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It’s (Finally) Time to Stop Calling It a Pandemic: Experts



March 17, 2023 — It’s been 3 years for the reason that World Well being Group formally declared the COVID-19 emergency a pandemic. Now, with well being methods not overwhelmed and greater than a 12 months of no shock variants, many infectious illness specialists are declaring a shift within the disaster from pandemic to endemic.

Endemic, broadly, means the virus and its patterns are predictable and regular in designated areas. However not all specialists agree that we’re there but.

Eric Topol, MD, founder and director of the Scripps Analysis Translational Institute in La Jolla, CA, and editor in chief of Medscape, WebMD’s sister web site for well being professionals, mentioned it’s time to name COVID endemic.

He wrote in his Substack, Floor Reality, that each one indications — from genomic surveillance of the virus to wastewater to medical outcomes which are nonetheless being tracked — level to a brand new actuality: “[W]e’ve (lastly) entered an endemic part. “

No new SARS-CoV-2 variants have but emerged with a development benefit over XBB.1.5, which is dominant all through a lot of the world, or XBB.1.9.1, wrote Topol. 

However he has two considerations. One is the variety of day by day hospitalizations and deaths – hovering at close to 26,000 and 350, respectively, in keeping with The New York Times COVID tracker. That’s way over the day by day variety of deaths in a extreme flu season.

“That is far past (double) the place we had been in June 2021,” he wrote.

Topol’s second concern is the possibility {that a} new household of virus would possibly evolve that’s much more infectious or deadly – or each – than the current Omicron variants.

Three Causes to Name It Endemic

William Schaffner, MD, infectious illness knowledgeable at Vanderbilt College Medical Heart in Nashville, is within the endemic camp as nicely for 3 causes.

First, he mentioned, “We have now very excessive inhabitants immunity. We’re not seeing big surges, however we’re seeing ongoing smoldering transmission.”

Additionally, although noting the regarding numbers of day by day deaths and hospitalizations, Schaffner mentioned, “it’s not inflicting crises in well being care or, past that, into the neighborhood economically and socially anymore.”

“Quantity three, the variants inflicting sickness are Omicron and its progeny, the Omicron subvariants. And whether or not due to inhabitants immunity or as a result of they’re inherently much less virulent, they’re inflicting milder illness,” Schaffner mentioned. 

Altering societal norms are additionally an indication the U.S. is shifting on, he mentioned. “Go searching. Individuals are behaving endemically.”

They’re shedding masks, gathering in crowded areas, and shrugging off extra vaccines, “which suggests a sure tolerance of this an infection. We tolerate the flu,” he famous.

Schaffner mentioned he would restrict his scope of the place COVID is endemic or near endemic to the developed world.

“I’m extra cautious in regards to the creating world as a result of our surveillance system there isn’t nearly as good,” he mentioned.

He added a caveat to his endemic enthusiasm, conceding {that a} extremely virulent new variant that may resist present vaccines may torpedo endemic standing.

No Large Peaks

“I’m going to go along with we’re endemic,” mentioned Dennis Cunningham, MD, system medical director of an infection prevention of the Henry Ford Well being System in Detroit.

“I’m utilizing the definition that we all know there’s illness within the inhabitants. It happens frequently at a constant fee. In Michigan, we’re not having these big peaks of circumstances,” he mentioned.

Cunningham mentioned although the deaths from COVID are disturbing, “I’d name heart problems endemic on this nation and we now have far various hundred deaths a day from that.”

He additionally famous that vaccines have resulted in excessive ranges of management of the illness when it comes to decreasing hospitalizations and deaths. 

The dialogue actually turns into an instructional argument, Cunningham mentioned. 

“Even when we name it endemic, it’s nonetheless a severe virus that’s actually placing a variety of a pressure on our well being care system.”

 Not So Quick

However not everybody is able to go all-in with “endemic.”

Stuart Ray, MD, professor of medication within the Division of Infectious Ailments at Johns Hopkins College of Drugs in Baltimore, mentioned any endemic designation could be particular to a sure space.

“We don’t have a lot details about what’s occurring in China, so I don’t know that we are able to say what state they’re in, for instance,” he mentioned.

Data within the U.S. is incomplete as nicely, Ray mentioned, noting that whereas dwelling testing within the U.S. has been an awesome software, it has made true case counts tough.

“Our visibility on the variety of infections in the US has, understandably, been degraded by dwelling testing. We have now to make use of different means to glean what’s occurring with COVID,” he mentioned.

“There are folks with infections we don’t find out about and one thing from that dynamic may shock us,” he mentioned.

There are additionally a rising variety of younger individuals who haven’t but had COVID, and with low vaccination charges amongst younger folks, “we would see spikes in infections once more,” Ray mentioned.

Why No Official Endemic Declaration?

Some query why endemic hasn’t been declared by the WHO or CDC.

Ray mentioned well being authorities are inclined to declare emergencies, however are slower to make pronouncements that an emergency has ended in the event that they make one in any respect.

President Joe Biden set Might 11 as the top of the COVID emergency declaration within the U.S. after extending the deadline a number of instances. The emergency standing allowed tens of millions to obtain free assessments, vaccines, and coverings. 

Ray mentioned we are going to solely really know when the endemic began retrospectively. 

“Similar to I believe we’ll look again at March 9 and say that Baltimore is out of winter. However there could also be a storm that can shock me,” he support.

Not Sufficient Time to Know

Epidemiologist Katelyn Jetelina, PhD, MPH, director of inhabitants well being analytics on the Meadows Psychological Well being Coverage Institute in Dallas, and a senior scientific advisor to the CDC, mentioned we haven’t had sufficient time with COVID to name it endemic.

For influenza, she mentioned, which is endemic, “It’s predictable and we all know once we’ll have waves.”  

However COVID has too many unknowns, she mentioned.

What we do know is that shifting to endemic doesn’t imply an finish to the struggling, mentioned Jetelina, who additionally publishes a Substack referred to as Your Native Epidemiologist

“We see that with malaria and [tuberculosis] and flu. There’s going to be struggling,” she mentioned.

Public expectations for tolerating sickness and demise with COVID are nonetheless extensively debated. 

“We don’t have a metric for what’s a suitable stage of mortality for an endemic. It’s outlined extra by our tradition and our values and what we do find yourself accepting,” she mentioned. “That’s why we’re seeing this tug of struggle between urgency and normalcy. We’re deciding the place we place SARS-CoV-2 in our repertoire of threats.”

 She mentioned within the U.S., folks don’t know what these waves are going to appear like — whether or not they are going to be seasonal or whether or not folks can count on a summer time wave within the South once more or whether or not one other variant of concern will come out of nowhere. 

“I can see a future the place (COVID) isn’t an enormous deal in sure international locations which have such excessive immunity by vaccinations and different locations the place it stays a disaster.

“All of us hope we’re inching towards the endemic part, however who is aware of? SARS-CoV-2 has taught me to strategy it with humility,” Jetelina mentioned. “We don’t in the end know what’s going to occur.” 

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Baby Hair Care: Tips for Natural Hair




How Do I Take Care of My Baby’s Natural Hair?

A brand new child can carry a lot pleasure, and in addition an extended record of issues to be taught. Conserving their cute little tresses intact is one. When you’ve got an toddler (ages 12 months and below) with pure hair, there are some things to bear in mind. 

“On the subject of your child’s hair, much less is extra,” says Candice Jones, MD, an Orlando pediatrician and mother of two. It may be tempting to wish to concentrate on the enjoyable a part of their hair, resembling styling and snapping pics. As a substitute, concentrate on the well being of your child’s hair, Jones says.

Begin with the following tips.

Watch the Washing

Each day washing for infants (and a few adults) can strip pure oils. So stick with a weekly wash except you discover your infant’s hair is getting oily. Then attempt twice per week. Natural hair texture can range from child to child and amongst siblings.

In case your child has a tightly curled hair sample, it could be on the dry facet and chances are you’ll not wish to wash as typically, Jones says.  In case your child has looser curls, you could possibly get away with an additional wash or two per week. Let their hair’s texture information you. 

Your method additionally issues when giving your child a shampoo. 

“You wish to keep away from massaging the scalp too briskly,” says DiAnne Davis, MD, a dermatologist in Dallas who’s handled folks of all ages. “Too harsh of a scrub can irritate child’s delicate hair follicles.” 

Baby Hair Care Merchandise: Hold It Easy

Merchandise for infants together with shampoos, gels, and oils abound. However infants’ tresses are delicate. 

“For those who’re going to make use of one thing, search for merchandise which have as few substances as doable,” Jones says. “Baby’s hair is delicate in that first 12 months of life and really light, so learn these substances!” Suppose easy and delicate. 

In case your child’s hair is slightly dry otherwise you simply wish to do a mini mohawk, attempt all-natural merchandise. Examine together with your physician, however Jones and Davis say that the most secure issues are usually these you may eat. A spritz of olive, almond, or jojoba oil can moisturize the hair and scalp and in some circumstances the pores and skin. Who doesn’t like a double-duty technique once you’re caring for a new child?

Combing Tip

Whilst you admire your child’s bouncing curls or budding Afro puffs, keep in mind it must be detangled. Jones and Davis say that your fingers could make the perfect combs. Nonetheless, it may be onerous to detangle with fingers, particularly if their hair is dry. 

Attempt detangling on moist or barely damp hair or use a baby-safe detangling brush or a wide-tooth comb, Jones says. There are different advantages of utilizing your personal digits to detangle. “Finger combing may preserve your child’s pure curl sample,” Davis says.

Fashion Baby’s Hair Gently

It may be enjoyable to model your child’s hair. However keep away from kinds that pull too tightly on the hair. Some kinds like cornrows and braids is likely to be finest for the toddler years and older, Jones says.

Needless to say “some shedding and patches on child’s hair are regular,” Jones says. “Your child’s hair doesn’t want to put down. Their hairline could also be uneven and that’s OK. And so they undoubtedly don’t want any chemical compounds!” 



Her recommendation: Settle for it. “We are able to ship early messages about magnificence and self-image if we’re not cautious,” she says. “I’ve seen older kids with hair and scalp points due to overstyling once they have been infants.” 

When It’s Time for Sleep

Some materials, together with cotton, will be drying to pure hair. The friction could cause tiny strands to change into brittle and even break off. 

You might use a satin fitted sheet that’s cosy over the crib mattress. Keep away from satin pillows, although. The CDC, American Academy of Pediatrics, and different specialists advocate that for security, infants ought to solely sleep on agency surfaces with no pillows (or blankets, bumpers, stuffed animals, toys, or different objects). 

Whereas adults with pure hair could put on satin bonnets or wraps at evening to forestall hair dryness, that’s not a good suggestion for infants. “When infants are very younger, they aren’t shifting as a lot, so that you don’t wish to use something that may slide over the face,” Jones says.

Talk With Caregivers

Generally hair and scalp points will be attributable to a well-meaning caregiver. So let your babysitter, relative, or anybody else who helps together with your child know what you like. 

“Your child, your guidelines,” Jones says. “Be clear in regards to the merchandise you employ and the way you’d like others to care on your child’s hair.” 

For comfort, you may preserve any hair care merchandise of their to-go bag Additionally, security stays key. In case your kiddo is spending the evening, remind sitters to not place something on their hair that is likely to be a choking hazard. Save the lovable bows and wraps for once they’re awake and supervised or slightly older. 

Look ahead to Adjustments

Infants can have hair and scalp points. For example, cradle cap can present up within the first few months. It’s a frequent situation with infants – inflicting scaly, dry patches. In contrast to one other related scalp situation, it isn’t painful or itchy. It typically clears up by itself or with a couple of additional washes per week with a gentle shampoo. If that doesn’t work, your physician could prescribe a medicated shampoo. 

One other situation that may present up in infants, particularly these with pure hair, is eczema. A standard pores and skin situation in infants, eczema could cause dry, bumpy, or itchy pores and skin. It principally exhibits up on the face however can have an effect on the scalp as properly. Some research counsel Black kids are extra doubtless than white or Asian kids to have eczema. “Mother and father also needs to search for any buildup of yellow or white scaly patches or any redness on their child’s scalp,” Davis says. 

You’ll see your pediatrician typically together with your toddler (sometimes each 2 months). That’s an ideal time to speak to them about any issues you will have about your child’s hair or scalp. 

As busy as parenting is, benefit from the bonding time that may include hair care. “I believe child hair of all textures, whether or not springy curls or Afro puffs, is gorgeous,” Jones says. “That features their pure hairlines, edges, and curl patterns. It’s all stunning.” 

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Weight Loss Benefits Persist Even After Regaining Some Pounds




March 28, 2023 – A brand new evaluation provides a promising reply to the load loss query: Is it higher to have misplaced and gained, than by no means to have misplaced in any respect?

Individuals who misplaced weight however regained a few of it skilled sustained well being enhancements for at the least 5 years after the preliminary weight reduction, a brand new research says. The extended advantages included lowered dangers of coronary heart illness and kind 2 diabetes, in addition to improved blood strain and levels of cholesterol.

“Many medical doctors and sufferers acknowledge that weight reduction is commonly adopted by weight regain, and so they concern that this renders an try to shed weight pointless,” mentioned College of Oxford professor and researcher Susan A. Jebb, PhD, in a assertion. “This idea has change into a barrier to providing assist to folks to shed weight. For folks with chubby or weight problems points, reducing weight is an efficient approach to cut back the chance of Sort 2 diabetes and heart problems.”

The outcomes have been revealed on Tuesday in Circulation: Cardiovascular High quality and Outcomes. The researchers analyzed knowledge from 124 beforehand revealed research wherein folks misplaced weight in what are referred to as “behavioral weight reduction applications.” These applications concentrate on way of life and habits modifications reminiscent of maintaining a healthy diet meals and rising bodily exercise. 

The common participant was 51 years outdated and thought of overweight primarily based on physique mass index (a measure that mixes weight and top). On common, folks misplaced between 5 and 10 kilos and usually regained lower than 1 pound per 12 months. 

Individuals who participated in essentially the most intensive applications had vital long-lasting advantages, in comparison with folks in much less intensive applications or who adopted no formal weight reduction program in any respect. Packages that have been thought of intensive had options reminiscent of partial or complete meal substitute, intermittent fasting, or monetary incentives contingent on weight reduction.

Particular common advantages included:

  • Systolic blood strain was decreased by 1.5 factors one 12 months after program participation, and by 0.4 factors decrease at 5 years.
  • The extent of HbA1c, a protein in crimson blood cells used to check for diabetes, noticed a sustained 5-year discount.
  • A ldl cholesterol measure that compares complete ldl cholesterol to “good” or HDL ldl cholesterol was 1.5 factors decrease on the 1-year and 5-year marks after participation in an intensive program.

The advantages of weight reduction did diminish as folks regained an increasing number of weight, the researchers discovered.

Weight problems impacts 42% of U.S. adults, in accordance with the CDC, and is understood to extend the chance of many harmful well being situations, together with coronary heart illness, which is the main explanation for loss of life within the U.S. Weight problems is outlined as a physique mass index of 30 or larger.

The brand new findings might play a very vital function in addressing weight achieve that usually occurs after folks cease taking weight reduction medicines, wrote Vishal N. Rao, MD, MPH, and Neha J. Pagidipati, MD, MPH, each of the Duke College Faculty of Drugs, in a letter revealed alongside the brand new research. They referred to as the reported threat reductions “favorable, though modest,” and mentioned knowledge exhibiting longer-term outcomes are wanted.

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Bias, Lack of Access Make Long COVID Worse for Patients of Color




March 28, 2023 – Again and again, Mesha Liely was informed that it was all in her head. That she was only a lady susceptible to exaggeration. That she had nervousness. That she merely wanted to get extra relaxation and take higher care of herself. 

The primary time an ambulance rushed her to the emergency room in October 2021, she was sure one thing was severely incorrect. Her coronary heart raced, her chest ached, she felt flushed, and she or he had numbness and tingling in her legs and arms. And she or he had not too long ago had COVID-19. However after a 4-day hospital keep and a battery of assessments, she was despatched residence with no analysis and informed to see a heart specialist. 

Greater than a dozen journeys to the emergency room adopted over the following a number of months. Liely noticed a heart specialist and several other different specialists: a gastroenterologist; an ear, nostril, and throat physician; a vascular physician; and a neurologist. She obtained each check possible. However she nonetheless didn’t get a analysis. 

“I consider extra occasions than not, I used to be dismissed,” stated Liely, 32, who’s Black. “I’m feminine. I’m younger. I’m a minority. The percentages are up in opposition to me.”

By the point she lastly obtained a analysis in Might 2022, she felt like a bobble-head with weak spot in her legs and arms, rashes and white patches of pores and skin alongside the proper facet of her physique, distorted imaginative and prescient, swelling and discomfort in her chest, and such a tough time with steadiness and coordination that she typically struggled to stroll and even get up.

“I used to be in a wheelchair when the physician at Hopkins informed me I had lengthy COVID,” Liely stated. “I simply broke down and cried. The validation was the largest factor for me.”

Stark racial and ethnic disparities in who will get sick and who receives therapy have been clear for the reason that early days of the pandemic. Black and Hispanic sufferers have been extra prone to get COVID than white individuals, and, once they did get sick, they have been extra prone to be hospitalized and extra apt to die.

Now, an rising physique of proof additionally means that Black and Hispanic sufferers are additionally extra prone to have lengthy COVID – and extra prone to get a broader vary of signs and critical issues once they do. 

One examine not too long ago printed this yr within the Journal of Basic Inside Medication adopted greater than 62,000 adults in New York Metropolis who had COVID between March 2020 and October 2021. Researchers tracked their well being for as much as 6 months, evaluating them to virtually 250,000 individuals who by no means had COVID. 

Among the many roughly 13,000 individuals hospitalized with extreme COVID, 1 in 4 have been Black and 1 in 4 have been Hispanic, whereas only one in 7 have been white, this examine discovered. After these sufferers left the hospital, Black adults have been more likely than white individuals to have complications, chest ache, and joint ache. And Hispanic sufferers have been extra apt to have complications, shortness of breath, joint ache, and chest ache.

There have been additionally racial and ethnic disparities amongst sufferers with milder COVID circumstances. Amongst individuals who weren’t hospitalized, Black adults have been extra prone to have blood clots of their lungs, chest ache, joint ache, anemia, or be malnourished. Hispanic adults have been extra seemingly than white adults to have dementia, complications, anemia, chest ache, and diabetes. 

But analysis additionally means that white persons are extra prone to get recognized and handled for lengthy COVID. A separate examine printed this yr within the journal BMC Medication presents a profile of a typical lengthy COVID affected person receiving care at 34 medical facilities throughout the nation. And these sufferers are predominantly white, prosperous, well-educated, feminine, and dwelling in communities with nice entry to well being care. 

Whereas extra Black and Hispanic sufferers could get lengthy COVID, “having signs of lengthy COVID might not be the identical as with the ability to get therapy.,” stated Dhruv Khullar, MD, lead writer of the New York Metropolis examine and a physician and assistant professor of well being coverage and economics at Weill Cornell Medical School in New York Metropolis.

Most of the identical points that made many Black and Hispanic sufferers extra susceptible to an infection in the course of the pandemic could now be including to their restricted entry to look after lengthy COVID, Khullar stated. 

Nonwhite sufferers have been extra apt to have hourly jobs or be important staff with none means to telecommute to keep away from COVID in the course of the peak of the pandemic, Khullar stated. They’re additionally extra prone to reside in shut quarters with relations or roommates and face lengthy commutes on public transit, limiting their choices for social distancing. 

“If individuals which can be going out of the house which can be working within the subways or grocery shops or pharmacies or jobs deemed important have been disproportionately Black or Hispanic, they’d have a a lot greater degree of publicity to COVID than individuals who might work at home and have every little thing they wanted delivered,” Khullar stated. 

Many of those hourly and low-wages staff are additionally uninsured or underinsured, lack paid sick time, battle with points like little one care and transportation once they want checkups, and have much less disposable revenue to cowl copays and different out-of-pocket charges, Khullar stated. “They’ll get entry to acute pressing medical care, nevertheless it’s very onerous for lots of people to entry routine care such as you would want for lengthy COVID,” Khullar says.

These longstanding boundaries to care are actually contributing to extra lengthy COVID circumstances – and worse signs – amongst Black and Hispanic sufferers, stated Alba Miranda Azola, MD, co-director of the Publish-Acute COVID-19 Crew at Johns Hopkins College College of Medication in Baltimore. 

“They mainly push by means of their signs for too lengthy with out getting care both as a result of they don’t see a physician in any respect or as a result of the physician they do see doesn’t do something to assist” stated Azola, who recognized Mesha Liely with lengthy COVID. “By the point they get to me, their signs are a lot worse than they wanted to be.”

In some ways, Liely’s case is typical of the Black and Hispanic sufferers Azola sees with lengthy COVID. “It’s common for sufferers have 10 and even 15 visits to the emergency room with out getting any assist earlier than they get to me,” Azola stated. “Long COVID is poorly understood and underdiagnosed they usually simply really feel gaslit.”

What units Liely aside is that her job as 911 operator comes with good well being advantages and quick access to care. 

“I began to note a sample the place after I go to the ER and my co-workers are there or I’m in my regulation enforcement uniform, and everyone seems to be so involved and takes me proper again,” she recalled. “However after I would go wearing my common clothes, I might be ready 8 to 10 hours and no one would acknowledge me, or they’d ask if I used to be simply right here to get ache medicines.”

Liely can simply see how different lengthy COVID sufferers who seem like her may by no means get recognized in any respect. “It makes me mad however doesn’t shock me,” she says. 

After months of lengthy COVID therapy, together with drugs for coronary heart points and muscle weak spot in addition to residence well being care, occupational remedy, and bodily remedy, Liely went again to work in December. Now, she has good days and dangerous days. 

“On the times I get up and really feel like I’m dying as a result of I really feel so dangerous, that’s after I actually suppose it didn’t have to be like this if solely I had been in a position to get any individual to take heed to me sooner,” she stated.

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