COVID- 19 is a disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which is approximately 120 nm in diameter. To put it in non-scientific terms, its physical size may be diminutive, but its impact has been devastating on the entire human race. Who knew that this tiny but mighty virus would hold the world hostage or make the year 2020 historical, to say the least. Like all of you, I was not prepared ...

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Our understanding of COVID-19 is still evolving, but after observing millions of cases worldwide over the last nine months, we can speak to transmission patterns with a modicum of confidence.  SARS-CoV-2 is spread primarily through the air.  Contact with contaminated surfaces, by comparison, plays a minuscule role in transmission.  Why, then, has every surface with the slightest prospect for human contact become subject to "enhanced cleaning?" Yes, there are studies reporting ...

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"Misinformation about COVID-19, if propagated, can be deadly. The stakes are high. Physicians need to have a voice in this discussion and work towards impacting policy in a positive way. Physician-led groups such as IMPACT aim to advocate for evidence-based solutions for the protection of communities and serve an advisory role to those in charge of public policies. As physicians, our ...

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I am an emergency medicine physician in an inner-city emergency department, and I would like to start by stating a simple truth: coronavirus is not going away any time soon.  Cases are climbing in practically every state and show no signs of slowing down. From my personal perspective, things are getting worse. Every day I am treating more and more patients who are ill with COVID-19 ...

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COVID-19 caused the nation to shut down and wreaked havoc on everyone’s daily lives. International travel has been halted, restaurants and businesses have been closed, and large gatherings and celebrations have been forced to be postponed or canceled. After six months of quarantine and social distancing, however, people are developing pandemic fatigue. Over 150 candidate vaccines for COVID-19 are currently being investigated in different phases of study. With a few entering ...

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In the hospital, hand washing is critical. Studies have repeatedly shown that handwashing reduces hospital-acquired-infections with impressive magnitude. But how do you motivate hospital workers to wash their hands? In a study, professors Adam Grant and David Hoffman demonstrated that the phrase “Hand hygiene prevents patients from catching diseases,” increased handwashing over the alternate phrase, “Hand hygiene prevents you from catching diseases.” An appeal to altruism was more effective ...

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Judging from the shortage of canning jars and lids in grocery stores recently, the COVID-19 pandemic has spurred fresh interest in home canning (a potentially dangerous practice that has declined since its peak in 1943); and because the public expects doctors to know everything about health, it may be educational for physicians to consider the tragic case of the unpeeled potato.

I recently read a Facebook post in a ...

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In the midst of a COVID-19 pandemic, getting a flu shot has never been more important. Many people are staying indoors, wearing a mask, and washing their hands frequently. In this environment, patients ask me, “With all this social distancing, do I really need a flu shot this year?” The answer is unequivocally, “Yes!” Even the safest practices do not guarantee that a person won’t catch the flu or the coronavirus. ...

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During the COVID-19 pandemic, a glaring trend has emerged, one that has long helped forge the American religious cultural landscape, but has now blossomed in full force, particularly within many Christian fundamentalist circles. As a physician who is also an evangelical Christian, I constantly live with the tension of balancing the practice of my faith and the results of sound scientific investigation with the opinions of patients and others within ...

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I’m my breaking point! Frustrated, exhausted, caffeine-deprived, and surrounded by people who don’t listen to me, I’m not trained for this, and I am ready to tag out.  OK, granted, it is only day two of distance learning for my third grader and kindergartener.  However, this could also describe my first two days as a castaway on Survivor island. It’s been about nine years since I was chosen to appear on ...

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I was recently asked to see an 89-year-old woman who was gravely ill in the intensive care unit. She was admitted with cholangitis due to bile duct stones causing complete obstruction leading to septic shock. It is a life-threatening situation, especially in elderly patients. She needed an emergency endoscopic procedure: ERCP. By the way, one minor detail that makes this case more interesting and the intensivist called it a "wrench" ...

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I was admitted to the hospital for psychiatric evaluation and stabilization just after my third year of medical school. Leading up to my episode, I thought I was fine - stressed, sure, overworked, definitely, but I thought that was normal for someone just finishing a year of clinical rotations. I deteriorated rapidly, and by the time I was admitted, I felt dazed, disoriented, and completely exhausted. I didn’t know what ...

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As COVID-19 continues to surge across the country, with an anticipated death toll reaching 300,000 by the end of the year, the NFL season has just kicked off. Multiple professional and college sports programs have also returned to play. To prevent outbreaks among the athletes, they are tested frequently, sometimes daily, and with quicker results than our patients, health care providers, schools, and seniors, the population with the highest death ...

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It is probably a very good friend right now. COVID-19 vaccine trials are underway in an unprecedented fashion.  But lately, questions about the integrity of Operation Warp Speed have started to linger.  A vaccine availability deadline prior to phase 3 data has not helped, and many think that immunity, while feasible, is still distant. While awaiting proof of vaccine reliance, 
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"I called the locum agency in the morning to air my concerns. To their credit, they admitted that the COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented event for which no one could have planned. They had developed a fund through which they could support health workers in need. If I took ill, I would have to call them for support. My health care ...

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Americans are in a sprint to return to the sports they love. Players want to play, coaches want to coach, and teams want to see fans in the stands sooner than later. But what if a return to sports (as they once were) winds up being more of a marathon than a sprint? For months I’ve been 
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Medicine is a moral pursuit. Physicians inherit the tools of medicine not only through their training, but also by taking an oath to do good, avoid harm, and tell the truth. Hippocrates, the father of medical ethics, realized that the tools he possessed as a physician could be used for either good or for harm. Even today, the modern students of Hippocrates promise that they will ...

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"COVID-19 is a tragedy that could have easily been prevented if our leaders cared more about the well-being of their citizens instead of economies, stock markets, and their political campaigns. To all those arguing about how the economy is more important, I ask, how will sick and dead people contribute to an economy? How will sick and dead health care workers ...

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We all have understood by now that life has been changed irrevocably by COVID-19. As physicians, while we navigate the rapidly changing waters of testing, prevention, and acute treatment, we are now becoming increasingly cognizant of the long-term effects of COVID-19 infection with post-COVID clinics already being established in many places. Here are some of my thoughts on what practice should look like in the coming years, with respect to COVID ...

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This is a time of change and uncertainty in medicine. Being a resident right now during the pandemic of 2020 is even more unpredictable, especially in a field that is not necessarily directly on the frontlines, so to speak. Two years ago, I was choosing between psychiatry and emergency medicine after a long-standing interest in the latter, having no idea that during my training, we would experience a crisis of ...

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