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Candid adds connected device to remote orthodontics – MedCity News

The ScanBox connected device helps to monitor patients who are using aligners virtually.

The device looks like a virtual-reality headset. But instead of covering people’s eyes, it peers into their mouths.

A teledentistry startup — Candid — hopes the device can give it an edge in the crowded field of straightening people’s teeth.

The company is one of several offering clear teeth aligners and treatment plans to match. This year the company has been field-testing a technology called Dental Monitoring that involves handing patients a connected device, called a ScanBox. The device connects to a patient’s smartphone, captures images and sends them to a remote orthodontist. The uploaded images also are scanned using an AI algorithm that can track a patient’s progress, assess their oral hygiene and detect any potential health issues, such as visible cavities or gingival recession.

Patients are asked to send images every seven to 10 days, more often than they would go for checkups at a traditional orthodontist, said Dr. Lynn Hurst, chief dental officer for Candid, in a phone interview.

Hurst, who is based in Austin, Texas, had been using an earlier version of the technology in his own practice since 2016. The introduction of the ScanBox has made it easier to use, he said.

“It’s extremely robust,” Hurst said.

Based in New York City, Candid was founded in 2017 and features a network of several dozen orthodontists. Some patients may be assessed in one of Candid’s retail studios in major cities like Atlanta, Chicago, San Diego and Seattle. Others come through online channels.

An orthodontist reviews each patient’s case, determines whether they are eligible for treatment and, if so, comes up with a treatment plan. The aligners are then mailed to patients, who generally must be at least 16 years old and have mild to moderate alignment issues. Orthodontists monitor their treatment.

Altogether, the program costs about one-third as much as traditional teeth straightening, said Nick Greenfield, Candid’s president and CEO.

Dental Monitoring will add a couple hundred dollars to the price. But patients using the ScanBox have been more likely to stick to their treatment plans and complete their plans more quickly, Greenfield said in a phone interview. Compliance typically is around 80% range. Patients on Dental Monitoring were 95% compliant, he said. And their treatment time was 27% shorter on average.

The company evaluated other devices but its orthodontists liked the Dental Monitoring program best. The ScanBox and the program are the products of a company itself called Dental Monitoring.

“For us it was a really exciting opportunity,” Greenfield said, adding that Candid’s goal is to make care safe, accessible and affordable.

The global market for clear aligners is valued at roughly $2.2 billion but is expected to reach $8.2 billion by 2026, according to a report by Fortune Business Insights. Candid has plenty of company in the market. There are Invisalign clear aligners made by Align Technology Inc. and mail-order provider SmileDirectClub Inc. SmileDirectClub went public this year but has faced criticism, as has remote orthodontics in general. The American Association of Orthodontists has issued a consumer alert on direct-to-consumer orthodontic companies.

However, Candid executives defended their approach saying that it exceeds the standard of care offered in bricks-and-mortar offices.

“Not only am I doing what they’re doing in their practices, I’m actually going beyond that,” said Hurst, a co-founder of Candid. He sees patients through the Candid platform and noted that it is designed and implemented by orthodontists themselves.

“I think that’s extremely critical,” Hurst said. “We’re the experts in that space.”

Hurst was one of five orthodontists in the Candid network who field-tested the Dental Monitoring program. It was offered first to patients who came in through Candid’s studios, where aides could train patients in using the ScanBox. In early 2020 it will be available to patients online.

The program also could allow Candid to expand into moderate and moderate-to-severe cases of misaligned teeth, a condition known as malocclusion, Hurst said.

For now, he said, “We’re just choosing to stay in the shallow end of the pool.”

Hurst said his practice also has been testing remote services for patients under 16, though it means ensuring parents are on board as well.

So far Hurst has tested starting treatment of children with in-person consults at a Candid studio and with remote consults via audio-video conference. Those have gone well, he said. The next step is to start treatment entirely online, where a patient uploads information and waits for the orthodontist’s response and treatment plan.

“Ultimately our patients will tell us, and our parents will tell us, does that make them comfortable,” Hurst said.

Photo: Candid

CORRECTION: An earlier version of the story wrongly identified the chief dental officer of Candid. His name is Lynn Hurst and not Nick Hurst. The company is based in New York, not Austin.

This content was originally published here.

Andrew Pollack: Our Public Health Officials Have Literally Lied to Us in Order To Kill Us

Anthony Fauci is a liar.

We know this because he has told us so.

Fauci told us that masks don’t work. His exact words were “there’s no reason to be walking around with a mask.” Then he told us that everyone should wear masks. He then explained that he was lying when he said we shouldn’t, apparently in order to preserve masks for medical professionals.

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Fauci told us that to get to herd immunity, maybe 60 percent of Americans would need to be vaccinated. Then he told us that nearly 90 percent would need to take the vaccine. He then explained that he really thought 90 percent the whole time, but was lying to the American people earlier based on what he thought they could handle.

Despite these lies, Fauci remains a sort of cultic hero figure to millions of American liberals.

Some people, I guess, don’t mind being lied to as long as it’s being done for their own good.

The thinking goes: “Fauci might not be necessarily telling us the truth at any given moment, but he’s surely not just lying in order to maintain a dopamine high from steady CNN hits. No, he has a wide view of the situation, and if he misleads the public with lies it’s really in order to manipulate Americans to think or act in ways that will save the most lives.”

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And maybe that’s true. I’ve never met the man, and can’t tell you what’s really in his heart. But, unfortunately, I can tell you that our public health officials don’t always lie to us in order to save lives. Sometimes, they lie to us in an effort to kill us.

That might sound a little crazy. But it’s an entirely fair description of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s original recommendations regarding who to prioritize for vaccination.

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The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Protocols recognized that vaccinating the elderly first would save more lives, but recommended that we should vaccinate essential workers first because – and this is really true – the elderly are disproportionately white so allowing more of them to die would decrease racial disparities.

Liberal journalist Matt Yglesias pointed out that because the elderly are at such dramatically higher risk, the CDC’s original plan would have led to more deaths of black and brown people.

The CDC knew that, and recommended it anyway, because it would lead to even more dead white people. As one Ivy League professor put it: “Older populations are whiter. … Instead of giving additional health benefits to those who already had more of them, we can start to level the playing field a bit.”

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To be clear: By “level the playing field” he means killing people — or at least allowing them to be more likely to die — based on their race.

As Washington Free Beacon editor Aaron Sibarium pointed out in his in-depth analysis of this controversy, the CDC lied along the way to issuing this recommendation.

Officials in the Department of Health and Human Services and the president of the American Geriatric society both registered strong objections against plans that would not prioritize the elderly, who were at the most risk.

The CDC took their statements entirely out of context, and slapped them onto a table in such a way as to make it look like they were both actually against vaccinating the elderly first.

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As Sibarium wrote, “The CDC committee thus took two statements that championed the interests of the elderly and used them to justify a plan that would disproportionately kill senior citizens.”

The fact that our public health officials have proven themselves willing to lie in order to promote a plan that would kill more of us ought to shock and appall every American. But it won’t.

Because, you see, they are “experts.” And the co-chair of Biden’s COVID-19 advisory board commended the CDC for its plan, saying that the experts took “political interference out of the process,” and showed a “grounding in inequity.”

I can understand people who don’t mind being lied to as long as they believe it’s being done to save more lives. But it has become apparent that millions of American liberals don’t mind being lied to even when it’s being done in an effort to kill their friends and family.

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It’s a mental illness that I can’t really explain to you and that I certainly don’t know how to treat. But anybody who still holds up people like Anthony Fauci and our public health establishment as heroes really ought to have their head examined.

The views expressed in this opinion article are those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by the owners of this website. If you are interested in contributing an Op-Ed to The Western Journal, you can learn about our submission guidelines and process here.

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

This content was originally published here.

iTero Element® Scanner Digital Applications for Comprehensive Dentistry. – Oral Health Group

The unexpected evolution of oral health.

Throughout a dental career, it is inevitable to experience moments we wish we could take back, re-do or have another chance. Expressed in words of wisdom offered by Bill Gates, “It is fine to celebrate success, but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.”1 The dental hygienist is a primary educator and advocate of patient oral health; a periodontal therapist focused on keeping the integrity of soft tissue, bone, and teeth. If given the time, tools and opportunity, we can likely recall a few, (if not several) patients we wish we could retreat, spend more time educating or complete a more thorough evaluation.

The following case demonstrates how traditional data collection for healthy patients can overlook valuable information over time. Kathy is an existing patient of 10 years. She is happy with her smile, and as a young, accomplished adult she does not have any dental concerns. Historically Kathy has minimal restorative dentistry and previous orthodontic treatment with fixed brackets and wires. Although her original orthodontic treatment was nearly 15 years ago, she still maintains a fixed lower lingual wire. Kathy schedules routine preventive dental hygiene appointments that include radiographs as prescribed, periodontal charting and digital imaging in the form of photography and intraoral camera use. Her dental chart sings praises of healthy tissue color and tone with minimal scanty deposits at every visit.

In 2016, at Kathy’s bi-annual dental hygiene appointment, the dental hygienist of record notes that Kathy has not had any digital photographs taken in 9-years. Annual full-mouth comprehensive periodontal charting and routine bitewing radiographs throughout the 9-years showed little changes to the overall dental hygiene assessment, treatment plan, implementation, and evaluation.

“Shocked” is an understatement when the dental hygienist viewed the pictures of Kathy’s teeth from 2007 and 2016 side by side (Figures 1,2). Many questions surfaced “Why?”, “How?” and “When?” did this happen?

Fig. 1

Fig. 2

The photographs provided evidence that Kathy’s oral environment had changed. The dental hygienist expressed her concern that Kathy’s teeth were shifting and gums were receding regardless of her fixed orthodontic retainer and good oral self-care habits. Fifty percent of adults between 18-64 years of age present with recession; studies show causes of gingival recession include: trauma, male gender, malpositioned teeth, inflammation, and tobacco consumption.2 Previous notes indicated that orthodontics was suggested at the initial onset of recession however Kathy did not understand the value of treatment as her smile looked fine and she already had braces in the past. The dental hygienist suggests taking an intraoral digital scan with the iTero Element® scanner to do a bite analysis.

The dental hygienist explains to Kathy that the color map of the Occlusogram allows for easy identification of the size of tooth contact, location, symmetry, and intensity of her bite. It provides an instant, relatable visual to the patient to be able to see areas at risk, create awareness and determine interest for prevention strategies. Today’s patients seek a customized experience. Leveraging technology helps make the complicated and sometimes overwhelming diagnosis more manageable and easier to understand. An iTero Element® scan can be captured and processed within minutes for use as an immediate chairside education tool. Existing patient scans can also be accessed using myiTero.com on an operatory computer with internet access; both formats allow access to the Viewer tool and Occlusogram.

Let’s look at Kathy’s Occlusogram (Figure 3). With its intuitive visuals, it was easy to explain how the misplaced pressure on the buccal inclines of the maxillary posterior teeth and buccal surfaces of the mandibular posterior teeth (non-working cusps) could contribute to the collapsing of Kathy’s arch forms, increasing horizontal force vectors and placing additional strain along the gum line due to improper axial stimulation. Vertical forces are less harmful because they provide axial stimulation to the teeth and bone while horizontal forces are extremely damaging via torqueing and off-loading.3 We explain to Kathy, that although her bite is fairly evenly distributed across her back teeth, the pressures are too heavy and not ideally positioned. By looking at the occlusal views, Kathy can also appreciate that the overall arch form has changed since completing her initial orthodontic treatment years ago, setting the stage to show Kathy what can be done to minimize the risk for additional recession.

Fig. 3

The iTero Element intraoral scanner offers proprietary software to engage and educate patients about their current dental condition and possible outcomes with clear aligner therapy. To help Kathy comprehend and visualize the goals of treatment, we utilize the Invisalign® Outcome Simulator (Figures 4 and 5). By placing a picture of Kathy’s current dentition next to the simulated outcome, she can see the projected changes to correct the lingual inclinations of her posterior teeth significantly reducing the risk for future gum recession and the overall change in the arch form. The dental hygienist invites the doctor to review and re-enforce her findings.

Fig. 4

Fig. 5

With practice and teamwork, the dental hygienist and dentist collaborate to assess and diagnose the malocclusion. These conversations are most impactful when supportive and co-operative relationships exist between the dental hygienist and dentist. The dentist continues the conversation by explaining how utilizing clear aligner therapy to position the teeth and the bite correctly would make a difference in Kathy’s overall health, stability, and longevity of her teeth and gums. Providing orthodontic treatment on the ground of deleterious effect of malocclusion and mal-positioned teeth on periodontal condition is justified.4 Cultivating a collaborative effort between the dental hygienist and dentist builds patient confidence and increases treatment acceptance.

Kathy underwent 82-weeks* of clear aligner therapy. By up-righting, the posterior sextants the arch form changed from an omega-shape to a broad, wide arch. The first molar width increased from 27mm to 34mm increasing the overall oral volume. The bite forces were redistributed to support good future teeth, bone and gum health by eliminating deleterious horizontal force vectors. These TimeLapse images (Figures 6 and 7) show how despite re-positioning of the teeth, no additional recession resulted. The dental hygienist will be able to utilize future scans to monitor the existing recession and ensure no “surprises” happen again! Best of all, Kathy feels that her smile is more beautiful and confident than ever (Figures 8 and 9).

Fig. 6

Fig. 8

Fig. 9

In summary, periodontal disease will become more evident once complete records are part of the dental hygiene process of care. Patients must understand their periodontal status to make good health care decisions. When we can perform to the highest standards of our profession, everyone benefits including the patient, the practice, and dental professionals. The periodontal exam is not optional; it is the foundation of how we treat patients today to protect their oral and overall health for the future. However, what is the most valuable records we can accumulate in order to monitor the progression of periodontal disease? With the iTero Element® scanner, dental hygienists can have confidence with data collection and analysis in the form of the Occlusogram, Invisalign® Outcome Simulator and TimeLapse technology to provide exceptional periodontal therapy and recommendations as the oral environment evolves.

Dr. Dana Colson practices wellness-based dentistry in midtown Toronto. She graduated from the University of Toronto in 1977. Dr. Colson holds accreditation in several professional organizations, including the ODA, CDA, IAOMT and HAPA. She is a graduate of both the Pankey Institute and a current Mentor at the Kois Center in Seattle. In 2016, she graduated from Rotman Business School, University of Toronto with a global MBA and an eMBA from St. Gallen, Switzerland. Dr. Colson has authored the book, “Your Mouth: The Gateway to a Healthier You” and has lectured extensively in Canada and internationally on Invisalign, lasers, the mouth body connection, cosmetic dentistry and integration of her unique wellness-based approach to dentistry.

Ljiljana Hinton RRDH, a clinician of 20+ years, received her Honours Restorative Dental Hygiene degree from George Brown College where she is a part-time Clinical Instructor. Ljiljana has continued studies in periodontics, esthetics and occlusion with the Kois Center, Spear Education, the Dawson Academy and the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. She enjoys her role educating internationally as a Lead Clinical Trainer and Faculty Member with Align®. Ljiljana works full-time in a general practice advocating comprehensive dentistry to optimize patient health.

Footnotes:
Moore JI. Bill Gates Quotes About Life, Business and Love [Internet]. Everyday Power Blog. Everyday Power Blog; 2019 [cited 2019Feb6].
Available from: https://everydaypowerblog.com/bill-gates-quotes/
Kassab MM1, Cohen RE.J Am Dent Assoc. 2003 Feb;134(2):200-5
McCoy G. “The Etiology of Gingival Erosion”. J Oral Impanto. 1982
Ngom PI, Diagne F, Benoist HM, Thiam F. “Intraarch and interarch relationships in the anterior teeth and periodontal conditions.” Angle Orthod. 2006 March;76(2)236-42
* Treatment times may vary depending on case complexity and must be determined by the doctor
The opinions expressed in this white paper are those of the author(s) and may not reflect those of Align Technology.
The author was paid an honorarium by Align Technology in connection with this white paper.
©2019 Align Technology, Inc. All rights reserved. Invisalign, iTero, iTero Element, the iTero logo, among others, are trademarks and/or service marks of Align Technology, Inc.
or one of its subsidiaries or affiliated companies and may be registered in the U.S. and/or other countries. www.iTero.com | MKT-0003086 Rev A

This content was originally published here.

New York State Democrat Lawmaker Proposes Bill to Detain “Disease Carriers” the Governor Deems “Dangerous to the Public Health”

The New York State Assembly proposed a bill to detain “disease carriers” the Governor deems “dangerous to the public health.”

The bill was authored by N. Nick Perry, a Democrat member of the New York State Assembly.

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Bill A416 relates to “the removal of cases, contacts and carriers of communicable diseases that are potentially dangerous to the public health.”

The Governor would have sweeping powers to indefinitely detain American citizens and put them in internment camps.

According to the proposed bill, the Governor will also be able to detain people who have come in contact with the “carrier.”

The only way an individual would be released from detainment is if the “department” determines the person is no longer contagious.

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Read the text from the proposed bill:

Section 1. The public health law is amended by adding a new section 2120-a to read as follows:

§ 2120-A. REMOVAL AND DETENTION OF CASES, CONTACTS AND CARRIERS WHO ARE OR MAY BE A DANGER TO PUBLIC HEALTH; OTHER ORDERS.

1. THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION SHALL BE UTILIZED IN THE EVENT THAT THE GOVERNOR DECLARES A STATE OF HEALTH EMERGENCY DUE TO AN EPIDEMIC OF ANY COMMUNICABLE DISEASE.

2. UPON DETERMINING BY CLEAR AND CONVINCING EVIDENCE THAT THE HEALTH OF OTHERS IS OR MAY BE ENDANGERED BY A CASE, CONTACT OR CARRIER, OR SUSPECTED CASE, CONTACT OR CARRIER OF CONTAGIOUS DISEASE THAT, IN THE OPINION OF THE GOVERNOR, AFTER CONSULTATION WITH THE COMMISSIONER, MAY POSE AN IMMINENT AND SIGNIFICANT THREAT TO THE PUBLIC HEALTH RESULTING IN SEVERE MORBIDITY OR HIGH MORTALITY, THE GOVERNOR OR HIS OR HER DELEGEE, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE COMMISSIONER OR THE HEADS OF LOCAL HEALTH DEPARTMENTS, MAY ORDER THE REMOVAL AND/OR
DETENTION OF SUCH A PERSON OR OF A GROUP OF SUCH PERSONS BY ISSUING A SINGLE ORDER, IDENTIFYING SUCH PERSONS EITHER BY NAME OR BY A REASONABLY SPECIFIC DESCRIPTION OF THE INDIVIDUALS OR GROUP BEING DETAINED. SUCH PERSON OR GROUP OF PERSONS SHALL BE DETAINED IN A MEDICAL FACILITY OR OTHER APPROPRIATE FACILITY OR PREMISES DESIGNATED BY THE GOVERNOR OR HIS OR HER DELEGEE AND COMPLYING WITH SUBDIVISION FIVE OF THIS SECTION.

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3. A PERSON OR GROUP REMOVED OR DETAINED BY ORDER OF THE GOVERNOR OR HIS OR HER DELEGEE PURSUANT TO SUBDIVISION TWO OF THIS SECTION SHALL BE DETAINED FOR SUCH PERIOD AND IN SUCH MANNER AS THE DEPARTMENT MAY DIRECT IN ACCORDANCE WITH THIS SECTION.

Click here to read to entire bill proposed by Democrats in New York.

This content was originally published here.

Vaccine rollout hits snag as health workers balk at shots

The desperately awaited vaccination drive against the coronavirus in the U.S. is running into resistance from an unlikely quarter: Surprising numbers of health care workers who have seen firsthand the death and misery inflicted by COVID-19 are refusing shots.

It is happening in nursing homes and, to a lesser degree, in hospitals, with employees expressing what experts say are unfounded fears of side effects from vaccines that were developed at record speed. More than three weeks into the campaign, some places are seeing as much as 80% of the staff holding back.

“I don’t think anyone wants to be a guinea pig,” said Dr. Stephen Noble, a 42-year-old cardiothoracic surgeon in Portland, Oregon, who is postponing getting vaccinated. “At the end of the day, as a man of science, I just want to see what the data show. And give me the full data.”

“It’s far too low. It’s alarmingly low,” said Neil Pruitt, CEO of PruittHealth, which runs about 100 long-term care homes in the South, where fewer than 3 in 10 workers offered the vaccine so far have accepted it.

Many medical facilities from Florida to Washington state have boasted of near-universal acceptance of the shots, and workers have proudly plastered pictures of themselves on social media receiving the vaccine. Elsewhere, though, the drive has stumbled.

While the federal government has released no data on how many people offered the vaccines have taken them, glimpses of resistance have emerged around the country.

In Illinois, a big divide has opened at state-run veterans homes between residents and staff. The discrepancy was worst at the veterans home in Manteno, where 90% of residents were vaccinated but only 18% of the staff members.

In rural Ashland, Alabama, about 90 of some 200 workers at Clay County Hospital have yet to agree to get vaccinated, even with the place so overrun with COVID-19 patients that oxygen is running low and beds have been added to the intensive care unit, divided by plastic sheeting.

The pushback comes amid the most lethal phase in the outbreak yet, with the death toll at more than 350,000, and it could hinder the government’s effort to vaccinate somewhere between 70% and 85% of the U.S. population to achieve “herd immunity.”

Administrators and public health officials have expressed hope that more health workers will opt to be vaccinated as they see their colleagues take the shots without problems.

Oregon doctor Noble said he will wait until April or May to get the shots. He said it is vital for public health authorities not to overstate what they know about the vaccines. That is particularly important, he said, for Black people like him who are distrustful of government medical guidance because of past failures and abuses, such as the infamous Tuskegee experiment.

Medical journals have published extensive data on the vaccines, and the Food and Drug Administration has made its analysis public. But misinformation about the shots has spread wildly online, including falsehoods that they cause fertility problems.

Stormy Tatom, 30, a hospital ICU nurse in Beaumont, Texas, said she decided against getting vaccinated for now “because of the unknown long-term side effects.”

“I would say at least half of my coworkers feel the same way,” Tatom said.

There have been no signs of widespread severe side effects from the vaccines, and scientists say the drugs have been rigorously tested on tens of thousands and vetted by independent experts.

States have begun turning up the pressure. South Carolina’s governor gave health care workers until Jan. 15 to get a shot or “move to the back of the line.” Georgia’s top health official has allowed some vaccines to be diverted to other front-line workers, including firefighters and police, out of frustration with the slow uptake.

“There’s vaccine available but it’s literally sitting in freezers,” said Public Health Commissioner Dr. Kathleen Toomey. “That’s unacceptable. We have lives to save.”

Nursing homes were among the institutions given priority for the shots because the virus has cut a terrible swath through them. Long-term care residents and staff account for about 38% of the nation’s COVID-19 fatalities.

In West Virginia, only about 55% of nursing home workers agreed to the shots when they were first offered last month, according to Martin Wright, who leads the West Virginia Health Care Association.

“It’s a race against social media,” Wright said of battling falsehoods about the vaccines.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said only 40% of the state’s nursing home workers have gotten shots. North Carolina’s top public health official estimated more than half were refusing the vaccine there.

SavaSeniorCare has offered cash to the 169 long-term care homes in its 20-state network to pay for gift cards, socially distanced parties or other incentives. But so far, data from about a third of its homes shows that 55% of workers have refused the vaccine.

CVS and Walgreens, which have been contracted by a majority of U.S. nursing homes to administer COVID-19 vaccinations, have not released specifics on the acceptance rate. CVS said that residents have agreed to be immunized at an “encouragingly high” rate but that “initial uptake among staff is low,” partly because of efforts to stagger when employees receive their shots.

Some facilities have vaccinated workers in stages so that the staff is not sidelined all at once if they suffer minor side effects, which can include fever and aches.

The hesitation isn’t surprising, given the mixed message from political leaders and misinformation online, said Dr. Wilbur Chen, a professor at the University of Maryland who specializes in the science of vaccines.

He noted that health care workers represent a broad range of jobs and backgrounds and said they are not necessarily more informed than the general public.

“They don’t know what to believe either,” Chen said. But he said he expects the hesitancy to subside as more people are vaccinated and public health officials get their message across.

Some places have already seen turnarounds, such as Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

“The biggest thing that helped us to gain confidence in our staff was watching other staff members get vaccinated, be OK, walk out of the room, you know, not grow a third ear, and so that really is like an avalanche,” said Dr. Catherine O’Neal, chief medical officer. “The first few hundred that we had created another 300 that wanted the vaccine.”

Contributing to this report were Associated Press writers Jake Bleiberg in Dallas; Heather Hollingsworth in Mission, Kansas; Janet McConnaughey in New Orleans; Candice Choi in New York; Kelli Kennedy in Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Jay Reeves in Birmingham, Alabama; Brian Witte in Annapolis, Maryland; Jeffrey Collins in Columbia, South Carolina; John Seewer in Toledo, Ohio; Melinda Deslatte in Baton Rouge, Louisiana; and Bryan Anderson in Raleigh, North Carolina.

This content was originally published here.

Braces on the Road: How to Travel With Invisalign

There are a lot of things to consider when hitting the road full time. You have to think about how you will make money, how you will get mail, and what kinds of memberships you’ll invest in to save some money. Adding kids into the mix only adds to the long list of things to consider, and dealing with braces on the road is one of the things that perplexes parents the most.

One of the best ways to go about straightening your teeth while traveling full time? Invisalign is a fantastic option that more and more travelers are choosing. Are you going to travel full time and worried about your invisible braces?

Read on to know how to clean Invisalign and how to take care of Invisalign while on the go!

The foremost important thing is your packing checklist. Here’s an essential checklist for the travel kit on tour with Invisalign.

  1. Travel toothbrush
  2. Floss or floss picks
  3. Pocket-size mouthwash
  4. Retainer remover
  5. Pain reliever (as first aid)
  6. Aligner case
  7. Extra aligners

Keep Up Your Good Habits!

You need to wear aligners for at least 22 hours a day. Thus it might seem tedious to remove your aligners while eating out and putting them back again after cleaning. But, it’s important to avoid slips that can hinder your progress.

Thus it is advised to take out a few minutes for your Invisalign each time you eat or drink anything and enjoy your travels without any worry.

Now let us check out some useful tips on how to take care of Invisalign during traveling.

  • Everyone on the Invisalign treatment knows that you need to change the set of aligners in a week or fortnight according to the dentist’s instruction. Sometimes you switch to a new set, or you might need to go back to your previous set of aligners. Take them all with you during traveling so that you can change according to your requirement. Consult your orthodontics before leaving for the trip.
  • In case you are taking a flight to your destination, keep your Invisalign with you in your handbag or cabin bag. As you need to wear them for the maximum time of the day, you must keep them within your reach all the time.
  • Heat is not suitable for Invisalign as it can deform its shape. If you are traveling to a tropical or hot region, keep your aligners in a cool place. Keep them in the refrigerator if required. But don’t make the mistake of taking them in your handbag under the sun.
  • The list of avoidable food items, while you are on your retainers, is mentioned as below:
  • Hard bread
  • Popcorn
  • Nuts
  • Pretzels
  • Chewy food
  • Tough Meat
  • Hard Cady
  • Gum
  • Do not forget to remove retainers before eating or drinking anything. You can only have water with your aligners on. And brush your teeth and retainer before putting them on again. If you can’t brush, at least rinse them well.

Final Word!

So you see! Braces on the road aren’t even necessary. Instead,  travel with Invisalign. Once you know how to take care of Invisalign it’s a cinch. That said, it is advisable to consult your orthodontics before hitting the road full time.

Author Bio

Emily Taylor found the perfect fit for herself as the Online Marketing Manager at Thurman Orthodontics in Fresno CA as she believes that a great smile does more than just make a person look great – it makes them feel great as well. The power of a smile has always been a mystery to Emily, and she loves researching and writing about it. She loves to write about everything to do with a healthy bite and a beautiful smile – weather is it ways to achieve it or the importance of it in the various aspects of life. What brings a big smile on Emily’s face is her family and surfing. She also likes to bake, and her children and co-workers call her the cookie fairy!

The post Braces on the Road: How to Travel With Invisalign appeared first on Fulltime Families.

This content was originally published here.

Nina Kraviz’s New Video Game Character Reminds the Producer of Her Former Career in Dentistry: ‘It’s Mental’

Nina Kraviz is well-acquainted with the nightlife, but the world of afterhour sets are a far cry from the more violent midnight realm that the techno producer occupies in the new videogame, Cyberpunk, 2077. Out today (December 10) via developers CD Projekt, the game is set in the fictional metropolis of Night City, Calif., where chaos abounds.

It is amidst this virtual landscape that Kraviz appears in the game as a “ripper doc,” an underground type of plastic surgeon who fits people with less-than-legal cybernetics like robotic arms and robotics-enhanced eyes. One of the game’s primary ripper docs, Kraviz has major interaction with other players, fitting them with the same clinical precision that real life Nina used to clean teeth when she worked in dentistry, before her DJ career skyrocketed.

“She has this metal thing on her hand,” Kraviz says of her character, “and it looks like the dental drill that I know so well.”

Recording her lines in English and her native Russian, the producer also made five original tracks for Cyberpunk 2077, contributing to a soundtrack also featuring Run the Jewels, A$AP Rocky, Grimes and more. Her contributions include, she says, “Italo-disco, another murky, trippy techno track, one proper dance banger and… abstract soundscapes.” Watch IRL Kraviz play a live set featuring her music from the game below.

With the game launch, Kraviz joins the list of DJs moonlighting as video stars, with Moodyman, Keinemusik and Palms Trax appearing as resident DJs in the new in game nightclub of Grand Theft Auto V and Diplo showing up as a player in FIFA 21’s Volta Football series.

Here, Kraviz talks about Cyberpunk, music and why she’s been careful to not get too obsessed with gaming.

What compelled you to get involved with this project? 

When Cyberpunk approached about collaborating on the in game music, I immediately said “yes.” The idea to compose music for such a special computer game was a dream come true. I felt like the aesthetic and vision of Cyberpunk fit in line with what I’m doing, sound-wise. Later on, we discussed how I could get a bit more involved with the game, and the idea of the in-game character was born.

Are you a gamer yourself?

I feel like I’m a potentially obsessive gamer, so I’m being careful with that. I have to adhere to reasonable disciplinary standards in order to finish my new album.

How collaborative has the process of inserting yourself into the game been?

The look of my character was a total surprise to me! A pleasant one! This was one of the rare occasions where I let loose of control. I have been taking maximum pleasure in my part though: from making the music and dubbing my character in the studio to witnessing the creation of it.

How similar is Cyberpunk Nina to real life Nina?

Did you see that chair in the ripper doc clinic where she works? It’s so reminiscent of a dentist chair in the hospital where I worked. It’s mental. She also has this metal thing on her hand, and it looks like the dental drill that I know so well. It’s thrilling that my former profession was somehow implemented in my character.

There is also this one little detail that I noticed: when you talk to Cyberpunk Nina, she kind of shifts from one foot to another and looks away every now and then. Perhaps it’s because behind this storm-beaten woman dressed in kitschy clothes hides a shy, child-like person. I found it really sweet.

What mood were you attempting to create with your songs on the soundtrack? Was producing for a game in any way different than making music otherwise?

In some tracks, the vibe is very dark and scary, in some very dreamy, but more on the hopeful side. The only difference in terms of production was that on some of the tracks I had the game in mind. I imagined Night City and how it would feel walking or driving there.

Anything else you want to say?

I haven’t been this excited in a very long time. I can’t wait to play the game myself and drive around Night City listening to my own radio station in the car. I heard the city is quite big, and by the time I get to one of the six ripper doc clinics in the game I would probably get the chance to test all my songs on the radio. Mental!

This content was originally published here.

With COVID-19 at record levels, reopening schools is unwise, say health experts | The Star

Epidemiologists are warning that reopening elementary schools on Monday as planned, at a time when COVID-19 transmissions are at record-high levels in Ontario, would be unwise.

“One of the real challenges that this virus presents is that you have transmission that can occur before people are symptomatic, and the additional challenge is that many kids show very few symptoms if any,” said epidemiologist Amy Greer, a Canada research chair in population disease modelling at the University of Guelph.

In a long Twitter thread posted on Sunday, she characterized the decision to let children back into school as “reckless and dangerous.”

Education Minister Stephen Lecce reassured parents on the weekend that elementary school classrooms will reopen on Jan. 11 and high school students will return to classrooms Jan. 25, two days after the current provincial lockdown is scheduled to end.

In the face of soaring COVID-19 cases, Quebec is considering keeping schools closed for at least another week. Schools in the U.K. are closed until Jan.18, and possibly longer in areas hardest hit by the pandemic.

It made sense to let students back into classrooms in September when community transmission rates were low, said Greer. But with the positivity rate approaching 10 per cent, the number of daily cases in Toronto often approaching 1,000 and Ontario surpassing 3,000 new cases a day, the level of community transmission is so high it will mean more children infected with the virus showing up for class and infecting their classmates, who will bring the virus home to their families.

Screening tools don’t work on children who are asymptomatic, Greer pointed out. If they don’t have a fever; if they’re not coughing or sneezing or fatigued, checklists and thermometers won’t catch the illness and won’t prevent infected students from taking a seat beside a classmate.

If other measures are in place to prevent transmission, the impact of the asymptomatic cases can be attenuated — for example if classes are smaller and children are seated far apart, if ventilation has been optimized — students without symptoms are less likely to pass along the virus. But Greer said classrooms have not been sufficiently modified to prevent that kind of transmission.

“I feel frustrated that we don’t appear to have a plan for how we’re going to compensate to keep schools open in the context of high community transmission,” said Greer, in an interview with the Star.

Dr. Andrew Morris, a professor of medicine at the University of Toronto and the medical director of the Sinai Health System-University Health Network Antimicrobial Stewardship Program, said the role schools play in transmission of COVID-19 remains unclear — although they are a contributing factor.

He said the COVID-19 numbers are so bad now it’s hard to imagine keeping anything open beyond what is absolutely essential.

“I think that opening schools up now as we have an up going trajectory and when we really have a fair amount of uncertainty about the role of schools in transmission, is not wise,” Morris said.

Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto’s medical officer of health, has said in the past that schools are critically important and provide an important conduit for social services and even food, through school nutrition programs, for children who need support.

She echoed those concerns at the first COVID-19 update from city hall on Monday, adding on Tuesday that the subject is under active consideration and discussion.

“What we are trying to do is balance control of COVID-19 along with ensuring that we’re meeting the health needs of children and their families, and we know that there is a specific benefit, a clear benefit to having children attend school in person … but it is a very delicate balancing act, and one that may seem like a relatively straightforward decision, but actually has much more complexity underneath it,” she told CBC’s “Metro Morning.”

The decision to open or close schools is a provincial one. Students are currently receiving virtual instruction.

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The Ministry of Education did not respond to questions from the Star in time for this story’s deadline.

Lecce told parents in a letter sent out over the weekend that “schools are not a source of rising community transmission.”

Francine Kopun is a Toronto-based reporter covering city hall and municipal politics for the Star. Follow her on Twitter: @KopunF

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Large numbers of health care and frontline workers are refusing to get the coronavirus vaccine

Despite having been prioritized as the first recipients of the coronavirus vaccine, a large number of health care and frontline workers are passing on the vaccine. Early reports from across the country show that health care and frontline workers are refusing to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

In Ohio, 60% of nursing home employees decided not to take the coronavirus vaccine. Last week, Gov. Mike DeWine (R) reacted to the low participation numbers by
saying, “We aren’t going to make them but we wish they had a higher compliance.” He added that he was “troubled” by how many nursing home workers rejected the vaccine.

DeWine warned frontline workers that they soon would no longer be in front of the line, “Our message today is: The train may not be coming back for awhile. We’re going to make it available to everyone eventually, but this is the opportunity for you, and you should really think about getting it.”

Dr. Joseph Varon, chief of staff at United Memorial Medical Center in Houston, is frustrated that over half of the nurses in his unit will refuse to get the vaccine.

“Yesterday I had a — not a fight, but I had a friendly argument with more than 50% of my nurses in my unit telling me that they would not get the vaccine,” he told
NPR’s “Morning Edition.”

“Some of those nurses have had family members admitted to the hospital, gravely ill with COVID-19,” NPR reported. “But he said some nurses and hospital staff members — many of whom are Latinx or Black — are skeptical it will work and are worried about unfounded side effects.”

In California, an estimated 50% of frontline workers in Riverside County turned down the COVID-19 vaccine, Public Health Director Kim Saruwatari told
the Los Angeles Times.

“At St. Elizabeth Community Hospital in Tehama County, fewer than half of the 700 hospital workers eligible for the vaccine were willing to take the shot when it was first offered. At Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills, one in five frontline nurses and doctors have declined the shot,” the LA Times reported. “Roughly 20% to 40% of L.A. County’s frontline workers who were offered the vaccine did the same, according to county public health officials.”

Dr. Nikhila Juvvadi, the chief clinical officer at Chicago’s Loretto Hospital, surveyed the hospital staff right before the coronavirus vaccine came out, and 40% of the employees said they would not get vaccinated, according to
NPR.

In an early December survey of New York Fire Department members, approximately 55% of uniformed firefighters said they would opt to not get the shot, according to
WNBC-TV.

A survey by the
Kaiser Family Foundation published on Dec. 15 found that 29% of those who work in a health care delivery setting probably would not or definitely would not get the shot. The poll also found that 33% of essential workers would pass. Overall, 27% of Americans are “vaccine-hesitant.”

There is a stark divide among Americans who are willing to get vaccinated depending on their political affiliation. According to the survey, 86% of Democrats say that they will definitely or probably get the coronavirus vaccine, compared to 56% of Republicans who said the same.

According to the
KFF, the top concerns about being reluctant to get the coronavirus vaccine are:

Sheena Bumpas, a certified nursing assistant at a home in Oklahoma, told
the New York Times that she was reluctant to get the COVID-19 vaccine because “I don’t want to be a guinea pig.”

April Lu, a 31-year-old nurse at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in California, refused to take the vaccine because she is concerned that it is might not be safe for pregnant women, and she is six months pregnant.

“I’m choosing the risk — the risk of having COVID, or the risk of the unknown of the vaccine,” Lu told
the Los Angeles Times. “I think I’m choosing the risk of COVID. I can control that and prevent it a little by wearing masks, although not 100% for sure.”

Last week, Dr. Anthony Fauci noted that coronavirus vaccines could become mandatory in order to attend school or travel internationally.

This content was originally published here.

ClearCorrect vs Invisalign: Benefits, Before and After, Safety, and Cost

Contents

If you’ve been thinking of getting your teeth straightened, you probably know how difficult it is to find a treatment option that’s tailor-made to your unique goals. Traditional braces have been proven effective, but there’s a host of downsides, too — they’re bulky, uncomfortable, and not the most attractive option.

Enter invisible braces. Chances are you’ve already heard about Invisalign, but there’s another company that’s out to revolutionize the way we smile. ClearCorrect invisible braces are a new kind of orthodontic treatment that promises straight teeth with the least amount of fuss.

Bonus points: these industry-disrupting braces are made in the United States by a socially conscious company that uses recycled and eco-friendly packaging. These details, coupled with the fact that they’re more affordable than the competition, make ClearCorrect a popular choice among millennials.

What is ClearCorrect?

ClearCorrect aligners are a unique alternative to traditional metal braces. The primary benefit is that they’re totally invisible — in theory, they’ll give you a straight smile without anyone even noticing. They’re also removable, which means you can take them out before eating or during special occasions.

Like most clear aligners, ClearCorrect braces provide gradual adjustments to the teeth. Your orthodontist will first take photos and x-rays of your smile and then submit your prescription to ClearCorrect. Next, the company will create a set of custom aligners just for you. Occasionally, your orthodontist will request new sets that change along with your teeth.

Most people are required to wear their clear braces for up to 22 hours a day until an orthodontist deems the treatment plan complete. Treatment time varies from person to person, but most people see full results within one to two years.

Orthodontists recommend this treatment for both adults and teenagers to correct crowded teeth, spacing, underbites, overbites and crookedness.

Does ClearCorrect work?

ClearCorrect has been proven effective in a wide range of orthodontic studies.

One study showed that it was a valuable tool in correcting anterior crossbite, a condition where the top teeth rest behind the bottom teeth when the mouth is closed. Another showed that it was a great option for treating the correction of crowding, an issue that makes it hard to floss between teeth and compromises a perfectly straight smile.

Not only that, but ClearCorrect can be used in instances where traditional orthodontics failed. For example, some orthodontists use ClearCorrect as a solution to issues caused by traditional orthodontic bonding. In other words, clear braces are as good as — and in some cases even better — than traditional methods that are commonly used to straighten teeth. There’s even evidence to suggest that they’re just as effective at treating severe crowding as standard methods.

What’s better, ClearCorrect or Invisalign?

ClearCorrect and Invisalign are often compared, primarily because they both provide clear, custom-fit aligners that are more appealing to those who don’t want to fuss with traditional braces.

Both are excellent options with successful track records for mild to extreme cases of various dental issues. In either case you will be required to wear your custom-fit aligners for the majority of the day, except when you’re eating, drinking, flossing or brushing your teeth.

Still, there are some differences. The most significant reason why many orthodontists and patients are beginning to favor ClearCorrect over Invisalign is the cost: since ClearCorrect only charges the dentist a third or less of the cost of Invisalign, many dentists feel that it’s a more profitable option.

What’s more, many people report that ClearCorrect aligners are more comfortable than Invisalign. This is because ClearCorrect fabricates several trays at a time to ensure that they fit perfectly. Some patients also prefer ClearCorrect because their aligners are made in America.

>>To learn more frequently asked questions about Invisalign, check out our article on how Invisalign works

Does ClearCorrect hurt?

Doctors often recommend the use of ClearCorrect and other invisible braces as a more effective treatment option for patients who have “appliance-phobia.” This means that people who have fears associated with fixed appliances on the teeth (i.e. traditional braces) tend to do better with removable aligners that aren’t permanent.

Metal braces can be uncomfortable and even painful, which is why many people are hesitant to go the traditional route. On the other hand, ClearCorrect is virtually pain-free. A multi-stage polishing process ensures that no sharp or rough edges are found on the aligners, making ClearCorrect a relatively comfortable experience, even when worn for long periods of time. And while most patients do experience some mild discomfort in the first couple of days of wearing ClearCorrect aligners, this typically fades away relatively quickly.

When you’re wearing ClearCorrect aligners that are properly fitted to your teeth and gums (achieved through a 3D model that perfectly matches your teeth), you shouldn’t feel a thing. With that said, some patients do complain of sore gums. You should see your orthodontist if this persists for more than two days — he or she will be able to tell if your aligners are not the ideal size and shape for your mouth.

Are ClearCorrect aligners safe?

Most people aren’t too keen on the idea of having a foreign object inside their mouth for most of the day. That’s totally understandable.

The good news is that ClearCorrect aligners are designed to be safe for long-term use. They contain no BPA or phthalates, and have been approved for use by the FDA. Because of this, ClearCorrect is generally considered safe for use by pregnant or nursing patients. Nevertheless, you should speak with your primary care physician and orthodontist if you become pregnant while using ClearCorrect.

How much does ClearCorrect cost?

As mentioned above, the cost of ClearCorrect makes it one of the most desirable orthodontic treatment options on the market for those who dream of straight teeth.

ClearCorrect treatment costs less than Invisalign and other clear aligner treatments because the company itself charges ClearCorrect providers significantly less.

There are several different treatment plans which differ in terms of cost. Your customized treatment will help you determine the right option for your budget and dental needs. The company offers Flex (limited) and Unlimited pricing options. Those who require the full treatment option can expect to pay anywhere between $4,000 and $5,000 for the best results. The Flex option is a good choice for those who don’t have severe crowding or crookedness, and costs between $2,500 and $3,500 total.

Will my insurance cover it?

Another great thing about ClearCorrect is that many dental insurance companies cover the procedure right alongside traditional braces and other orthodontic treatments.

Make sure to check with your insurance provide to see whether or not this type of treatment — which typically falls under the category of clear aligners — is covered. Those who do qualify for some relief under insurance may be able to save up to $3,000 on ClearCorrect braces.

Is ClearCorrect better than traditional braces?

As modern dentistry advances, it’s becoming more and more apparent that clear braces have the capacity to do all of the same things that metal braces can and more. In fact, one of the biggest myths associated with clear braces is that they move teeth more slowly than their metal counterparts. This just isn’t true. A good straightening treatment will work as quickly (or as slowly, depending on your perspective) whether the aligners are made of metal, ceramic or plastic.

Metal braces aren’t the most economical option — a full treatment rings up for as much as $6,000 — but they are almost always at least partially covered by insurance. However, metal braces are by and large considered the most durable solution out there.

The fact that metal braces last longer than other types makes them appealing for people who have to wear braces for long periods of time. Make sure to talk to your orthodontist or ClearCorrect provider about all of your different treatment options before committing to one.

This content was originally published here.

California business owner blocks in health inspector’s car after he threatens lockdown citations: ‘If we can’t work, he can’t work’

A California restaurant owner has gone viral for his actions after blocking in a health inspector’s vehicle after the inspector threatened citations for being open amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

What are the details?

In video obtained by the Daily Caller, Carlos Roman — owner of Bread and Barley in Covina, California — can be seen arguing with a police officer who is called to his restaurant after he moved his vehicle to block in a health inspector’s car.

The unnamed health inspector reportedly arrived at the restaurant, took photos of patrons dining outside the restaurant, and allegedly told Roman that he would be issuing a citation related to COVID-19 restriction orders.

According to KCBS-TV, the incident took place last Sunday outside the Covina restaurant when a health inspector came to enforce coronavirus guidelines at the restaurant.

“A citation from the health department said the inspector found two customers dining outside, which goes against current protocols,” KCBS reported. “Roman says they were on a public bench, and not his property.”

“We weren’t going out. We weren’t serving them,” Roman told the station.

Roman, who adamantly refused to move his vehicle after the confrontation with the inspector, said that if he and his employees could not work, the health inspectors would not be able to work, either.

“This isn’t about me,” he said of the closures. “They can’t pay their bills. The cook just had a baby. He’s with his family right now.”

The officer on the scene told Roman that a tow truck was on its way and would remove his truck from the premises if he refused to let the health inspector leave.

According to the Daily Caller, “The officer told Roman ‘it wasn’t [the health inspector’s] fault’ and that he was following orders from his supervisor.”

The officer also told Roman that his blocking the inspector’s vehicle “is not the way to settle things.” Roman ultimately moved his vehicle, but not before advising the officer and the inspector that he is desperate to feed his children.

“We’re all in this together, we’ll just all starve to death and die,” he said.

What else do we know about Roman’s situation?

KCBS reported that Roman invested thousands of dollars in his restaurant by opening an outdoor patio when outdoor dining was still permitted in Los Angeles County and even began digging into his own personal savings account to pay staff and serve customers.

“I think we have entered into the realm of a lose-lose situation,” he admitted.

A GoFundMe page to benefit Roman’s restaurant and employees has received more than $32,000 in donations at the time of this reporting.

In a statement, the Covina Police Department said, “The peace was kept and Mr. Roman’s vehicle was moved from the roadway, allowing the health inspector to leave. We have no information on citations or fines issued by L.A. County Health Inspectors as they are a different entity.”

The L.A. County Public Health Department has not responded to the Daily Caller’s request for comment at the time of this reporting, but KCBS reports that Roman is facing two $500 fines for failure to comply and interfering with the health officer.


Restaurant Owner Blockades Health Inspectors Car After Receiving Citation For Outdoor Dining

www.youtube.com

This content was originally published here.

COVID-19 ‘super-spreader’ event feared in L.A. as Christian singer defies health order

A conservative evangelical Christian singer with a history of defying COVID-19 health mandates plans three days of New Year’s gatherings in the Los Angeles area, including stops on skid row and at a tent city in Echo Park, raising fears that the events will be viral “super-spreaders.”

Skid row activists plan a car blockade to stop Sean Feucht — a Redding, Calif., volunteer pastor and failed Republican congressional candidate — and his followers from staging what is billed as a “massive outreach” Wednesday evening on skid row, at the height of Los Angeles County’s pandemic crisis. Feucht’s plans come as California, facing record case counts and a severe shortage of intensive care hospital beds, has extended its stay-at-home order.

Feucht began hosting “Let Us Worship” open-air concerts nationwide to push back against government restrictions on religious gatherings, then broadened his focus to cities that erupted in protest after the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

The Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry caused a super-spreader event in Redding.

Feucht’s events have featured hundreds of maskless worshipers tightly packed together and singing and dancing. He has another homeless outreach planned Thursday at Echo Park Lake, site of nearly 100 homeless tents, followed by a New Year’s Eve party and concert at a church parking lot in Valencia.

In a YouTube video —part of an extensive social media campaign to promote the L.A. dates — Feucht said a couple of thousand glow sticks had been ordered for a bash he predicted could rival his worship service this year on the National Mall, which drew hundreds of people.

Charles Karuku, a Feucht associate who travels with the singer, said they tell followers to heed government health guidelines, “but we are not law enforcement. It’s up to the people how they choose to come.”

But Stephen “Cue” Jn-Marie, pastor of Church Without Walls, a skid row congregation, said, “We know based on his track record whatever he’s going to do is going to be maskless.” Jn-Marie is organizing the car blockade with Los Angeles Community Action Network, a skid row anti-poverty activist group.

“The problem we’re facing is even prior to the stay-at-home order, people come into the community and say they’re bringing resources but what they’re bringing is the disease,” said Jn-Marie, adding that the outreach event could undo the self-help measures the skid row community took, including distributing masks and street wash stations and sponsoring testing events. “It doesn’t take thousands to start an outbreak.”

The homeless population in Los Angeles has generally avoided serious COVID outbreaks throughout most of the pandemic, although it has seen a significant uptick in recent weeks, in keeping with the wider surge in infections nationwide.

One reason L.A.’s homeless people have avoided a COVID disaster could be that they live outside

The California Poor People’s Campaign wrote a letter calling for city and county officials to quash Feucht’s events. The campaign offered a legal justification for enforcement of county health orders, but Los Angeles has not generally used police powers on individuals to back up pandemic restrictions, and homeless outreach events do not require permits.

“Police know how to show up and issue orders to disperse an illegal gathering,” said Nell Myhand, co-chair of the California Poor People’s Campaign.

Asked for a response to the enforcement question, mayoral spokesman Alex Comisar said Mayor Eric Garcetti implored everyone to wear masks and practice social distancing.

L.A. Councilman Kevin de León, who represents skid row, said his office and the mayor’s staff will be on skid row Wednesday morning distributing personal protective equipment and sanitation kits to homeless people, but did not comment on possible enforcement of county COVID-19 health orders.

Our expectation is that those attending the scheduled outreach event take steps to care for our community and protect vulnerable Angelenos on skid row by wearing masks and honoring social distancing guidelines,” de Leon said in a statement.

Feucht has upcoming events scheduled in Orange County and San Diego, according to his website. Tom Grode, a skid row resident and activist who began petitioning the city a month ago to stop the skid row event , called Feucht’s plan to come to Los Angeles “incredibly foolish … divisive and dangerous.”

“The problem is any of these events could get weird in different ways,” Grode said.

Cathy Callahan, who has been following Feucht’s career online with dismay, spent two hours Tuesday calling the Los Angeles Police Department, the mayor’s office, county health officials and the state attorney general, asking if they were going to shut the New Year’s events down. She said she was bounced from office to office without receiving an answer.

”If not, why is California issuing lockdowns or stay-at-home orders?” Callahan asked.

This content was originally published here.

CDC issues new guidance about vaccinations for people with underlying health conditions

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Saturday issued a new guidance stating that people with underlying health conditions can receive a coronavirus vaccine. 

The guidance explains that “adults of any age with certain underlying medical conditions are at increased risk for severe illness from the virus that causes COVID-19.”  

Thus, the CDC added that those vaccines that have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) “may be administered to people with underlying medical conditions provided they have not had a severe allergic reaction to any of the ingredients in the vaccine.” 

The CDC explained that people with weakened immune systems due to other illnesses or medication may also receive a COVID-19 vaccine, but they should be aware that limited safety data is available on the effects of the vaccines on these individuals. 

Additionally, while people living with HIV were included in clinical trials, safety data for this group is also not yet available. 

The CDC also stated in its Saturday guidance that individuals with autoimmune conditions may take the vaccine, although there is no data currently available for the safety of the vaccine in this demographic.  

Those who have experienced Guillain-Barre syndrome — a condition in which the body begins to attack parts of its own nervous system — may also receive the vaccine doses. The guidance adds that following vaccination during clinical trials, there have been no instances of the syndrome. 

People who have previously experienced Bell’s palsy — a condition that causes muscle weakness in one side of the face — may also receive a vaccine. Some participants during clinical trials did develop Bell’s palsy following vaccination, but it did not occur at a rate above that expected in the general population. 

Despite the start of distributions of the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, the CDC recommends that people who get vaccinated should continue to follow current coronavirus health and safety protocols, such as wearing a mask, social distancing and avoiding crowds. 

According to the CDC, nearly 2 million people have received their first dose of a coronavirus vaccine as of Saturday. Both the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech and the one from Moderna require two doses to be administered several weeks apart. 

Final trial data on both vaccines showed them to have a roughly 95 percent efficacy rate at preventing COVID-19, although Moderna’s vaccine has an 86 percent efficacy rate for those over the age of 65.

Health care workers have been prioritized in the initial distribution of the vaccine, and the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted last week to advise the CDC to include those 75 and older and specific front-line essential workers, including emergency responders and teachers, in the next phase of coronavirus vaccinations.

This content was originally published here.

California health system buckling under COVID-19 pandemic

LOS ANGELES (AP) — California’s health care system is buckling under the strain of the nation’s largest coronavirus outbreak and may fracture in weeks if people ignore holiday social distancing, health officials warned as the number of people needing beds and specialized care soared to previously unimagined levels.

Top executives from the state’s largest hospital systems —Kaiser Permanente, Dignity Health and Sutter Health, which together cover 15 million Californians — said Tuesday that increasingly exhausted staff, many pressed into service outside their normal duties, are now attending to COVID-19 patients stacked up in hallways and conference rooms.

The CEO of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital in Los Angeles, Dr. Elaine Batchlor, separately said patients there have spilled over into the gift shop and five tents outside the emergency department.

“We don’t have space for anybody. We’ve been holding patients for days because we can’t get them transferred, can’t get beds for them,” said Dr. Alexis Lenz, an emergency room physician at El Centro Regional Medical Center in Imperial County, in the southeast corner of the state. The facility has erected a 50-bed tent in its parking lot and was converting three operating rooms to virus care.

California is closing in on 2 million confirmed cases of COVID-19. The state on Tuesday reported nearly 32,700 newly confirmed cases. Another 653 patients were admitted to hospitals — one of the biggest one-day hospitalization jumps — for a total approaching 18,000.

State data models have predicted the hospitalizations could top 100,000 in a month if current rates continue.

Even more worrying than lack of beds is a lack of personnel. The pool of available travel nurses is drying up as demand for them jumped 44% over the last month, with California, Texas, Florida, New York and Minnesota requesting the most extra staff, according to San Diego-based health care staffing firm Aya Healthcare.

“We’re now in a situation where we have surges all across the country, so nobody has many nurses to spare,” said Dr. Janet Coffman, a professor of public policy at the University of California in San Francisco.

California is reaching out to places like Australia and Taiwan to fill the need for 3,000 temporary medical workers, particularly nurses trained in critical care.

Around the country, outbreaks are being blamed on lack of social distancing and mask-wearing during Thanksgiving and officials fear an even worse surge if people gather for Christmas and New Year’s.

Fresno County in California’s agricultural Central Valley is in desperate condition. Dr. Thomas Utecht, chief medical officer for Community Medical Centers Fresno, related how medical staff daily see sobbing families, desperate patients and people dying in isolation wards with their loved ones watching remotely.

Doctors and health officials there are begging people to avoid gathering outside of their immediate families.

“If people don’t stay home … we’re going to see something that’s, it’s hard for me to even imagine,” said Dr. Patrick Macmillan, palliative specialist in Fresno County. “I think it will break the health care system.”

Similar warnings echoed around the country, from Tennessee, which is seeing the nation’s worst new COVID-19 infection surge per capita, to Mississippi and West Virginia, which surpassed their previous highs for virus deaths reported in a single day on Tuesday.

COVID-19′s impact isn’t just on the infected. Lack of beds or nurses means that there are long lines to emergency rooms for other patients as well, such as those with heart attacks or trauma, and paramedics who must wait for an ER nurse to take charge of a patient may not be able to immediately answer another 911 call, said Dr. Anneli von Reinhart, an emergency physician at Community Regional Medical Center in downtown Fresno.

In the midst of the surge, the distribution of thousands of doses of COVID-19 vaccine to health care workers does mark light at the end of the tunnel but “it also feels like the tunnel is narrowing,” said Dr. Rais Vohra, interim health officer for Fresno County.

“It’s just a race against time to try to get people through this tunnel as safely as possible,” he said. “That’s exactly what it feels like to be working on the front lines right now.”

Thompson reported from Sacramento, California. Associated Press reporters from around the U.S. contributed to this report.

This content was originally published here.

Biden selects Becerra to lead Health and Human Services – POLITICO

POLITICO Dispatch: December 7

Last semester didn’t go too well. But colleges and universities across the country are looking for a do-over in the Spring. POLITICO’s Juan Perez reports on how schools are trying to beat coronavirus next semester — and what lessons they’ve learned from the past year. Plus, the U.K. plans to start vaccinations Tuesday. And Trump says Giuliani has tested positive for Covid.

A veteran of Washington, he spent nearly 25 years in the House of Representatives culminating in a stint as chair of the Democratic caucus. Becerra also sat on the powerful House Ways and Means subcommittee overseeing health issues. Yet unlike earlier contenders to be Biden’s HHS secretary, he has not held a top health policy position before. Then-California Gov. Jerry Brown tapped Becerra to be attorney general in 2017, replacing Kamala Harris after she was elected to the Senate.

If confirmed, Becerra would be the first Latino to run the health department — a role that will thrust him into the middle of a high-stakes pandemic response set to determine the trajectory of the next four years. The New York Times first reported Becerra’s selection.

Biden’s decision to choose Becerra for the top health post marks the conclusion of a turbulent process, in which the Biden camp had to scramble to fill one of the administration’s leading health positions as they prepare to take on the country’s worst health crisis in more than a century.

The president-elect team’s focus on setting up a pandemic response team within the White House has raised questions about the role the health secretary will play in the Biden administration, according to four people familiar with the process, creating additional uncertainty around the Cabinet post.

Becerra emerged as a top contender late in the process after Biden’s team considered a number of other candidates including former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy — who will be reprising that role in the Biden administration — New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo. The Biden transition did not respond to a request for comment.

The Biden team has been planning to announce a slate of top health positions this week, which will include Jeff Zients as the coronavirus coordinator and Murthy as surgeon general. Murthy will take on an expanded portfolio, working closely with Zients on the coronavirus response. Marcella Nunez-Smith, a professor at Yale who is an expert on health care inequality, will have a senior role focused on health disparities. That announcement may be pushed back because of the delay in selecting Becerra.

At one point last week, plans were in place for Biden to announce Raimondo as his HHS nominee. The president-elect never directly offered the position to Raimondo, but people close to him indicated the job was hers if she wanted it, and preparations were underway with the assumption she would fill the role, according to three people familiar with the process.

But then Raimondo made a public announcement Thursday, saying she would not be Biden’s health secretary. Josh Block, a spokesman for Raimondo, pushed back against the notion that Raimondo turned down the Biden staff, saying her focus remained on Rhode Island.

“Certainly on this one, they are struggling,” one of the people familiar with the transition’s efforts said before they settled on Becerra. “They had the person they wanted, and that person isn’t doing it. Are there plenty of qualified people? Yes. Do they have the setup they wanted? No.”

Still, a source close to Biden stressed that this kind of last-minute scramble is not unprecedented, pointing to President Obama tapping Tom Daschle as HHS Secretary only to have him withdraw amid revelations over delinquent taxes and Kathleen Sebelius assume the post instead.

“We’d rather feel good and get it right instead of rushing to get something out the door,” the source said. “Poor personnel choices can create much more sustainable problems than an extra day or two or three of vetting.”

Raimondo was always ambivalent about leaving Rhode Island in the middle of her term to move to Washington, D.C., a place she has never wanted to live, according to two people familiar with her thinking. Raimondo has two school-aged children and had major trepidations about relocating them to a new school — she made it clear to advisers that the position had to be the right one. Raimondo wanted to be Treasury secretary (Biden selected former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen for that position), but she would also likely accept Commerce secretary if it was offered, the people said.

Advisers to Raimondo were particularly concerned about how the health secretary position was being set up in the Biden administration. They worried that when anything went wrong in the coronavirus response, she would be pinned with the blame, but any success in fighting the virus would be credited to the Covid-19 response operation being run out of the White House, according to people familiar with their thinking.

Zients, who will be in charge of the White House’s coronavirus office, and Raimondo have a personal relationship that dates back years, according to one person familiar with their friendship, but Raimondo’s advisers were worried she would play second fiddle to Zients in the administration.

The source close to Biden told POLITICO that the transition team is aware of these concerns, but that those who worry the HHS won’t have any real power in the administration are guilty of “an insulting misunderstanding.”

“The only person who can truly undermine the Department of Health and Human Services is the president,” the source said. “Biden has clearly said he will listen to the scientists. He’s raised up Fauci, who works at NIH, who reports to the secretary … At the end of the day, HHS writes the regs, implements them, obtains the data, and presents the data.”

By selecting Becerra, Biden is elevating a longtime politician who became a star in Democratic circles during the Trump era, winning praise for his flurry of lawsuits challenging the president’s most divisive policies.

California has sued the Trump administration more than 100 times over a wide range of issues, from immigration to the environment to health care. That effort has included challenges to Trump regulations rewriting parts of the Affordable Care Act, as well as rules affecting access to federal health benefits like Medicaid.

Becerra is also leading the multistate defense against a Republican-led lawsuit aimed at striking down Obamacare in its entirety — a suit that the Trump administration has backed and that the Supreme Court is expected to rule on within months.

Yet while allies touted his ability to organize dozens of blue states in opposition to the Trump administration, Becerra has little experience managing a bureaucracy as large and diverse as HHS. He also has little background in public health, a drawback that could raise questions about his readiness to direct a pandemic response and vaccine distribution campaign that rank among the most complex federal undertakings in U.S. history.

Others fear his record of vocally supporting Medicare for All and abortion rights could endanger his confirmation if Republicans hold the Senate majority. The influential anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List slammed him Sunday night as an “extremist,” and wrote that “Republican senators must stand firm and stop this unacceptable nomination from going forward.”

A source familiar with the transition decision responded that Becerra has a history of reaching across the aisle, citing his work with California Republicans on anti-vaping initiatives and experimental drugs to treat Covid-19. Asked about Becerra’s calls for a single-payer health system, the source said the team is confident he will support Biden’s pledge to create a public insurance option that will compete with private plans.

Still, the selection is likely to calm the nerves of Democrats puzzled by the drawn out search for a health secretary — and narrow the race for a pair of other high-profile positions. Becerra had been among the contenders to be Biden’s attorney general, as well as to fill the California Senate seat vacated by Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.

It may also ease tensions between the Biden camp and Latino groups that have pushed hard for Lujan Grisham to run the health department.

Minutes after the news of his appointment broke, Latino lawmakers and advocacy groups said they were excited and relieved that a son of Mexican immigrant would be in charge not only of addressing Covid-19 but health access more broadly.

“To have someone who knows our community is really gratifying,” said Janet Murguia, the president of UnidosUS and a former adviser to President Bill Clinton. “Diverse communities have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic and I think the country is going to benefit from the wealth of his experience.”

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus, which had been lobbying for Lujan Grisham, called Becerra “a champion for working families.”

Lujan Grisham, a co-chair of the transition, had made it clear that she wanted to serve as the health secretary, but people familiar with the process said Biden’s team had favored other candidates. Grisham, who served as New Mexico’s secretary of health, turned down the Biden team’s offer to be secretary of Interior, which hurt her candidacy for other positions in the administration, those familiar with the conversations said.

On Sunday night, Lujan Grisham released a statement saying she already has “the best job in the world as Governor of New Mexico” and that she looks forward to working with the Biden administration from that post.

New Mexico Sen.-elect Ben Ray Lujan criticized Biden’s top advisers in a meeting Thursday with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus for how the transition team had treated Lujan Grisham, especially for leaks that the governor had declined to lead the Department of Interior. The group has been frustrated with the lack of Latinos chosen for top positions in the Biden administration. Becerra is now the second Latino selected for the Cabinet after Biden picked Alejandro Mayorkas to serve as secretary of Homeland Security.

Joanne Kenen contributed reporting.

This content was originally published here.

Humanitarian Dentistry Amid the Pandemic – the Open Wide Foundation in Guatemala – Spear Education

The last week of February marked my fifth trip to Guatemala as a volunteer with the Open Wide Foundation. I traveled with my colleagues, Spear dentists Dr. Everett Heringer and Dr. Rick Timm, along with our families and staff from our practices. It was inconceivable at the time that the trip would mark the last week of volunteers in the Open Wide clinic for the reminder of 2020 due to the global emergence of COVID-19. When I returned home to Atlanta, I presented a photo slideshow of our trip to my staff and listened to the office buzz … “Dr. Merriman just returned from Guatemala …” It became clear to me that my patient community wanted to know what I do beyond this practice. Sharing my contribution to the story of Open Wide makes my staff and patients proud to incorporate “How we give back” into our office culture.

During one of my initial trips, I brought my daughter to experience a week in the Open Wide clinic in Peronia. It was shortly after the clinic was built by the local community in collaboration with the Open Wide Foundation and it was open year-round and staffed by the local municipal dental team. At this early point, it was only practical to focus on basic dentistry. One morning, I had a 14-year-old girl sit in my chair who had an abscess and caries exposure on an upper molar. I will never forget it. As I do in my practice in Atlanta, I told her and her mom, through the translator, that she needed a root canal. “We must get her sent over to get this done,” I said. Her mom without hesitation replied, “That’s not going to work. We can’t afford a root canal. Please, just extract it.” That was not something that I wanted to do; she had beautiful teeth except for this one. But I also could not leave her in immense pain. Reluctantly, I extracted the tooth. It just left me in an emotional moment, thinking, “That’s not what I feel good about.” I knew extractions were necessary on most outreach trips where the resources are unavailable to save a tooth. Still that time, I’ll never forget, I was at lunch and I could feel my daughter watching me talk about it with such emotion. That interaction really led me to see how we might be able to do more here. I realized it could be possible to provide quality restorative work in the Open Wide dental clinics.

Supporting the development of permanent clinics in underserved areas that would eventually be adopted by the local communities was exactly what the founders had in mind when envisioning the foundation. At Spear Summit 2011, I remember myself and many other Faculty Club members deciding to say “yes” to the initial call by Glen Wysel and Imtiaz Manji to invest in the development of the Open Wide Foundation – before the actual clinic in Peronia was even built. The mantra was “Open Minds, Open Hearts.” It was a heart tug that made me say “yes.” I could just hear my daughter’s voice and I knew she would go if I asked her. To step out into an experience like this, in a developing country, I needed to be able to trust it was going to be safe to bring my family and it was going to be set up where I could use my skills to truly serve the people. I trusted that Spear leaders would put things together in a quality way because Spear had such a network for success.

From the beginning we recognized in Guatemala similar needs that many of us had witnessed while doing mission dentistry in other remote areas across the globe. Dentistry is not often a priority in communities where good health care is unaffordable and families struggle to feed their families. In most impoverished areas there are no trained dentists or established clinics. Guatemala has the highest rate of caries in the Western Hemisphere. Those were reasons enough to start there.

Empowering Guatemalan communities with restorative dentistry

This groundwork of permanent clinics with ongoing care really made it possible for the advanced restorative program to get a foothold. Our volunteer group was collectively moving in that direction, to the point that it evolved to program committee planning where we now can review patient cases as a team, months in advance of a trip. To support us, the local staff selects patients and sends photographs, X-rays and the patient charts so that we can prepare our materials. (Our corporate representatives from Brassler, Cosmedent, Ultradent and Patterson are so generous in their support of donated materials that we often have leftover supplies to leave at the clinic.) This allows us to be prepared when we arrive, so we can focus on complex cases. Many who have missing front teeth or badly decayed front teeth are made whole again. With a restored smile, the patients we serve will have access to more opportunities in life … it is clear they value their smiles just as much as we do

What I will say about Open Wide – is that the foundation has such a network for success; it is always being improved. The organization’s vision stays focused on the concept of sustainability. The teaching we do with local Guatemalan dental students and dentists during our advanced restorative weeks, gives them the tools and training to be able to do it themselves after we’ve returned to the U.S. It is such a unique experience to share your skillset, time and money in a sustainable model and watch it resonate in the community for years to come. What we are accomplishing in our advanced restorative week is lasting. We are teaching the dental students and staff, who come up and watch us work at the chair, how to do the best clinical work possible. Over the years, I have seen the local team become more engaged and inspired to apply what they are learning. The staff and students are now following standard operating procedures and protocols developed and written by Open Wide’s team of dentists. Most recently, newly written COVID-19 protocols developed with guidance from Open Wide dentists and health experts in the field of infection control have guided the process of reopening when the time comes.

The staff we have worked with over the last 10 years will keep striving to improve and they will continue to have our support when they need it. Support not just from Spear dentists, but from the partnership with manufacturers such as A-dec and Dentsply Sirona who have provided critical equipment that has led to the Peronia clinic being known as the most technically advanced public dental clinic in Central America.

Advanced Restorative Week in Guatemala

There are so many patients that have impacted me over the years. These patients are incredible. Patients travel many hours overnight across the country in buses in preparation for an appointment during advanced restorative week. Access to these services are very rare in the public health setting around the world and the patients selected know that. They are so appreciative, grateful and you know that it is a pure situation that is rewarding to see. When we hand a mirror to the patients – and that could be any of the eight that we saw that week – as you see them looking at themselves, you just see the look on their face and it’s an amazing expression to see. You just can’t believe how they react, and nothing is taken for granted.

One of my colleagues, Open Wide Foundation Clinical Director Dr. Mike Johnson, shared one of his unforgettable memories about when one of his team members had completed eight upper anterior composite veneers on the teeth of a young lady in her 20s whose mouth was riddled with tooth decay. After three hours of tedious work, they gave her a mirror. She was speechless at first and then burst into tears. She told them, “I am one of nine children from a very poor family and this is the nicest thing anyone has ever done for me.” Being able to use our skills to give patients such a life-changing experience is a feeling difficult to put into words.

There is no amount of money that could substitute for those experiences. The local staff call us the “crying dentists,” and we hope that patients know that we’re crying because we are touched to see patients look in the mirror with their new smiles, not because we are tired after working at the dental chair for four hours. Those experiences are just too numerous to name them all. It is just every time you work on these people, they are so grateful.

COVID-19 in Guatemala – not just numbers on a chart

Since the pandemic has forced the closures of Open Wide clinics and borders, volunteers have had to postpone their trips and find new ways to support the work in Guatemala.

The COVID-19 numbers we see on the charts or hear in the news about Guatemala aren’t just data to us. They are real people, many of them friends. In response to the immediate needs since the onset of the pandemic in March 2020, Open Wide was able to donate its clinic inventory of 1,300 masks and 4,200 gloves to be used in “The Market,” which is the public health service complex for the Municipality of Villa Nueva that includes Peronia. The local team in Guatemala continued to support their municipality, working as public health responders during the shelter in place order issued by the government. Open Wide worked with the team throughout the summer to develop COVID-19 protocols to prepare them to present them to the Municipal Directors of Health, as required.

We are not there and can’t be there right now, but we still want to make sure that all the effort that has been put forth to make Open Wide’s mission a success continues. We want to sustain this work. That’s the whole point of sustainability – meaning we support start-up clinics in underserved communities with equipment and supplies, and then we mentor, train and teach local dentists so that they can continue when we go home. But we still need to get over the hurdle that COVID-19 has created for us. Open Wide’s program funding comes from donations given by each volunteer team that works in the clinics, so when volunteers can’t go, the funding stops. So, I think we must recognize that we must step up to ensure that we, keep it viable.

Personally, I can’t wait to get back to Guatemala again. Hopefully restrictions will be lifted by February 2022, when my next trip is scheduled. But if I had to say to anybody who’s thinking about doing this trip to the clinic or volunteering – I wish I hadn’t waited so long to have done something like this. But I’m glad when I did, that I did. If you are thinking about volunteering, you could go by yourself or with someone. If I had a preference, it would be to share this experience with someone as I do with my family, staff and colleagues.

Jim Merriman, D.M.D., F.A.G.D., is a Spear Faculty Club and Visiting Faculty member in private practice in Atlanta.

How to support Open Wide’s efforts in Guatemala

As 2021 dawns, there’s a line of teams waiting to go. Open Wide still doesn’t know for sure when that will be as it cannot know when COVID-19 advisories will be lifted. But until then, the foundation continues to move forward with gratitude for all the volunteers and donors who have been steadfast in their commitment to the work they set out to do 10 years ago. During this COVID-19 pause, Open Wide leaders spent some time looking back at thousands of photos shared by volunteers and hundreds of stories told, like Dr. Merriman’s. They are inspired by friendships across borders, camaraderie among volunteer teams, adventure and fun, and of helping others and, in doing so, returning home with life-changing memories to share, as Jim does, with staff and patients.

Open Wide is about more than words a dentist speaks to a patient. It is an opening of the mind, the heart, the spirit. It is about opening a door to a better way of life. It means to give generously and in doing so receive far more than you could have hoped for.

OPEN MOUTHS. OPEN HEARTS. OPEN MINDS.

This content was originally published here.

PA Health Department Offers COVID Advice… For Orgies

That old expression, “Ya can’t make this stuff up,” comes to mind.

Under the command of transgender Health Secretary Rachel Levine (aka Richard Levine), The Pennsylvania Department of Health just burned tax cash issuing new COVID19 guidelines forrrr…

…People attending orgies.

Thanks to talk radio host and writer Rose Unplugged Tweeting the pertinent section, we who, like her, still cling to vestiges of sanity, get to see the Kafkaesque display of a state government forbidding people from attending church or choir, but offering tips to those who insist on participating in orgiastic hedonism.

WTH: From PA’s oh so smart Sec of Health:
Where to Start??

– IF you attend a Large Gathering where you might end up having sex
* ORGY??

– If you USUALLY meet sex partners online – consider;
*PORN?? pic.twitter.com/S6TK3p8OYm

— Rose Unplugged (@rose_unplugged)

The actual government document has been around for weeks, but it took Rose to dig in and find the pertinent section, which reads:

Large gatherings are not safe during COVID19, but if you attend a large gathering where you might end up having sex, below are tips to reduce your risk of spreading or getting COVID-19 through sex:

Limit the number of partners.

Try to identify a consistent sex partner.

Wear a face covering, avoid kissing, and do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.

Wash your hands with soap and water often, and especially before and after sex.  If soap and water are not available use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

If you usually meet your sex partners online, consider taking a break from in-person dates. Video dates, sexting, subscription-based fan platforms, or chat rooms may be options for you.

Isn’t that awesome…?

It’s all so sanitary and sane.

Heck, why not spend other people’s money writing some “health advice”? Then, to pile on more insults, don’t tell people that sexual intercourse naturally can lead to the creation of new human life, that it creates physical, emotional, and spiritual complications for participants with or without conception, that sexual relations outside marriage make these factors even more complex and difficult, and that they raise health risks… Instead, offer a perfunctory “warning” about the virus, then give folks tips, assuming they’ll engage in unbridled “relations”, anyway.

This is a state where Democrat Governor Tom Wolf has childishly refused to acknowledge the US Bill of Rights and the Contract Clause of the US Constitution, even as he turned a blind eye to a September court ruling smacking down his lockdowns of businesses and churches, and he continued to target and fine restaurateurs for trying to welcome customers.

This is a state where said Governor, Tom Wolf, was caught laughing with leftist State Rep Wendy Ullman (D) as she joked that she would keep on her mask… for the cameras, for, as she put it, “political theatre.”

And this is a state where said Governor issued a November statement ORDERING people to wear masks in their homes (the policing of which would require warrants, according to the Fourth Amendment, which also appears to be something Wolf doesn’t bother to respect).

At what point do these people ever feel shame?

The entire exercise of lockdowns is not only toweringly immoral and unconstitutional, it is based on fraudulent “statistics” for “cases” and “COVID19 deaths”, and, even more generally, on a revised use of the term “pandemic” that has lowered the threshold for its application such that it can be bandied about virtually any time, for anything. As Dr. Joseph Mercola wrote on December 10:

The WHO’s original definition of a pandemic specified simultaneous epidemics worldwide “with enormous numbers of deaths and illnesses”

This definition was changed in the month leading up to the 2009 swine flu pandemic. The WHO removed the severity and high mortality criteria, leaving the definition of a pandemic as “a worldwide epidemic of a disease”

This is how COVID-19 is still promoted as a pandemic even though it has caused no excess mortality in nine months

Does their continued consumption of other people’s money numb these PA tyrants to their own perfidy, or do they enjoy mass suffering as much as their public “health guidelines” seem to assume that people enjoy mass hook-ups?

It might be difficult to get any answers from said government agents. Rather than engage in debate and discussion, they seem to prefer issuing edicts and “advice” — neither of which are helpful.

This content was originally published here.

Psilocybin Treatment for Mental Health Gets Legal Framework – Scientific American

Oregon made history on November 3, becoming not just the first U.S. state to legalize psilocybin, the psychoactive compound in “magic mushrooms,” but also the first jurisdiction in the world to lay out plans for regulating the drug’s therapeutic use.

The next day, on the opposite coast, Johns Hopkins University researchers published results from the first randomized controlled trial of treating major depressive disorder with synthetic psilocybin. Their study, published in JAMA Psychiatry, found 71 percent of patients experienced a “clinically significant response” (an improvement that lasted at least four weeks after treatment). And 54 percent met the criteria for total “remission of depression.”

At the U.S. federal level, psilocybin remains a completely prohibited Schedule 1 Drug, defined by the Drug Enforcement Administration as having “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” But the state-level ballot measure and positive study results broaden the legal circumstances and settings in which the potent psychedelic can be used for mental health therapy.

“Our goal was to move psilocybin out of the medical framework so we could provide access to anyone who might safely benefit,” meaning to allow its use by counseling therapists and not just by doctors in a hospital, says therapist Tom Eckert, co-author of the Oregon Psilocybin Therapy Ballot Measure, which passed with more than 1.2 million votes (55.7 percent). Although Oregon is not the first place in the U.S. to loosen restrictions on psilocybin—the cities of Oakland, Denver, Ann Arbor and Washington, D.C., voted in the past two years to effectively decriminalize the drug—it is the first to offer a framework for legal therapeutic use. “This is very different from decriminalization, which only seeks to lower the penalties for possession,” Eckert notes. “We want to bring this therapy out from the underground and into [safe therapeutic environments].”

Such use will be tightly regulated, however: only licensed therapists and manufacturers will be allowed to grow the mushrooms or extract psilocybin from them, or to synthetically produce the drug, set up a psilocybin therapy center or provide therapy. There will be no dispensaries selling mushrooms for recreational use, as exist for cannabis in California and 15 other states. People must be over 21 to receive the drug, and may only consume it at a licensed facility with a certified therapist present. And Oregon will not be opening any legal psilocybin therapy centers until 2023 at the earliest, as the measure requires a two-year consultation with lawmakers.

The Oregon vote is the latest step in what many see as magic mushrooms’ march to become “the next marijuana”: a natural therapeutic and mood-altering compound gaining mainstream acceptance in a regulated market. Since 2015 psilocybin retreats have been allowed to operate in the Netherlands, where dozens of them cater to affluent tourists. Even there the drug exists in a legal gray area, however: psilocybin mushrooms are illegal, but “truffles” (clumps of the fungus’s subterranean root-like filaments) are legal.

PSYCHEDELIC MEDICINE

The potential benefits of psilocybin, LSD and other psychedelics were widely explored by psychiatrists in the 1950 and 1960s, before such drugs leaked from the lab and were embraced by the counterculture. A subsequent backlash led to a strict prohibition of legitimate research for the next four decades. But in recent years, a handful of dogged psychiatrists have revived the field. A Johns Hopkins 2006 double-blind study (meaning neither trial participants nor researchers knew if a subject was receiving psilocybin or placebo), published in the journal Psychopharmacology, demonstrated that psilocybin could give healthy volunteers “experiences having substantial and sustained personal meaning.”

“What is different about psilocybin, compared to other mood-altering drugs or pharmaceuticals, is the enduring meaning and belief changes that can occur. People feel ‘reorganized’ in a way they don’t with other drugs,” says Johns Hopkins neuropharmacologist Roland Griffiths, lead author of the initial 2006 study as well as the latest one on depression. “It’s almost like reprogramming the operating system of a computer.” Griffiths now leads the new, $17 million-funded Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research at Johns Hopkins Medicine.

Dozens of other scientific reports in the past 15 years have built on the 2006 study, demonstrating psilocybin’s helpfulness for a variety of mental health conditions. In a 2016 paper in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, Griffiths and his team found that more than 80 percent of patients with a terminal cancer diagnosis experienced a “significant decrease in depressed mood and anxiety” after psilocybin combined with psychotherapy. In the same year, other researchers published the first study demonstrating psilocybin’s potential to alleviate “treatment-resistant depression” that was not relieved by mainstream antidepressants. British researchers at Imperial College London described in The Lancet Psychiatry the “marked and sustained improvements” in 12 patients suffering from this form of depression. This study, however, had no control (placebo) group. The latest randomized controlled trial from Johns Hopkins tested the drug in a double-blind study on 24 people suffering from major depressive disorder, which affects an estimated 300 million people worldwide. Roughly 20 percent of Americans will experience this form of depression at some point in their lives; by comparison, treatment-resistant depression is estimated to affect fewer than 5 percent.

In 2019 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted “breakthrough” status to a company called Compass Pathways to study the use of psilocybin—in conjunction with psychotherapy—for treatment-resistant depression. This means the FDA recognises that the research “demonstrates the drug may have substantial improvement on at least one clinically significant endpoint over available therapy,” and that research and development will be “expedited.”

“I welcome the broadening of the indications, because I think psilocybin is likely to be effective in a range of disorders,” says David Nutt, author of the initial 2016 study on psilocybin and depression, and director of the neuropsychopharmacology unit in the division of brain sciences at Imperial College London. “However, it is critical that we have proper screening to protect people who might be vulnerable due to psychotic predispositions.”

Rachel Aidan, a professional therapist and CEO of Synthesis Group, a Netherlands psilocybin retreat center now looking to expand operations to Oregon, agrees. “As excited as we all are about the power of these compounds, the reality is that they are NOT for everyone,” she says. “Right now we just need to keep our heads down to learn from the situation in Oregon, and plan carefully for the future so we don’t rush into legalization. We don’t want to recreate the 1960s and the backlash that ensued.”

AN ANTIDEPRESSANT ALTERNATIVE

Because psilocybin is thought to be most effective when given in combination with psychotherapy, the cost (possibly involving a dozen or more hours of therapy sessions) could remain in the thousands of dollars for the near future—and even more if the treatment involves synthetic psilocybin. Nonetheless, many hope the latest study will lead to psilocybin treatment being viewed more as a first line of defense for depression, rather than a quirky option for people who are desperate after conventional treatments fail. Psilocybin appeals to many because of the treatment’s rapid and sustained effects, combined with the lack of unpleasant side effects such as weight gain and loss of libido, which are typically associated with widely prescribed SSRI antidepressants.

“This isn’t about selling people a box of pills. This is about exploring a new way to deal with depression by going into the underlying issues,” says Rosalind Watts, a psychologist who was formerly clinical lead on the psilocybin for depression study at Imperial College London. “It’s not that this is better than antidepressants—it’s just better for some people. Some people will still prefer antidepressants because they are simply more convenient. It just makes sense to have different options, and for us to understand that different things work for different people at different times.”

Watts has now left Imperial to operate as the clinical director at Synthesis, where she works to develop psilocybin therapies outside of medical academia. “Rather than conduct more small trials,” she says, “I wanted to help set up something for people to access psilocybin therapy now.”

Actions like this by clinicians around the world are nudging psilocybin from a fringe treatment toward mainstream medicine. As Rick Doblin, founder and executive director of the Santa Cruz, Calif.–based Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, puts it: “Our long term goal is mass mental health.”

Johns Hopkins and Imperial researchers have already planned more psilocybin studies for a range of difficult-to-treat conditions, hoping to harness the drug’s ability to “unblock” people by shifting perspectives, catalyzing insights and changing problematic and habitual mindsets and behaviors. Studies on anorexia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, smoking cessation, opiate addiction and post-traumatic stress disorder are all in the works.

Griffiths, however, is wary of efforts to rush the drug out from tightly regulated settings. “I’m sympathetic to people who are impatient, but we don’t want to end up in a situation where people underestimate the potential risks of using these compounds. They do have significant risks, such as panic, anxiety and dangerous behavior,” he says. “In Oregon, the devil is in the details in how things will unfold.”

This content was originally published here.

10 Equine Dentistry Resources on TheHorse.com – The Horse

The American Association of Equine Practitioners recommends adult horses receive annual oral and dental exams by licensed veterinarians. Doing so can help horses avoid nutritional and behavioral issues related to tooth pain. To help you brush up on your equine dental knowledge, we’ve scoured our archives and collected 10 important resources available to you for free on TheHorse.com.

Find more equine dentistry information by searching “dentistry” or by visiting the dentistry and dental problem subtopics on TheHorse.com.

ARTICLE: Study: Dental Work Improves Feed Digestibility in Horses Increased feed digestibility means greater conversion of feed to energy and–ideally–reduced feed bills.

ARTICLE: EOTRH: An Important Dental Condition in Aged Horses Scientists reviewed research on this painful disease that affects a horse’s teeth, gums, and bone.

ARTICLE: Signs Your Horse Needs a Dental Exam Are your horse’s teeth bothering him? Here are some common signs to watch for.

ARTICLE: Complications Rare Following Equine Tooth Extractions Researchers reviewed dental records from 428 tooth extractions. Here’s what they found.

ARTICLE: The Evolution of Equids and Dental Work The modern horse’s dentition results from millions of years of evolution in response to changing food sources and climates. Likewise, how veterinarians treat today’s equine teeth must evolve and improve constantly.

ARTICLE: Equine Wolf Teeth While these teeth usually don’t pose a health risk to the horse, they are often removed in performance horses.

ARTICLE: Back to Basics: Equine Dental Terminology and Anatomy Having a basic understanding of dental anatomy and terminology can help owners comprehend this complex topic.

SLIDESHOW: Equine Dental Care and Health Dental care is an important part of keeping a horse healthy and happy throughout his life. Learn about common tooth problems and regular dental care in this slideshow.

ARTICLE: Year by Year, Tooth by Tooth Answers to equine dental-care questions will vary with each individual horse and circumstance. Horses do, however, have some general tendencies based on age, gender, career, overall health, and dental health that provide guidelines from which to make recommendations.

SPONSORED ARTICLE: What to Expect During Your Horse’s Dental Exam Dental exams are safe, routine procedures that will keep your horse feeling his best all year.

This content was originally published here.

‘Healing is coming’: US health workers start getting vaccine

Health care workers around the country rolled up their sleeves for the first COVID-19 shots Monday as hope that an all-out vaccination effort can defeat the coronavirus smacked up against the heartbreaking reality of 300,000 U.S. deaths.

“Relieved,” proclaimed critical care nurse Sandra Lindsay after becoming one of the first to be inoculated at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New York. “I feel like healing is coming.”

With a countdown of “3-2-1,” workers at Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center gave initial injections to applause.

And in Colorado, Gov. Jared Polis personally opened a delivery door to the FedEx driver and signed for a package holding 975 precious frozen doses of vaccine made by Pfizer Inc. and its German partner BioNTech.

The shots kicked off what will become the largest vaccination effort in U.S. history, one that could finally conquer the outbreak.

Dr. Valerie Briones-Pryor, who has worked in a COVID-19 unit at University of Louisville Hospital since March and recently lost her 27th patient to the virus, was among the first recipients.

“I want to get back to seeing my family,” she said. “I want families to be able to get back to seeing their loved ones.”

Some 145 sites around the country, from Rhode Island to Alaska, received shipments, with more deliveries set for the coming days. High-risk health care workers were first in line.

“This is 20,000 doses of hope,” John Couris, president and chief executive of Tampa General Hospital said of the first delivery.

Nursing home residents also get priority, and a Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Bedford, Massachusetts, announced via Twitter that its first dose went to a 96-year-old World War II veteran, Margaret Klessens. Other nursing homes around the U.S. expect inoculations in the coming days.

The campaign began the same day the U.S death toll from the surging outbreak crossed the 300,000 threshold, according to the count kept by Johns Hopkins University. The number of dead rivals the population of St. Louis or Pittsburgh. It is more than five times the number of Americans killed in the Vietnam War. It is equal to a 9/11 attack every day for more than 100 days.

“To think, now we can just absorb in our country 3,000 deaths a day as though it were just business as usual. It just represents a moral failing,” said Jennifer Nuzzo, a public health researcher at Johns Hopkins.

Health experts know a wary public is watching the vaccination campaign, especially communities of color that have been hit hard by the pandemic but, because of the nation’s legacy of racial health disparities and research abuses against Black people, have doubts about the vaccine.

Getting vaccinated is “a privilege,” said Dr. Leonardo Seoane, chief academic officer at Ochsner Health in suburban New Orleans, after getting his dose. Seoane, who is Cuban American, urged “all of my Hispanic brothers and sisters to do it. It’s OK.”

The nearly 3 million doses now being shipped are just a down payment on the amount needed. More of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will arrive each week. And later this week, the FDA will decide whether to greenlight the world’s second rigorously studied COVID-19 vaccine, made by Moderna Inc.

While the U.S. hopes for enough of both vaccines together to vaccinate 20 million people by the end of the month, and 30 million more in January, there won’t be enough for the average person to get a shot until spring.

For now the hurdle is to rapidly get vaccine into the arms of millions, not just doctors and nurses but other at-risk health workers such as janitors and food handlers — and then deliver a second dose three weeks later.

“We’re also in the middle of a surge, and it’s the holidays, and our health care workers have been working at an extraordinary pace,” said Sue Mashni, chief pharmacy officer at Mount Sinai Health System in New York City.

Plus, the shots can cause temporary fever, fatigue and aches as they rev up people’s immune systems, forcing hospitals to stagger employee vaccinations.

Just half of Americans say they want to get vaccinated, while about a quarter don’t and the rest are unsure, according to a recent poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Health Research.

“I know it’s going to be a big hurdle to convince people because it’s new, it’s uncertain,” said intensive care nurse Helen Cordova, who received a vaccination card after getting a shot at Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center. “This can be encouraging for others.”

The FDA, considered the world’s strictest medical regulator, said the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which was developed at breakneck speed less than a year after the virus was identified, appears safe and strongly protective, and the agency laid out the data in a daylong public meeting last week for scientists and consumers alike to see.

“We know it works well,” said Ochsner infectious-disease expert Dr. Katherine Baumgarten, who got her shot on Day 1. “As soon as you can get it, please do so.”

Still, the vaccine was cleared for emergency use before a final study in nearly 44,000 people was complete. That research is continuing to try to answer additional questions.

For example, while the vaccine is effective at preventing COVID-19 illness, it is not clear if it will stop the symptomless spread that accounts for half of all cases.

The shots still must be studied in children and during pregnancy. But the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists said Sunday that vaccination should not be withheld from pregnant women who otherwise would qualify.

Also, regulators in Britain are investigating a few severe allergic reactions. The FDA instructed providers not to give the vaccine to those with a known history of severe allergic reactions to any of its ingredients.

Associated Press writers Marion Renault, Andrew Welsh-Huggins, Rebecca Santana, Dylan Lovan, Tamara Lush, Jeff Turner and Kathy Young contributed to this report.

The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

This content was originally published here.

Maxillary First Premolar Extractions for Orthodontics – a Red Flag for Joint Issues – Spear Education

I had an unusual experience recently when I saw two new patients – incidentally, scheduled back-to-back – who both had three circumstances in common that resulted in a loss of airway volume and joint issues.

First, I saw a 45-year-old woman who presented with clicking and popping in her left jaw joint and reported the problem was getting worse. She had an average pain of 6/10 with a worst pain of 7/10 in her right jaw joint and an average pain of 8/10 and a worst pain of 10/10 in her left joint.

She had modified her diet to avoid eating hard or chewy foods and said her joint started clicking when she was in her early 20s.

Her initial point of contact was 15/18 (27/37) in a fully seated condylar position and had a 2-mm anterior shift from a fully seated condylar position to maximum intercuspation. Her mandibular midline was 2 mm to the right of her maxillary midline in a fully seated condylar position. She opened 30 mm and said she used to click in both her right and left jaw joints.

She also reported mild muscle tenderness to palpation and had facial asymmetry to the right. She’s worn two different occlusal appliances and was currently using an anterior repositioning appliance, which was not helping her pain.

Her trauma history included two motor vehicle accidents at age 43 and surgical intubations at ages 40 and 44. Her anterior teeth were uncoupled by 2 mm in a horizontal and vertical dimension.

Next, I saw a 53-year-old woman – another new patient who presented with a chief concern of clicking and pain in the left jaw joint. She told me the problem got worse about two years ago. She saw her ENT physician who examined her ears and concluded they were not the source of the problem.

The patient explained it was difficult for her to chew food and she felt her bite did not fit together evenly. She also reported no pain in the right jaw joint but an average pain of 5/10 and a worse pain of 8/10 in her left joint. Like the first patient, this patient also modified her diet to avoid hard or chewy foods.

In this second case, the patient’s initial point of contact was 2/31 (17/47) in a fully seated condylar position and she had a 3-mm anterior shift from a fully seated condylar position to maximum intercuspation. Her mandibular midline was 2 mm to the right of her maxillary midline in a fully seated condylar position. She opened 37 mm and said she used to click in both her right and left jaw joints.

She reported minimal muscle tenderness to palpation and had a canted occlusal plane to the right. She’s worn one occlusal appliance, which didn’t help her pain. Her trauma history included falling out of a station wagon at age 11, a snowmobiling accident at age 21, and a dog hitting her chin at age 27. Her anterior teeth were uncoupled by 3 mm in a horizontal dimension.

3 common threads

Interestingly, both patients shared three important facts. First, they both had orthodontics from ages 12-14 to treat an overjet problem. Second, they both had audible crepitus in their right and left jaw joints.

Having audible crepitus in a jaw joint usually means the disk is not covering the bone and the noise (crepitus) is typically the result of bone-to-bone contact between the condyle and the joint socket.

The third common factor was both patients had their maxillary first molars extracted when they had orthodontics.

To understand why the maxillary first molars were extracted for the orthodontic treatment for overjet, we must reverse-engineer the treatment plans for both patients. At the time, the thinking was they had genetically small mandibles, so if the upper first premolars were extracted it would be possible to retract the upper anterior teeth, thus reducing the overjet and creating a more normal anterior tooth relationship. However, we now know this is a flawed assumption to think the overjet was the result of a genetically small mandible.

While genetics can be a reason for a small mandible, the overwhelming majority of small mandibles are due to a structural alteration in the TMJ. When the joints are injured in a growing patient, growth can be interrupted (Figs. 1-4) and result in a Class II occlusion with an overjet problem.

If thinking about occlusion is limited to the tooth level without considering the condition of the TMJ, it’s easy to see why extracting the maxillary first premolars would make sense.

The problem now is once the TMJ is imaged with MRI and CBCT, it’s easy to understand the small mandible was not due to genetics, but rather due to incomplete growth of the mandible and the maxilla. The extractions were subtractive dentistry, which led to both esthetic and airway issues in both patients.

My advice is to always take a closer look at the jaw joints when patients present with maxillary first premolars extracted for orthodontic treatment. In most of these cases, there will be an undiagnosed joint issue that causes the overjet issue.

We can align with maxillary premolar and retractive orthodontics in the growing patient, but in most cases, the result will be a loss of airway volume along with joint problems in the adult patient.

Jim McKee, D.D.S., is a member of Spear Resident Faculty.

Piper, DMD MD, Mark. “Temporomandibular Joint Imaging.” Handbook of Research on Clinical Applications of Computerized Occlusal Analysis in Dental Medicine. IGI Global, 2020.582-697.

Pirttiniemi, P. Abnormal mandibular growth and the condylar cartilage. European Journal of Orthodontics, 2009;31(1),1-11.

Manfredini D, Segu M, Arveda N, Lombardo L, Siciliani G, Rossi A, et al. Temporomandibular joint disorders in patients with different facial morphology. a systematic review of the literature. Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.2016;74(1),29-46.

This content was originally published here.

Health care worker without history of allergies hospitalized in ICU following severe allergic reaction after receiving COVID-19 vaccine

A health care worker in Alaska developed a severe allergic reaction after receiving the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, according to
NBC News.

At least one other health care worker at the same facility also experienced a less serious reaction following the injection.

What are the details?

The unnamed health care worker, an employee at the Bartlett Regional Hospital in Juneau, Alaska, had to be hospitalized overnight for the severe reaction.

The worker, a middle-aged woman, reportedly had no history of allergies and never experienced anaphylaxis, according to the New York Times.

According to the outlet, all 96 workers at Bartlett Regional Hospital received the vaccine on Tuesday. Medical experts observed the workers for 30 minutes following the injection. The woman, however, began feeling flushed about 10 minutes after receiving the shot, and shortly began experiencing other symptoms such as shortness of breath and an elevated heart rate.

Dr. Lindy Jones, an emergency physician who treated the woman, said, “She had a red, flushed rash all over her face and torso. I was concerned about an anaphylactic reaction.”

The woman was initially treated with antihistamines, but later received an emergency injection of epinephrine.

The outlet reported that the worker’s symptoms abated, but returned, forcing physicians to place her on intravenous epinephrine and took her to the ICU for overnight observation.

The woman was taken off all medications as of Wednesday morning and was expected to be discharged. There is no further information available about the woman or her condition at the time of this reporting.

CNN reported on Thursday that a second health care worker also experienced a reaction. The second worker was reportedly treated for less severe symptoms and was ultimately released within an hour.

In a statement, Pfizer said that the biotechnology company is “working with local health authorities to assess” the reactions, and will “closely monitor all reports suggestive of serious allergic reactions following vaccination and update labeling language if needed.”

What else?

Last week, two health care workers in the United Kingdom
experienced allergic reactions following the COVID-19 vaccine, prompting the government to issue an allergy alert in connection with the vaccination.

U.K. regulators say that people with history of allergic reactions to medicine or food should avoid the COVID-19 vaccine following the reaction.

Both workers were expected to recover following the reaction.

This content was originally published here.

Mental Health Improved for Only One Group During COVID: Those Who Attended Church Weekly | The Stream

Poll results show that mental health improved for only one group of people during the coronavirus pandemic, and it’s a group that Democratic lawmakers repeatedly restricted.

Gallup polled a little over a thousand Americans over the age of 18 from Nov. 5–19 and found that only those who attended religious services weekly saw a positive change between 2019 and 2020 in how they rated their mental health.

In 2019, 42% of Americans who attended religious services weekly rated their mental health as excellent, the poll showed. In 2020, 46% of Americans who attended religious services weekly rated their mental health as excellent — a percentage increase of four points.

No other Demographic group in the Gallup poll, which had a margin of error of ±4 percentage points and a confidence level of 95%, saw a percentage increase in rating their mental health as excellent.

34% of Americans say their mental health is excellent, down from 43% in 2019. https://t.co/kjobkuEEVD pic.twitter.com/U6mPW54ZSt

— GallupNews (@GallupNews) December 8, 2020

“Houses of worship and religious services provide so much more than just a weekly meeting place — they are where so many Americans find strength, community, and meaning,” the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty’s Director of Research Caleb Lyman told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “Findings from this year’s Religious Freedom Index — that 62 percent of respondents said that faith had been important during the pandemic — align with Gallup’s findings on the importance of religious services to Americans’ mental health.”

The Gallup poll results are particularly striking in contrast to Democratic lawmakers’ restrictions on houses of worship. Governors and mayors across the United States have issued orders throughout the pandemic that restrict or prohibit religious services, and the Department of Justice has pushed back against such restrictions on multiple occasions.

Governors like Democratic Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam banned gatherings of 10 or more people through initial stay-at-home orders, restrictions which effectively banned church services. Authorities have arrested multiple religious leaders for defying coronavirus orders, such as Pastor Tony Spell of the Louisiana Life Tabernacle church and Florida megachurch pastor Rodney Howard-Browne.

Religious organizations in New York most recently took Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to the Supreme Court over his restrictions on houses of worship, accusing Cuomo of “targeting Orthodox practices.”

Conservative justices, including Justice Amy Coney Barrett, sided with religious organizations in the 5-4 ruling the night before Thanksgiving, while Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the liberal justices.

Please Support The Stream: Equipping Christians to Think Clearly About the Political, Economic and Moral Issues of Our Day.

The majority said that Cuomo’s coronavirus restrictions on religious communities are “far more restrictive than any Covid-related regulations that have previously come before the Court, much tighter than those adopted by many other jurisdictions hard hit by the pandemic, and far more severe than has been shown to be required to prevent the spread of the virus.”

“New York’s restrictions on houses of worship not only are severe, but also are discriminatory,” Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote in his concurring opinion.

“In light of the devastating pandemic, I do not doubt the State’s authority to impose tailored restrictions — even very strict restrictions — on attendance at religious services and secular gatherings alike,” Kavanaugh continued. “But the New York restrictions on houses of worship are not tailored to the circumstances given the First Amendment interests at stake.”

Cuomo’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment for this story.

Earlier this year, the court sided 5-4 in favor of the liberal justices on COVID-19 religious restrictions in California and Nevada, according to CNN.

The DOJ has fought back against many of these restrictions. Attorney General William Barr set the tone for the DOJ’s attitude towards religious freedom during the pandemic by warning in an early April statement that “even in times of emergency,” federal law prohibits religious discrimination.

“Religion and religious worship continue to be central to the lives of millions of Americans,” Barr said. “This is true more so than ever during this difficult time.”

“Government may not impose special restrictions on religious activity that do not also apply to similar nonreligious activity,” the attorney general added. “For example, if a government allows movie theaters, restaurants, concert halls, and other comparable places of assembly to remain open and unrestricted, it may not order houses of worship to close, limit their congregation size, or otherwise impede religious gatherings.”

Barr also promised that the DOJ would be watching for any state or local government that “singles out, targets, or discriminates against any house of worship for special restrictions.”

Since this statement was issued, the DOJ has intervened in multiple cases of government crackdowns on churches and pastors, specifically in Nevada, California, Oklahoma, Illinois, Virginia and Mississippi.

The DOJ did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation for this story.

Copyright 2020 The Daily Caller News Foundation

 Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

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RESULTS: Amherst Orthodontics Trick-or-Trot Lil’ Pumpkin Run – 2020 – MillenniumRunning.com

Millennium Running is fueled by the passion of promoting healthy, enjoyable lifestyles. With over a dozen Signature road races and triathlons, a running specialty store, the Millennium Running Club, plus all-purpose timing and event services. 

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Gov. DeSantis: ‘Closing Schools Due to Coronavirus is the Biggest Public Health Blunder in Modern American History’

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) (Getty Images)

(CNS News) — Although many liberal governors and teachers’ unions are keeping public schools closed in many states, Florida’s Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis reasserted last week his policy of keeping the schools open (with option to stay home), and said that closing the schools because of COVID is “probably the biggest public health blunder in Modern American history.”

DeSantis also compared the school-closers who think it mitigates COVID to flat-Earthers

At a Nov. 30 press conference with Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran at Boggy Creek Elementary School, Gov. DeSantis said, “As we see schools, unfortunately, remain closed in key pockets in our country, today’s announcement doubles down on Florida’s commitment to our students and to our parents.”

“And the announcement is this,” he said, “schools will remain open for in-person instruction, and we will continue to offer parents choices for this spring semester, and every parent in Florida can take that to the bank.”

“The reason why we’re doing that is because the data and evidence are overwhelmingly clear, virtual learning is just not the same as being in person,” said the governor.  “I think teachers in Florida have done a great job of trying to improvise — and really particularly in those early days — but the fact of the matter is the medium is just not the same as being in the classroom.”

(Getty Images)

He continued, “I would say that closing schools due to coronavirus is probably the biggest public health blunder in modern American history. … The harm from this is going to reverberate in those communities for years and years to come.”

“The tragedy of all this is that the evidence has been remarkably clear since the spring, that closing schools offers virtually nothing in terms of virus mitigation,” he said, “but imposes a huge cost on our kids, our parents, and on our society.” 

“People who advocate closing schools for virus mitigation are effectively today’s flat-Earthers, they have no scientific or evidence support for their position,” said the governor. 

This content was originally published here.

21 spices for healthy holiday foods – Harvard Health Blog – Harvard Health Publishing

The holiday season is one of the hardest times of the year to resist salty, fatty, sugary foods. Who doesn’t want to enjoy the special dishes and treats that evoke memories and meaning — especially during the pandemic? Physical distancing and canceled gatherings may make you feel that indulging is a way to pull some joy out of the season.

But stay strong. While it’s okay to have an occasional bite or two of marbled roast beef, buttery mashed potatoes, or chocolate pie, gorging on them frequently can lead to weight gain, and increased blood pressure, blood sugar, and “bad” LDL cholesterol.

Instead, skip the butter, cream, sugar, and salt, and flavor your foods with herbs and spices.

The bounty of nature’s flavor-makers go beyond enticing tastes, scents, and colors. Many herbs and spices contain antioxidants, flavonoids, and other beneficial compounds that may help control blood sugar, mood, and inflammation.

Amp up holiday foods with herbs and spices

Try flavoring your foods with some of the herbs and spices in the list below. Play food chemist and experiment with combinations you haven’t tried before. The more herbs and spices you use, the greater the flavor and health rewards. And that’s a gift you can enjoy all year through.

Allspice: Use in breads, desserts, and cereals; pairs well with savory dishes, such as soups, sauces, grains, and vegetables.

Basil: Slice into salads, appetizers, and side dishes; enjoy in pesto over pasta and in sandwiches.

Cardamom: Good in breads and baked goods, and in Indian dishes, such as curry.

Cilantro: Use to season Mexican, Southwestern, Thai, and Indian foods.

Cinnamon: Stir into fruit compotes, baked desserts, and breads, as well as Middle Eastern savory dishes.

Clove: Good in baked goods and breads, but also pairs with vegetable and bean dishes.

Cumin: Accents Mexican, Indian, and Middle Eastern dishes, as well as stews and chili.

Dill weed: Include in potato dishes, salads, eggs, appetizers, and dips.

Garlic: Add to soups, pastas, marinades, dressings, grains, and vegetables.

Ginger: Great in Asian and Indian sauces, stews, and stir-fries, as well as beverages and baked goods.

Marjoram: Add to stews, soups, potatoes, beans, grains, salads, and sauces.

Mint: Flavors savory dishes, beverages, salads, marinades, and fruits.

Nutmeg: Stir into fruits, baked goods, and vegetable dishes.

Oregano: Delicious in Italian and Mediterranean dishes; it suits tomato, pasta, grain dishes, and salads.

Parsley: Enjoy in soups, pasta dishes, salads, and sauces.

Pepper (black, white, red): Seasons soups, stews, vegetable dishes, grains, pastas, beans, sauces, and salads.

Rosemary: Try it in vegetables, salads, vinaigrettes, and pasta dishes.

Sage: Enhances grains, breads, dressings, soups, and pastas.

Tarragon: Add to sauces, marinades, salads, and bean dishes.

Thyme: Excellent in soups, tomato dishes, salads, and vegetables.

Turmeric: Essential in Indian foods; pairs well with soups, beans, and vegetables.

This content was originally published here.

Coronavirus Resource Center – Harvard Health

Coping with coronavirus:

The news about coronavirus and its impact on our day-to-day lives has been unrelenting. There’s reason for concern and it makes good sense to take the pandemic seriously. But it’s not good for your mind or your body to be on high alert all the time. Doing so will wear you down emotionally and physically.

Click here to read more about coping with coronavirus.

New questions and answers

When can I discontinue my self-quarantine?

A full, 14-day quarantine remains the best way to ensure that you don’t spread the virus to others after you’ve been exposed to someone with COVID-19. However, according to CDC guidelines, you may discontinue quarantine after a minimum of 10 days if you do not have any symptoms, or after a minimum of 7 days if you have a negative COVID test within 48 hours of when you plan to end quarantine.

Who will get the first COVID-19 vaccines?

Healthcare workers and residents and staff of long-term care facilities will get the first COVID-19 vaccines once the vaccines are granted Emergency Use Authorization (EUA).

There are about 21 million healthcare workers in the US, doing a variety of jobs in hospitals and outpatient clinics, pharmacies, emergency medical services, and public health. Another three million people reside or work in long-term care facilities, which include nursing homes, assisted-living facilities, and residential care facilities. COVID-19 has taken a heavy toll on residents of long-term care facilities.

Both Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna have applied to the FDA for EUA of their vaccines. Pfizer’s vaccine is expected to receive EUA in mid-December, and Moderna’s vaccine soon after. Both of these vaccines require two doses spaced a few weeks apart. The companies estimate that they will have enough to vaccinate about 20 million people by the end of December, with vaccine production continuing to ramp up in early 2021. Other vaccines, including one by AstraZeneca, are also on the horizon.

The next priority groups for vaccination are expected to include essential workers, adults with underlying medical conditions that increase risk for severe COVID-19, and adults over age 65.

The CDC’s guidance is based on a recommendation from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), made up of experts in vaccinology, immunology, virology, public health, and other related fields. Their work is not limited to the COVID-19 vaccine; they broadly advise the CDC on vaccinations and immunization schedules.

What are adenovirus vaccines? What do we know about adenovirus vaccines that are being developed for COVID-19?

Adenoviruses can cause a variety of illnesses, including the common cold. They are being used in two leading COVID-19 vaccine candidates as capsules (the scientific term is vectors) to deliver the coronavirus spike protein into the body. The spike protein prompts the immune system to produce antibodies against it, preparing the body to attack the SARS-CoV-2 virus if it later infects the body.

In a press release, AstraZeneca announced promising preliminary results of an adenovirus-based vaccine that it developed with researchers at the University of Oxford.

The preliminary analysis was based on more than 23,000 adult study participants enrolled in a phase 3 clinical trial. Of these, nearly 9,000 participants received a full dose of the coronavirus vaccine, followed four weeks later by another full dose. Nearly 3,000 participants received a half dose of the coronavirus vaccine, followed four weeks later by a full dose. The control group received a meningitis vaccine, followed by a second meningitis vaccine or a placebo (a saltwater shot). There were 131 documented cases of COVID-19, all of which occurred at least two weeks after the second shot.

The coronavirus vaccine reduced the risk of COVID-19 by an average of 70.4%, compared to the control group. Surprisingly, the half dose/full dose vaccine combination was more effective, reducing risk of COVID-19 by 90%. The full dose combination reduced risk by 62%. None of the participants who received the coronavirus vaccine developed severe COVID-19 or had to be hospitalized. There was also a reduction in asymptomatic cases.

All study participants were healthy or had stable underlying medical conditions. This vaccine is in clinical trials around the world, including the US. But this analysis was based on data from the United Kingdom and Brazil.

The adenovirus used in the AstraZeneca/University of Oxford vaccine is a weakened, harmless form of a chimpanzee common-cold adenovirus. This vaccine can be safely refrigerated for several months.

What are monoclonal antibodies? Can they help treat COVID-19?

The FDA has granted emergency use authorization (EUA) to two new treatments for COVID-19. Both are monoclonal antibodies. And both have been approved to treat non-hospitalized adults and children over age 12 with mild to moderate symptoms who have recently tested positive for COVID-19, and who are at risk for developing severe COVID-19 or being hospitalized for it. This includes people over 65, people with obesity, and those with certain chronic medical conditions.

The FDA granted EUA to the first treatment, a monoclonal antibody called bamlanivimab made by Eli Lilly, based on an interim analysis of results from a well-designed but small clinical trial. The study looked at 465 non-hospitalized adults with mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms who were at high risk of severe disease. A placebo was given to 156 of these patients. The remaining patients were given one of three different doses of bamlanivimab. Patients treated with the monoclonal antibody had a reduced risk (3% versus 10%) of being hospitalized or visiting the ER within 28 days after treatment, compared to patients given a placebo. This is a single-dose treatment that must be given intravenously and within 10 days of developing symptoms.

The FDA has also granted EUA to a combination therapy consisting of two monoclonal antibodies, casirivimab and imdevimab, made by Regeneron. The EUA was based on results from a clinical trial that enrolled 799 non-hospitalized adults with mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms. The participants were divided into three groups, two of which received the casirivimab-imdevimab combination but at different doses. The third group received a placebo. For patients at high risk for severe disease, those treated with the monoclonal antibody treatment had a reduced risk (3% versus 9%) of being hospitalized or visiting the ER within 28 days of treatment. This treatment must also be given intravenously in a clinic or hospital.

Monoclonal antibodies are manmade versions of the antibodies that our bodies naturally make to fight invaders, such as the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Both of these FDA-approved therapies attack the coronavirus’s spike protein, making it more difficult for the virus to attach to and enter human cells.

These treatments are not authorized for hospitalized COVID-19 patients or those receiving oxygen therapy. They have not shown to benefit these patients and could lead to worse outcomes in these patients.

Is there an at-home diagnostic test for COVID-19?

The FDA has approved the first diagnostic test for COVID-19 that can be completed entirely at home, from sample collection to receiving the results. Other FDA-approved COVID-19 tests allow at-home sample collection, but still have to be shipped to a laboratory for processing.

The Lucira COVID-19 All-In-One Test Kit is approved for people ages 14 and older who are suspected of having COVID-19. It requires a doctor’s prescription. The company does not expect the test to be widely available until the spring of 2021.

To perform the test, you swirl a swab in both nostrils, then stir the swab in a vial of chemicals. The vial is then plugged into a battery-powered test unit, which returns a positive or negative test result within 30 minutes.

The test works by making copies of the virus’s genetic material (if present) until it reaches detectable levels. It does this using a technique called loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP). The method is similar to PCR, the gold standard of COVID-19 diagnostic testing. The LAMP test provides much faster results, but it is less accurate. In a head-to-head comparison, the Lucira test missed 6% of people who tested positive for COVID by PCR.

Because a person can be infected and have a negative LAMP test, you should always self-quarantine if you have symptoms consistent with COVID, or have had recent contact with someone who has the infection, until you can get a PCR test.

What are mRNA vaccines? What do we know about mRNA vaccines that are being developed for COVID-19?

mRNA, or messenger RNA, is genetic material that contains instructions for making proteins. mRNA vaccines for COVID-19 contain synthetic mRNA. Inside the body, the mRNA enters human cells and instructs them to produce the “spike” protein found on the surface of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The body recognizes the spike protein as an invader, and produces antibodies against it. If the antibodies later encounter the actual virus, they are ready to recognize and destroy it before it causes illness.

In the past couple of weeks, two companies have released promising data about their mRNA vaccines. Results for both vaccines were reported in company press releases, not in peer reviewed scientific journals.

One of the mRNA vaccines was developed by Pfizer and BioNTech. Their phase 3 clinical trial found that their vaccine reduced the risk of infection by 95%. The trial enrolled nearly 44,000 adults. Of these, half received the vaccine and half got a placebo (a shot of saltwater). Of the 170 cases of COVID-19 that developed in the study participants, 162 were in the placebo group and eight were in the vaccine group. Nine of the 10 severe COVID cases occurred in the placebo group. This suggests that the vaccine reduces risk of both mild and severe COVID. The vaccine was consistently effective across age, race, and ethnicity. Of the US study participants, 30% were people of color and 45% were age 56 to 85.

The other mRNA vaccine, developed by Moderna, released an interim analysis of its phase 3 trial, announcing that its vaccine was 94.5% effective. This study enrolled 30,000 adults; half received the vaccine, half received a saltwater placebo shot. There were 95 infections among the study participants. Of these, 90 were in the placebo group and 5 were in the vaccine group. All 11 severe COVID cases occurred in the placebo group. This vaccine also appears to reduce risk of mild and severe illness. And it was effective in older people, people with medical conditions that put them at high risk for severe illness, and in racial and ethnic minorities, which made up 37% of the study participants. The study enrolled more than 7,000 participants older than 65, and more than 5,000 people under 65 who were at high risk for severe illness.

Both vaccines had a good safety record. Side effects included fatigue, headache, and muscle pain.

These results are promising, but there are still questions left to be answered. For example, we do not yet know how long immunity from these vaccines will last. Both of these vaccines require two doses (three weeks between shots for the Pfizer vaccine and four weeks between shots for the Moderna vaccine), and we don’t know how effective the vaccine is in people who only get one dose. There is also the question of storage. mRNA vaccines must be stored at very cold temperatures, and improperly stored vaccines can become inactive.

Do pregnant women face increased risks from COVID-19?

A large study from the CDC has found that pregnant women are at increased risk of severe COVID-19 illness compared to women who are not pregnant.

The study looked at 409,462 women, ages 15 to 44, who had symptomatic COVID-19. Of these women, 23,434 were pregnant. Even after taking age, race, ethnicity, and underlying health conditions into consideration, pregnant women were significantly more likely to need intensive care, to require a ventilator, and to require a heart-lung bypass machine, compared to women who were not pregnant. They were also 70% more likely to die.

It’s important to note that the overall risk of these complications was low. For example, 1.5 symptomatic pregnant women out of 1,000 died, compared to 1.2 symptomatic women out of 1,000 who were not pregnant.

The CDC also released a smaller study, which found that women who were infected with the COVID-19 virus during pregnancy were more likely to deliver preterm (earlier than 37 weeks).

If you are pregnant, be vigilant about taking precautions. Wear a mask, physically distance from others, and avoid social gatherings. Do your best to follow the CDC’s recommendations to protect yourself if someone in your household becomes infected.

Continue to see your doctor for prenatal visits and get any recommended vaccines. Call your doctor’s office to discuss safety precautions if you have concerns.

Could wearing masks prevent COVID deaths?

According to a new study published in the journal Nature Medicine, widespread use of masks could prevent nearly 130,000 of 500,000 COVID-related deaths estimated to occur by March 2021.

These numbers are based on an epidemiological model. The researchers considered, state by state, the number of people susceptible to coronavirus infection, how many get exposed, how many then become infected (and infectious), and how many recover. They then modeled various scenarios, including mask wearing, assuming that social distancing mandates would go into effect once the number of deaths exceeded 8 per 1 million people.

Modeling studies are based on assumptions, so the exact numbers are less important than the comparisons of different scenarios. In this study, a scenario in which 95% of people always wore masks in public resulted in many fewer deaths compared to a scenario in which only 49% of people (the self-reported national average of mask wearers) always wore masks in public.

This study reinforces the message that we can help prevent COVID deaths by wearing masks.

What does the CDC’s new definition of “close contacts” mean for me?

The CDC has expanded how it defines close contacts of someone with COVID-19. Until this point, the CDC had defined a close contact as someone who spent 15 or more consecutive minutes within six feet of someone with COVID-19. According to the new definition, a close contact is someone who spends 15 minutes or more within six feet of a person with COVID-19 over a period of 24 hours.

Close contacts are at increased risk of infection. When a person tests positive for COVID-19, contact tracers may identify their close contacts and urge them to quarantine to prevent further spread. Based on the new definition, more people will now be considered close contacts.

Many factors can affect the chances that infection will spread from one person to another. These factors include whether or one or both people are wearing masks, whether the infected person is coughing or showing other symptoms, and whether the encounter occurred indoors or outdoors. Though the “15 minutes within six feet rule” is a helpful guideline, it’s always best to minimize close interactions with people who are not members of your household.

The CDC’s new definition was influenced by a case described in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report in which a correctional officer in Vermont is believed to have been infected after being within six feet for 17 non-consecutive minutes of six asymptomatic individuals, all of whom later tested positive for COVID-19.

How does obesity increase risk of COVID-19?

According to a recent review and meta-analysis that looked at 75 international studies on the subject, obesity is a significant risk factor for illness and death due to COVID-19.

When looking at people with COVID-19, the analysis found that, compared with people who were normal weight or overweight, people who were obese were

Obesity may impact COVID risk in several ways. For example, obesity increases the risk of impaired immune function and chronic inflammation, both of which could make it harder for the body to fight the COVID-19 infection. Excess fat can also make it harder for a person to take a deep breath, an important consideration for an illness that impairs lung function.

People who are obese are also more likely to have diabetes and high blood pressure, which are themselves risk factors for severe COVID-19. And obesity is more common in Black, Latinx, and Native Americas, who are more likely to get infected and die from COVID-19 than whites for a variety of reasons.

If you have obesity (defined as a body mass index, or BMI, of 30 or higher), stay vigilant about protecting yourself from infection. That means maintaining physical distance, avoiding crowds when possible, wearing masks, and washing your hands often.

This content was originally published here.

Invisalign Shares Soar Following Huge Quarter, With Substantial Jolt From Charli D’Amelio – Tubefilter

The D’Amelio family — and specifically youngest daughter Charli — are turning out to be a massive booster for brands.

The wholesome 16-year-old and former competitor dancer is the most-followed creator on TikTok by leaps and bounds, with 95 million fans. And she has channeled this influence into myriad brand partnerships, including being named ambassador for a new Gen Z-aimed Morphe sub-brand, the face of Gen Z-Focused financial startup Step, and linking up with Dunkin’ Donuts on a signature drink, which sold hundreds of thousands of cups and significantly bolstered app downloads.

Now, CNN reports that Invisalign parent company Align Technology — maker of the transparent, teeth-adjusting devices — blew past Wall Street forecasts in the third quarter. And this was in large part due to D’Amelio. Align said that sales of its Clear Aligners — which D’Amelio helped promote to her legions of young followers — were up 26% year-over-year in terms of teenagers to 162,700 cases, significantly lifting overall revenues. Accordingly, CNN notes that the stock surged 35% following the earnings report to make it the best-performing stock in the S&P 500 by a long-shot yesterday.

In a release, Align CEO Joe Hogan sang D’amelio’s praises — as well as her campaign co-star Marsai Martin of ABCs’ hit sitcom Black-ish. For her part, D’Amelio joined the company’s so-called #SmileSquad of influencers in August, and began chronicling her process using the product.

“We 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. “Our overall revenue momentum has continued into October.”

This content was originally published here.

The Effects Of Negative Emotions On Our Health – Mind Journal

Humans experience an array of emotions, anything from happiness, to sadness to extreme joy and depression. These negative emotions create a different feeling within the body and affect our health.

After all, our body releases different chemicals when we experience various things that make us happy and each chemical works to create a different environment within the body. For example if your brain releases serotonin, dopamine or oxytocin, you will feel good and happy. Conversely, if your body releases cortisol while you are stressed, you will have an entirely different feeling associated more with the body kicking into survival mode.

What about when we are thinking negative thoughts all the time? Or how about when we are thinking positive thoughts? What about when we are not emotionally charged to neither positive nor negative?

Let’s explore how these emotions affect our health and life.

Positive vs. Negative

Is there duality in our world? Sure, you could say there is to a degree, but mostly we spend a lot of time defining and judging what is to be considered as positive and what we consider to be as negative. The brain is a very powerful tool and as we define what something is or should be, we begin to have that result play out in our world.

Have you ever noticed, for example, that someone driving can get cut off and lose their lid, get angry and suddenly they are feeling negative, down and in bad mood? Whereas someone else can get cut off while driving and simply apply the brake slightly and move on with their day as if nothing happened. In this case, the same experience yet one sees it as negative while the other doesn’t. So are things innately positive and negative? Or do we define things as positive and negative?

Cut The Perceptions As Much As Possible

After thinking about it for a moment you might realize that there are in fact no positive or negative experiences other than what we define as such. Therefore our very perception of an experience or situation has the ultimate power as to how we will feel when it’s happening and how our bodies will be affected.

While we can always work to move beyond our definitions of each experience and move into a state of mind/awareness/consciousness where we simply accept each experience for what it is and use it as a learning grounds for us, we may not be there yet and so it’s important to understand how negative emotions can affect our health.

“If someone wishes for good health, one must first ask oneself if he is ready to do away with the reasons for his illness. Only then is it possible to help him.” ~ Hippocrates

Mind Body Connection

The connection between your mind and body is very powerful and although it cannot be visually seen, the effects your mind can have on your physical body are profound.

We can have an overall positive mental attitude and deal directly with our internal challenges and in turn, create a healthy lifestyle or we can be in negative, have self-destructive thoughts and not deal with our internal issues, possibly even cloak those issues with affirmations and positivity without finding the route and in turn, we can create an unhealthy lifestyle. Why is this?

Our emotions and experiences are essentially energy and they can be stored in the cellular memory of our bodies. Have you ever experienced something in your life that left an emotional mark or pain in a certain area of your body?

Almost as if you can still feel something that may have happened to you? It is likely because in that area of your body you still hold energy released from that experience that is remaining in that area. I came across an interesting chart that explores some possible areas that various negative emotions might affect health.

Emotional Pain Chart
Copyright: Centripetal Force Studio

When you have a pain, tightness or injuries in certain areas, it’s often related to something emotionally you are feeling within yourself. At first glance, it may not seem this way because we are usually very out of touch with ourselves and our emotions in this fast paced world, but it’s often the truth.

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This content was originally published here.

Buffalo Business Owners Revolt Against Health Department

In my favorite video, perhaps ever, a group of Buffalo-area New York business owners stood up to the unelected Erie County Health Department and Sheriff’s officers who came to shut down their meeting to plan how to survive the latest shutdown of “non-essential” businesses at a local gym, Athletes Unleashed.

Local state governments all over the United States have been dictating to small businesses how they can be open or if they can be open at all while allowing Walmart and Target to operate unmolested through the entire coronavirus pandemic. As a result, Walmart and other corporate businesses are making record profits while mom-and-pop shops go belly-up under the heavyweight of unfair regulations from unelected health officials who aren’t accountable to the people.

The people of Orchard Park, New York, have had enough and have finally done what I have been saying should have been done from the beginning. Tell the government to get the hell off your private property and to go get a signed warrant from a judge if they want to shut you down: then you can fight them in court. But simply obeying unconstitutional restrictions on liberty should no longer be an option.

Study after study has shown that lockdowns hurt more people than they help and do not completely stop the spread of the highly contagious virus. If the grocery store can operate, so can a gym or a hair salon. It’s beyond time for a real movement of mass disobedience. Imagine ordering people to stop exercising for their “health!” It’s beyond absurd to close gyms and keep McDonald’s open because of a health crisis and it’s time for this idiocy to stop.

It’s time for the people to take their lives back. These business owners in Orchard Park did it exactly right. Watch this and be inspired. This makes me proud to be an American where we still have the greatest document on earth protecting us from tyranny if we would only use it. Watch how easy it is.

BUFFALO NY: Business Owners Stand Up, Fight back and Kick out Sheriff & Health Dept !🙌

Chant “WE WILL NOT COMPLY”

➖If every biz owner would do this lockdowns would be over. #FIGHTBACK #LockdownChaos @TeamTrump @realDonaldTrump @DonaldJTrumpJr @catturd2 @RealJamesWoods pic.twitter.com/giMmcnv5x4

I particularly like the part where the obese officer tells an athletic man he should be wearing a mask for his health. The people quickly push back against the mask “mandate” and point out that it is not a law and they have no way to enforce it on unwilling free people. So, good luck with that, goons.

Not only did the people kick the officers and the inspector out of the gym, but they walked them all the way off the private property. Well done. Stand up for your rights as a business owner and an American. No officer of the law or government agent has any business on your property without a warrant. Make copies of the Constitution available and post a sign that says, “Unless you want to buy something, law enforcement is not allowed on private property without a warrant. Take a pocket Constitution with you as you leave.”

Had to edit for Twit. Part 2 made me tear. The entire family stood up and got them out. STAND UP FIGHT BACK, (May I suggest buying a megaphone)so your entire neighborhood will come out and help !!

I don’t know what biz this is but if you do please post so we can support them!! pic.twitter.com/Zzhrx7OUyH

— AMErikaNGIRL♥️ (@AMErikaNGIRLLL) November 21, 2020

The sheriff’s department has no business backing up the health department without a warrant and those officers should be ashamed of themselves that they took part in this illegal activity of trying to stomp on the freedom of Americans to lawfully assemble. What’s worse is the sheriff of Erie County told libertarian candidate Duane Whitmer that he had no idea what his officers were up to and he had no intention of enforcing the health department’s edicts. It looks like he has some work to do inside his office to educate his staff.

Libertarian Candidate Duane Whitmer, spoke to Erie County Sheriff Howard immediately after, who stated he had no knowledge his deputies were showing up and had not instructed them to.

Howard recently told media, he had no plans to have his [s]heriffs enforce Cuomo’s ban on gatherings.

The sheriffs who have made the news recently for claiming they will defy the governors clearly need to be watched closely to make sure they are living up to their promises to protect the people. Whitmer told PJ Media, “I find it hypocritical of our elected Sheriff to go on radio shows saying he will not enforce the unconstitutional ego trip of our Governor, yet behind the scenes is telling his deputies to work with the health department,” he said. “If two people rob you, one holds the gun, one takes your money, they both committed a crime. His deputies are accomplices in violating [the business owners’] first amendment rights. I look forward to seeing Sheriff Howard’s clarification on this.”

Whitmer is hosting a press event on Monday outside the Sheriff’s office in Erie County.

This content was originally published here.

Pandemic on course to overwhelm U.S. health system before Biden takes office


The United States’ surging coronavirus outbreak is on pace to hit nearly 1 million new cases a week by the end of the year — a scenario that could overwhelm health systems across much of the country and further complicatePresident-elect Joe Biden’s attempts to coordinate a response.

Biden, who is naming his own coronavirus task force Monday, has pledged to confront new shortages of protective gear for health workers and oversee distribution of masks, test kits and vaccines while beefing up contact tracing and reengaging with the World Health Organization. He will also push Congress to pass a massive Covid-19 relief package and pressure the governors who’ve refused to implement mask mandates for new public health measures as cases rise.

But all of those actions — a sharp departure from the Trump administration’s patchwork response that put the burden on states— will have to wait until Biden takes office. Congress, still feeling reverberations from the election, may opt to simply run out the clock on its legislative year. Meanwhile, the virus is smashing records for new cases and hospitalizations as cold weather drives gatherings indoors and people make travel plans for the approaching holidays.

If you want to have a better 2021, then maybe the rest of 2020 needs to be an investment in driving the virus down,” said Cyrus Shahpar, a former emergency response leader at the CDC who now leads the outbreak tracker Covid Exit Strategy. “Otherwise we’re looking at thousands and thousands of deaths this winter.”

The country’s health care system is already buckling under the load of the resurgent outbreak that’s approaching 10 million cases nationwide. The number of Americans hospitalized with Covid-19 has spiked to 56,000, up from 33,000 one month ago. In many areas of the country, shortages of ICU beds and staff are leaving patients piled up in emergency rooms. And nearly 1,100 people died on Saturday alone, according to the Covid Tracking Project.

“That’s three jetliners full of people crashing and dying,” said David Eisenman, director of the UCLA Center for Public Health and Disasters. “And we will do that every day and then it will get more and more.”

The University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation predicts 370,000 Americans will be dead by Inauguration Day, exactly one year after the first U.S. case of Covid-19 was reported. Nearly 238,000 have already died.

The task force Biden announces Monday will be staffed with public health experts and former government officials, many of whom ran agencies duringthe Obama and Clinton administrations — including former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner David Kessler, New York University’s Dr. Celine Gounder, Yale’s Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, former Obama White House aide Dr. Zeke Emanuel and former Chicago Health Commissioner Dr. Julie Morita, who is now an executive vice president at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Shahpar said that even before Biden takes control of government in January, he and his team can make a difference by breaking with Trump’s declarations that the virus is “going away,” communicating the severity of the virus’ spread and encouraging people to take precautions as winter approaches.

“There’s been a misalignment between the reality on the ground and what our leaders are telling us,” he said. “Hopefully now those things will come closer together.”

But Shahpar and other experts warn thateven if Biden and his task force start promoting public health measures now, it will take weeks to see a reduction in hospitalizations and deaths —even if states clamp down. And there is little indication that the country will drastically change its behavior in the near term.

Some governors in the Northeast, which was hit hard early in the pandemic, are imposing new restrictions. In the last week, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island activated nightly stay-at-home orders and ordered businesses to close by 10 p.m. And Maine Democratic Gov. Janet Mills on Thursday ordered everyone to wear a mask in public, even if they can maintain social distance.

But in the Dakotas and other states where the virus is raging, governors are resisting calls from health experts to mandate masks and restrict gatherings. On Sunday morning, South Dakota Republican Gov. Kristi Noem incorrectly attributed her state’s huge surge in cases to an increase in testing and praised Trump’s approach of giving her the “flexibility to do the right thing.” The state has no mask mandate.

And unlike earlier waves in the spring and summer that were confined to a handful of states or regions, the case numbers are now surging everywhere.

In New Mexico, the number of people in the hospital has nearly doubled in just the last two weeks and state officials said Thursday that they expect to run out of general hospital beds in a matter of days.

“November is going to be really rough on all of us,” said Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham — a contender to lead the Department of Health and Human Services in Biden’s administration. “There’s nothing we can do, nothing, that will change the trajectory. … It is too late to dramatically reduce the number of deaths. November is done.”

Minnesota officials said last week that ICU beds in the Twin Cities metro area were 98 percent full, and in El Paso, Texas, the county morgue bought another refrigerated trailer to deal with the swelling body count.

“We had patients stacking up in our ER,” Jeffrey Sather, the chief of staff at Trinity Health in North Dakota said during a news conference last week. “The normal process is we call around to the larger hospitals and ask them to accept our patients. We found no other hospitals that could care for our patients.”

An “ensemble” used by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — based on the output of several independent models — projects that the country could see as many as 11,000 deaths and 960,000 cases per week by the end of the month. Researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory suggest that the U.S. will record another 6 million infections and 45,000 deaths over the next six weeks, while a team at Cal Tech predicts roughly 1,000 people will die of Covid-19 every day this month — with more than 260,000 dead by Thanksgiving. The University of Washington model forecasts 259,000 Americans dead by Thanksgiving and 313,000 dead by Christmas.

Eisenman predicted that by January, the United States could see infection rates as high as those seen during the darkest days of the pandemic in Europe — 200,000 new cases per day.

“Going into Thanksgiving people are going to start to see family and get together indoors,” he said. “Then the cases will spread from that and then five weeks later we have another set of holidays and people will gather then and by January, we will be exploding with cases.”

This content was originally published here.

Tooth Decay or Cavity? Study Finds No Drill Dentistry Works | Healthy Home

Tooth Decay or Cavity? Study Finds No Drill Dentistry Works


Turns out that the research of Dr. Weston A. Price DDS from early in the last century wasn’t so far fetched after all.

No Drill Approach to Tooth Decay

Many holistic dentists already employ a no-drill approach to a lot of the tooth decay that presents in their offices.

However, most conventional dentists have been slow to get on board.

Now, with this new study, perhaps more will stop poo-pooing consumers who wish to be more conservative in the treatment of dental decay issues.

Wendell Evans, the lead author of the study published in the journal Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology, had this to say about the findings:

It’s unnecessary for patients to have fillings because they’re not required in many cases of dental decay. This research signals the need for a major shift in the way tooth decay is managed by dentists… Our study shows that a preventative approach has major benefits compared to current practice. (1, 2)

The bottom line is that dental decay is not a rapidly progressing disease that most believe it to be.

Dental Decay vs Cavity

As it turns out, there is a big difference between simple tooth decay and a full-blown cavity.

Most importantly, Dr. Evans and his team found that dental decay does not always progress.

…  it takes an average of four to eight years for decay to progress from the tooth’s outer layer (enamel) to the inner layer (dentine). That is plenty of time for the decay to be detected and treated before it becomes a cavity and requires a filling. (3)

Evans suggests that developing a set of protocols called the Caries Management System (CMS) can prevent, stop and even reverse (YES REVERSE) tooth decay long before a drill is necessary. 30-50% of patients respond well to this approach.

[The CMS] showed that early decay could be stopped and reversed and that the need for drilling and filling was reduced dramatically. A tooth should be only be drilled and filled where an actual hole-in-the-tooth (cavity) is already evident. (4)

These pictures of reversed tooth decay serve as an easy example of what can be done at home with dietary intervention alone. For even more visuals, check out these photos of another patient who resolved issues with dental decay.


Does your dentist insist on drilling early decay right away without even attempting to reverse it first?

If so, your dentist might not be up on the current research which suggests an important difference between tooth decay and a cavity that truly requires a drill.

Perhaps it’s time to get a second opinion from a holistic natural dentist!

The picture above is the sign outside the office of my dentist Dr. Carlo Litano of Natural-Smiles.com – (727) 300-0044.

Call around in your community and see if they offer similar services for young children as well as adults.

If you live in the Central Florida area and decide to see Dr. Litano, be sure to tell him that you are a Healthy Home Economist reader and get 10% off your first visit!

(1) Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology (Volume 47, Issue 2)

Since 2002, Sarah has been a Health and Nutrition Educator dedicated to helping families effectively incorporate the principles of ancestral diets within the modern household.

Sarah was awarded Activist of the Year at the International Wise Traditions Conference in 2010.

Sarah received a Bachelor of Arts (summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa) in Economics from Furman University and a Master’s degree in Government (Financial Management) from the University of Pennsylvania.

Mother to three healthy children, blogger, and best-selling author, her work has been covered by USA Today, The New York Times, National Review, ABC, NBC, and many others.

Posted under: Oral Health

This content was originally published here.

California nurses score huge win: State requires hospitals to begin weekly Covid testing of all health care staff Dec. 14 and testing of all patients now

Nurses scored a tremendous victory for the type of infection control measures they have been demanding since the start of the pandemic when the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) on Wednesday directed all general acute-care hospitals in the state to begin Covid-19 weekly testing of all health care workers on Dec. 14 and of all patient admissions starting now, announced the California Nurses Association (CNA).

Importantly, CDPH is requiring that health care personnel with symptoms of Covid-19 be tested immediately.

“This is an amazing and welcome move,” said Zenei Triunfo-Cortez, a Bay Area RN and a president of CNA as well as National Nurses United (NNU), the larger national nursing organization with which CNA is affiliated. “We applaud California for being a leader in requiring this type of testing program because it is desperately needed to fight this virus. There are simply too many asymptomatic people with Covid, and without robust testing, our hospitals will remain centers for spreading the disease instead of centers of healing as they should be.”

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) informed hospitals through an all-facilities letter on Nov. 25 of this new requirement. Hospitals may also start testing of “high-risk personnel” earlier, on Dec. 7, but testing of all health care personnel begins Dec. 14.

Health care personnel are defined as “all paid and unpaid persons serving in healthcare settings who have the potential for direct or indirect exposure to patients or infectious materials, including body substances (e.g., blood, tissue, and specific body fluids); contaminated medical supplies, devices, and equipment; contaminated environmental surfaces; or contaminated air. HCP include, but are not limited to, emergency medical service personnel, nurses, nursing assistants, physicians, technicians, therapists, phlebotomists, pharmacists, students and trainees, contractual staff not employed by the healthcare facility, and persons not directly involved in patient care, but who could be exposed to infectious agents that can be transmitted in the healthcare setting (e.g., clerical, dietary, environmental services, laundry, security, engineering and facilities management, administrative, billing, and volunteer personnel).”

In addition to the testing of staff and patients, hospitals must have a program that includes policies and procedures addressing the use of test results, including:

“This testing requirement has been a long time coming,” said Cathy Kennedy, a Sacramento-area RN and a president of CNA and executive vice president of NNU. “We nurses knew this was needed and fought together to make it happen. Now hospitals in the rest of the country just need to do the same to get this virus under control.”

This content was originally published here.

Practicing Gratitude on Thanksgiving is a Powerful Action for Health & Happiness

Celebrating Thanksgiving is about more than just putting up with annoying relatives, gorging on too much food, and passing out in a football-enhanced stupor. In fact, Thanksgiving is a prime opportunity to put into practice its namesake and one of the most powerful health-promoting actions that exists.

Gratitude.

What is Gratitude?

grateful woman holding hands crossed over heart
iStock.com/AaronAmat

Gratitude, by definition, is a thankful appreciation or recognition of something that’s been done for us, either by a person, by life itself, or perceived from a higher power. As Robert Emmons, UC Davis professor of psychology and gratitude researcher, explained in a 2013 study, “Gratitude has a dual meaning: a worldly one and a transcendent one.” It can be an act when we give thanks. But it’s also a feeling of being grateful for that which you have.

An Ounce of Gratitude Is Worth a Pound of Cure

And, as it turns out, practicing gratitude can make you happier and healthier. An overwhelming body of research indicates you’re going to experience more joy, vitality, and inner peace if you notice whatever blessings are in your life, and give thanks when you experience them.

And gratitude doesn’t just make things feel better – it can also make them get better. Gratitude is good for your physical, emotional, and mental health. “The practice of gratitude can have dramatic and lasting effects in a person’s life,” explains Dr. Emmons.

People who express more gratitude have:

Can Practicing Gratitude Really Change Your Life?

closeup headshot of woman smiling
iStock.com/Wilson Araujo

When I heard all of this, I was skeptical. What if people who are fortunate, or who are particularly healthy, just feel more grateful? Does gratitude really change your life, or is it just a byproduct?

The answer surprised me, and it may surprise you, too.

In a study conducted by Dr. Emmons and his colleague Mike McCullough, of the University of Miami, randomly assigned participants were given one of three tasks. Each week, participants kept a short journal. One group briefly described five things they were grateful for that had occurred in the past week, another five recorded daily hassles from the previous week that displeased them, and the neutral group was asked to list five events or circumstances that affected them, but they were not told whether to focus on the positive or on the negative.

Keep in mind that these groups were randomly assigned and that nothing about their lives was inherently different, other than the journaling they were doing.

The types of things people listed in the grateful group included: “Sunset through the clouds;” “the chance to be alive;” and “the generosity of friends.”

And in the hassles group, people listed familiar things like: “Taxes;” “hard to find parking;” and “burned my dinner.”

After ten weeks, participants in the gratitude group reported feeling better about their lives as a whole and were a full 25% happier than the hassled group. They reported fewer health complaints. And, they were now exercising an average of one and a half hours more per week.

In a later study by Emmons, people were asked to write every day about things for which they were grateful. Not surprisingly, this daily practice led to greater increases in gratitude than did the weekly journaling in the first study. But the results showed another benefit: Participants in the gratitude group also reported offering others more emotional support or help with a personal problem, indicating that the gratitude exercise increased their goodwill towards others, or more technically, their “prosocial” motivation.

What’s The Brain Science Behind All of This?

Neuropsychologist Rick Hanson puts it this way: “The neurons that fire together, wire together… The longer the neurons [brain cells] fire, the more of them that fire, and the more intensely they fire, the more they’re going to wire that inner strength –- that happiness, gratitude, feeling confident, feeling successful, feeling loved and lovable.”

And what’s going on in the brain leads to changes in behavior. Grateful people tend to take better care of themselves and to engage in more protective health behaviors, like regular exercise and a healthy diet. They’re also found to have lower levels of stress. And lowered levels of stress are linked to increased immune function and to decreased rates of cancer and heart disease.

So it seems, you take better care of what you appreciate. And that also extends to your body and the people around you.

Good for Your Relationships

sticky note on laptop screen saying thank you
iStock.com/Cn0ra

Not only does saying “thank you” constitute good manners, but showing appreciation can also help you win new friends, according to a 2014 study published in Emotion.

The study found that thanking a new acquaintance makes them more likely to seek an ongoing relationship. So whether you thank a stranger for holding the door, or you send a quick thank-you note to that co-worker who helped you with a project, acknowledging other people’s contributions, can lead to new opportunities.

Practicing gratitude can even help you deal with feelings of envy. In a 2018 study conducted by researchers at Hunan Normal University and The Chinese University of Hong Kong, gratitude was found to be positively associated with benign envy and negatively associated with malicious envy. In other words, when interacting with someone who has something that you don’t, gratitude helps to lift you up instead of making you want to pull the other person down.

But What About Tough Times?

mother and daughter with banner in window saying we got this
iStock.com/RyanJLane

As I was learning about this research, I was still a bit skeptical. Life can at times be brutal. Sometimes just surviving can feel like an accomplishment. Can you really feel grateful in times of loss?

Yes, you can.

In fact, findings show that adversity can actually boost gratitude. In a Web-based survey tracking the personal strengths of more than 3,000 American respondents, researchers noted an immediate surge in feelings of gratitude after September 11, 2001.

Tough times can actually deepen gratefulness if we allow them to show us not to take things for granted. Dr. Emmons reminds us that the first Thanksgiving took place after nearly half the pilgrims died from a rough winter and year. It became a national holiday in 1863 in the middle of the Civil War and was moved to its current date in the 1930s following the Depression.

Why would a tragic event provoke gratitude? When times are good, we tend to take for granted the very things that deserve our gratitude. In times of uncertainty, though, we often realize that the people and circumstances we’ve come to take for granted are actually of immense value to our lives.

Emmons writes: “In the face of demoralization, gratitude has the power to energize. In the face of brokenness, gratitude has the power to heal. In the face of despair, gratitude has the power to bring hope. In other words, gratitude can help us cope with hard times.”

In good times, and in tough times, gratitude turns out to be one of the most powerful choices you can make.

Putting Gratitude to Work for You

practicing gratitude in a notebook
iStock.com/natalie_board

If you want to put all this into practice, here are some simple things you can do to build positive momentum:

  1. Say Grace: This Thanksgiving, or anytime you sit down to a meal with loved ones, take a moment to go around and invite everyone to say one thing they are grateful for. Even if you eat a meal alone, you can take a moment to give thanks.
  2. Share The Love: Make it a practice to tell a spouse, partner, or friend something you appreciate about them every day.
  3. Remember Mortality: You never know how long you, or anyone you love, will be alive. How would you treat your loved ones if you kept in mind that this could be the last time you’d ever see them?

Thank You

Thank you for reading this. Thank you for being grateful for the blessings, and even for the challenges, that come your way. Practicing gratitude can make your world, and our whole world, better and brighter. Thank you.

Tell us in the comments:

  • How do you practice gratitude?
  • How can you bring even more gratitude into your life?

Feature image: iStock.com/Delmaine Donson

Read Next:

The post Practicing Gratitude on Thanksgiving is a Powerful Action for Health & Happiness appeared first on Food Revolution Network.

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“Get Out! – Go Get a Warrant!” – Business Owners in Buffalo, New York Stand Up to Cuomo’s Covid Orders, Kick Out Sheriff and “Health Inspector” (VIDEO)

Business owners in Buffalo, New York fed up with Cuomo’s authoritarian Covid lockdown orders asserted their Constitutional rights and kicked out sheriffs and “health inspectors” on Friday night.

50 business owners gathered inside of a shuttered gym in Buffalo, New York Friday night when two sheriffs and a so-called ‘health inspector’ showed up to harass the group in response to an “anonymous tip.”

The business owners shouted down and kicked out the health inspector and the told the sheriffs to come back with a warrant.

The Buffalo News reported:

A gathering of about 50 business owners and their supporters inside an Orchard Park gym shut down by Covid-19 restrictions turned into a confrontation with Erie County authorities Friday night.

The owner of the gym, Athletes Unleashed on California Road, described the gathering as a protest of the state’s “orange zone” regulations that have closed gyms, salons and other businesses deemed nonessential.

No one was cited and no arrests were made, according to two people who attended, but video of the incident shows an Erie County health inspector accompanied by three sheriff’s deputies arriving about 20 minutes after the gathering began.

“You’re on private property. You need to leave!” one of the business owners shouted to the health inspector.

“This is private party! It’s private property! Go get a warrant! You’re not wanted here!”

The obese sheriff began lecturing one of the business owners on mask wearing to which the business owner replied, “Don’t worry about my health! My health isn’t your concern!”

The business owners shouted down the trespassers, “Get out! Get out! Get out! – We will not comply! We will not comply!”

The brave business owners followed the sheriffs and health inspectors into the parking lot and told them to get off their property, “They’re Nazis!” one yelled. “Take your Commie sh*t elsewhere!” another one shouted.

The post “Get Out! – Go Get a Warrant!” – Business Owners in Buffalo, New York Stand Up to Cuomo’s Covid Orders, Kick Out Sheriff and “Health Inspector” (VIDEO) appeared first on The Gateway Pundit.

This content was originally published here.

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?

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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.

This content was originally published here.