December greetings, TVD friends,
“Happy Holidays” feels a little early, but true nonetheless! And I want to emphasize the “Happy” as the holidays can be difficult time. If there was a time to “reach out and (not physically!) touch someone”, this is it (sorry, showing my age, see this 1979 TV commercial). But seriously, reach out and give your family, friends and loved ones a (video) call.
The other “Happy” is the recent news regarding COVID-19 vaccine. Much has been written about the remarkable pace of vaccine development, and the first doses of the Pfizer vaccine are coming, to front line health care workers, as early as next week. During this week’s newly resurrected weekly Emergency Medicine COVID Town Hall we learned that Stanford will be administering their first 1000 doses to the emergency medicine team on December 18th. The Village Doctor has already signed up with the California Department of Public Health (CA DPH) to be “COVIDReadi”, and is working with our physician colleagues and the local health department to stay current on this historical vaccine rollout.
There was also news at this same Town Hall regarding upcoming difficult times. Stanford is seeing a sharp rise in patients hospitalized with COVID-19, with 14 patients in their ICU and separately 37 in the hospital. The demand for COVID-19 testing is overwhelming, and their positive test rate is a concerning 17.5%.
All to say, please continue to do all that you can to limit the spread of COVID-19. Please respectfully social distance, limit gatherings to your “bubble”, wear a mask. Together we can protect our frontline health care workers. There is (vaccine) light at the end of the tunnel.
The Village Doctor is continuing to evaluate patient visits to the office on a case by case basis, but we are very much still there for you all via phone and Zoom. #telehealth! Those 1979 executives at AT&T would be amazed…
Be well, be safe, and Happy Holidays!
Eric Weiss, MD, Dec 7, 2020
NOTE: CV🦠News is a labor of love. If you enjoy reading this, please share widely! Was this forwarded to you by a friend? Please subscribe here.
On November 25, 2020, Mount Sinai along with Kantaro Biosciences received FDA approval for EUA for it’s new SARS-CoV-2 IgG antibody test kit called COVID-SeroKlir.
Sara Barrington, Kantaro’s Chief Commercial Officer said: “Mount Sinai technology was developed at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in New York City. It is a high performing test that quantifies antibody levels for individuals. Measuring IgG antibody levels with COVID-SeroKlir can inform healthcare decision-making and public health strategies, as well as assess vaccine response.”
The FDA did caution that much remains unknown about the nature of COVID-19 neutralizing antibodies in humans and that a high level of antibodies does not necessarily guarantee immunity against the virus… Read more
Prerana Sangani, MD, December 8, 2020
President-elect Joe Biden on Thursday (12/03/20) said he plans to ask the nation to wear masks for his first 100 days in office. “Just 100 days to mask. Not forever — 100 days,” Mr. Biden said. Why should we adopt universal masking?
- The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that wearing a mask could be more effective than a vaccine at fending off the pandemic. And vaccine availability for most (young, healthy) Americans will take at least 100 days.
- A University of Washington study from July forecast that the U.S. daily death toll could be reduced by more than 66 percent with universal mask-wearing. Statistical modeling suggests that near-universal masking could prevent 180,000 COVID-19 deaths.
- Some studies hint that masks might reduce the severity of infection if people do contract the disease.
- Previous studies have concluded that face masks have helped reduce the transmission of influenza as well. They likely reduce the transmission of other viral and infectious respiratory infections as well.
- Dr. Anthony Fauci, a scientific hero, and American treasure, said “it’s a good idea.”
Sky Pittson, MD, December 10, 2020
The first two coronavirus vaccines to come down the pipeline, one made by Pfizer and research collaborator BioNTech and the other by Moderna, are both a new type of vaccine called messenger RNA vaccines. Traditional vaccines are made up of small or inactivated doses of the whole disease-causing organism, or the proteins that it produces, which are introduced into the body to provoke the immune system into mounting a response. In contrast, an mRNA vaccine introduces a small snippet of synthetic mRNA into our body to trigger a defensive immune response which then produces antibodies. mRNA is a molecule that transfers information from DNA to the cell machinery that builds different proteins… Read more
Jackie Phillips, MD, December 8, 2020
On December 2nd, the CDC updated their recommendations on quarantine duration after exposure to a person with known or suspected COVID infection. Prior to this, the recommendation was to quarantine for 14 days (see our prior FAQ on this).
The new recommendations include options to reduce quarantine based on modeled outcomes that show these strategies can reduce burden while continuing to minimize risk (though admittedly not as much as the full 14-day quarantine minimizes risk). These are not meant to replace the 14-day quarantine recommendation, but rather to allow for some flexibility. The CDC states, “Reducing the length of quarantine may make it easier for people to quarantine by reducing the time they cannot work. A shorter quarantine period also can lessen stress on the public health system, especially when new infections are rapidly rising.”… Read more
Jennifer Abrams, MD, December 8, 2020
HOPE AND GRACE
If you have made it this far, time for a reward, something to lighten your day, and acknowledge the human spirit. Find some escape, or perhaps even inspiration, in this ever-growing collection of works and perspectives gathered from around the world. Please contact me directly if you have come across something that has lifted your heart today. Dr. Eric Weiss
Kindness Around the World
Watch this video of a man in the Dominican Republic stopping in his car to give socks and shoes to a homeless man and even put them on his feet.
The World’s Loneliest Elephant No More
Love this. Kavan, the elephant who was rescued from a zoo in Pakistan, has made his first elephant friend after settling into his new home in Cambodia.
The animal welfare charity helped transfer Kaavan from Pakistan’s Marghazar Zoo to the Cambodia Wildlife Sanctuary where there are three female elephants to keep Kaavan company.
“We can now officially call him the ‘former loneliest elephant in the world’!” Four Paws wrote in a Facebook post. “Seeing Kaavan interacting with other elephants is a huge moment for us but more importantly for Kavan. This is his first contact with an elephant in eight years.”
A Silent Night
Sit back and listen to the sounds of the vocal ensemble, Chanticleer. Filmed at Craneway Pavilion in Richmond, Stanford for a special holiday program.
Click here to watch!
Again, CV🦠News is a labor of love. If you enjoy reading this, please share widely! Was this forwarded to you by a friend? Please subscribe here.
Yours, in health and resilience,
Eric and the TVD MD team…