Masked doctor

Study links March Madness to increased coronavirus spread

An analysis by Ashley L. O’Donoghue, PhD, of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, published in JAMA Network Open, finds a link between large gatherings of unvaccinated county residents – both students and non-students – and an increase in COVID-19 infections in the university’s community. (WBUR, October 25, 2021)

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Mass. doctor on COVID-19’s impact on people battling illnesses

The death of former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell after a breakthrough infection of COVID-19 is creating new anxiety about vaccines. Robert Duncan, MD, MPH of Lahey Hospital & Medical Center did not comment on Powell’s case specifically but said that for people in their eighties, the response to the vaccine might not be as robust, especially for those with severe illnesses that impair blood cells and immunity, therefore the risk of getting severe COVID disease is greater. Duncan also said breakthrough cases are occurring in less than 1 in 10,000 patients who are fully vaccinated. (WCVB, October 18, 2021)

COVID-19 Vaccine

All 3 COVID-19 vaccines still produce strong immune response 8 months later, new study finds

Research in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine produces a more durable immune response than the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna shots, which have been found to wane over time. Dan Barouch, MD, PhD, of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, presented the data to the FDA’s scientific advisory committee before the panel issued a recommendation on the booster to the agency. (ABC News, October 15, 2021)

COVID-19 Vaccine

FDA panel votes to authorize J&J booster shot

An independent advisory panel voted Friday to move forward with Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine booster, which can be administered two months after a person's first shot. New research from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center published Friday in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine produces a more durable immune response than the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna shots, which have been found to wane over time. Dan Barouch, MD, PhD of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center said booster shot safety was very good, and slightly safer than the first dose, and that no new or unexpected safety events occurred during the booster shot trials. (ABC News World News Tonight, October 15, 2021)

COVID-19 Vaccine

Should passengers be vaccinated or tested to fly within the U.S.?

By the holiday season, flying will have changed dramatically for Americans returning to the United States from abroad. They will be asked to show proof that they are vaccinated, to commit to two coronavirus tests if they are not and to participate in a new contact tracing system. For Americans traveling within the United States, however, none of this applies. Lin Chen, MD, Mount Auburn Hospital, noted that the risk of transmission increases when passengers fail to properly wear masks. (New York Times, October 11, 2021)

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Flying during COVID-19 up in the air as the holiday season beckons

As winter approaches and the holiday season arrives, many are once again weighing the risks and benefits of flying during the pandemic. Mark Gendreau, MD of Beverly Hospital said the likelihood of an in-flight COVID-19 transmission is relatively low, although not completely zero. (KCBS Radio, October 11, 2021)

Masked doctor

Mass. doc: It’s possible to do Halloween safely this year

Brian Hollenbeck, MD, of New England Baptist Hospital, answered questions about Halloween safety and encouraged families to continue to wear masks if they’re in a dense area. Hollenbeck also discussed new COVID treatments, vaccines, and long-haul COVID. (WCVB, October 11, 2021)

COVID-19 Vaccine

Mass. hospitals prepare to fire hundreds of employees who refuse COVID vaccine

Hospital leaders are racing to vaccinate as many workers as possible to avoid firing unvaccinated employees. At Beth Israel Lahey Health, 91 percent of the workforce has been vaccinated, but about 3,000 employees have yet to comply with the requirement to get inoculated by Oct. 31. Kevin Tabb, MD, CEO of Beth Israel Lahey Health, said he expects most will get shots by the end of the month, but as many as a few hundred could lose their jobs. BILH is among the Massachusetts hospital systems developing contingency plans — including reshuffling staff and increasing hiring — in case it has to fire large numbers of employees. (Boston Globe, October 6, 2021)

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Thank you note

Paulette Vantrease, a registered nurse in the Beverly Hospital emergency department, spoke about what it was like to help ensure dignity was maintained for COVID-19 patients, young and old, at the end of their life and used this as an opportunity to encourage people to get the vaccine. (Gloucester Daily Times, October 5, 2021)

Masked doctor

‘The opioid epidemic hasn’t gone away’: The COVID overdose toll

The United States hit a record 93,000 opioid deaths in 2020, as a long-standing public health crisis collided with the isolation and multi-faceted stressors of the pandemic. Kevin Hill, MD, and Ian Halim, MD, both of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, discussed how the stigma around addiction and mental health is still a problem in treating people with opioid abuse disorders. (GBH, October 5, 2021)