameloblasts, which give rise to the enamel,” say the study’s last author Igor Adameyko at the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Karolinska Institutet, and co-author Kaj Fried at the Department of Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet. “We also discovered new cell types and cell layers in teeth that can have a part to play in tooth sensitivity.”

Some of the finds can also explain certain complicated aspects of the immune system in teeth, and others shed new light on the formation of tooth enamel, the hardest tissue in our bodies.

“We hope and believe that our work can form the basis of new approaches to tomorrow’s dentistry. Specifically, it can expedite the fast expanding field of regenerative dentistry, a biological therapy for replacing damaged or lost tissue.”

The results have been made publicly accessible in the form of searchable interactive user-friendly atlases of mouse and human teeth. The researchers believe that they should prove a useful resource not only for dental biologists but also for researchers interested in development and regenerative biology in general.

More information:
Jan Krivanek et al. Dental cell type atlas reveals stem and differentiated cell types in mouse and human teeth, Nature Communications (2020). DOI: 10.1038/s41467-020-18512-7

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D.C. health department can’t reach White House for COVID-19 tracing, Bowser says | PBS NewsHour

WASHINGTON (AP) — Officials with the Washington, D.C., Department of Health have been unsuccessful in trying to connect with the White House to assist with contact tracing and other protocols regarding the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak that has infected President Donald Trump and several senior staff members.

“We have reached out to the White House on a couple of different levels, a political level and a public health level,” Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser said Monday. She added that a D.C. health department representative who reached out to the White House “had a very cursory conversation that we don’t consider a substantial contact from the public health side.”

The lack of communication represents an unwelcome obstacle for the D.C. government, which has worked to contain the spread of the virus through mandatory mask requirements and limits on the size of gatherings.

Bowser acknowledged on Monday that White House medical officials “have their hands full” at the moment. But a D.C. official, speaking on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to comment on the record, said White House doctors have not informed the D.C. Department of Health of any of the positive test results — a necessary step before contact tracing and quarantining can begin.

There have been multiple attempts to contact them, the official said.

Bowser’s government, which has publicly feuded with the Trump administration multiple times, is in a difficult position regarding the current outbreak. The Trump White House has operated for months in open violation of several D.C. virus regulations, hosting multiple gatherings that exceeded the local 50-person limit and in which many participants didn’t wear masks.

A Sept. 26 Rose Garden ceremony to announce Trump’s nomination of Amy Coney Barrett for the Supreme Court is now regarded as a potential infection nexus, with multiple attendees, including Notre Dame University President Rev. John Jenkins, testing positive afterward. Jenkins flew in to attend the ceremony from Indiana, a state D.C. classifies as a virus hot-spot — meaning he would have been expected to quarantine for two weeks upon arrival.

Washington’s local virus regulations don’t apply on federal property, but the current outbreak has blurred those distinctions. Trump inner-circle members like former counselor Kellyanne Conway, who has also tested positive, are D.C. residents, as are many of the staffers, employees, Secret Service members and journalists who have had close contact with infected officials. But the Health Department has been unable to conduct contact tracing or any of the other normal protocols. Instead it has been forced to entrust the White House medical staff to conduct its own contact tracing.

“There are established public health protocols at the White House that are federal in nature,” Bowser said. “We assume that those protocols have been engaged.”

The White House says it is doing contact tracing and that “appropriate notifications and recommendations are being made.”

Dr. LaQuandra Nesbit, head of the D.C. Health Department, said the process must begin with an official notification from a medical professional.

“If that information has been provided to us … the D.C. contact trace force will do its work,” Nesbit said.

The situation has been further complicated by the apparent resistance of some senior Trump officials to voluntarily quarantine and the inability of the D.C. government to force the issue. Attorney General William Barr, who was repeatedly seen in close contact with Conway and other infected people, said over the weekend that he would limit his activities or movements. On Monday he reversed course and a spokesman said Barr would self-quarantine “for now.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has also been kept out of the White House’s outbreak response so far.

The CDC has said repeatedly that it has a team ready to help the White House investigate how the outbreak unfolded. The White House so far has not asked for such assistance, but such an investigation could sort out who started the outbreak and whether the spread happened at the outdoor gathering or at related indoor events or both, several infectious disease experts said in a conference call with reporters.

“The tools are present to dissect what actually happened,” said Dr. Robert Schooley, an infectious disease specialist at the UC San Diego School of Medicine.

Indoor spread is easier, but the attendees of the Rose Garden ceremony sat very close together for an extended time, said Linsey Marr, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Virginia Tech. At this point, “I don’t think we can rule out transmission occurring outdoors,” Marr said.

Bowser and Nesbit took pains Monday to avoid direct commentary or criticism of the White House — perhaps seeking to avoid the appearance of politicizing the crisis. Nesbit refused to specifically comment on the Sept. 26 Rose Garden ceremony. But she spoke in generalities about everyone’s need to “make better decisions” in their personal and professional lives.

“We have encouraged people to choose the activities they would go to wisely,” she said. “If someone was hosting an event where people were not going to wear facemasks, where people were not going to be socially distant, that you would choose to make better decisions about attending such an event.”

Associated Press writer Mike Stobbe in New York contributed to this report

This content was originally published here.

Promoting equity and community health in the COVID-19 pandemic

Editor’s note: Second in a series on the impact of COVID-19 on communities of color, and responses aimed at improving health equity. Click here to read part one.

In early March 2020, as COVID-19 was declared a public health emergency in Boston, Mass General Brigham began to care for a growing number of patients with COVID-19. Even at this early stage in the pandemic, a few things were clear: our data showed that Black, Hispanic, and non-English speaking patients were testing positive and being hospitalized at the highest rates. There were large differences in COVID-19 infection rates among communities. Across the river from Boston, the city of Chelsea began reporting the highest infection rate in Massachusetts. Within Boston, several neighborhoods, including Hyde Park, Roxbury, and Dorchester, exhibited infection rates double or triple the rest of the city. COVID-19 was disproportionately harming minority and vulnerable communities.

Working toward an equitable response to COVID-19

From the start, our work was driven by examining COVID data by race, ethnicity, language, disability, gender, age, and community. As the COVID crisis intensified in Massachusetts, we sought ways to improve health equity and extend support within the communities we serve. We designed and deployed initiatives aimed at our patients, community members, and employees. Below are examples of tools to enhance equity that we found useful.

Communicating with patients

As new COVID care models were established, we worked on access to clinical communication for all patients and their families. There was a particular focus on language, since COVID greatly impacted non-English speaking communities, and on communication for people with disabilities.

  • We linked COVID operations, such as our nurse hotline and telemedicine platforms, to interpreter services or bilingual staff, supported by patient tip sheets in multiple languages. Interpreters, working virtually through enhanced technology and remote communication, supported patients and families with limited English proficiency.
  • We collected information on clinical and administrative staff language proficiency, so that multilingual staff could help guide patient care. For example, at two hospitals we established a care model of Spanish-speaking physicians to provide cultural and linguistic support in inpatient and intensive care units that complemented interpreter services.
  • As all staff and patients began wearing masks, we ensured that deaf or hard-of-hearing patients would be able to communicate with care teams through the use of masks with a clear window, to allow for lip reading.

Providing up-to-date information for patients and employees

Guidance on how to protect yourself from COVID-19 evolved rapidly. Limited English proficiency, limited access to the Internet or to smartphones and computers, and limited tech savvy are barriers to receiving information for many of our patients and employees. We needed to identify ways to ensure that rapidly changing health information was available to everyone.

  • For our patients, we created COVID education in multiple languages, which was distributed through various modes, including brief videos. We also sent text messages with COVID alerts to more than 100,000 of our patients who live in hot-spot communities, or who were not enrolled in our patient portal.
  • For our employees, we initially hosted socially-distanced, in-person educational sessions in multiple languages. These sessions provided COVID education and updates on infection control protocol and human resources policies. Our employee educational effort later shifted to a remote model by enrolling 5,500 employees who do not use computers as part of their normal job function (such as environmental services and nutrition and food services staff) into a multilingual texting campaign designed to provide key information.

Expanding equity within communities

Through the COVID pandemic, we were building on our existing presence in, and partnerships with, the communities we serve in eastern Massachusetts in several ways.

  • Community members lacked necessary supplies to protect themselves from COVID, such as masks. In April, we launched the production of care kits — packages which included masks, hand sanitizer, soap, and patient education materials — and distributed them within our communities at locations such as COVID testing centers, food distribution sites, and housing authorities. To date, more than 175,000 care kits have been distributed, including more than 1.3 million masks.
  • We also partnered with community leaders to provide COVID education. We identified trusted community leaders to record and release brief educational videos over social media to reinforce wearing masks, social distancing, and washing hands.

Looking forward

We made it through the peak of the pandemic in Massachusetts, launching a suite of initiatives to address inequity within Mass General Brigham’s COVID response. However, the battle is by no means over. Now is the time for action. Even in states like Massachusetts, where infections, hospitalizations, and deaths have substantially declined in recent months, we need to ready ourselves for a resurgence — one that is already occurring in parts of the US and Europe. Surveillance and early preparation are key. Increased prevention and mitigation efforts, widespread testing, and identification of emerging hot spots can help curb the impact of a fall and winter resurgence of the virus. Unless we act now, and unless we ramp up efforts aimed at improving health equity, this will once again hit minority communities hardest.

The post Promoting equity and community health in the COVID-19 pandemic appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.

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Leaving Cert student withdraws court challenge after getting place on dentistry course

A young woman who got 613 points in the 2019 Leaving Certificate has withdrawn her High Court challenge over the manner in which Leaving Cert grades were standardised this year after getting a place on her course of choice.

Martha Woods, who claimed standardisation had unfairly impacted on her ambition to pursue a dentistry career, has withdrawn her case because she has since secured a place on her chosen course, dentistry in UCC.

In her case, Ms Woods, Millbrook House, Murragh, Enniskeane, Co Cork, had said the points for dentistry in UCC rose this year from 590 points to 613, the final applicants for that course all had 613 points, places were allocated by random selection and she failed to get a place.

When her action came before Mr Justice Charles Meenan last week, he accepted it was a “very important” matter but adjourned it for a week after expressing concern about the courts’ ability to accommodate early hearings of a multiplicity of cases concerning the 2020 Leaving Cert grading process.

When the case returned before the judge today, he was told Ms Woods has obtained a place on the UCC Dentistry course and was as a result withdrawing her case.

Ms Woods, represented by Pearse Sreenan SC, instructed by Amy Connolly, of Cantillons Solicitors, had brought the judicial review proceedings against the Minister for Education, State Examinations Commission, the State, CAO and UCC.

Mr Justice Meenan said he was pleased with the outcome and wished Ms Woods every success at university and in her career.

Separately, the judge has said he will treat another case initiated earlier this month as the lead case addressing issues with the 2020 Leaving Cert process and hoped to give that an early hearing date.

That case is by Áine Finnegan, from Fairview, Dublin, who missed out on a place in Medicine at Trinity College Dublin by two points after three of her calculated grades were reduced.

The judge expected the outcome of the Finnegan case would decide some or all of the issues raised in other cases, adding parties in other cases may seek to be joined to the lead case.

This content was originally published here.

‘Darkest part of the pandemic’ is approaching, says public health expert | PBS NewsHour

Well, we actually have a convergence of factors that are making for what is, I think, going to be the darkest part of the pandemic over the course of the next 12 weeks.

Michael Osterholm:

Well, first of all, we’re going to see these large numbers.

And we already saw this past summer what it looks like to have 70,000 cases a day. And it’s horrible, even when it was only in a few states where they were really in trouble. Now we’re going to see many more states are going to be in trouble. And the numbers are going to go much higher.

On top of that, when you listen to the very excellent reports you just had, they talked about opening up new beds. You know, the big problem in this country isn’t going to be about new beds. We can get those. What we’re running out of are people who have expertise in intensive care medicine, doctors, nurses, the support teams.

And when you don’t have that kind of expertise at hand, even though you may have a bed, you’re not getting the care that may necessarily save your life. And so expect to see not only severe illnesses increasing, and the number of people in ICUs, but expect to see the deaths increase.

And that’s what’s going to be a challenge for us. And then, as you said, we’re getting closer to the holidays. And I have said for months this is our COVID year. Expect it to be different. Don’t try to make it like last year or, hopefully, it’ll be like next year.

And I think that, based on the number of experiences that I have personally been involved with where young adults take home the virus to mom and dad, grandpa and grandma, uncle Bill and aunt Jane for some kind of celebration, only to have them become infected and be dead three weeks later, we don’t want that to happen at the holidays.

So that means you’re going to have to really all reconsider, how do we do the holidays? Is it time to go home? We all want to see our loved ones. But we have to ask ourselves, if we really love them, what are we going to do to help protect particularly those who are older who have underlying health problems? This is going to be a huge challenge.

This content was originally published here.

Why Hugging Is Actually Good for Your Health

During the pandemic, it may feel like hugs are a thing of the past. In fact, of all the things you may crave during this difficult time, a hug may top the list. The isolation and lack of human connection are part of what makes quarantining so difficult. The longing for human touch and connection is as basic as any human need, and there’s strong evidence that hugs don’t just make you feel good. Researchers have found that giving your loved ones an affectionate squeeze can actually be good for your health.

“The health benefits of giving and receiving hugs are quite impressive. Hugs have a therapeutic effect on people,” says psychologist Joe Rock, PsyD. He says hugs are a good way to show someone you care about them. What’s more, they’re good for your health. 

“Research shows that hugs can be healthy,” says Dr. Rock. “Hugs cause a decrease in the release of cortisol, a stress hormone, and other research indicates that hugs decrease your blood pressure and heart rate in stressful situations,” he adds. 

Additional research found that giving and receiving hugs can actually strengthen your immune system. 

Dr. Rock says hugging seems to have a therapeutic effect. That’s because your brain has specific pathways created to detect human touch. 

“We can detach ourselves from people and get locked up in our own world,” he says. “Just the physical act of hugging someone really does connect us with them and lets down some of our defenses.”

Hugging communicates that you are safe, loved and that you are not alone — a much-needed message right about now.

Ways you can safely give (and receive) affection during the coronavirus pandemic

Things have certainly changed since we’ve all become aware of coronavirus. Adhering to social distancing guidelines and masking up may make you fearful of physical touch or hugging. But is there a way to walk a balance between carefully distanced and also connected?  

Given that hugging can actually raise the level of oxytocin or “feel good” chemical in your brain, connecting — in whatever way we can — may be just the ticket right now. The safest thing to do is to avoid hugs. But there are some safe ways to give and receive affection right now. 

  • Hug a loved one in your household: You’re already sharing germs with those in your household. Now may be a perfect time to hug members of your household more often. 
  • Connect with loved ones online: Technology has definitely helped many weather the coronavirus storm. FaceTime, Zoom and other video conferencing apps can help you feel connected while remaining safely socially distant. 
  • Self-care during quarantine: Use the extra time to pamper yourself or start a new self-care routine. Facials, bubble baths, and online exercise programs offer many options for taking care of yourself while staying safe.  
  • Mask up and head out: If you crave the close proximity of friends, do so safely. Wash your hands well, don your favorite mask, and meet a friend for a socially distant coffee date at an outdoor coffee shop, for example. Or, call ahead for take out, and have a picnic in an outdoor location (still masked and six feet apart, of course).

The coronavirus has definitely changed the way we give and receive affection. But it’s important for our mental health to remain connected to those we love. With some creativity, and a little planning, we can do so safely and share affection with those who are important to us. 

This content was originally published here.

Rush Limbaugh Gives Harrowing Health Update

Conservative radio icon Rush Limbaugh on Monday told his listeners “the days where I do not think I’m under a death sentence are over” and his fight with cancer is “terminal.”

In February, the legendary broadcaster revealed he had advanced lung cancer but vowed to stay on the radio as he battled the disease. Limbaugh said in May that his treatment was physically grueling but that he would not stop fighting. As recently as July, he said he was hoping the treatment would give him “extra innings.”

But on Monday, Limbaugh told his audience that the latest results show the cancer that had been stymied is growing once again, according to a transcript of his remarks posted on his website.

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“From the moment you get the diagnosis, there’s a part of you every day, OK, that’s it. Life’s over,” he said. “You just don’t know when. But when you get that diagnosis, I mean, that’s … So, during the period of time after the diagnosis, you do what you can to prolong life, do what you can to prolong a happy life. You measure a happy life against whatever medication it takes.

“And at some point you can decide, you know, this medication may be working, but I hate the way I feel every day. I’m not there yet. But it is part and parcel of this.

“It’s tough to realize that the days where I do not think I’m under a death sentence are over. Now, we all are, is the point. We all know that we’re going to die at some point, but when you have a terminal disease diagnosis that has a time frame to it, then that puts a different psychological and even physical awareness to it.”

He said that when he went to the doctor last week, “The scans did show some progression of cancer. Now, prior to that, the scans had shown that we had rendered the cancer dormant. That’s my phrase for it. We had stopped the growth. It had been reduced, and it had become manageable.”

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Limbaugh said the results were in some ways inevitable “because it is cancer. It eventually outsmarts pretty much everything you throw at it. And this, of course, this is stage four lung cancer.”

Later he noted that “stage four is, as they say, terminal. So we have some recent progression. It’s not dramatic, but it is the wrong direction.”

The results mean that Limbaugh’s treatment is being adjusted “in hopes of keeping additional progression at bay for as long as possible.”

Many on Twitter saluted Limbaugh.

I can only say that every day God grants us this man’s presence amongst us is a blessing. #RushLimbaugh https://t.co/7EqKmjOxnk

— James Woods (@RealJamesWoods) October 20, 2020

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#RushLimbaugh updates audience: some disease progression on his lung cancer scan, so treatment will be tweaked. Upbeat nonetheless: “It’s a great thing to wake up each morning. Stop and thank God when you do.” He says he is humbled by all the prayers; so let us multiply them.

— Mark Davis (@MarkDavis) October 19, 2020

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Despite the grim update, Limbaugh spent much of his discussion about his health talking about blessings.

“You know, all in all, I feel very blessed to be here speaking with you today. Some days are harder than others. I do get fatigued now. I do get very, very tired now. I’m not gonna mislead you about that. But I am extremely grateful to be able to come here to the studio and to maintain as much normalcy as possible — and it’s still true,” he said.

“You know, I wake up every day and thank God that I did. I go to bed every night praying I’m gonna wake up. I don’t know how many of you do that, those of you who are not sick, those of you who are not facing something like I and countless other millions are. But it’s a blessing when you wake up. It’s a stop-everything-and-thank-God moment,” he said.

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Limbaugh spoke of faith and fears.

“I try to remain committed to the idea what’s supposed to happen, will happen when it’s meant to. I mentioned at the outset of this — the first day I told you — that I have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ,” he said. “It is of immense value, strength, confidence, and that’s why I’m able to remain fully committed to the idea that what is supposed to happen will happen when it’s meant to.

“There’s some comfort in knowing that some things are not in our hands. There’s a lot of fear associated with that, too, but there is some comfort. It’s helpful … God, is it helpful. It’s helpful to be able to trust and to believe in a higher plan.”

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The eternal fighter that is Limbaugh noted that at the time of his diagnosis he was told his case was “hopeless.”

“I’m just gonna tell you, there is no way back in January and February that I had anything but hope that I would still be alive on this day, October 19th, and that I would be fully productive working. There was no way. I didn’t share that with anybody. So given that as a starting point, given that as a baseline, I’m kicking butt — and the future remains pretty good-looking, given all of that,” he said.

Limbaugh said that no matter what, it is never too late.

“You know, I’ve loved to point out we all only get one life,” he said. “We don’t get a do-over in the … well, we do. Actually, we get a do-over every day if we choose to look at it that way.

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“Once we’re old enough and mature enough to understand what life is and that there is only one, then you do get do-overs, an opportunity to fix what you think you might not have done so well the day before, which is an operative philosophy of mine.”

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

This content was originally published here.

Connecticut orthodontist indicted in love-triangle stabbing

A Connecticut orthodontist has been indicted on attempted-murder charges in the love-triangle stabbing of her ex-fiancee’s new girlfriend, the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office said.

Alika Crew, 42, who works out of a high-end Stamford dental practice, was arraigned Wednesday on the eight-count indictment, which also charges her with five counts of felony assault and a felony count of first-degree unlawful imprisonment.

Crew is accused of hiding in the back of her romantic rival’s SUV in New Rochelle on July 28 and lunging at the 30-year-old victim with a razor, the DA said in a release.

The victim ran from the vehicle, but Crew chased her down and slashed the woman in the neck and hand, prosecutors allege.

When cops got to the scene, Crew pretended to be a good Samaritan who was aiding the victim, police said.

But the victim told cops that Crew was her attacker, not her savior.

Crew was charged with attempted murder the following day and released on bail.

In court Wednesday, she pleaded not guilty to the indictment, lohud.com reported.

Westchester County Court Judge David Zuckerman allowed Crew to remain free on $200,000 bail pending a return court appearance Nov. 2.

This content was originally published here.

Supporting Public Health Experts’ Vaccine Efforts – About Facebook

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of preventive health behaviors. While public health experts agree that we won’t have an approved and widely available COVID-19 vaccine for some time, there are steps that people can take to stay healthy and safe. That includes getting the seasonal flu vaccine. So today we’re announcing new steps as part of our continued work to help support vaccine efforts. These include: 

“Vaccines have always been a global priority for UNICEF, and will be even more so as the world continues to battle COVID-19. Building demand for vaccination in communities worldwide is key to saving lives. Our collaboration with Facebook is part of our efforts to address vaccine misinformation and share resonant and reassuring information on vaccination.” 

– Diane Summers, Senior Advisor, Vaccine Acceptance & Demand, UNICEF

Helping People Get Their Flu Shot 

Public health officials recommend that most people get a flu shot every year. This year, they think it is especially important to minimize the risk of concurrent flu and COVID-19. To help, we’ll be directing people to general information about the flu vaccine and how to get it, including the nearest location to get the vaccine in the US using our Preventive Health Tool. We’ll also be including sharable flu vaccine reminders and resources from health authorities in News Feed and within the COVID-19 Information Center. We’re starting this campaign in the US this week, and we’ll expand it to more countries and add new features in the coming weeks. 

Prohibiting Ads That Discourage Vaccines 

Today, we’re launching a new global policy that prohibits ads discouraging people from getting vaccinated. We don’t want these ads on our platform.

Our goal is to help messages about the safety and efficacy of vaccines reach a broad group of people, while prohibiting ads with misinformation that could harm public health efforts. We already don’t allow ads with vaccine hoaxes that have been publicly identified by leading global health organizations, such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Now, if an ad explicitly discourages someone from getting a vaccine, we’ll reject it. Enforcement will begin over the next few days.

Ads that advocate for or against legislation or government policies around vaccines – including a COVID-19 vaccine – are still allowed. We’ll continue to require anyone running these ads to get authorized and include a ‘Paid for by’ label so people can see who is behind them. We regularly refine our approach around ads that are about social issues to capture debates and discussions around sensitive topics happening on Facebook. Vaccines are no different. While we may narrow enforcement in some areas, we may expand it in others.

Amplifying the Voices of Public Health Partners

With vaccination rates still low in many parts of the world, we’re working with global health organizations on vaccine education campaigns. This includes working with organizations including WHO and UNICEF on public health messaging campaigns to increase immunization rates. We’re working with WHO’s Vaccine Safety Network to train and support their network of vaccine partners to utilize Facebook to reach as many people as possible with public health messaging.

Insights for Impact, which is part of the Facebook Data for Good Program, in collaboration with CrowdTangle will expand its partnership with UNICEF and other nonprofits to share aggregated insights from public posts to better understand how people are talking about vaccines. We will analyze this public conversation across genders, age brackets and regions. Early results from our pilot vaccine messaging work with UNICEF across 10 countries show that nonprofits can use this aggregated information from public posts to build public trust in vaccines. Expanding this program will help our partners deliver vaccine related content to many different communities.

We will continue supporting vaccine efforts as part of our work to help the people who use our platform stay healthy and safe. 

This content was originally published here.

Nancy Pelosi says Democrats will be having an event about the 25th Amendment — and President Trump’s health

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Thursday announced that Democrats are set to hold a Friday event concerning the 25th Amendment amid President Donald Trump’s positive COVID-19 diagnosis.

What are the details?

During questions at a Thursday press briefing, Pelosi told reporters, “Tomorrow, by the way, tomorrow, come here tomorrow. We’re going to be talking about the 25th Amendment.”

Reporters pressed Pelosi to clarify what she meant and asked if she believed it would be prudent to invoke the 25th Amendment in an attempt to remove Trump from office, the speaker did not provide a definitive answer one way or the other.

“I’m not talking about it today except to tell you, if you want to talk about that, we’ll see you tomorrow,” she said. “But you take me back to my point. Mr. President, when was the last time you had a negative test before you tested positive? Why is the White House not telling the country that important fact about how this made a hot spot of the White House?”

Trump announced last Friday that he tested positive for coronavirus, prompting a three-day stay at Walter Reed National Medical Center for treatment. He returned to the White House on Monday.

The 25th Amendment says, “Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.”

What did the president say?

On Thursday, the president spoke with Maria Bartiromo on Fox Business, where he said, “I feel perfect. There’s nothing wrong.”

Trump has yet to publicly remark on Pelosi’s Thursday afternoon remarks.

GOP Rapid Response Director Steve Guest pointed TheBlaze to a tweet when asked for comment on the speaker’s remarks.

The tweet simply read, “Nancy Pelosi is UNHINGED.”

This content was originally published here.

Visiting an Orthodontist – Women Fitness Magazine

The Benefits of Visiting an Orthodontist
The Benefits of Visiting an Orthodontist

The Benefits of Visiting an Orthodontist : When we know that something is going wrong with our teeth, a toothache or sensitivity perhaps, we generally think about making an appointment to see a dentist. However, what about when you have a dissatisfaction with your smile?

If you have always been unhappy about the state of your teeth or you just want to see an improvement in your smile, then what you need to do is visit an orthodontist. You may be interested to know that your orthodontist in Stockport can offer various non-surgical treatments that your dentist can’t. Read on to find out what services your orthodontist can provide:

What does an Orthodontist do?

An orthodontist is a qualified dentist who has undertaken years of study to become a specialist. He or she can help adults and children alike with common dental problems using a variety of non-surgical procedures and corrective appliances. These include aligners such as Invisalign or metal braces to correct crooked teeth, but this is just one of the issues an orthodontist can help with.

An orthodontist can diagnose a problem which may not have occurred to the patient, but which has been causing significant difficulties in eating and smiling and could even have been causing pain. These can include:

An incorrect jaw position or jaw joint disorder such as temporomandibular disorder, or night-time teeth grinding can also be diagnosed and treated.

Other services which an orthodontist can provide include:

Why visit an Orthodontist?

Too many people are inclined to simply put up with dental problems, particularly where there are cosmetic anomalies rather than having things fixed. The problem is that if things are not treated, they can go on to become much worse over time.

For example, where the teeth are overcrowded or overlapping, they can be difficult to clean properly. Eventually, this could lead to tooth decay and even gum disease. A gap in the teeth, which is called a diastema, can become larger over time and this can have the effect of pushing adjoining teeth out of position. An orthodontist can correct this by pulling the teeth back together essentially filling in the gap.

Problems with the teeth generally start in childhood and having misaligned teeth, or too many teeth, in childhood can be especially problematic for the child as they grow. Early visits to an orthodontist are advisable where braces will usually be recommended and fitted to precisely correct the child’s problem teeth.

Gum Disease

Dentists will always advise on how to prevent gum disease and will tell you that the best way is to practice correct oral hygiene through regular brushing and flossing of the teeth, and using the correct type of toothbrush and toothpaste. Unfortunately, gum disease is still a problem which if left untreated can have far-reaching effects.

Gum disease begins with plaque, which if not properly removed turns into tartar. This build-up can cause the gums to become sore and inflamed. Tartar is very difficult to remove and can only be removed professionally by your dentist or orthodontist.

When teeth are misaligned or overcrowded, there is a greater likelihood of developing gum disease through an inability to clean them properly, but if your teeth are correctly aligned and spaced this likelihood reduces. Corrective orthodontic treatment, along with advice on correct brushing and flossing techniques, will ensure good oral health as well as a healthy smile you can be proud of.

Related Videos about the Benefits of Visiting an Orthodontist :

Why should you care about orthodontics?

The benefits of Orthodontics and Straight Teeth In Children and Adults – Winnipeg Dentist

HOW BRACES WORK

Why orthodontics matters

Why Visit an Orthodontist?

Reasons For Orthodontic Treatment

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orthodontist appointment stages, how long after your first orthodontist appointment do you get braces, orthodontist consultation fee, orthodontist vs dentist, what happens at your second orthodontist appointment, orthodontist consultation questions, orthodontist meaning,


This content was originally published here.

Meet Presley, the new emotional support puppy at Vestavia Family Dentistry

Sponsored

Presley, the emotional support puppy at Vestavia Family & Facial Aesthetics. Photo via Nathan Watson for Bham Now

Going to the dentist can be a stressful experience, especially for younger children. That’s why Vestavia Family Dentistry & Facial Aesthetics is trying a new strategy. Meet Presley, the new emotional support dog helping patients smile and relax!

The Importance of Emotional Support Animals

Presley providing comfort to a young patient and Dr. Pruitt himself. Photos courtesy of Vestavia Family Dentistry & Facial Aesthetics

Dogs have long played an integral role in the American family, offering unconditional love and—of course—lots of snuggles. In fact, research shows that close contact with dogs can help lower blood pressure, reduce anxiety and improve overall health. However, the concept of a live-in pet has been lagging behind in the dental field—until now!

Meet Presley

How can you not love a face like that? Photo via Nathan Watson for Bham Now

A couple of months ago, Dr. Pruitt of Vestavia Family Dentistry & Facial Aesthetics announced his new employee—a toy Aussiedoodle named Presley. Aside from being adorable, Presley is being trained to provide comfort and affection—and to detect when patients need it.

If a patient is nervous or uncertain, Presley will place her head on a patient’s lap, climb into the dentist’s chair and wag her tail or offer her soft fur to calm a patient’s nervous system and remind the patient that everything will be okay. For most appointments, Presley just sleeps in the patients lap during the procedure. I can’t say I blame her—being adorable 24/7 must be exhausting!

 “Adding an emotional support animal to the practice is something that I have been thinking of doing for quite a while. With all that is going on in the world, I could not think of a better time to incorporate Presley into the practice. What she provides to the patients is immeasurable—she is my new essential healthcare worker.”

Dr. Pruitt, Vestavia Family Dentistry & Facial Aesthetics

Here’s what patients have to say about Presley

Presley comforting a patient during a dental procedure. Photo courtesy of Vestavia Family Dentistry & Facial Aesthetics

From elderly patients to young children, Presley has been a hit at Vestavia Family Dentistry & Facial Aesthetics. Here’s what a few patients have said about Presley:

Tracey: “Having Presley to pet and hold during my multiple dental procedures helped me to stay relaxed and calm. She is so adorable! She took my mind off of my mouth and all I could think about was how I could put her in my purse and take her home with me! Such an added benefit of being a patient of Dr Pruitt and Vestavia Family Dentistry!”

Olivia, age 11: “I really don’t like getting my teeth cleaned but when I found out Presley was there, she comforted me so much and now I’m never scared to get my teethed cleaned at that office again! The only bad thing was that I couldn’t take her home with me. She’s such a nice sweet puppy!”

Miranda: “I was very anxious about my dental appointment, and that’s when Dr. Pruitt brought Presley in. She is such a sweet puppy and being able to love on her during my appointment was very comforting and helped me relax. It was a special experience for me and definitely one I’ll never forget. I’m grateful for Dr. Pruitt and Presley for a truly unforgettable dental visit.”

Carson Pruitt, Dr. Pruitt’s son, with Presley in Vestavia Family Dentistry. Photo courtesy of Vestavia Family Dentistry & Facial Aesthetics

Carson Pruitt: “Even as a dental student, I can relate to patients in that I also do not like going to the dentist. Having Presley in my lap for the duration of my appointment really helped with my dental anxiety and is something unique to Vestavia Family Dentistry. Every dentist should have a trained dental anxiety dog, like Presley, to help ease patients at their appointments and to help them forget they are sitting in a dental chair!”

Kala: “I love Presley, I’m starting to want one just like her. She made all of my dental appointments go by so smooth and easy and she helped to keep me relaxed and calm. I said I would never get another dog but she might have changed my heart.”

Want to meet Presley?

Swing by Vestavia Family Dentistry & Facial Aesthetics to meet Presley! Photo via Nathan Watson for Bham Now
  • Connect: 205.823.3223 | Email | Website | Facebook | Instagram
  • Address: 2816 Columbiana Rd, Vestavia Hills, AL 35216
  • Hours: 7AM-5PM, Monday-Thursday; Call for availability Friday; Closed Saturday and Sunday

If you want a chance to meet Presley, plan a visit to Vestavia Family Dentistry & Facial Aesthetics. The team has been taking extra precautions to stay safe at the office, including taking the temperature of each guest and asking a short questionnaire.

Swing by Vestavia Family Dentistry & Facial Aesthetics to meet Presley—and be sure to tag @bhamnow with your thoughts!

Sponsored by:

The post Meet Presley, the new emotional support puppy at Vestavia Family Dentistry appeared first on Bham Now.

This content was originally published here.

Braces vs. Invisalign -Is the Hype Around Invisalign Really Justified

Often being advocated as “invisible braces”, Invisalign is a renowned product with a commanding market lead among its peers of clear aligners. A look at the growth of Invisalign-producer Align tech says it all – best-performing stock of the S&P 500 (2017), which represents the 500 biggest US companies by market value. Literally everybody knows somebody who had it and who doesn’t secretly or openly crave for perfectly straight teeth without the inconvenience of wearing fixed braces?

But is the hype really justified? Can Invisalign really replace braces altogether – for everyone, regardless of the nature of the tooth positioning issue at hand?

In the following, we want to give an understandable comparison to braces and work out some of the important advantages and disadvantages you need to know before making a decision.

Let’s start with the comparison. Both approaches seek to perfectly align the teeth and are scientifically proven. To understand the differences, one has to take soft factors, like patients’ comfort, convenience and esthetic needs in our modern society into account. It is these categories, which became more and more relevant for the long-neglected group of adult patients in recent years. Modern lifestyle, is widely associated with health, esthetics, comfort and convenience and these trends apparently don’t stop at the doorsteps of medicine and dentistry.

As implied in the name Invisalign, the aligners are barely visible for the outside world, which especially for a considerable proportion of the main interest group of working grown-ups, easily is the most important decision-making factor. Braces, on the other hand, are always visible, even though some newer bracket systems try to tackle this disadvantage by being made out of tooth-colored ceramics. But the wires between the brackets are still made of metal and therefore still visible. In modern days, with people taking increased care of their visual perception by others, this esthetic disadvantage of conventional braces is losing acceptance at every level of society and especially among adults.

In terms of treatment time for the majority of cases, Invisalign narrowly edges out braces with an average of 6 to 18 months as compared to the usual 1.5 to 2 years in brace therapy.

In regards to pricing, it depends on the severity of the case and – especially for brace therapy – can vary considerably from one practitioner to the other. But in most comparable case scenarios, the prices are quite similar and payment in installments is very common for both treatment options, given the duration of the procedure and the significant costs involved.

Another very important issue is comfort. In this point patients almost unanimously prefer Invisalign over , mainly because the latter frequently causes blisters on the cheek which is due to friction from the brackets and wires. In the same category Invisalign also avoids the typical problem of food getting stuck within the braces. While Invisalign also requires proper oral hygiene (patients need to brush after each meal to avoid staining), braces require significantly more attention because of the mentioned food impaction. If a patient fails to manage his or her oral hygiene, we are at times forced to remove the braces altogether to avoid and treat dental caries or gum infections.

From the orthodontist’s perspective, there are still some important advantages for the traditional brace treatment. Especially patients with poor compliance might forget to wear their aligners or even lose them. In both cases, achieving good results can get quite complicated. This, of course, isn’t possible with braces. They aren’t removable, so the patient can’t possibly do anything wrong.

Invisalign developed very fast in recent years and showed more and more capabilities to treat even some of the most complex orthodontic issues with great success. According to a growing number of orthodontists, Invisalign even displays some advantages over braces when it comes to treating vertical issues like open or deep bites. Most practitioners still prefer traditional braces for closing bigger gaps in the lower back jaw. Some practitioners also prefer them for solving rotations of single teeth.

Overall, it must be stated, that Invisalign and other clear aligner systems seem to become more and more important to both patients and practitioners and the trend is so far only accelerating.

It is important to know that Invisalign and other clear aligner systems are also offered by non-specialist general practitioners. Most of them have acquired licenses for certain systems of clear aligners, but this alone isn’t a sufficient quality seal in the eyes of a growing number of patients. Clear aligner systems like Invisalign are often misconceived as simple, straightforward treatment. In most cases it is, but any rotated tooth or more complex issue needs a sophisticated decision making progress. This makes the selection of a trusted practitioner very important. In more complex cases, patients should also consult with their trusted orthodontists.

To put it all together, both systems work similarly with the end goal of ideal alignment. Moreover, they also work in similar case scenarios, with a few rather seldom exceptions, when big tooth gaps in the lower back jaw or severe tooth rotations demand a traditional approach with braces as the better option. Apart from these exceptions, the choice is up to the patient and both treatments deliver very good and predictable results in most cases, if performed by an experienced practitioner. It is the author’s conviction, that clear aligner systems, spearheaded by Invisalign, which continues to dominate the market, will never fully replace the traditional brace therapy for some case scenarios. It must be noted though, that considerable research with aligners led to modified treatment approaches that already solve more complex tooth alignment issues than most practitioners ever expected.

This content is brought to you by Dr. Dominique Laatz MSc.

Photo: Shutterstock

The post Braces vs. Invisalign -Is the Hype Around Invisalign Really Justified appeared first on The Good Men Project.

This content was originally published here.

‘We have to learn to live with’ COVID rather than react to numbers: Top public health expert | Toronto Sun

“We have way more in terms of control measures in place,” Goel says in response to the argument some have made that those most dire indicators are now on the cusp of flaring up. “If we look at how many companies and organizations still have people working from home, so the number of daily interactions are limited, we have physical distancing and other requirements, we don’t have big conferences, sports events, theatres — so we are already starting from a baseline of control measures that didn’t exist back in March.”

On Monday, Ontario reported 700 new cases of COVID-19, the highest number the province had ever recorded. Shortly after the figures were made public, the Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) called for the province to return to a Stage 2 lockdown, which included added restrictions for most businesses.

Article content continued

“We have to really start to think more about all the different data elements and be very clear with Canadians on that strategy and also be clear with Canadians that the strategy is on maximizing overall health,” says Goel.

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That overall health of society includes things like keeping businesses going and the schools open. “We know that unemployment is a major predictor for poor health outcomes and deaths,” Goel notes. “It’s not just about minimizing COVID-19. We also want to ensure our children can develop, we want to keep people working, because if you can’t put food on the table that will effect your health.”

Part of the challenge right now is that the government hasn’t clearly communicated their objective. “Is it containment or eradication? Is it learning to live with it? Is it trying to maximize health across all angles?” Goel asks.

“While eradication is a worthy stretch objective, we need to be realistic and unless we’re going to somehow build a wall and become more like New Zealand and have really drastic control measures, it’s going to be really difficult for Canada to have eradication.

“We have to think about what the world is going to be like until there are effective vaccines fully deployed, and even in that scenario we may still have some cases. So it means we have to learn how to live with this.”

This doesn’t mean Goel thinks there isn’t much more work to be done. He wants to see more testing, contact tracing and supports the use of tracing apps.

This content was originally published here.

Dems say moving forward with Barrett’s confirmation ‘threatens the health and safety’ of members

6m ago / 7:24 PM UTC

Dems say moving forward with Barrett’s confirmation ‘threatens the health and safety’ of members

All 10 Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee are calling on the panel’s Republican chairman, Lindsey Graham, to hold off on the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett.

“To proceed at this juncture with a hearing to consider Judge Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court threatens the health and safety of all those who are called upon to do the work of this body,” the senators wrote in a letter to Graham that was spearheaded by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.

They also wrote that holding a remote hearing for a Supreme Court nomination is “not an adequate substitute.” Conducting the hearings virtually “ignores the gravity of our constitutional duty to provide advice and consent on lifetime appointments, particularly those to the nation’s highest court.”

On Saturday, Senate Republicans signaled that they would move forward with the hearings the week of Oct. 12 despite three GOP senators, including two who are members of the committee, testing positive for Covid-19.

Josh Lederman and Kelly O’Donnell

28m ago / 7:02 PM UTC

Tensions building outside Walter Reed

A tense, circus-like situation has developed outside the entrance to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center between Trump supporters and anti-Trump protesters.

At one point, NBC News witnessed a minor physical altercation between an anti-Trump protester and a maskless Trump supporter carrying a Trump sign. It was unclear who started it, but they took a few swings at each other and screamed before police eventually showed up. It did not appear that anyone was injured. We have not seen any arrests.

“We can’t hear you, you might want to take your mask off, come on,” one Trump supporter is shouting through a megaphone.

Both local police and military police are now on hand.

In addition to shouting at each other, both the pro-Trump people and the anti-Trump people have been driving back and forth along Rockville Pike, where the media is set up on the sidewalk, honking their horns and occasionally screaming at reporters.

There are about 50 or so people gathered currently, mostly Trump supporters, some with signs wishing the president a speedy recovery. A few have signs saying coronavirus is a hoax.

The anti-Trump protesters have signs with profane references to Trump.

Trump’s physician walks back earlier statements, tries to clear up diagnosis timeline

Dr. Sean Conley, President Donald Trump’s physician, clarified comments from earlier Saturday when doctors stated that the president was “72 hours” into his diagnosis and had begun treatment “48 hours ago.”

“This morning while summarizing the President’s health, I incorrectly use the term ‘seventy two hours’ instead of ‘day three’ and ‘forty eight hours’ instead of ‘day two’ with regards to his diagnosis and the administration of the polyclonal antibody therapy,” Conley wrote in a statement.

While Conley did say during the press conference that Trump was “72 hours” into his diagnosis, he did not make the comment about starting treatment “48 hours ago.” Dr. Brian Garibaldi, another physician at the news conference, made those remarks.

Conley’s statements earlier in the day created a cloud of confusion, raising questions as to whether the president had withheld his diagnosis from the public for more than 24 hours and whether he had continued to hold campaign events knowing he was ill.

This content was originally published here.

Bellingham Pediatric Dentistry Uses New Technology to Improve Safety, Comfort – WhatcomTalk

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, small businesses across the country have had to make changes to stay in operation. Bellingham Pediatric Dentistry has implemented new technology to not only better protect their patients from transmission of COVID-19, but to change kids’ experience at the dentist altogether. 

The laser also operates at such a high temperature that it kills all bacteria and viruses with which it comes into contact—great news for reducing the spread of coronavirus from the aerosolization of particles in saliva. Photo courtesy: Bellingham Pediatric Dentistry

“We were closed down for two and a half months,” says Dr. Sawyer Negro, pediatric dentist and owner of Bellingham Pediatric Dentistry, referring to the initial coronavirus lockdown in March and April. “It really gave us a good time to pivot and accelerate where I wanted my practice to go, so that I could be delivering the most compassionate care to all of my families and kids.”

Part of Dr. Sawyer’s business pivot was to implement use of the Solea dental laser. It’s the first dental laser to be cleared by the FDA as safe and effective for both hard and soft tissues, meaning the hard enamel that covers teeth as well as the surrounding gums. Because of the type of energy the laser uses and the tiny wavelength at which it operates, the Solea allows Dr. Sawyer and his team at Bellingham Pediatric Dentistry to offer patients a safer and more comfortable dental experience. 

Dr. Sawyer most frequently uses the laser for filling cavities and frenectomies, a procedure in which he operates on infants with a constriction in their tongue or lip that is inhibiting them from successfully breastfeeding. With the Solea laser, he is able perform the frenectomies knowing that infants will feel less post-operative discomfort. The way the laser energy penetrates into the tissue provides natural analgesia, causing the area to be numb for about four to six hours.

Dr. Sawyer Negro is the pediatric dentist and owner of Bellingham Pediatric Dentistry, which serves families throughout Whatcom County. Photo courtesy: Bellingham Pediatric Dentistry

“Often these little one-month-olds come out of the procedure smiling,” Dr. Sawyer says. “It’s one of my favorite parts of my practice.”

The natural numbing is true for most cases where Dr. Sawyer uses the Solea laser, which also helps him be more efficient in seeing his patients. Instead of having to give kids a shot of local anesthetic, wait until it takes effect, and then come back to administer a procedure—which takes more time and often ends up requiring more than one visit to the dentist—Dr. Sawyer can fill a cavity or do another simple procedure during a routine teeth-cleaning appointment.

The efficient and relatively pain-free nature of the Solea laser was a big motivator for its implementation. 

Bellingham Pediatric Dentistry is open to the public for all its regular services. They have implemented many new protocols to keep their patients safe and healthy, including having patients wait in their car before their appointment rather than the waiting room. Photo courtesy: Bellingham Pediatric Dentistry

“I always try to view my patients as my own kids and how I would like to treat them,” says Dr. Sawyer. “If I don’t have to give my daughter the scariest part of the dental visit, of course I’m going to go for that option.”

If he’s able to take away the connotation that going to the dentist is scary or every time you go to the dentist you have to get a shot, that will be a success for Dr. Sawyer.

“I’m really trying to reshape the dental experience, so that these kids can grow up to be young adults with healthy smiles and low dental fear anxiety, so they don’t have to dread it,” he says. “There are so many adults who avoid going to the dentist and then end up with larger cavities that get out of control.”

The Solea laser also allows Bellingham Pediatric Dentistry to lower the chance of coronavirus transmission within their office. The laser greatly reduces the aerosolization of particles from the mouth that could spread around the clinic, because it operates with about 75 percent less air pressure than a conventional hand drill. 

The laser also kills any viruses or bacteria with which it comes into contact. The Solea uses thermal energy at a temperature that far exceeds the temperature required to kill viruses and bacteria. So if a patient were carrying the virus in their saliva, any saliva that gets pushed out of their mouth wouldn’t still carry the virus.

Bellingham Pediatric Dentistry has started using a new technology for some of its procedures. The Solea dental laser is the first laser to be FDA approved for all tissues and allows Dr. Sawyer to see his patients more efficiently, better protect them from the spread of COVID-19 and is less painful and scary for kids. Photo courtesy: Bellingham Pediatric Dentistry

Dental lasers have existed within the industry for several decades, but this laser is the first FDA-certified laser for all tissues. By targeting collagen and hydroxyapatite—the main component of enamel—the Solea laser helps decrease potential bleeding after a surgery and provides the natural numbing.

While it doesn’t mean he will never have to use a conventional drill or a numbing shot again, Dr. Sawyer is proud to be the first dentist in Whatcom County to be using a Solea laser.

“Just having this option [so] I can do work without having to get the kids numb is, I think, revolutionary,” he says. “The technology is great, but it’s really about their experience, and making sure they have a good experience to carry with them through the rest of their lives.”

This content was originally published here.

Sanders pushes Biden to focus more on wages, health care

Sanders, a progressive leader and former 2020 presidential candidate, has been advocating for Biden to put a greater emphasis on issues such as workers’ wages and health care coverage, a former campaign aide says.

The Vermont senator “is working as hard as he can to help Joe Biden win the most important election in modern American history” but has said there are areas he thinks the former vice president’s campaign can “continue to improve upon,” Faiz Shakir, the senator’s former campaign manager, said in a statement.

The statement was first reported by The Washington Post and later shared with The Hill.

“He has been in direct contact with the Biden team and has urged them to put more emphasis on how they will raise wages, create millions of good paying jobs, lower the cost of prescription drugs and expand health care coverage,” Shakir said.

“He also thinks that a stronger outreach to young people, the Latino community and the progressive movement will be of real help to the campaign,” Shakir said.

The Biden campaign declined to comment on the statement.

The independent Vermont senator kept up momentum among the party’s progressive flank by jumping into the 2020 primaries, winning early victories before ultimately losing ground to Biden.

Sanders suspended his bid in April and has since worked to simultaneously boost Biden – campaigning for him and offering a plea at the Democratic National Convention for his supporters to rally around the former vice president – while also pushing progressive priorities like “Medicare for All” and the Green New Deal.

The effort to get Biden to focus more on issues advocated by the party’s left flank, which helped propel the senator’s two White House bids, is somewhat unusual given that nominees generally modulate their rhetoric in the campaign’s final stretch in an effort to appeal to more moderate voters in the general election.

The push underscores concerns among some skeptical liberals that the former vice president is not sufficiently appealing to the party’s more progressive members who may not have come around to the former vice president’s more centrist brand of politics.

The Post, citing three people familiar with the conversations, reported Saturday that Sanders has told associates that Biden could risk falling short in November if he continues with a more centrist approach.

Sanders and Biden are known to have a good personal relationship, helping them avoid the acrimony that characterized the months after the 2016 primary season.

Biden has also already offered olive branches to progressives by crafting working groups to unite moderates and liberals, allowing them to hammer out proposals on issues such as climate change and health care, which have produced policies that have included progressive tenets.

Beyond policies, people familiar with the conversations between Sanders and Biden told the Post that Sanders is also concerned that the former vice president has not embraced some high-profile personalities in the progressive movement, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezSanders pushes Biden to focus more on wages, health care Sixty percent of young Latinos support Biden: poll Woodward: Trump insulted Obama’s intelligence, called him ‘overrated’ MORE (D-N.Y.).

But Biden has remained determined to push back on claims from Trump that he’s embraced radical “far-left” policies, distancing himself from calls to defund the police, implement a single-payer health plan and ban fracking. And polls have suggested that voters do not see Biden as a staunch progressive, indicating his moderate reputation remains intact.

“Do I look like a radical socialist with a soft spot for rioters?” Biden said in a speech last month in response to Trump’s claims’ he’d exacerbate national protests over systemic racism. “I want a safe America — safe from COVID, safe from crime and looting, safe from racially motivated violence, safe from bad cops.” 

This content was originally published here.

Reducing Aerosols and Splatter for Safer Dentistry with Solea®

Up to 99.9% Reduction in Aerosols & Splatter

Due to the recent COVID-19 pandemic, dentists are understandably concerned with the risk of disease transmission from patient to practitioner and staff. There is evidence that aerosol generated during dental procedures may harbor active pathogens that can infect the dentist or hygienist. Small, invisible particles may contain these pathogens to a small extent, but larger droplets and splatter are likely to contain significant concentrations of these active pathogens and are less easily removed by nearby suction.

To investigate how Solea® can help dental practices reduce the risk of transmission, the Convergent Dental R&D team designed two structured and controlled studies: a macroscopic and a microscopic. Study results demonstrate that Solea supports safer dentistry by reducing aerosols and splatter by up to 99.9% compared to the traditional drill.

Solea vs. the Drill: General Device Settings

The studies described below were performed by a dentist in a dental clinic using a conventional high-speed drill and the Solea all-tissue laser. Each study also used an HVE suction device during each procedure.

The Drill

High-speed drills rotate at speeds up to 400,000 rpm, use air pressures in the range of 30-40 psi, and utilize water flows in the range of 30-60 ml/min. The high-speed drill used in this study rotated at 350,000 rpm, used 30 psi air pressure, and used a 50 ml/min water flow rate. These settings followed manufacturer approved guidelines and were deemed acceptable by the dentist.

Solea

Solea has a range of settings that can be adjusted by the practitioner. For this study, the following manufacturer approved guidelines were used: 10 PSI, 8 ml/min water flow, 50% cutting speed and 1.25mm spot size. These settings were deemed acceptable by the dentist.

Macroscopic Testing: Splatter Spread and Visualization

The objective of the macroscopic approach was to obtain a visualization of the splatter and droplet spread generated during a hard-tissue dental procedure. To mimic this, extracted human molars were placed in a model of a human head, and mounted in normal positions inside the mouth. To clearly view the splatter created, food dye was added to the water reservoirs in both Solea’s and the chair’s system. The high-speed drill and laser were each operated for ~10 seconds.

The drill generated splatter as far as 45cm while Solea only produced minimal detectable splatter a few millimeters from the mouth (Figure 1). The study confirmed that Solea produces, at a minimum, 97% less splatter than the drill.

Figure 1. Images showing the splatter (darker color) generated by High Speed Handpiece and Solea on a cover sheet located above the operatory chair.

Microscopic Testing: Quantification of Splatter Concentration

The aim of this study was to quantify splatter and aerosol residue created directly outside of the oral cavity. Extracted human molars were again placed in a model of a human head and food dye was added to the water reservoirs in both Solea’s and the chair’s system. Glass slides were placed at various distances from the tooth, and both the drill and laser were used to cut following the clinical settings previously described. The slides were then examined under a microscope to compare splatter coverage (Figure 2).

A computer program (ImageJ) was used to quantify and compare the total coverage area of the residue.

The study results show that Solea produces ~98% less splatter at 2mm from the tooth, and ~99.9% less splatter at 8mm (Figure 3). Compared to the drill, Solea produces exponentially less splatter as you measure farther from the tooth.

Figure 2: Example splatter coverage on glass slides at 2cm from the tooth.

Figure 3: Quantification of splatter coverage at various distances from the tooth.

Conclusion

These structured and controlled studies corroborate that Solea supports safer dentistry by reducing dental splatter and aerosols by up to 99.9% compared to traditional handpieces. Solea achieves this by utilizing ~67-83% less water flow, ~74% less air pressure, and by cutting without contact, as opposed to drills, which cut using burs that spin at up to 400,000 RPM.

These findings support recent guidance provided by the ADA, recommending dentists use clinical techniques that “reduce aerosol production as much as possible, as the transmission of COVID-19 seems to occur via droplets and aerosols.”

REFERENCES: 1. Ando Y, Aoki A, Watanabe H, Ishikawa I. Bactericidal effect of erbium YAG laser on periodonto-pathic bacteria. Laser Surg Med 1996;19(2):190-200. 2. Cavalcanti BN, Seraidarian PI, Rode SM Water flow in high-speed handpieces: Quintessence International vol 36 (5) 2005 3. Miyazaki A, Yamaguchi t, Nishikata J,Okuda K, Suda S,mOrim K, Koboyashi T, Yamazaki K, Yoshikawa E, Yoshie H. Effects of Nd:YAG and CO2 laser treatment and ultrasonic scaling on periodontal pockets of chronic periodotitis patients. J Periodontol 2003;74(2):175-180. 4. Niemz MH, Laser Tissue Interaction: Fundamentals and Applications, Springer 2003. 5. Olivi G, Genovese MD, Caprioglio C. Evidence-based dentistry on laser paediatric dentistry: Review and outlook. Eur J Paediatr Dent 2009;10(1):29-40. 6. Russell AD, Lethal effects of heat on bacterial physiology and structure. Sci Prog 2003;86(1-2):115-137.

The post Reducing Aerosols and Splatter for Safer Dentistry with Solea<sup>®</sup> appeared first on Convergent Dental.

This content was originally published here.

Fox Valley coronavirus: Hospitalizations quadruple in weeks as local health leaders warn gatherings must stop

COVID hospitalizations have spiked in the Fox Valley. Health officials warn if behavior doesn’t change, we could be in for a tough fall.

Madeline Heim
Appleton Post-Crescent
Published 7:30 AM EDT Sep 17, 2020

Wisconsin health officials have warned of it since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic: When case numbers rise, hospitalizations will follow. 

For weeks, cases have been burgeoning in the Fox Valley.

Oshkosh, Neenah, Appleton and Green Bay all appear on the New York Times’ list of metro areas in the United States where new cases are rising the fastest. Outagamie County on Wednesday had the second-highest case rate in the state, with 545.2 cases per 100,000 declared in the last two weeks. And the city of Appleton, along with Winnebago County, have each broken records for new cases in a single day or week. 

Now hospitalizations have begun to follow at a rate that has some local leaders alarmed — a trend that breaks with what Wisconsin is seeing statewide. 

The number of patients hospitalized for COVID-19 has increased four-fold in recent weeks throughout the Fox Valley Healthcare Emergency Readiness Coalition, which includes Outagamie, Winnebago, Calumet, Menominee, Shawano, Waupaca, Waushara and Green Lake counties. 

On Aug. 29, 13 patients were hospitalized in the eight-county region. On Wednesday, just over two weeks later, that number had grown to 60. 

The area covered by the Fox Valley HERC also makes up a disproportionate amount of the state’s 370 hospitalizations — accounting for 16% of the total patients hospitalized on Wednesday, despite having a combined population of about 550,000, roughly 9% of Wisconsin’s 5.8 million people. 

Sixty patients spread throughout eight counties is not an unmanageable number. Fox Valley HERC coordinator Tracey Froiland said in an email Monday that there is “plenty of hospital capacity” throughout the region. 

But the speed with which the number of patients spiked has prompted local hospitals to activate their surge plans, which detail how to expand capacity for COVID patients, and triggered concern that area hospitals could be overtaxed later this fall.

Models show that new cases could begin to overwhelm hospital resources by mid-October if the region’s trend isn’t reversed, said Winnebago County Health Officer Doug Gieryn. 

“It’s going to really take off from there, if we can’t get a lid on this somehow,” Gieryn said. 

Appleton-area hospitals prepare for a sustained increase of COVID patients in coming weeks

Sixty percent of the patients who are currently hospitalized in the region are at ThedaCare Regional Medical Center in Appleton, which has been the health system’s primary location for COVID patients since the pandemic began, said Dr. Imran Andrabi, ThedaCare president and CEO. 

The region was lucky to have low hospitalization numbers throughout most of the summer, Andrabi said.

In an email to ThedaCare employees obtained by The Post-Crescent, leaders detailed their plans to begin housing COVID patients at their Neenah hospital as well as at critical access hospitals in Berlin, Shawano and Waupaca.

The hospitals will likely see a continued increase for at least the next several weeks “pending dramatic changes in social distancing and masking practices by the community,” Michael Hooker, vice president and chief medical officer of acute care, wrote in the email. 

In a plea to the community to keep practicing social distancing and mask-wearing, Appleton Mayor Jake Woodford also expressed concern that local health systems could become inundated with new patients, as hospitalizations tend to lag a few weeks behind a large surge in confirmed cases. 

“If we don’t change something … we are back to square one, where we were back in February and March, and actually probably even somewhat worse off than at that moment in time,” Andrabi told The Post-Crescent Wednesday. 

Staff at Ascension Wisconsin’s St. Elizabeth campus in Appleton have noted that an increase in large social gatherings — weddings, funerals, Green Bay Packers watch parties — is driving rapid rates of infection and then hospitalization, said Dr. Tom Nichols, vice president of medical affairs at the hospital. 

At the moment, the hospital hasn’t had to use any of its emergency overflow units to house COVID patients, Nichols said, but those units are at the ready. 

To blunt the impact on hospital staffing and resources come fall, people must make personal sacrifices to keep themselves and others safe, Nichols said. He said it’s discouraging when doctors and nurses are on their way to the hospital and see multiple cars at someone’s house for some sort of get-together. 

“I can’t stress enough how much the behavior of the community has on what the next month or two will look like in the Fox Valley,” Nichols said. 

Even as some residents experience “COVID fatigue,” the term linked to the rise in social gatherings and poor adherence to Gov. Tony Evers’ mask mandate, now is the time to step up safe behaviors, Andrabi said, as cases rise and the additional threat of seasonal influenza looms. 

Rampant infection could pose risk of illness, mental exhaustion for hospital staff 

Even as the state health department has logged multiple record-breaking days of new COVID-19 cases, with a seven-day average of 1,339 cases per day, overall hospitalizations are not jumping up across the state. 

Hospitalizations rose statewide from 268 patients on Aug. 29 to 370 on Sept. 16, a far cry from the rate at which the Fox Valley numbers are rising. 

State and local officials are unsure what’s driving the sharper increase in this region compared to the rest of Wisconsin, but Andrabi said many new hospitalizations are of people ages 50-59, not the elderly or other populations that have been more typically vulnerable to serious illness from the virus. 

So the message hospital leaders will continue to push in the coming weeks is that the community once again has to play a part in flattening the curve, as was the case in spring. 

Wearing masks, physical distancing, hand-washing and avoiding larger gatherings are all still the best tools to slow the spread of the virus. Community buy-in on those practices is suffering, Gieryn said. 

“It’s a lot easier to keep the levels low than it is to recover from when things get out of control,” Gieryn said. Once hospitals are strained, “it may be too late to come back.”  

Beyond bed space and personal protective equipment, there’s another problem should hospitals become inundated with COVID-19 patients: Staff burnout, both mental and physical. 

Having 60 COVID patients in the hospital systems already requires a significant amount of resources, Andrabi said. 

And ThedaCare employees have already navigated the pandemic with limited PPE and shortages of critical ingredients needed to run coronavirus tests, he said. If infection rates rise to the level where doctors and nurses are getting sick, that further depletes resources.

The Fox Valley has a smaller pool of additional health care providers to pull from should large swaths of hospital staff get sick than large metro areas, Nichols said. 

“We don’t want to push our staff to the point of exhaustion,” he said, “and we don’t have to, if the community can really band together.” 

Contact Madeline Heim at 920-996-7266 or mheim@gannett.com. Follow her on Twitter at @madeline_heim. 

This content was originally published here.

Missouri Sends $2.1M In Medical Marijuana Revenue To Military Veterans Health Programs

When it comes to supporting military veterans with medical marijuana revenue, Missouri is beginning to put its money where its mouth is.

The first-ever transfer of cannabis revenue to a state veterans fund just place, with more than $2.1 million routed from the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) to the Missouri Veterans Commission (MVC), where it will fund health services for those who have served in the military.

The payment comes just ahead of the opening of Missouri’s first medical cannabis dispensaries, which regulators said Friday are expected to begin business later this month.

A provision in the state’s medical marijuana law that was passed by voters in 2018 routes all state cannabis revenue after expenses to the veterans commission. While taxes won’t begin flowing until sales begin—a 4 percent tax will be taken at dispensaries—the state has already collected millions in license and registration fees from businesses and patients.

🇺🇸 Over $2 million from the medical marijuana program has been transferred to a veterans fund with @MOVetsComm. More 👉 https://t.co/qhB0vphWwd pic.twitter.com/zJBPeAlcDF

— Mo Health & Sr Srvcs (@HealthyLivingMo) September 12, 2020

“Facilities are getting up and running now, and the first testing laboratory is on track to be operational very soon,” Lyndall Fraker, director of DHSS’s medical marijuana regulation section, said in a statement Friday. “We are confident that medical marijuana will become available for patients this month, and I am grateful for all the hard work by so many that got us to this point.”

DHSS said that a “formal presentation of this significant transfer of funds is being planned in the near future.”

We are so glad to see this program reach another milestone!

— Mo Health & Sr Srvcs (@HealthyLivingMo) September 12, 2020

“Missourians voted on this amendment because it allowed for a safe and well-regulated medical marijuana program for patients, but it also was written to simultaneously benefit our very deserving veterans through services MVC will now be able to provide,” DHSS Director Randall Williams said.

Despite the seven-figure sum, Missouri has raised far more in cannabis revenue than the $2,135,510 sent to the veterans commission. Under the state’s legalization law, the money is first used to pay operating expenses, which turned costly last year as the state’s licensing program for medical marijuana businesses came under fire.

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the state has spent $1.3 million defending itself against legal challenges filed by would-be medical cannabis businesses whose applications were rejected by the state. Of 853 administrative appeals filed against the state, a DHSS spokeswoman told the paper, 785 remained unresolved as of last Wednesday.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic put the state legislature on pause, lawmakers had held a series of hearings on the licensing process, which critics have alleged was subjective and unfair. “It’s not yet clear from those hearings,” the Kansas City Star Editorial Board wrote in March, “whether the obvious scoring issues reflect simple human error, serious incompetence, or something more sinister such as conflicts of interest or corruption.”

The state medical marijuana program had generated $19 million as of this past December, the Post-Dispatch report notes, “meaning the state spent nearly 7 percent of fees collected last year on legal expenses.” The program had also, as of December, spent another $3.1 million on administrative fees.

State Rep. Peter Merideth (D) said the state’s opaque licensing process and “arbitrary cap” on the number of licenses available served to undercut the program’s economic promise, which is part of what sold voters on legalization.

“There are businesses across our state ready to get off the ground, and the government’s getting in the way and stopping them from doing it,” Merideth told the Dispatch. “Instead of raising money for veterans, from this whole business development in our state, we’re spending that money to pay lawyers and fight to keep businesses from opening.”

Missouri Lawmakers Defeat Amendment To Require They Consume Marijuana Before Voting

The post Missouri Sends $2.1M In Medical Marijuana Revenue To Military Veterans Health Programs appeared first on Marijuana Moment.

This content was originally published here.

Behind the Scenes at Our Invisalign® Treatment Consultation – Happy Mothering

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This post was sponsored by the Invisalign® brand and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

A couple of months ago, we were presented with the opportunity to partner with the Invisalign® brand for complimentary treatment for our daughters. Our girls are 9 and 11, so they’re right at the age where we are exploring different options for orthodontic treatment. We knew Zoë definitely needed to have her overbite corrected and Kaylee has expressed interest in having her teeth straightened, so they were both pretty excited to go see the orthodontist.

We were worried about braces since snowboarding is such a huge part of the girls’ lives. I can’t imagine how painful it would be to smack your face with braces. So the idea of Invisalign treatment over traditional braces was definitely appealing to all of us.

To find out if they qualified for treatment, we scheduled an initial consultation for both girls! Brian even created a really great video of our entire visit so you can actually experience the initial consultation first hand. After watching the video, you can read more details about our experience under the video.

What is Invisalign Treatment?

If you’re not familiar with Invisalign treatment, it’s an alternative to traditional braces. It’s actually considered the most advanced aligner system in the world! Unlike braces, Invisalign treatment is a convenient system for straightening teeth that allows you to remove the nearly clear aligners to enjoy the foods you love and maintain good oral hygiene.

How it works is that you get a series of clear aligners made that will slowly straighten your teeth by shifting them just a little bit at a time. The material the aligners are made from has been shown to straighten teeth more predictably than any other clear aligners*, so that’s something to keep in mind when you’re considering your options. I was surprised to learn that Invisalign clear aligners are able to move teeth horizontally, vertically, and can even rotate them if necessary. I always assumed, incorrectly, that they were only for minor corrections.

* Compared to off-the-shelf, single layer .030in material

Since they’ve been on the market for over 20 years now, they’ve had a lot of experience helping people with everything from simple to complex orthodontic cases. So far, more than 6 million people have gone through Invisalign treatment**.

** Data on file at Align Technology as of October 29, 2018

Since our daughters snowboard and are very active, we were much more interested in Invisalign clear aligners than traditional braces.

In case you’re curious, the cost of Invisalign treatment is often comparable to braces and many dental insurance plans cover Invisalign aligners just as they would any other orthodontic treatment, so check with your provider.

Our Initial Consultation

Our initial consultation was with Hoff Orthodontics, which is a local Invisalign-trained orthodontic practice.

When we first walked in, we were greeted and checked in. Then we were given a tour of the office.

After the tour, it was straight over to imaging for both girls. They took pictures of their face, all of their teeth and their bite.

Then did a 3D scan of their heads so we could see everything that is going on.

We then headed back over to the Dr. Hoff’s office where he could examine the girls’ mouths and talk about the imaging with us. We discussed Kaylee first since she’s younger.

Kaylee Still Has a Lot of Baby Teeth

Right now, Kaylee isn’t quite ready for Invisalign clear aligners because she still has too many baby teeth, as you can see in the 3D image of her head. We did learn, however, that she needed to have a special retainer made to hold space in her mouth for her adult teeth to come in properly.

We’ll reevaluate whether she’s a good candidate for Invisalign treatment again when she has lost her baby teeth.

Zoë is Ready for Invisalign Treatment

After we finished up talking about Kaylee, it was time to talk about Zoë. She just turned 11, but she only has one baby tooth left. We knew she had an overbite, but we didn’t realize she had other things in her mouth that needed to be corrected like a cross-bite.

Dr. Hoff explained, in detail, the issues with Zoë’s teeth, then concluded that she would be a good candidate for Invisalign treatment. He expects her treatment to take up to two years to complete.

He explained the advantages of Invisalign treatment over traditional braces to us (you can watch his full talk in the video above). Some of the points he made were that eating food is easier since braces aren’t in the way and maintaining good oral hygiene is easier since you’re not trying to brush around brackets. You simply remove your aligners in order to eat, brush, and floss as you normally would.

We live in the mountains and have to drive over an hour each way to the orthodontist. That’s no big deal, we’re used to it, but with traditional braces, there are emergencies that need to be addressed. A bracket comes loose, a wire breaks or the wire is poking into your child’s gums and it’s straight to the orthodontist to get it fixed.

You don’t have those same issues with Invisalign clear aligners. There are no wires to worry about and no emergency appointments to fix them if they break. That is a huge reassurance for us since we do live so far from the orthodontist.

No More Pink Goo: On to Digital Impressions

After we decided that Zoë was ready for treatment, it was straight to get the scans to have her Invisalign clear aligners made. It was such a fascinating process! You have to watch the video further up in this post to see how it works.

When I had braces, I had to bite into that messy pink goo to get my impressions done. It tasted awful and it made me gag. If you had braces, then you probably have vivid memories of that experience too. While you can still use the goo for impressions if your practice doesn’t have a digital scanner, you can now also receive impressions digitally with Invisalign treatment, on their iTero® digital scanner. My sweet daughter didn’t have to experience my childhood memory of the pink goo.

The iTero® scanner takes thousands (6,000 to be exact***) of images every second to recreate a 3D digital image of the inside of your child’s mouth on the computer. This allows the orthodontist to create a treatment plan and the Invisalign brand to create your child’s clear aligners.

*** Data on file at Align Technology as of November 7, 2018

When they’re done scanning, you even get to see a rendering of what your child’s new smile could look like. It’s really neat!

Follow Zoë’s Invisalign Treatment Journey

We’ll be talking about Zoë’s Invisalign treatment journey on the blog and social media over the next year. In the next post, you’ll get to see Zoë in her Invisalign clear aligners, so stay tuned!

Find an Invisalign Treatment Provider

If you’re curious whether Invisalign treatment is right for your child, you can use the Doctor Locator feature on the Invisalign® brand website to find an Invisalign-trained orthodontist in your area.

Have you or your child had Invisalign treatment? I’d love to hear your experience in the comments.

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Discrimination, high blood pressure, and health disparities in African Americans

Over the past few months, we have all seen the results of significant disruption to daily life due to the COVID-19 pandemic, high levels of unemployment, and civil unrest driven by chronic racial injustice. These overlapping waves of societal insult have begun to bring necessary attention to the importance of health care disparities in the United States.

Direct links between stress, discrimination, racial injustice, and health outcomes occurring over one’s lifespan have not been well studied. But a recently published article in the journal Hypertension has looked at the connection between discrimination and increased risk of hypertension (high blood pressure) in African Americans.

Study links discrimination and hypertension in African Americans

It has been well established that African Americans have a higher risk of hypertension compared with other racial or ethnic groups in the United States. The authors of the Hypertension study hypothesized that a possible explanation for this disparity is discrimination.

The researchers reviewed data on 1,845 African Americans, ages 21 to 85, enrolled in the Jackson Heart Study, an ongoing longitudinal study of cardiovascular disease risk factors among African Americans in Jackson, Mississippi. Participants in the Hypertension analysis did not have hypertension during their first study visits in 2000 through 2004. Their blood pressure was checked, and they were asked about blood pressure medications, during two follow-up study visits from 2005 to 2008 and from 2009 to 2013. They also self-reported their discrimination experiences through in-home interviews, questionnaires, and in-clinic examinations.

The study found that higher stress from lifetime discrimination was associated with higher risk of hypertension, but the association was weaker when hypertension risk factors such as body mass index, smoking, alcohol, diet, and physical activity were taken into consideration. The study authors concluded that lifetime discrimination may increase the risk of hypertension in African Americans.

Discrimination may impact hypertension directly and indirectly

Discrimination is a chronic stressor that has been proposed to contribute to adverse health outcomes, including hypertension. Discriminatory acts may directly impact hypertension via the stress pathway, triggering a rise in hormones that cause blood vessels to narrow, the heart to beat faster, and blood pressure to rise. Discrimination may also contribute to the development of hypertension through unhealthy behaviors, such as unhealthy eating or sedentary lifestyles. People may even avoid seeking medical care due to concern that they will experience discrimination in a medical setting.

Two other longitudinal studies (a type of study that follows participants over time) have examined discrimination and hypertension. A 2019 study published in Annals of Behavioral Medicine found that everyday discrimination may be associated with elevated hypertension risk among a sample of white, African American, Latino, and Asian middle-aged women. Another 2019 study in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found association between chronic discrimination and hypertension in a large sample of African American women.

Disparities are evident across health indicators

Racial and ethnic health disparities are reflected in a number of national health indicators. For example, in 2002, non-Hispanic Blacks trailed non-Hispanic whites in the following areas:

  • people younger than 65 with health insurance (81% of non-Hispanic blacks versus 87% of non-Hispanic whites)
  • adults 65 or older vaccinated against influenza (50% versus 69%) and pneumococcal disease (37% versus 60%)
  • women receiving prenatal care in the first trimester of pregnancy (75% versus 89%)
  • adults 18 and older who participated in regular moderate physical activity (25% versus 35%).

In addition, non-Hispanic Blacks had substantially higher proportions of deaths from homicide, and children and adults who were overweight or obese, compared to non-Hispanic whites.

Many factors contribute to health inequities

For African Americans in the United States, health disparities can mean earlier deaths related to development of chronic disease such as diabetes, hypertension, stroke, heart disease, decreased quality of life, loss of economic opportunities, and perceptions of injustice. In our society, these disparities translate into less than optimal productivity, higher health care costs, and social inequity.

It is clear that multiple factors contribute to racial and ethnic health disparities. These include socioeconomic factors such as education, employment, and income; lifestyle factors like physical activity and alcohol intake; social and environment factors, including educational and economic opportunities, racial/ethnic discrimination, and neighborhood and work conditions; and access to preventive health care services such as cancer screening and vaccination.

The solution to health disparities for African Americans is certainly within our societal grasp. It requires leadership at a state and national level, appropriate resource allocation, and larger and more focused clinical investigation.

The post Discrimination, high blood pressure, and health disparities in African Americans appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.

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Coronavirus Nashville Cases: Mayor’s Office, Health Department Concealed Low COVID Numbers | National Review

Officials in Nashville, Tn. concealed from the media how few coronavirus cases had been traced to bars and restaurants in the city, according to emails sent between the mayor’s office and the city’s health department. 

Emails obtained by FOX 17 News appear to show that the two offices seemingly conspired to conceal data showing that while construction and nursing homes led to more than a thousand cases each as of June 30th, only 22 cases had been traced to bars and restaurants. 

In a discussion of the numbers, Leslie Waller from the health department asked, “This isn’t going to be publicly released, right? Just info for Mayor’s Office?”

“Correct, not for public consumption,” replied senior advisor Benjamin Eagles.

The next month, in response to rumors that only 80 cases had been traced to bars and restaurants, a Tennessean reporter asked, “The figure you gave of ‘more than 80’ does lead to a natural question: If there have been over 20,000 positive cases of COVID-19 in Davidson and only 80 or so are traced to restaurants and bars, doesn’t that mean restaurants and bars aren’t a very big problem?”

An unnamed sender responded, “My two cents. We have certainly refused to give counts per bar because those numbers are low per site. We could still release the total though, and then a response to the over 80 could be because that number is increasing all the time and we don’t want to say a specific number.”

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A city staff attorney, at the instruction of council member Steve Glover, was able to verify that the emails are real, the report said. 

Glover accused the city of covering up the data and “fabricating information.”

“They’ve blown their entire credibility,” he said. “It’s gone, I don’t trust a thing they say going forward …nothing.”

The councilman said many bartenders, waitresses, and restaurant owners from downtown Nashville have reached out asking why officials wouldn’t release those numbers. 

This content was originally published here.

14 Things You Should Know Before You Get Invisalign | Chief Health

Invisalign braces sound fantastic – don’t they? They actually are too! However, here are 14 things you should know before you get Invisalign…

Every time a celebrity smiles for the camera, we can’t help but notice the perfect set of teeth they have. Some people feel envious of the perfectly straight set of pearly whites, while others can only hope that they get new ones just like Dustin Matarazzo (Stranger Things).

Sometimes, even after wearing braces for a decade, teeth don’t become flawless. People, who have gone through the pain of wearing traditional braces know the discomfort of the entire process.

Even after taking them off, there might be significant space between the teeth, which can cause difficulty in chewing.

Apart from the functional challenges, uneven teeth can cause a significant lack of confidence. We have seen teenagers, and young adults shy away from photos and selfies because they are conscious of their crooked teeth.

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Some impressionable children spend hours in front of the mirror practicing closed-mouth smiles or daydreaming about the day they will have straight teeth.

Teeth can be stubborn, and it can take multiple rounds of braces and jaw surgeries to correct the dental alignment. It is not only a costly procedure but also a painful one. Most adults do not have a health insurance plan that covers dental surgeries.

Moreover, these surgeries can take multiple sittings over two to four weeks, depending upon the complications. One modern and almost pain-less alternative is the Invisalign method.

According to an expert Orthodontist, Invisalign is similar to braces, but instead of metal wires and brackets, Invisalign uses invisible, custom-made aligners or retainers of plastic. These are significantly less noticeable than regular braces.

If you are an adult, who has always shied away from wearing braces as a kid, or someone who remembers how odd it felt wearing colorful “straightjacket” on your teeth, the Invisalign braces are worth a try.

Since these are relatively new and not a lot of orthodontists in the city work with them, you might find it challenging to find consolidated information on Invisalign and their benefits. We are happy to share the insight from Invisalign users from the last few years –

1. You Will Need To Wear Them 22 Hours Per Day

We have seen actors wear their retainers before sleeping and take them off before leaving for work. Like many Hollywood fantasies, their retainer wear time is one as well.

You might want to rethink your plans of taking them off for going on date night or heading to bed. You should keep them on unless it is time for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Moreover, you might want to invest in a couple of travel-sized toothbrushes for emergencies.

2. Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner Are Your Friend

Taking Invisalign braces off and putting them back on can be a difficult task when you’re first starting out. With this in mind, you will want pack on the calories for breakfast, lunch, and dinner to avoid excess snacking and taking your braces off more than you need to.

3. You Might Receive More Attachments Than You Expect

Invisalign braces sometimes include attachments. These attachments hold the Invisalign aligners in place and stick to your teeth just like braces brackets. They are often enamel-colored so the bumps are virtually invisible.

It is quite similar to wearing braces, except the Invisalign attachments are inconspicuous and less uncomfortable. Be warned – you may be told that you only need a few and end up with 20 (or more).

4. You May Lose Weight

Since the recommended wear time is 22 hours, that leaves two hours to eat per day. It’s an ambitious goal, but you should do your best to follow the guidelines. It really sucks to pull off your aligners more times than necessary because of how tight the Invisalign braces are and how sore your teeth may become. Even if you attempt to pack on the calories at mealtime, you may still be hungry many hours throughout the day – resulting in weight loss.

5. Say Goodbye To Your Favorite Lipstick

Colored lip gloss and lipsticks won’t be your friend when you begin using Invisalign braces. Lipstick and colored lip gloss easily sticks to the aligners and the attachments. Clear lip balm and gloss will be okay, but even they can leave a waxy residue on the aligners. Dramatic eye makeup can draw some of the attention away from your teeth.

6. No More Manicures

Popping the aligners in and out is almost impossible without nails, so unless you’re hapy with chipped nails, you should only buff them and stay away from painting them. If you still want to have gorgeous nails and avoid chipping them, you will want to buy an aligner removal tool.

7. Kissing Gets Awkward

Who would’ve guessed it? Yes, it is really weird trying to kiss with a giant plastic device all in and around your mouth. However, Invisalign shouldn’t kill your love life unless kissing is all you’re good at… (Don’t worry – we are only teasing!)

8. Whitening Isn’t An Option Until After You’re Finished

As long as the attachments are on your teeth, whitening won’t be an option until the treatment is complete. However, brushing your teeth often and avoiding stain-causing beverages will help your enamel quite a bit.

9. You Will Have To Be More Careful About Oral Hygiene

Brushing your teeth will become an addiction once you get the Invisalign braces. It is quite easy to get food and bits of snacks in the attachments.

Unless you brush more than three times per day, at least once every meal, you will suffer from bad breath and cavities. Not brushing is the leading cause of plaque buildup and tartar formation.

Always carry a toothbrush and toothpaste set with you, along with a small bottle of any mouthwash your orthodontist recommends.

10. The Invisalign Attachments Capture Stains

When you drink tea and coffee, without a complementary brushing habit, you are at full risk of developing stains on your attachments. Although Invisalign is almost invisible, these stains can take away that advantage. You might end up with blotchy looking attachments with bits of sugary stacks stuck all over your teeth.

11. No Hot Food

You can only drink cold water, or drinks at room temperature because hot water and other hot beverages will easily stain the aligners. Plus, they might even warp the attachments.

You might want to avoid sugar and alcoholic drinks. Alcohol with high congener content can increase the plaque buildup and stain the aligners. Reports from regular Invisalign users state that drinking red wine can stain the retainers almost immediately.

12. You Will Receive A Refinement Aligner

Once you complete your basic set of Invisalign retainers, you will receive another set of custom designed refinement aligners that can fix any stubborn crooked teeth. These can take care of the slightly misaligned teeth and the unsightly spaces between them. You should speak with your orthodontist before you begin your Invisalign treatment.

13. Consult With Your Orthodontist When Planning Vacations

Find out from your orthodontist about the next set of appointment dates before you head off to the tropics for summer. Although the Invisalign attachments require next to no maintenance, as long as you are regular with your brushing and honest with your oral hygiene, you might want to consult your dental expert before you make big plans in the next few months.

14. It’s A Small Sacrifice For A Giant Gain

Wearing Invisalign retainers is a breeze compared to wearing the metal braces we received as children. The duration of wearing this retainer will vary from one person to another depending on the condition of their teeth. You should consult your orthodontist regarding the different stages of Invisalign and refinement retainer attachments.

There aren’t too many cons of wearing Invisalign instead of going for metal braces or corrective surgery. The cost is negligible considering the long-term positive effect of the retainers on teeth alignment and self-confidence. Invisalign will help you make the right choice in life, and it will give you the perfect teeth you have always desired.

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What You Need to Know About Immune System Health After 50

More than 24 million Americans have an autoimmune disease, and that number is climbing. When researchers in North Carolina examined 14,000 Americans between 1991 and 2012, they discovered that the prevalence of antinuclear antibodies, an early marker of autoimmunity, had increased by 45 percent. Another study — this one spanning three decades — found that autoimmune diseases of the joints, glands and digestive system are rising at a steady 3.7 to 7.1 percent each year. Smoking and being overweight are two risk factors within your control that are associated with greater risk of RA, one of the most common autoimmune disorders, which affects the lining of your joints.

Food allergies. This is an immune system overreaction that can occur immediately after eating something as seemingly benign as a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Food allergies now afflict more than 1 in 10 adults, according to a Northwestern University study of 40,000 people. Rates are particularly high for shellfish, milk and nut allergies, and the number of people who have them has been climbing steadily since the 1980s. “We’re now more susceptible to responses against harmless stuff that shouldn’t be a big problem for our immune system,” Ansel says. “But instead we generate these big and often destructive responses.”

So what’s causing the confusion in the immune system? To a large extent, it’s our changing environment.

“Our bodies deal with thousands of chemicals that were not in the environment 50 years ago — and some not even 20 years ago,” says Aristo Vojdani, a clinical immunologist and adjunct associate professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine at Loma Linda University. Heavy metals and industrial pollutants are among the top offenders, but pesticides, preservatives and compounds in food can also alter immune function. All told, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) counts more than 300 environmental chemicals that reach measurable levels in our bodies.

“Exposure to different environmental insults can add up and alter how the immune system functions,” says David Shepherd, a professor of environmental immunology at the University of Montana. “In some cases, [the chemicals] are immune-activating,” meaning they cause inflammation, “and in others, they’re immunosuppressive,” which makes you susceptible to attack.

Add to that a general decrease in physical exercise, ever-increasing levels of stress and, yes, our increasing age. All these many factors have laid siege to our immune system like never before.

Andrew Brookes/Getty Images

Get to know your immune system

When bacteria and viruses enter your body, these natural defenders spring into action   

Macrophage
This gargantuan white blood cell lies in wait within healthy tissue. Sometimes years pass without action, but when a pathogen emerges, macrophages release a blast of proteins called cytokines, which calls the immune system into battle. From there, the macrophage joins the cleanup crew by gobbling up dead and crippled pathogens.

Natural Killer Cell
Some infected cells can be rendered “invisible” to the immune system, which allows the pathogen to continue to spread unabated. That’s when natural killer cells provide an extra layer of defense. A natural killer cell has the ability to identify abnormal cellular appearance — as is often the case with cells infected by a virus. The killer cell studies its mark, and if the suspect cell appears to be infected, it releases proteins near the suspected pathogen. The pathogen then eats the protein — a fatal, final meal.

Neutrophil
At the first sign of trouble, neutrophils swarm like killer bees with multiple stingers. Neutrophils can capture their enemy, set traps, inject poison and amplify signals that pull in more immune-system warriors. Neutrophils only live for about a day, but as long as the battle continues, fresh cells keep showing up to fight. Unfortunately, in their frenzy, they can often mistake healthy cells for the enemy. When that happens, and the neutrophils attack healthy tissue, the result is inflammation, and inflammatory diseases, throughout the body.

B Cell
Although B cells don’t kill invaders directly, they help to slow down pathogens by covering them with sticky Y-shaped proteins, robbing them of their strength and making them easy targets for cells like macrophages, which eat them in clumps. The B cell is an adaptive immune cell, meaning it is highly effective against diseases it has battled before but struggles to recognize new pathogens. When a novel coronavirus arrives, it takes time to ramp up production of antibodies.

T Cell
The T cell is one of the special-ops white blood cells called upon to “recognize” a foreign invader and know exactly how to fight it off. With new enemies like COVID-19, however, the process can take weeks. Once the T cell learns the code — essentially mapping the molecular structure on a pathogen’s surface — it quickly trains an army of T cells to begin opening infected cells and pumping them full of toxins. Doctors call this process immunity, although with COVID-19, we still aren’t certain how long it lasts.

This content was originally published here.

Mercury Use in Dentistry Is on Its Way Out

This Mercury-Free Dentistry Week, we celebrate the 20th anniversary of Consumers for Dental Choice, the nonprofit advocates moving mercury-free dentistry from dream to reality.

From protecting dentists’ right to practice without mercury-laden dental amalgam fillings to obtaining mandated fact sheets to inform patients about amalgam’s mercury content, to bans and restrictions on amalgam use around the world, Consumers for Dental Choice and its leader, former state Attorney General Charlie Brown, are making mercury-free dentistry more widely available than ever before.

And, that progress is starting to sway the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the chief regulator of dental amalgam, at the federal level. Thanks to your donations, Consumers for Dental Choice has reopened the door for FDA action against amalgam.

I ask that you continue your support by donating at ToxicTeeth.org, and I will match all donations during Mercury-Free Dentistry Week (August 23 to 29, 2020) up to $150,000. So, double your impact today. Together, we can win the campaign for mercury-free dentistry at FDA that has come so far.

>>>>> Click Here <<<<<

Consumers for Dental Choice Sues the FDA — and Wins

The FDA is legally required to classify — that is, issue a rule for — all medical devices, including dental amalgam. But for 30 years, FDA dodged its legal duty to classify amalgam.

Consumers for Dental Choice put an end to FDA’s negligence. In 2008, this dynamic nonprofit organization assembled plaintiffs and sued FDA, demanding that amalgam be classified. The judge agreed and told FDA to sit down with Consumers for Dental Choice to determine a deadline. FDA was compelled to commit to classifying amalgam by July 2009.

But when July 2009 came around it was clear the FDA had not considered the science — especially the evidence of harm amalgam can cause vulnerable populations like children, pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers. Its abysmal rule reflected it, posing no restrictions on amalgam use to protect the public — or even requiring that patients be told that amalgam is made of mercury.

Nonetheless, FDA’s rule acknowledged that amalgam could be harmful and that there was no proof of safety for the populations most susceptible to this toxin:

“The developing neurological systems in fetuses and young children may be more sensitive to the neurotoxic effects of mercury vapor. Very limited to no clinical information is available regarding long-term health outcomes in pregnant women and their developing fetuses, and children under the age of six, including infants who are breastfed.”

Fortunately, Consumers for Dental Choice never puts all its eggs in one basket. So, Charlie and his team challenged FDA’s rule while pursuing other opportunities to advance mercury-free dentistry, like defeating pro-mercury state dental boards, fighting for amalgam fact sheet laws for patients at the state level and getting amalgam into the Minamata Convention on Mercury.

And as Consumers for Dental Choice racked up win after win — regaining licenses for mercury-free dentists persecuted by state boards, gaining fact sheets to protect dental patients, achieving an amalgam reduction requirement in the Minamata Convention — the FDA’s rule became more and more outdated and the U.S. slipped further and further behind.

Consumers for Dental Choice’s Game-Changing Return to FDA

Almost a decade after the FDA issued its flawed amalgam rule, Consumers for Dental Choice launched a nonstop campaign focused on getting FDA moving again on amalgam. And that campaign is starting to bear fruit. To succeed, Consumers for Dental Choice brought a whole new ball game to the FDA, giving the agency even more reasons to act.

First, Consumers for Dental Choice assembled an accomplished team of experts to approach the FDA. In 2018, they unveiled the Chicago Declaration to End Mercury Use in the Dental Industry at the University of Illinois School of Public Health.

This declaration, signed by 50-plus heavy-hitter environmental groups, called on the FDA “to bring its policies in line with the Federal Government as a whole and with its responsibilities under the Minamata Convention and to publicly advise a phase down of the use of mercury amalgams with the goal of phasing out entirely.”

Furthermore, it recommended immediately ceasing amalgam use in children, pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers. Working with some key signatories to the Chicago Declaration, Consumers for Dental Choice sent the declaration to FDA — and their team got meetings with the top of the agency.

Second, Consumers for Dental Choice organized a strong showing of public support from you. Do you remember its online petition that almost 50,000 of you signed? Consumers for Dental Choice presented it to the FDA in person at its first meeting with the agency and has continued to make sure your voice is heard via such means as the public comments on patient preferences it asked you to submit to the FDA last spring.

As one article’s headline described the result, “FDA Gets Mouthful on Mercury Dental Fillings After Requesting Public Comment on Device Regulation.” Third, Consumers for Dental Choice presented the FDA with new science showing amalgam’s harmful effects.

FDA Flips Their Position on Amalgam

Having reached the top of the agency, Consumers for Dental Choice could submit scientific studies that someone at the FDA would read. As a result, FDA’s most recent scientific review of amalgam flips FDA’s position on a major issue.

FDA now recognizes evidence that shows once dental amalgam is implanted in the human body, its elemental mercury can convert to toxic methylmercury — the same type of mercury that the FDA warns about in fish.

Furthermore, FDA is starting to recognize the bioaccumulative effect of amalgam’s mercury. With patients exposed to so many sources of mercury — from high-mercury fish in their diets, occupational exposures in their workplaces and waste incinerators emitting mercury in their neighborhoods — the mercury from amalgam could very well be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

Consumers for Dental Choice laid a track record of victories on the table at the FDA. Working with strong local partners, Consumers for Dental Choice has won amalgam phase-out set dates in the Philippines, Ireland, Slovakia, Finland, Nepal, Moldova, Czech Republic and New Caledonia.

Consumers for Dental Choice has also won — again partnering with a local partner — bans on amalgam use in children in the European Union, Vietnam and Tanzania, and public warnings about amalgam’s mercury in Nigeria.

And, it let the FDA know about these victories because if other countries can do it, so can the U.S. Armed with this new support, Consumers for Dental Choice succeeded in persuading the FDA to reopen the amalgam issue, starting with a new FDA review and scientific advisory committee meeting.

Consumers for Dental Choice Convinces the FDA

In November 2019, the promised FDA scientific advisory committee met to discuss metal implants and specifically dental amalgam. First, the committee heard from the public, primarily Consumers for Dental Choice’s team of 16 experts.

Consumers for Dental Choice executive director Charlie Brown testified alongside 15 heavy hitters from the Children’s Environmental Health Network, Tuskegee University, International Indian Treaty Council, Organic & Natural Health Association and Connecticut Coalition for Environmental Justice, as well as city and county commissioners, a physician expert in environmental justice, a pharmacist specializing in toxicology and several attorneys — all speaking out for mercury-free dentistry.

You can see Consumers for Dental Choice’s team and their colleagues in action in the video at the top of this article, which shares highlights of the advisory panel meeting. The FDA advisory committee members discussed amalgam among themselves. They recommended that the agency provide information to patients about the risks of dental amalgam, especially for vulnerable populations.

Committee members expressed particular concern about the disproportionate use of amalgam in disadvantaged populations, including communities of color and low-income communities that are already exposed to higher levels of toxins. And many committee members even called for an end to amalgam use:

Dr. McDiarmid — “I’ll speak for myself and say I think that the evidence is there because we can show an exposure and we know the behavior of these neurotoxicants in the developing brain of children. We really need to think about continuing to just bless this because the evidence isn’t quite there.”

Dr. Connor — “But it seems like if a product came on the market today that said it’s 50% made with a material we know is highly toxic and we’re only going to use it predominantly in disadvantaged populations, we wouldn’t be having a meeting, you know? FDA would not approve it without a meeting.

So, I mean, I’ll leave that right there in terms of our discussion, but if this were coming on the market today saying it’s 50% highly toxic material and we’re predominantly going to use it in disadvantaged populations, it wouldn’t even be a question.”

Dr. Weisman — “So given all that, my feeling is that mercury-containing amalgam should probably be on its way out.”

Mr. Lison — “I think everybody would agree that mercury in the body isn’t a good thing. I see no reason why it shouldn’t be phased out as quickly as possible.”

Even the FDA advisory committee chair, Dr. Rao, agreed as he summed up the committee’s conclusions to the FDA:

“And I think, generally, the Panel feels in response to Question Number 6 that the evidence that was presented and is available currently confirms what was previously known and tends to move the needle a little bit further along in the direction that there is some recognition and understanding of the risks associated with mercury-containing amalgams.

These risks are to the environment and also to the patient, and potentially, to the — and to the dental professionals involved in the insertion of these. I don’t think there’s been any clear understanding of a quantified increase in risk that is available currently.

But the trend seems to be that when there are alternatives available to the use of mercury, the general direction should be to move away from using mercury-containing amalgams and towards non-mercury-containing products to help with dental restorations.”

So, the consensus of its own advisory committee is that FDA’s silence on amalgam must end. But as executive director Charlie Brown explains:

“FDA has a history of not acting on advisory committee recommendations, so Consumers for Dental Choice is keeping them on the agency’s plate. We’ve been following up with meetings, letters from experts and multiple memos answering specific questions raised at the committee meeting.”

Now It’s Your Turn to Act

Consumers for Dental Choice has brought a whole new ball game to FDA, and this time it looks like the FDA is ready to play ball. But you don’t have to wait on the government; you can go to a mercury-free dentist now by checking out Consumers for Dental Choice’s listing of mercury-free dentists.

With your continuing support, this effective advocacy organization can make the dream of mercury-free dentistry a reality at the FDA. Will you consider a donation to this 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to advocating mercury-free dentistry?

If you donate during Mercury Awareness Week (August 23 to 29, 2020), I will double your money. I’ll match you, dollar for dollar (up to $150,000). Donations are tax-deductible and can be made online at ToxicTeeth.org. Checks can be mailed to:

Consumers for Dental Choice
316 F St., N.E., Suite 210
Washington DC 20002

Thank you for helping make the dream of mercury-free dentistry into reality for all patients, everywhere.

>>>>> Click Here <<<<<

This content was originally published here.

L.A. County Health Director Admits Schools Won’t Open Until After the Election – The Rush Limbaugh Show

RUSH: The Los Angeles County health director is a woman by the name of Barbara Ferrer, and she got caught. It was an open mic moment. She has said that it’s not realistic to open the schools now. (paraphrased) “No, no, no. We can’t open the schools now. That would be very, very unrealistic. No, no, no, no. We are gonna open the schools after the election.”

You see, the phony part of science has tied the reopening of schools to an election. Not to a vaccine, not to treatments, not to infection rates, but to the election, in Los Angeles County. Every aspect of the education of our children has been politicized, meaning education is dead in the public schools. It means that indoctrination is now the name of the game.

Pupils, students are nothing more than pawns for Democrat games. So education, journalism, comedy, sports, they have all been cheapened, they have all been diminished, they have all been perverted now. So, here is the tape. Here’s Dr. Barbara Ferrer on a conference call with school administrators and medical professionals.

FERRER: We, uh, don’t realistically anticipate that we would be moving to either tier 2 or reopening, uh, K-through-12 schools at least through, uh, — at least until after the election. It seems to us a more realistic, uh, approach to this would be to think that we’re gonna be where we are now until, uh, we get after — until we — we are done with the election.

RUSH: Now, what’s that got to do anything? (summarized) “We won’t be moving to either tier 2 or reopening K-through-12 schools at least until after the election. It seems to us a more realistic approach to this would be to think that we’re gonna be where we are now until, uh, we get after — until we — we are done with the election.”

Really? Gonna reopen the schools after the election? Oh, yeah. We can’t do it before the election. That would help Trump! We’ll do it after the election, and especially, especially if Biden wins. However, there’s a problem. I want to share with you some headlines that I just took from the Drudge page today, because there are people who think that COVID-19 is once again declining.

Number of infections: Declining. Number of deaths: Declining. Okay. Here’s some headlines. “Pandemic About to Enter its Most Treacherous Phase?” Oh, yeah! You got people out there thinking it hasn’t even gotten anywhere near as bad as it’s gonna get. You wait ’til fall and winter hits, and you wait ’til people have to go back and stay inside most of the day.

Oh, you have no idea how bad it’s gonna be! It’s gonna be worse than it’s been ever. (That’s what that story is.) Next headline: “Centers for Disease Control: People with Virus Twice as Likely to Have Eaten at a Restaurant.” Right when they’re trying to open inside dining in New York, here comes a story from the CDC: “People with Virus Twice as Likely to Have Eaten at a Restaurant.”

I mean, my old buddy Sal Scognamillo is hoping to be able to open up Patsy’s and all of his fellow restaurateurs for 25 to 40% inside dining capacity, and here comes a story (from the CDC no less) that people who have COVID-19 are twice as likely to have eaten at a restaurant. That’s like saying, “People involved in automobile accidents yet have eaten carrots in the past 30 days.”

It’s just… (interruption) You want more? Here’s more. “Hospitals, Nursing Homes, Fail to Separate Patients, Putting Others at Risk.” Oh, yeah. Did you know that when you go to the hospital, they’re not even trying to keep you separate from the COVID-19 patients? No. They’re putting you right in the same place, same part of the hospital.

You could easily get infected just because the hospitals are not separating people. There’s more: “France Records 9,800 New Cases, the Highest Daily Total Yet.” “Spiking in Eastern Europe; Hungary Drafts ‘War Plan,’” and the piece de resistance: “Fauci Warns U.S. Needs to ‘Hunker Down’ for Fall, Winter: ‘It’s Not Going to Be Easy.’”

So here we are with the LA health executives thinking we’re gonna open schools after the election — that’d be in November — and that we’re gonna start showing over the hump and the number of cases, number of deaths gonna be on the way down. Not so fast. Not so fast. It’s gonna be worse than ever, are the headlines that you can easily find throughout the Drive-By Media.

You know, I have some contradicting or contradictory stories again.

This content was originally published here.

UAE Covid-19 vaccine is safe to use, cleared for health staff

The vaccine will be available to the frontline workers who are at the highest risk of contracting the virus, a minister announced.

The UAE’s Ministry of Health and Prevention (Mohap) has announced an “emergency approval” for use of a Covid-19 vaccine that’s being trialled here.

The vaccine will be available to the frontline workers who are at the highest risk of contracting the virus, a minister announced. This will protect them from any dangers.

“The vaccine emergency approval for use is fully aligned with regulations and laws which permit (an) accelerated authorisation process,” said Abdul Rahman bin Mohammed Al Owais, Minister of Health and Prevention, during a virtual Press briefing on Monday. “The results of the first and second test phases (of the vaccine) showed that it is safe, effective and triggered the right response.”

He noted that the emergency approval was granted on “meeting a set of criteria for this specific purpose, and working closely with the vaccine’s developers”.

Dr Nawal Al Kaabi, Chair of the National Clinical Committee for Covid-19 and Principal Investigator of the third phase of clinical trials of the inactive vaccine, said the clinical trials are “moving on the right path, with all tests being successful so far”.

“In less than six weeks since the study began, 31,000 volunteers representing 125 nationalities have participated in the clinical trials. The side effects which have been reported so far are mild and expected, like any other vaccine, and no severe side effects have been encountered,” she said.

Officials said the vaccine’s evaluation was done “under a licence for emergency and limited use, considering target groups, product characteristics, clinical studies data, and all relevant available scientific evidence”.

“The health authorities have followed all procedures to control the quality, safety and efficacy of the vaccine, in coordination with the vaccine’s creators,” said Dr Al Kaabi.

Phase III clinical trial of the Covid-19 inactivated vaccine was rolled out in Abu Dhabi on July 16.

Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA) had in July collaborated with the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi, G42 Healthcare and Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinopharm CNBG – the developer of the vaccine – to facilitate the third phase of its clinical trials.

A team of specialist medical practitioners from SEHA has been managing the trials. All shots have been administered at dedicated centres equipped to accommodate the volunteers – both Emiratis and expats.

Volunteers are intensively monitored for approximately 42 days. They need to visit the testing centres at least 17 times. During this time, the individual is required to not travel outside the country and needs to have easy access to the clinics. After this, periodic follow-ups are conducted via teleconsultation for up to six months.

ismail@khaleejtimes.com 

This content was originally published here.

Mental health professionals replace police on some Denver 911 calls under new program

A concerned passerby dialed 911 to report a sobbing woman sitting alone on a curb in downtown Denver.

Instead of a police officer, dispatchers sent Carleigh Sailon, a seasoned mental health professional with a penchant for wearing Phish t-shirts, to see what was going on.

The woman, who was unhoused, was overwhelmed and scared. She’d ended up in an unfamiliar part of town. It was blazing hot and she didn’t know where to go. Sailon gave the woman a snack and some water and asked how she could help. Could she drive her somewhere? The woman was pleasantly surprised.

“She was like, ‘Who are you guys? And what is this?’” Sailon said, recounting the call.

This, Sailon explained, is Denver’s new Support Team Assistance Response program, which sends a mental health professional and a paramedic to some 911 calls instead of police.

Since its launch June 1, the STAR van has responded to more than 350 calls, replacing police in matters that don’t threaten public safety and are often connected to unmet mental or physical needs. The goal is to connect people who pose no danger with services and resources while freeing up police to respond to other calls. The team, who is not armed, has not called police for backup, Sailon said.

“We’re really trying to create true alternatives to us using police and jails,” said Vinnie Cervantes with Denver Alliance for Street Health Response, one of the organizations that helped start the program.

Though it had been years in the making, the program launched just four days after protests erupted in Denver calling for transformational changes to policing in response to the death of George Floyd.

“It really kind of proves that we’ve been working for the right thing, and that these ideas are getting the recognition they should,” Cervantes said.

No day is alike according to the two professionals from the Mental Health Center of Denver who work out of the van — Sailon and Chris Richardson.

Rachel Ellis, The Denver Post

Chris Richardson, associate director of criminal justice services at Mental Health Services of Denver, helped coordinated the use of the STAR van, pictured behind him.

The team has responded to an indecent exposure call that turned out to be a woman changing clothes in an alley because she was unhoused and had no other private place to go. They’ve been called out to a trespassing call for a man who was setting up a tent near someone’s home. They’ve helped people experiencing suicidal thoughts, people slumped against a fence, people simply acting strange.

“It’s amazing how much stuff comes across 911 as the general, ‘I don’t know what to do, I guess I’ll call 911,’” Richardson said. “Someone sets up a tent? 911. I can’t find someone? 911.”

The city has touted the program, still in its pilot, as an example of progress as it is barraged with criticism during and after the protests.

“It’s the future of law enforcement, taking a public health view on public safety,” Denver police Chief Paul Pazen said. “We want to meet people where they are and address those needs and address those needs outside of the criminal justice system.”

Pazen doesn’t think an expanded program would reduce the number of police officers needed by the city but it would allow them to focus on other priorities, such as violent crime and traffic fatalities. The STAR van handles a small fraction of the department’s annual 600,000 calls, but the department is tracking calls across the city to see how many could be handled by the STAR team if it were to expand.

The department has seen an increase in the number of mental health related calls over the last few years, he said, and data collected by the state shows that about a third of the people in Denver’s jails are unhoused.

“Instead of putting people in handcuffs we’re trying to meet their needs,” Pazen said.

The STAR program builds off the city’s co-responder program, which has paired mental health professionals with police officers since 2016 on calls where a person is suspected needing mental health services. The 17 mental health professionals responded to 2,223 calls in 2019 and the city’s Department of Public Health and Environment pays the Mental Health Center of Denver about $700,000 a year for their services. The co-responser program, which started with three mental health workers, is hiring now to expand to 25 such professionals, Pazen said.

The combination of STAR, the co-responder program and regular police units creates a sort of continuum of response that dispatchers can choose from, Richardson said. So far, the most common calls the van responds to have been trespassing and mental health checks.

“Once upon a time, someone called and police were tagged in to see what was going on,” Pazen said. “And I think we’re at a point where we’re realizing that police don’t have to be the first people all the time.

During STAR’s six-month pilot program, the van is operating between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday through Friday in central downtown and along South Broadway. Eventually, the community groups want to move the STAR program from underneath the police department and manage it themselves, an idea Pazen said he supports.

The pilot program was paid for by a grant from Caring for Denver, a pot of money for initiatives to address mental health and substance abuse collected through a sales tax. The foundation managing the money awarded $208,141 to launch the STAR program. Though sales tax revenue is expected to decline in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Cervantes said the city should make STAR part of its budget and expand it citywide.

Rachel Ellis, The Denver Post

An unmarked STAR van is parked at West 5th Avenue and Banncock Street in Denver.

“I’m not so much worried about the funding being there, it’s about the will to get funding to the right places,” Cervantes said.

Organizers are working to help other cities adopt the program. Aurora city leaders are considering launching their own program as they face protests about police brutality and pressure to reshape emergency response.

One of the perks is the team often has the luxury of working with a person for two hours if needed, Sailon said. They’re able to build lasting relationships and connect people to longterm support.

“The rapport we’ve been able to build with people is really incredible,” Sailon said. “Something’s on the right track.”

This content was originally published here.

Thom Tillis staffer tells cancer survivor that people only deserve health care if they can afford it | Salon.com

North Carolina Republican Sen. Thom Tillis — viewed as one of the most vulnerable GOP senators in 2020 — has found himself in an uncomfortable situation after a staffer’s excessively honest comments to a constituent were caught on tape.

As first reported by WRAL, Bev Veals of Carolina Beach, a three-time cancer survivor, called her senator out of fear that her health insurance was at risk. She has previously faced medical bankruptcy and difficulty accessing care, WRAL said, and her husband was furloughed because of the pandemic. She wanted assurance that she’d have coverage if she lost her health insurance.

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But Tillis’s office wasn’t helpful. While speaking to a dismissive staffer, Veals began to record their conversation, which was provided to WRAL and can be viewed above.

“You’re saying that, if you can’t afford it, you don’t get to have it?” she asked. “That includes health care?”

“Yeah, just like if I want to go to the store and buy a new dress shirt. If I can’t afford that dress shirt, I don’t get to get it,” the staffer explained.

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“But health care is something that people need!” Veals said, clearly alarmed. “Especially if they have cancer.”

“Well, you got to find a way to get it,” the staffer said.

“So what do I do in the meantime, sir?” she asked, not hiding the irritation in her voice.

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The response was snide: “Sounds like something you’re going to have to figure it out.”

Tillis’s office has apologized after Veals came forward about the exchange: “The way Mrs. Veals was talked to by a staff assistant in our Washington office was completely inappropriate and violates the code of conduct Senator Tillis has for his staff, which is why immediate disciplinary action has been taken.”

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But the truth is that, insensitive and rude as the staffer’s comments to Veals were, they were simply a much more honest reflection of the Republican Party’s policies on health care than officials typically admit. But the truth isn’t hard to see. The Trump administration is currently arguing that the Supreme Court should overturn all of Obamacare, throwing millions of people off their insurance and invalidating protections for pre-existing conditions, along with other provisions that protect patients.

The unofficial Republican Party policy, though, is to lie about this fact. Trump is constantly telling voters that he protected pre-existing conditions — even though he has done nothing to ensure they’re covered — and that he’ll continue to keep these protections in place, even though he’s trying to destroy them.

The Tillis staffer, apparently, didn’t get the message. He has imbibed the attitude at the heart of the GOP’s policy preferences. His mistake was being honest with a member of the public about the policy.

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Veals, for one, doesn’t seem deceived by the office’s apology. And that’s because she still hasn’t gotten the original answer to the question she called about.

“We need our legislators to listen to us and help us solve this problem because it’s not just my problem – not being able to afford health care,” she told WRAL. “It’s the problem of hundreds and thousands of North Carolinians.”

North Carolina is one of 12 states in the U.S. that has not adopted Medicaid expansion, a policy that would help cover people like Veals if they lost their insurance. Tillis opposes Medicaid expansion.

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In a statement to WRAL, Tillis dishonestly defended his position:

“When he was Speaker of the House [in North Carolina],” the statement continues, “Senator Tillis inherited a Medicaid program that was mismanaged and plagued with overspending and inefficiency. Expanding Medicaid at the time would have been a promise that the state wouldn’t have been able to keep, requiring cuts to the program that would have harmed patients that states like New York and California have already been forced to make. Instead, Senator Tillis worked to strengthen the state’s Medicaid program to deliver quality health care to patients, and the reason the North Carolina is in a position to discuss expansion is because of Senator Tillis’ leadership.”

These claims are in spectacularly bad faith. Medicaid expansion has been wildly successful across the United States — it can even save states money. And claiming to be concerned about “cuts to the program” that harm patients is absurd when patients like Veals can be left with no coverage at all. It’s even more pernicious, though, because the recent stressed on state budgets in the wake of the pandemic come from the Senate Republicans’ refusal to provide recovery funds to state and local governments, as Democrats have sought to do.

It’s these comments — far more than a staffer’s rudeness — that should be the real scandal.

This content was originally published here.

U.S. Pulls $62 Million in Funding from World Health Organization

The Trump administration pulled $62 million in funding from the World Health Organization on Wednesday and is taking further steps to withdraw from the body, which the United States accuses of helping China obfuscate information about the coronavirus pandemic.

The United States is on track to cut its funding and personnel from the agency before July 2021, when President Donald Trump’s order earlier this year ending the U.S. relationship with WHO is set to begin, according to senior administration officials working on the matter. The United States will not consider rejoining the organization until it “gets its act together,” according to Nerissa Cook, deputy assistant secretary of state in the Bureau of International Organization Affairs.

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U.S. officials informed the WHO of the administration’s decision Wednesday and reiterated demands that the organization implement a series of widespread reforms to limit China’s interference in the body. American diplomats have been pressuring the organization for months over its efforts to help China hide evidence of the coronavirus’s origins. The Trump administration maintains the WHO was complicit in Beijing’s efforts to promulgate lies about the virus in the early days of its spread. The WHO went along with China’s claim that it was the first country to publicly report the virus. U.S. pressure on the WHO has irritated China and European powers that continue to maintain the organization is an effective oversight body.

“The position of the White House is that the WHO needs to reform, and that is starting with demonstrating its independence from the Chinese Communist Party,” Cook said. “And it needs to make improvements in its ability to prepare for, to prevent, to detect, and to respond to outbreaks of dangerous pathogens.”

The United States paid around 22 percent of the WHO’s regular budget, more than $100 million a year. In 2020, the United States sent more than $120 million to the organization, $58 million of which had been disbursed prior to Trump’s decision to freeze funding to the organization in April. The remaining money “will be reprogrammed to the U.N.” for other programs and organizations the United States still supports, according to Cook.

After it leaves the WHO, American diplomats will continue to pressure for reforms that they say must be implemented before the United States considers rejoining the organization. In addition to splitting from China, the United States is demanding structural reforms that would help the WHO more quickly respond to emerging pandemics and inform the world about possible dangers.

“If they’re interested in seeing the United States stay, they will take [those demands] seriously and negotiate seriously,” said Garrett Grigsby, director of the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Global Affairs.

The Department of Health and Human Services, as well as the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), will end its voluntary contributions to the WHO and begin bringing American officials stationed there home before the end of the year, officials from both agencies confirmed. This includes Americans who are working with the WHO on various global health issues.

USAID and HHS, however, will not halt what they called “one-time” donations to the WHO. This includes up to $40 million that HHS has promised the organization to support its work with immunization and influenza, according to Grigsby.

USAID will also move forward with a “one-time disbursement” this year of up to $68 million to support the WHO’s work on health issues in Libya and Syria, according to Alma Golden, USAID’s assistant administrator for global health.

After both agencies make good on these donations, officials will begin to cement partnerships with organizations and countries that are not WHO members, officials said.

“The World Health Organization has failed badly by those measures, not only in its response to COVID-19, but to other health crises in recent decades,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement on Thursday. “In addition, WHO has declined to adopt urgently needed reforms, starting with demonstrating its independence from the Chinese Communist Party.”

This content was originally published here.

USC Professor Placed on Leave after Black Students Complained His Pronunciation of a Chinese Word Affected Their Mental Health | National Review

The University of Southern California has placed a communications professor on leave after a group of black MBA candidates threatened to drop his class rather than “endure the emotional exhaustion of carrying on with an instructor that disregards cultural diversity and sensitivities” following the instructor’s use, while teaching, of a Chinese word that sounds like a racial slur.

Greg Patton, a professor at the university’s Marshall School of Business, was giving a lecture about the use of “filler words” in speech during a recent online class when he used the word in question, saying, “If you have a lot of ‘ums and errs,’ this is culturally specific, so based on your native language. Like in China, the common word is ‘that, that, that.’ So in China it might be ‘nèi ge, nèi ge, nèi ge.’”

In an August 21 email to university administration obtained by National Review, students accused the professor of pronouncing the word like the N-word “approximately five times” during the lesson in each of his three communication classes and said he “offended all of the Black members of our Class.”

The students, who identified themselves as “Black MBA Candidates c/o 2022” wrote that they had reached out to Chinese classmates as they were “appalled” by what they had heard. 

“It was confirmed that the pronunciation of this word is much different than what Professor Patton described in class,” the students wrote. “The word is most commonly used with a pause in between both syllables. In addition, we have lived abroad in China and have taken Chinese language courses at several colleges and this phrase, clearly and precisely before instruction is always identified as a phonetic homonym and a racial derogatory term, and should be carefully used, especially in the context of speaking Chinese within the social context of the United States.”

The students accused the professor of displaying “negligence and disregard” in using the word and said he “conveniently stop[ped] the zoom recording right before saying the word,” calling his actions calculated. 

“Our mental health has been affected,” the group continued. “It is an uneasy feeling allowing him to have the power over our grades. We would rather not take his course than to endure the emotional exhaustion of carrying on with an instructor that disregards cultural diversity and sensitivities and by extension creates an unwelcome environment for us Black students.”

The students added that the incident “has impacted our ability to focus adequately on our studies.”

“No matter what way you look at this, the word was said multiple times today in three different instances and has deeply affected us. In light of the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and the recent and continued collective protests and social awakening across the nation, we cannot let this stand,” the group concluded, before calling for an immediate remedy to the situation. 

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In response, Dean Geoff Garrett apologized for the professor’s use of a “Chinese word that sounds very similar to a vile racial slur in English,” in an email on August 24 obtained by National Review, saying “understandably, this caused great pain and upset among students.”

“I am deeply saddened by this disturbing episode that has caused such anguish and trauma,” he said.

The dean announced that a new instructor would immediately take over instruction for the remainder of the class.

Two days later, in an email to members of the USC Marshall Graduate Student Association Executive Board, Patton apologized, explaining that he has taught the course for 10 years and had been given the example by several international students years ago.

“The inclusion is part of a deep and sustained effort at inclusion as I have reached out to find and include many international, global, diverse, female, broad and inclusive leadership examples and illustrations to enhance communication and interpersonal skill in our global workplace,” he said. 

“I have since learned there are regional differences, yet I have always heard and pronounced the word as ‘naaga’ rhyming with ‘dega,’” the professor wrote.

He added that the transcript of the session records his pronunciation as “naga” and that his pronunciation of the word comes from time spent in Shanghai. 

“Given the difference in sounds, accent, context and language, I did not connect this in the moment to any English words and certainly not any racial slur,” he wrote.

“Unfortunately messages have circulated that suggest ill intent, extensive previous knowledge, inaccurate events and these are factually inaccurate. Fortunate [sic] we have transcripts, audio, video, tracking of messages and a 25 year record,” he wrote. “I have strived to best prepare students with Global, real-world and applied examples and illustrations to make the class content come alive and bring diverse voices, situations and experiences into the classroom.”

He said he had received positive feedback on the lesson in years past but accepted blame for failing “to realize all the many different additional ways that a particular example may be heard across audiences members based on their own lived experiences.”

In a statement to Campus Reform, USC said Patton “agreed to take a short term pause while we are reviewing to better understand the situation and to take any appropriate next steps.”

According to a brief bio on the school’s website, Patton is “an expert in communication, interpersonal and leadership effectiveness” who has received “numerous teaching awards, been ranked as one of the top teaching faculty at USC and helped USC Marshall achieve numerous #1 worldwide rankings for Communication and Leadership skill development.”

“Professor Patton has extensive international experience, has trained, coached and mentored thousands of leaders worldwide, and created scores of successful leadership programs,” the bio adds.

This content was originally published here.

SBA Finalist Spotlight: Northern Virginia Orthodontics

Thank you to Northern Virginia Orthodontics for answering a few of our questions.
Congratulations on being named a finalist for Health & Wellness Business of the Year!

1.Tell us your story of how your company got to where it is today? 

After finishing my orthodontic residency at the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond in 2006, my wife and I knew we wanted to move to Loudoun County. We both grew up nearby, and were aware of the planned residential growth, excellent schools, and the fact that Loudoun would be a great place to raise our kids and open an orthodontic practice. We settled on Brambleton Town Center, centrally located in Loudoun, to both live and work. With my vision to make an impact on patients, my team, and my community, I opened Northern Virginia Orthodontics in February of 2008. We saw just two patients that day, and despite the economy crashing in 2008 and 2009, NVO continued to grow thanks to our dedication to treating patients like our own family, over-delivering on top-notch service, and changing lives both inside and outside our office.

Since opening our doors in 2008, we’ve expanded twice in our Brambleton office, added the East Coast’s first, adult-only Invisalign Center, earned the title of Washingtonian Magazine’s Top 50 Places to Work, treated the most Invisalign patients in the state of Virginia, and in 2017 became the #2 Invisalign provider in the entire country.

Despite all these incredible accomplishments, what I’m most proud of is NVO’s impact on the local community. To date, NVO has donated over $1 million to local schools and organizations, as well as to pediatric cancer research and awareness. With our brand new 501(c)(3), The NVO Foundation, we can continue to do even more to help those in need right here in Loudoun County. It’s been an incredible ride going from just two patients that very first day to now seeing over 100 patients on a daily basis, but NVO is just as committed as ever to changing smiles and impacting lives.

2. What would it mean to you and your company to win a Small Business Award?  

Winning an award of this magnitude would serve as affirmation that Northern Virginia Orthodontics is impacting and improving the Loudoun County community, and would serve as fantastic recognition for our entire team.

3. If you weren’t running your own business/working at this business, what would you be doing?

I’ve always had a passion for medicine and helping others, hence becoming an orthodontist. I couldn’t imagine not working at NVO, but if I had to do anything else, I’d probably be a pilot.  I love flying and aeronautics.

4. What book are you reading right now? / What is your favorite book?

“Tools of Titans” by Tim Ferriss. It’s a study of successful people’s habits, and focuses on three critical elements – health, wealth and wise. Great read for anyone, especially business owners.

5. If you have 24-hours off, and your family was out of town, what would you do?

I’d work out, eat a healthy breakfast, then look for a D.C. sporting event to attend, like a Nationals or Capitals
game. Then a good glass of wine with dinner and call it a day – but I’d rather be with my family!

6. What is the smallest thing that has made the largest impact on your business?

Having no fear of change. It’s absolutely essential to assume risk, and to be open to change as your business grows.

7. What did you want to be when you grew up as a child? / What was a childhood dream that you had?

A professional baseball player. Baseball was my passion growing up, and remains a giant part of my family. My oldest son is currently plays baseball at the University of Arizona, and my wife and daughters love the sport as well.

8. Who is the one person that has influenced you the most in your career?

There are so many people that have influenced me along the way, but my older brother has definitely influenced me the most. He has a solution for every problem. He is an attorney by trade, but is always there when I need an opinion on anything business-wise and has been a huge part of NVO’s success.

9. What is your favorite thing about running a business in Loudoun County?

The growth and success of the county, and the pro-business mindset of its leaders.

10. If you’re not in the office where can we find you?

At my son’s baseball game, my daughters’ soccer games, a local winery, a D.C. sporting event, teaching the orthodontic residents at MCV (Medical College of Virginia), or out helping others.

11. What is your favorite weekend activity in Loudoun County?

Visiting one of Loudoun County’s many incredible wineries with family and friends.

The post SBA Finalist Spotlight: Northern Virginia Orthodontics appeared first on Loudoun Chamber.

This content was originally published here.

CDC director says U.S. could have “worst fall” ever if public health measures are not followed – CBS News

This fall could be the worst in the history of American public health if people do not heed guidance from health officials to stop the coronavirus, CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield warned Wednesday. Redfield said skyrocketing cases of COVID-19 combined with the annual flu season could create the “worst fall” that “we’ve ever had.”

“I’m asking you to do four simple things: wear a mask, social distance, wash your hands, and be smart about crowds. If you do those four things it will bring this outbreak down,” Redfield said in an interview with WebMD. “But, if we don’t do that… this could be the worst fall from a public health perspective we’ve ever had.”

“I keep telling people, I’m not asking some of America to do it — we all got to do it. This is one of those interventions that’s got to be 95, 96, 97, 98, 99 percent if it’s going to work,” he said.

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Redfield stressed that more widespread use of face masks could make a big difference. “The mask really does work. It’s really important,” he said.

The United States, which has become the epicenter of the global coronavirus crisis, has seen over 166,000 COVID-related deaths and over 5 million confirmed cases, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The disease is expected to be one the leading causes of death in the U.S. by the end of the year, according to Redfield.

“Eventually this virus is going to have its day,” he said. “It’s either going to infect a majority of the global population, or we’re going to have a biological countermeasure that’s going to be an effective vaccine.”

There are currently numerous potential COVID-19 vaccines in development, three of which are already in Phase 3 trials. Redfield said he’s “cautiously optimistic” that there will be “one or more vaccines” ready to deploy in the U.S. before the first of the year. 

He stressed, however, that the annual flu vaccine is also of crucial importance. 

“If there’s one thing we all can do — besides the importance of wearing a mask, social distancing, hand washing, and being smart about gatherings… to ultimately prepare ourselves for the fall, is to get the flu vaccine,” he said. 

While common, the flu remains a major cause of death in the United States. Less than half of the U.S. population received a flu vaccine last year, but Redfield said his goal this year is to have at 65% of people get vaccinated. 

The CDC is urging people to get the flu shot not only to protect themselves from a potentially deadly disease, but to protect the American health system. 

“We’re going to have COVID in the fall, and we’re going to have flu in the fall, and either one of those by themselves can stress certain hospital systems,” Redfield said. “I’ve seen hospital intensive care units stretched by a severe flu season, and clearly we’ve all seen it recently with COVID.”

“So, by getting that flu vaccine, you may be able to negate the necessity to have to take up a hospital bed, and then that hospital bed can be more available for those that get hospitalized with COVID,” he said.

The CDC is working closely with companies to ramp-up flu vaccine production. According to Redfield, close to 190,000 million doses are being made, and an extra 10 million are being purchased by the CDC for uninsured adults. The agency normally only purchases about 500,000 doses for the uninsured, he said.

“This year we’ve purchased 10 million … to make sure states can get this flu vaccine out,” he said. 

Without sufficient vaccination, flu cases could rise, leading to an increased demand for tests needing to be processed by labs. American labs are already struggling to keep up with the demand for coronavirus tests, resulting in backlogs. Earlier this summer people in many states had to wait days — in some cases even weeks — to receive results. 

Dr. Bobbi Pritt, chairwoman of the division of clinical microbiology at the Mayo Clinic, recently told CBS News that a bad flu season could make testing volume double or even triple, exacerbating every existing issue that labs are already experiencing. 

Asked what Thanksgiving will look like in the U.S., Redfield said it depends on “how the American people choose to respond.”

“It’s really the worst of times or the best of times, depending on the American public. I’m optimistic.”

Max Bayer contributed to this report.

This content was originally published here.