What Are the Most Promising COVID Treatments in Development?

As we await the release of the highly-anticipated COVID vaccine, we’re learning more about the top treatments for severe cases. Certain medications and therapies can dramatically improve outcomes for vulnerable patients who, even a few months ago, would have been unlikely to recover. These include the following: Remdesivir Although medical experts have tested a variety of antiviral drugs on patients actively battling COVID, only remdesivir has consistently shown promise. Previously used against dangerous viruses such as Ebola, the medication has emerged as one of the most effective solutions for severe COVID cases. A study recently published in the New England…

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The Great Barrington Declaration And COVID: Part I

  The COVID pandemic has sparked contentious debates about the balance between reducing the spread of the disease and avoiding the unintended repercussions of lockdown. The original quarantine, although necessary for flattening the curve, created economic upheaval while also sparking significant mental health issues related to long-term isolation. In an effort to avoid these problems as we continue to navigate the pandemic, a variety of scientists and other influential individuals gathered at the American Institute for Economic Research in early October to sign the Great Barrington Declaration. How Would Pandemic Response Work Under the Proposed Great Barrington System? The approach…

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Preventative Care Disrupted By the Pandemic: What Long-Term Costs Can Be Expected? — Part II

  Many people neglected preventative care long before the COVID era, but the pandemic has clearly accelerated the problem. We’ve already highlighted a few of the most problematic personal issues prompted by COVID-sparked delays. Next, we’ll take on a broader approach, looking at problems incurred throughout the health care system and in society at large: Increased Death Rate from Non-COVID Causes Evidence suggests that 40 percent of all deaths in the United States can be blamed on behavioral concerns such as diet, exercise, alcohol consumption, and smoking. Unfortunately, unhealthy coping mechanisms appear to be on the rise as people of…

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Why Emotionally Evocative Risks Scare People More: How We Can Be More Rational — Part II

  If you’ve obsessed over hand sanitizer during the pandemic but continue to visit extended family members in close quarters, you’re guilty of a common problem: letting emotions dictate — and damage — personal risk assessment. In the first portion of this two-part series, we discussed the role of ambiguity and how it damages our ability to accurately assess risk. Now, we’ll offer a few suggestions for dealing with these natural limitations: Don’t Discount the Value of Emotion Emotions can sometimes lead to problematic decision-making, but that doesn’t mean they should be entirely discarded. Often, feelings provide a sense of…

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Why Emotionally Evocative Risks Scare People More: How We Can Be More Rational — Part I

  Ask any economist, and you’ll get an earful about how bad most people are at rationally assessing risk. This has proven especially evident during COVID, with personal blind spots causing many people to needlessly place themselves in harm’s way — or ruin their quality of life taking precautions that don’t actually make a difference. In this two-part series on the role of emotion in risk assessment, we’ll explain why certain concerns spark the most fear. We’ll also offer insight to help you implement logic-based risk assessment. The Role of Ambiguity While rational decision-making is always a challenge, a growing…

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Dangers of Going Back to School in the Age of COVID: What’s Real, What’s Exaggerated?

  Back-to-school traditions look a lot different in an age of COVID. Many districts resumed virtual learning, while others have enacted a hybrid approach. Still, others have opened up under strict precautions sparking outcry among concerned community members. Many of their fears are valid. A few, however, may involve some stretching of the truth, as explained below: Which Risks Are Exaggerated? At the outset of the pandemic, parents were relieved to learn that children are not nearly as susceptible to COVID as adults. Kids can become ill, but this is uncommon among healthy children with few pre-existing conditions. Some may…

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Hospitals Are Taking a Financial Hit Due to COVID — Does This Make Them Less Safe?

  The widespread economic impact of COVID caused damage in virtually every industry imaginable. The health care sector, in particular, has dealt with major losses, prompted by a reduction in elective services and the inability of some patients to pay for COVID treatment. Unfortunately, the current financial issues causing headaches for hospital staff also affect patients. The following are a few of the most notable concerns that are impacting quality of care in the midst of the pandemic: Understaffed Facilities At a time when most hospital beds are full, you might expect to see more health care workers on the…

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The Status of the COVID-19 Vaccine — And What to Know About Vaccine Safety: Part II

Vaccine Safety and Development in a COVID-19 World Vaccination remains our greatest source of hope during the current pandemic. However, the modern world is wrought with misinformation about vaccine safety and development. Here’s a look at projections for the COVID-19 vaccine’s progress and eventual release to the public. Spoiler: it won’t arrive nearly as soon as we’d hoped. Factors Contributing to Vaccine Delays While optimistic estimates suggest that a coronavirus vaccine could be fully tested and ready for use by late 2020, most experts believe that such a solution cannot be realistically applied en masse until several months into 2021….

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Back-to-School Safety Tips in an Era of COVID-19 and Homeschooling

  With some schools re-opening, others going hybrid, and many remaining virtual, today’s parents face a series of tough decisions. Unfortunately, this represents only the beginning of what could be one of the most challenging school years yet. Follow these tips to keep your kids as safe as possible: Digital Safety A surprising variety of hazards accompany all-digital learning. Implement these practices to avoid top safety risks: Update security software on any devices your kids will use for school. Consider updating your firewall and anti-virus software to provide better network security. Use strong passwords for your children’s accounts — and…

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Caution for Excessive Hygiene and Hand Sanitizer

How Our Newfound Obsession with Hygiene And Hand Sanitizer Might Eventually Backfire Our understanding of COVID-19 has come a long way since the early days of the pandemic. Over time, researchers have discovered that transmission is far more likely to occur due to respiratory droplets and close contact than on surfaces. Hence, while hand-washing and sanitizer remain important, they might not play as large a role in mitigation as we initially assumed. There’s no need to let up on hygienic efforts just yet. However, we must nonetheless consider the potential downsides of taking such behavior to an excess: The Danger…

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