In early October, my alma mater made headlines after it decided to fire chemistry professor Dr. Maitland Jones Jr. after 82 of his students signed a petition noting that his organic chemistry class was “too hard.” The students accused Jones of purposely making the class difficult, citing that their low scores negatively impacted their “well-being,” and their chances of getting into medical school. Instead of evaluating the rigor and substance of Jones’ curriculum, NYU justified its hasty action by noting the class’s unfavorable student reviews. This type of judgment would never pass in the fields of architecture, aerial engineering, or even the food service industry; why is it permissible here?Read More
Group ‘White Coats 4 Black Lives’ Aims to Dismantle Racism in Medicine and Dentistry, Issues ‘Racial Justice Report Card’
On Jan. 26, the group “White Coats 4 Black Lives,” an organization with a mission to “dismantle racism in medicine and fight for the health of Black people,” gave the University of Rochester’s School of Medicine & Dentistry its “Racial Justice Report Card.”
The result was nine “F” grades based on campus activity and administration policies during the 2020-2021 academic year.
Founded in 2014, White Coats 4 Black Lives has 75 chapters at universities across the nation and pushes the Black Lives Matter agenda within medical schools.Read More
After Missouri Gov. Parson Lets Emergency COVID Orders Expire, Pandemic Task Force Asks for Reinstatement
Days after Republican Gov. Mike Parson let emergency COVID-19 orders expire on Dec. 31, Missouri’s Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) reported significant increases in COVID-19 infections.
The DHSS dashboard on Monday showed 35,067 new confirmed cases during the last seven days, an 88.8% increase compared to the previous seven-day total. The seven-day positivity rate was 27.3%, an increase of 11.7 percentage points compared to the previous seven-day total. Many health organizations and agencies consider a positivity rate higher than 5 or 10% to be a predictor of rampant spread of sickness, resulting in increased hospitalizations and deaths.
“Thanks to the effectiveness of the vaccine, widespread efforts to mitigate the virus, and our committed health care professionals, past needs to continue the state of emergency are no longer present,” Parson said in a statement on Dec. 30, 2021. “Over the last 22 months, we have coordinated with local, state, and private partners to mitigate COVID-19 and work towards returning to normalcy. We all now know how to best fight and prevent serious illness from this virus. The State stands ready to provide assistance and response, but there is no longer a need for a state of emergency.”Read More
Commentary: Dismissals of Safe Outpatient Drugs Cause Needless COVID Deaths According to Doctors
For the first nine months of the COVID-19 pandemic, there were no officially approved outpatient treatments for combating the disease. From March 2020, when the virus first emerged in the United States, until that November, when the Food and Drug Administration authorized emergency use of monoclonal antibodies, health authorities advised that the infected do little but quarantine themselves, drink plenty of fluids and rest unless hospitalization was necessary.
During those chaotic final months of Donald Trump’s presidency, the medical establishment expressed extreme caution regarding outpatient treatments for the virus, and these warnings were amplified by major media hostile to the president, for example when he touted the anti-malaria medicine hydroxychloroquine.
Although an estimated 12% to 38% of prescriptions are written for FDA-approved drugs used “off-label” (including Botox and Viagra), Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, declared early on that providers should dispense only medicines proven to be safe and effective for COVID patients through “randomized, placebo-controlled trials.” These can take months or years to conduct, and often at great cost.Read More
Newly Released Documents Show Fauci Was ‘Untruthful’ About Wuhan Coronavirus Research, Infectious Disease Expert Says
A trove of newly released documents detailing U.S.-funded coronavirus research in China prior to the COVID-19 pandemic shows that Dr. Anthony Fauci was “untruthful” when he claimed that his agency did not finance gain-of-research in Wuhan, an infectious disease expert said Sunday.
Documents published by The Intercept on Sunday show that Fauci’s organization, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), provided federal funds to the U.S. nonprofit group EcoHealth Alliance and the Wuhan Institute of Virology to construct laboratory-generated SARS and MERS-related coronaviruses that demonstrated enhanced pathogenicity in humanized mice cells, according to Rutgers University professor of chemical biology Richard Ebright.
“The documents make it clear that assertions by the [National Institutes of Health] Director, Francis Collins, and the NIAID Director, Anthony Fauci, that the NIH did not support gain-of-function research or potential pandemic pathogen enhancement at WIV are untruthful,” Ebright said in a tweet Sunday evening.Read More
European Union Health Agencies See ‘No Urgent Need’ for COVID-19 Boosters Among Fully Vaccinated
The two leading European health agencies determined Thursday that COVID-19 booster shots are not necessary for fully vaccinated individuals who do not have compromised immune systems.
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control and the European Medicines Agency issued a statement saying the current priority should be vaccinating all eligible individuals. Booster shots should be considered only for those with compromised immune systems.Read More
Report: Top Health Officials Tell White House to Pause Vaccine Booster Plan
Top U.S. health officials told the White House pandemic coordinator on Thursday to scale back the Biden administration’s plan to administer the coronavirus booster shots to individuals in September, The New York Times reported.
Dr. Janet Woodcock, the acting commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), told White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Jeffrey D. Zients that they need more time to collect and analyze the necessary data relating to the booster shots, The New York Times reported.
The doctors told Zients that their agencies might be able to determine whether to recommend boosters for recipients of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in the coming weeks, according to the Times.
The two doctors presented their argument to Zients at a meeting on Thursday. It is unclear how Zients responded to the news.Read More
Critics Denounce New CDC Guidance Urging Mask Usage, Vaccine or Not
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed course Tuesday, reversing its previous COVID-19 guidance by urging Americans to wear masks, regardless of their vaccination status. Critics quickly denounced the reversal, saying it undermines vaccine confidence.
The CDC said all students and teachers should wear masks, even if they are vaccinated, and that all Americans, including those with the vaccine, should wear masks in public places where the virus has a significant presence. The agency cited the delta variant of COVID, which is more transmissible.
The CDC had previously announced in May that vaccinated individuals did not have to wear masks. The White House fended off questions from reporters at the White House press briefing on the reasoning behind that reversal.Read More
Georgia to Issue Licenses to Companies for Medical Marijuana Production
The Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission will pick six companies to start producing the plant for medical uses in the state.
Nearly 70 companies applied for licenses to grow marijuana and convert it to oil to treat various illnesses. Once the commission approves them, the companies could be looking at paying up to $200,000 in licensing fees to the state. They will have one year to get product to thousands of Georgians who have been waiting for more than five years.
Patients with a Low THC Oil Registry card legally can purchase up to 20 fluid ounces of the THC oil from licensed dispensaries or pharmacies under legislation signed into law by former Gov. Nathan Deal in 2015. However, without guidelines and a medical marijuana marketplace, the 14,000 registered patients in Georgia have no way of legally obtaining the oil.Read More
CDC: Students Should Return to In-Person Classes
The Center for Disease Control updated federal COVID guidance Friday with several major changes as schools around the country grapple with policies for students’ return in the fall.
The CDC urged schools to allow students to return to in-person classes whether or not they are vaccinated as most studies showed significant learning loss during remote-only or hybrid teaching models.
The agency also said teachers and students should wear masks unless they have gotten the vaccine, a recommendation that is certain to drive controversy.Read More
FDA Asks for Internal Review of Approval Process for Alzheimer’s Drug
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is asking for an internal review of its own approval process that gave a greenlight to a drug to treat Alzhiemer’s, a move that could shed more light on the controversial chain of decision-making that led to the drug’s being okayed for use.
The FDA last month approved drug company BioGen’s product Aduhelm, the first medicine greenlit in the U.S. to slow the cognitive decline of those living with Alzhiemer’s.
Yet that decision was shrouded in controversy: The approval went against the advice of an outside panel of FDA experts and even led to the resignation of several of those experts in protest.Read More
Georgia Long-Term Care Facilities Face Financial Hardship from Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a financial toll on Georgia’s long-term care facilities, officials said.
Devon Barill, communications director for the Georgia Health Care Association and Georgia Center for Assisted Living (GHCA/GCAL), said the facilities have faced increased expenses and revenue losses from caring for the state’s most vulnerable population.
While COVID-19 can lead to severe complications in older people and those with underlying issues, the congregated facilities are often home to the elderly and people who require supportive care.Read More
Largest Health Care Union to Fight Mandatory Vaccine Requirements for Workers
The president of the largest union of health care workers in the U.S. says it will fight companies requiring its members to have mandatory COVID-19 shots as a condition of employment.
The announcement came one day after Houston Methodist announced that 153 employees had been fired or resigned for refusing to get the shots as a condition of employment. Those suing argue requiring employees to receive a vaccine approved only through Emergency Use Authorization violates federal law. After a recent court dismissal, their attorney vowed to take the case all the way to the Supreme Court.
George Gresham, president of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, is weighing the organization’s legal options.Read More
Kemp Ends Georgia’s Public Health State of Emergency as of July 1
Georgia’s public health state of emergency will end on July 1 under an executive order signed by Gov. Brian Kemp.
Kemp first declared a public health state of emergency on March 14, 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The declaration helps the state easily access supplies and other resources needed to combat the spread of the coronavirus. It lifts certain medical and commercial transportation regulations.
Tuesday’s order extends the declaration by one day and one minute.Read More
U.S. Government Allocates $3.2 Billion for COVID-19 Antiviral Pills
The Department of Health and Human Services will invest $3.2 billion to develop and manufacture COVID-19 antiviral medicines, it announced Thursday.
The initiative, funded as part of the American Rescue Plan, is designed to accelerate research into antivirals as well as build platforms for urgent response to future viral threats, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said in a statement Thursday. Specifically, the plan expands antiviral clinical trials, forms partnerships between health agencies and pharmaceutical companies, and funds “drug discovery groups” tasked with innovating new antiviral medicines.
“New antivirals that prevent serious COVID-19 illness and death, especially oral drugs that could be taken at home early in the course of disease, would be powerful tools for battling the pandemic and saving lives,” said chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci in the statement.Read More
National Mental Health Crisis Emerges Among Youth During Pandemic Lockdowns: Reports
Children and young adults are experiencing increased mental health issues, and suicide also is on the rise within the age group at least in part because of ongoing state shutdowns, according to several reports.
Within months of governors and local authorities shuttering schools, children were increasingly brought to emergency room doctors and specialists, according to a by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).Read More