Discover more from Health News
A grab bag of current health topics
Sunday, November 14, 2021
Instead of my usual long-form post, allow me to share a few words about a handful of topics that are currently relevant.
I appreciated all the feedback about my last post, The Scoop on Boosters. Of course, as soon as I wrote it, the guidelines were updated in important ways, especially for those who initially received the J&J vaccine. Get the up-to-date recommendations at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention page on boosters. If you’re in a group for whom a booster is recommended, get it asap at your pharmacy.
Current case counts
Nationally, case counts seem to have troughed about two weeks ago and since then have been creeping up. In LA County cases also seem to have started a slow trend upwards, despite the fact that they never got as low as the trough this spring. This increased baseline may have to do with the increased cases being discovered by the routine testing of school children. In any case, the latest data on breakthrough infections suggests that fully vaccinated people continue to be well protected against infection, and even better protected against dying from COVID.
I know you’ve heard it from me every year, but I can’t let November pass without reminding everyone to get a flu shot. The influenza vaccine is recommended for everyone over 6 months, and especially for those who are at higher risk of flu complications. When my young and healthy patients tell me “I never get the flu shot and I never get the flu” I usually shrug and relent. But this season is not the time to contract your first flu infection. You’ll get a fever and a cough, and you’ll realize that you need a COVID test. And then you’ll worry about how long you were next to your very sweet and very old uncle at the Chanukah party last evening, and you’ll have to call him to make sure he sees his doctor. So even if you usually don’t get a flu shot, this season is a great time to get a flu shot.
I’ve decided to relocate my blog and have my posts emailed by Substack, so forgive the abrupt change in format. The important things haven’t changed. It’s still free to everyone, so feel free to forward it to whomever might like it. One day I may even be able to return to writing about health topics other than the pandemic.
A word of thanks
To say that it’s been a difficult 18 months for many of my patients would be the understatement of my career. Of course, some actually contracted COVID. But many others also had terrible financial setbacks. Many others became very socially isolated. Many others had important surgeries and other care postponed.
Many physicians in private practice struggled, especially in the early months when many offices closed their doors to in-person visits. (We never closed.) Many physicians who were in the last chapters of their career decided to retire. Many physicians who are employees for large groups struggled with being overworked and burning out. Many physicians in private practice struggled to make ends meet.
Which is why, especially with Thanksgiving coming up, I have to thank my patients for their incredible loyalty and trust. You’re the only reason that during this terrible time, my practice grew. The only reason I can make a living doing what I love is that you keep trusting me with the care of your spouses, your siblings, your coworkers. Thank you very much. (That’s also the reason I haven’t had as much time to write posts. But I’ll keep trying.)
I wish all of you a happy Thanksgiving and a healthy autumn.
COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Shots (CDC)
Coronavirus Tracker (Wall Street Journal)
LA County Daily COVID-19 Data (County of Los Angeles Public Health)
Rates of COVID-19 Cases and Deaths by Vaccination Status (CDC)
Prevent Seasonal Flu (CDC)
People at Higher Risk of Flu Complications from Influenza (CDC)