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.

Reducing Aerosols and Splatter for Safer Dentistry with Solea®

Up to 99.9% Reduction in Aerosols & Splatter

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

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

Solea vs. the Drill: General Device Settings

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

The Drill

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

Solea

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

Macroscopic Testing: Splatter Spread and Visualization

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

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

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

Microscopic Testing: Quantification of Splatter Concentration

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

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

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

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

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

This content was originally published here.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Dentists say mandating COVID-19 tests for patients before procedures will ‘shut down’ dentistry

(Creative Commons photo by Allan Foster)

When Gov. Mike Dunleavy and state health officials said elective health care procedures could restart in a phased approach, many of Alaska’s dentists were hoping to take non-emergency patients again.

But they said a state mandate largely prevents that from happening. 

State officials said they want to work with the dentists, but point to federal guidelines that dentists are at very high risk of being exposed to the virus.

Find more stories about coronavirus and the economy in Alaska.

The mandate said patients must have a negative result of a test for the coronavirus within 48 hours of a procedure that generates aerosols — tiny, floating airborne particles that can carry the virus. Aerosols are produced by many dental tools, from drills to the ultrasonic scalers used to remove plaque.

Dr. David Nielson is the president of the Alaska Board of Dental Examiners, which licenses dentists. In a meeting with the state, he told state Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink that it’s a challenge for patients to get test results within 48 hours of an appointment.

“Basically, what that means is, in your view, dentistry is just shut down indefinitely,” Nielson told Zink.

“That’s not true. That’s not what I feel at all,” Zink said.

“Well, that’s what it says to most of us,” Nielson said.

Nielson said dentists can ensure that patients are safe without testing for the virus.

“We do believe that waiting for the availability of testing to ramp up to the levels that would be necessary will jeopardize the oral health of the public,” he said.  

Nielson also said dentists are already taking steps to practice safely and could start taking more patients if they didn’t have to follow the testing mandate. 

“Based on everything that we’re doing with all our, you know, really, really intense screening protocols and all the different PPE requirements and stuff like that, that we’re basically good to go, as long as we do all of the things that we’ve already recommended,” he said.

Zink said Alaska is among the first states to reopen non-urgent health care. She says the state’s testing capacity is increasing, and that other groups affected by the mandate are working to have patients tested. 

“We are seeing numerous groups, including surgeons, stand up ways to be able to get testing available,” she said. 

The state mandate is less restrictive than what’s currently recommended by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC said all non-urgent dental appointments should be postponed. The CDC is revising the recommendation, but it’s not clear when there will be new recommendations. 

The dental board would like to replace the mandate with guidelines that require that every patient be screened, including answering questions about their travel, symptoms and contacts before an appointment, as well as to be checked for whether they have a fever before an appointment. 

Zink noted a problem with relying on screening. 

“It’s increasingly challenging to identify COVID patients,” she said. “This is an incredibly sneaky disease that appears to be most contagious in the presymptomatic or early symptomatic people with symptoms that can look almost like anything else.”

The draft framework proposed by the dental board also differs from CDC recommendations on personal protective equipment. The CDC recommends both an N95 respirator and either goggles or a full face shield. The framework said that if goggles or face shields aren’t available, dentists should understand there is a higher risk for infection and should use their professional judgment. 

Dentists working to start seeing more patients say they already take precautions against infectious diseases. 

Dr. Paul Anderson of Timbercrest Dental in Delta Junction said it would be challenging to have timely tests done for patients who live far from an urban center. 

Anderson said dentists have been working to prevent the spread of infectious diseases since at least HIV/AIDS in the 1980s. 

“We’ve been following these protocols, and it just seems odd to me that all of a sudden the government feels that it’s necessary to add all of these additional regulations,” he said. 

Anderson said screening patients — including checking their temperatures — is a significant safety measure dentists can take.

Zink said the state is open to working with the dental board to revise the mandate, or to issue a new mandate specific to dentistry. It’s not clear if the issue can be resolved before Monday, when the state will begin allowing elective procedures under the mandate. 

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.

Visiting an Orthodontist – Women Fitness Magazine

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

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

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

What does an Orthodontist do?

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

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

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

Other services which an orthodontist can provide include:

Why visit an Orthodontist?

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

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

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

Gum Disease

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

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

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

Related Videos about the Benefits of Visiting an Orthodontist :

Why should you care about orthodontics?

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

HOW BRACES WORK

Why orthodontics matters

Why Visit an Orthodontist?

Reasons For Orthodontic Treatment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This content was originally published here.

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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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.

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

Last Updated on

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

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

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

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

What is Invisalign Treatment?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Our Initial Consultation

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

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

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

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

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

Kaylee Still Has a Lot of Baby Teeth

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

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

Zoë is Ready for Invisalign Treatment

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

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

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

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

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

No More Pink Goo: On to Digital Impressions

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

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

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

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

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

Follow Zoë’s Invisalign Treatment Journey

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

Find an Invisalign Treatment Provider

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

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

Pin this post to your Parenting or Health board!

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Hudson La Petite Dentistry surrenders license after investigation

HUDSON, Wis. — A former Hudson pediatric dentist was being investigated on accusations of unnecessarily pulling children’s teeth, billing fraud and overuse of laughing gas when he surrendered his license to practice last month.

Documents obtained through a public records request show Dr. Andy Mancini was being investigated in seven different cases by Wisconsin’s Department of Safety and Professional Services.

Andy Mancini
Andy Mancini

The alleged violations included engaging in practices that constitute a substantial danger to patients, according to records.

Cases investigated by the state agency resulted in criminal charges and a civil suit brought by the state for falsified Medicaid claims.

An attorney for Mancini, who lives in Woodbury, Minn., previously said he would not comment on legal matters involving his client. Mancini denied all allegations in a Wisconsin Dentistry Examining Board document outlining the permanent surrender of his license in Wisconsin.

Dozens of allegations

A 2016 memo from the state alleged 37 separate complaints, including multiple reports of unnecessary tooth extractions, billing problems, children being held down, “aggressive procedures” and a threat to a child.

Among the allegations outlined:

  • Patients were billed for treatments that weren’t performed.
  • A child was held down while “kicking, pinching and clawing to get out of the seat during an extraction procedure,” during an unnecessary extraction procedure that a parent was not allowed to sit in on.

A dentist from the Department of Human Services Office of the Inspector General conducted an audit — generated by patient complaints — that revealed:

  • Mancini used the sedative nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, at levels sometimes reaching a 70 percent concentration of nitrous oxide-to-oxygen, about double the recommended concentrations of 30-40 percent nitrous oxide for children.
  • Patient files included “grossly mislabeled” X-ray files. The audit noted that Mancini would take the same six X-rays each time he’d see a patient. Medicaid, the report notes, reimburses for up to six X-rays on any date of service.

In a November 2016 interview with investigators, Mancini denied performing unnecessary work, but admitted to the possibility of billing errors “due to the incompetence of previous staff.”

Mancini told investigators he allowed parents in the room while he’s performing exams, but discourages family from being present during procedures “because it can be distracting” and can lead to anxiety for patients.

Kirsten Reader, assistant deputy secretary of the Department of Safety and Professional Services, said Mancini voluntarily surrendered his license April 10. She said that happened during the investigations — the outcomes of which could have led to revocation of his license.

Parent complaints

The latest allegations didn’t surprise former La Petite client Rebecca Viebrock of Hudson

She said that after being initially impressed with La Petite’s kid-friendly atmosphere, she found herself having to return over and over.

“I practically lived at that place,” she said.

She grew skeptical, but she said her questions about X-rays and cavities were met with defensiveness from Mancini.

Viebrock said La Petite was one of the only dentists in the area that took state insurance. Without La Petite — where she also received dental care — Viebrock said she and her children are left without options in the area.

Stillwater resident Ashley Foley said she’s also in search of answers after learning about allegations of questionable care at La Petite. She said she took her children there for two years beginning in 2012 and never questioned the multiple tooth-pullings Mancini recommended.

Two of those involved her daughter’s front baby teeth, which have sat empty since the child was about 2. Foley said the girl is now 5 years old and must wait at least two more years before her adult teeth come in. Meanwhile, Foley said her daughter is in speech therapy and covers her mouth in shame when she smiles.

“What if this didn’t need to happen?” she said.

This content was originally published here.

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner Are Your Friend

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

3. You Might Receive More Attachments Than You Expect

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

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

4. You May Lose Weight

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

5. Say Goodbye To Your Favorite Lipstick

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

6. No More Manicures

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

7. Kissing Gets Awkward

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

10. The Invisalign Attachments Capture Stains

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

11. No Hot Food

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

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

12. You Will Receive A Refinement Aligner

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

13. Consult With Your Orthodontist When Planning Vacations

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

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

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

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

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“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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Promoting equity and community health in the COVID-19 pandemic

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

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

Working toward an equitable response to COVID-19

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

Communicating with patients

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

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

Providing up-to-date information for patients and employees

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

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

Expanding equity within communities

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

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

Looking forward

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The exception, Fauci told Rosenthal, is schools.

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

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

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

This content was originally published here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

— CNN Newsroom (@CNNnewsroom) October 22, 2020

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

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

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

Those facts have not changed.

COVID-19-MississippiCNN

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

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

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

— Tate Reeves (@tatereeves) October 23, 2020

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

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

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

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

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.

Why Hugging Is Actually Good for Your Health

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This content was originally published here.

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

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

Michael Osterholm:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This content was originally published here.

Rush Limbaugh Gives Harrowing Health Update

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Many on Twitter saluted Limbaugh.

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

— James Woods (@RealJamesWoods) October 20, 2020

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

— Mark Davis (@MarkDavis) October 19, 2020

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

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

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

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Limbaugh spoke of faith and fears.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This content was originally published here.

‘A medical necessity:’ With dentistry services limited during pandemic, at-home preventive care is key

MILWAUKEE — While dentists may be closed for preventive care, don’t put your toothbrushes down. Doctors say keeping your oral health is more important than ever for adults and children alike.

The spread of the coronavirus put an abrupt stop to our normal routine. Preventive visits to dentist offices were delayed, but unfortunately, that’s also when a lot of problems are detected.

Dr. Kevin Donly

“We’ve only been able to provide emergency care,” Dr. Kevin Donly, president of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, said. “Oral health is actually a medical necessity.”

Because oral health is critical to overall health, Donly maintaining your child’s oral care routine is essential to preventing dental emergencies during the pandemic. Those emergencies are categorized in three ways.

“Trauma, where a kid bumps their tooth, falls down and cracks their tooth,” Donly said. “Second, infection. We’ve seen kids with facial cellulitis, this can be detrimental to their overall health, we really need to see those kids right away.

“The other one is pain. Sometimes they have really deep cavities that cause a lot of pain and they need to see the pediatric dentist right away and get care.”

Donly says with some offices reopening soon, new protocols will be taken to ensure everyone’s safety.

“First of all you, will be contacted a day before your appointment for a prescreening call,” said Donly. “They will ask about a child’s health, are they feeling well? Are they running a fever?”

There will be spaces in waiting rooms due to social distancing, and dental assistants, hygienists and dentists will all be wearing gowns, masks and face shields, Donly said.

Prevention is key with regular cleanings delayed. When it comes to prevention, Donly recommends brushing with a fluoridated toothpaste a couple of times a day, try to keep sugary drinks and snacks away, and check your kids’ teeth on a daily basis.

This content was originally published here.

Doctors Smash Rumors About Trump’s Health, Experts Say POTUS’ Symptoms ‘Resolving and Improving’

President Donald Trump’s medical team cleared the air with regard to establishment media speculation and rumors about his condition after he was diagnosed with the coronavirus and hospitalized this week.

A CNN report Friday evening on “Anderson Cooper 360,” for example, inferred the president was dealing with significant respiratory issues, as well as other symptoms.

But a news briefing held by Trump’s doctors outside of Walter Reed Medical Center on Saturday dispelled rumors regarding the president’s health.

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“This morning the president is doing very well,” said physician to the president Dr. Sean Conley, a commander in the U.S. Navy. “At this time, the team and I are extremely happy with the progress the president has made.”

“Thursday, [Trump] had a mild cough and some nasal congestion and fatigue — all of which are resolving and improving,” Conley added.

The president has also been fever-free since Friday, Conley said.

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Conley added that the decision to hospitalize the president was made as a “precautionary measure.”

Dr. Sean Dooley, another member of Trump’s medical team, said the president is “in exceptionally good spirits,” and added that Trump told him, “I feel like I could walk out of here today.”

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When fielding questions from reporters, Conley dispelled rumors, such as the one reported by CNN, about Trump’s condition.

CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta had claimed on the network Friday that a Trump campaign source informed him the president was having difficulty breathing and was also dealing with extreme fatigue.

“I talked to a Trump campaign adviser just a short while ago who said that this is serious, that the president has been having some trouble breathing, that he’s been very fatigued today, very tired,” Acosta told Cooper.

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Acosta went on to claim another source told him there were “serious concerns” in Trump’s inner circle about the president’s condition. Acosta did not name his sources.

Jim Acosta just now on CNN: “I talked to a Trump campaign advisor a short while ago that said this is serious. That the president has been having some trouble breathing, that he’s been very fatigued today, very tired.” pic.twitter.com/PciehG4IUg

— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 3, 2020

The CNN correspondent made sure to point out prior to his on-air conversation with Cooper that Trump, who has an active case of the coronavirus, did not take questions from reporters while en route to Walter Reed on Friday evening.

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Trump did not stop for questions pic.twitter.com/YQhfHcAeYv

— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) October 2, 2020

Conley’s remarks Saturday challenged the veracity of Acosta’s reporting, although not directly.

According to Conley, Trump has not been having any trouble breathing.

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Currently, Trump has no need for supplemental oxygen, Conley said. The president is currently undergoing a regiment of remdesivir antiviral therapy, he added.

The doctor went on to say that Trump’s vital signs are normal, and that aside from being male, 74 and moderately overweight, the president is not considered to be at high risk for complications from the coronavirus.

Conley would not give a timetable for when Trump can return to the White House, but did confirm he is working from the presidential suite at Walter Reed.

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

This content was originally published here.

Connecticut orthodontist indicted in 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This content was originally published here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This content was originally published here.

Supporting Public Health Experts’ Vaccine Efforts – About Facebook

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

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

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

Helping People Get Their Flu Shot 

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

Prohibiting Ads That Discourage Vaccines 

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

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

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

Amplifying the Voices of Public Health Partners

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

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

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

This content was originally published here.

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

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

What are the details?

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

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

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

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

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

What did the president say?

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

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

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

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

This content was originally published here.

Connecticut orthodontist indicted in love-triangle stabbing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This content was originally published here.

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

6m ago / 7:24 PM UTC

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

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

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

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

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

Josh Lederman and Kelly O’Donnell

28m ago / 7:02 PM UTC

Tensions building outside Walter Reed

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

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

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

Both local police and military police are now on hand.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This content was originally published here.

What You Need to Know About Immune System Health After 50

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

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

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

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

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

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

Andrew Brookes/Getty Images

Get to know your immune system

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

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

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

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

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

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

This content was originally published here.

SBA Finalist Spotlight: Northern Virginia Orthodontics

Thank you to Northern Virginia Orthodontics for answering a few of our questions.
Congratulations on being named a finalist for Health & Wellness Business of the Year!

1.Tell us your story of how your company got to where it is today? 

After finishing my orthodontic residency at the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond in 2006, my wife and I knew we wanted to move to Loudoun County. We both grew up nearby, and were aware of the planned residential growth, excellent schools, and the fact that Loudoun would be a great place to raise our kids and open an orthodontic practice. We settled on Brambleton Town Center, centrally located in Loudoun, to both live and work. With my vision to make an impact on patients, my team, and my community, I opened Northern Virginia Orthodontics in February of 2008. We saw just two patients that day, and despite the economy crashing in 2008 and 2009, NVO continued to grow thanks to our dedication to treating patients like our own family, over-delivering on top-notch service, and changing lives both inside and outside our office.

Since opening our doors in 2008, we’ve expanded twice in our Brambleton office, added the East Coast’s first, adult-only Invisalign Center, earned the title of Washingtonian Magazine’s Top 50 Places to Work, treated the most Invisalign patients in the state of Virginia, and in 2017 became the #2 Invisalign provider in the entire country.

Despite all these incredible accomplishments, what I’m most proud of is NVO’s impact on the local community. To date, NVO has donated over $1 million to local schools and organizations, as well as to pediatric cancer research and awareness. With our brand new 501(c)(3), The NVO Foundation, we can continue to do even more to help those in need right here in Loudoun County. It’s been an incredible ride going from just two patients that very first day to now seeing over 100 patients on a daily basis, but NVO is just as committed as ever to changing smiles and impacting lives.

2. What would it mean to you and your company to win a Small Business Award?  

Winning an award of this magnitude would serve as affirmation that Northern Virginia Orthodontics is impacting and improving the Loudoun County community, and would serve as fantastic recognition for our entire team.

3. If you weren’t running your own business/working at this business, what would you be doing?

I’ve always had a passion for medicine and helping others, hence becoming an orthodontist. I couldn’t imagine not working at NVO, but if I had to do anything else, I’d probably be a pilot.  I love flying and aeronautics.

4. What book are you reading right now? / What is your favorite book?

“Tools of Titans” by Tim Ferriss. It’s a study of successful people’s habits, and focuses on three critical elements – health, wealth and wise. Great read for anyone, especially business owners.

5. If you have 24-hours off, and your family was out of town, what would you do?

I’d work out, eat a healthy breakfast, then look for a D.C. sporting event to attend, like a Nationals or Capitals
game. Then a good glass of wine with dinner and call it a day – but I’d rather be with my family!

6. What is the smallest thing that has made the largest impact on your business?

Having no fear of change. It’s absolutely essential to assume risk, and to be open to change as your business grows.

7. What did you want to be when you grew up as a child? / What was a childhood dream that you had?

A professional baseball player. Baseball was my passion growing up, and remains a giant part of my family. My oldest son is currently plays baseball at the University of Arizona, and my wife and daughters love the sport as well.

8. Who is the one person that has influenced you the most in your career?

There are so many people that have influenced me along the way, but my older brother has definitely influenced me the most. He has a solution for every problem. He is an attorney by trade, but is always there when I need an opinion on anything business-wise and has been a huge part of NVO’s success.

9. What is your favorite thing about running a business in Loudoun County?

The growth and success of the county, and the pro-business mindset of its leaders.

10. If you’re not in the office where can we find you?

At my son’s baseball game, my daughters’ soccer games, a local winery, a D.C. sporting event, teaching the orthodontic residents at MCV (Medical College of Virginia), or out helping others.

11. What is your favorite weekend activity in Loudoun County?

Visiting one of Loudoun County’s many incredible wineries with family and friends.

The post SBA Finalist Spotlight: Northern Virginia Orthodontics appeared first on Loudoun Chamber.

This content was originally published here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This content was originally published here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Get Jim Geraghty’s tour of the political news of the day.

Get Jim Geraghty’s tour of the political news of the day.

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

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

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

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

This content was originally published here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo: Shutterstock

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

This content was originally published here.

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

Sponsored

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

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

The Importance of Emotional Support Animals

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

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

Meet Presley

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

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

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

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

Dr. Pruitt, Vestavia Family Dentistry & Facial Aesthetics

Here’s what patients have to say about Presley

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Want to meet Presley?

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

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

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

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

This content was originally published here.