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4 Reasons I’m Wearing a Mask Again

Earlier this month, I pulled a mask out of the bin of hats, scarves, and gloves I keep by the door; strapped it on; and choked. I had inhaled a mouthful of cat hair—several weeks’ worth, left by my gray tabby, Calvin, who has been napping on a nest of face coverings since I largely dispensed with them in May.I’ve been fully vaccinated for two months....

The Only Thing Uniting Unvaccinated People Is That They’re Unvaccinated

Last week, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said that COVID-19 is “becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated.” President Joe Biden said much the same shortly after. They are technically correct. Even against the fast-spreading Delta variant, the vaccines remain highly effective, and people who haven’t received them are falling sick far more often than those...

Unvaccinated Arkansas Is Running Out of Time

At a county health department near my hometown in rural Arkansas, almost everyone who comes in for a COVID-19 test is congested and short of breath, with a sore throat and muscle aches. They might have the flu, except for the added telltale symptom of this coronavirus: the loss of taste and smell. Many of the patients now are younger than those in previous...

We’re Zeroing In On the ‘Holy Grail’ of COVID-19 Immunity

When Kishana Taylor welcomes her twins into the world this December, she’ll be pretty confident that they won’t be carrying the virus that causes rubella, an infection that can be disastrous in infants. Thanks to a vaccine she received as a child, Taylor, a virologist at Carnegie Mellon University, is still immune to the pathogen decades later.She was...

Vaccination in America Might Have Only One Tragic Path Forward

America’s vaccination rates have fallen off a cliff, and nothing seems to help.On June 2, President Joe Biden announced a frantic plan to reverse what already seemed to be an awful, exponential slide: At the peak of the country’s vaccine rollout, in mid-April, almost 3.5 million doses were being put into arms every single day, but that number had quickly...

In the 1500s, Mail Disinfection Was Really, Really Weird

As a young boy, Denis Vandervelde realized he faced two major obstacles to achieving distinction in the study of stamps, called philately: he was penniless, and, worse, color-blind. “A lot of the expertise in stamp collecting depends on shades and tiny variations in printings,” he told us. “So it was a daft hobby for me to have.”Instead, Vandervelde...

Delta Is Driving a Wedge Through Missouri

The summer wasn’t meant to be like this. By April, Greene County, in southwestern Missouri, seemed to be past the worst of the pandemic. Intensive-care units that once overflowed had emptied. Vaccinations were rising. Health-care workers who had been fighting the coronavirus for months felt relieved—perhaps even hopeful. Then, in late May, cases started...

The FDA Is a Melting Iceberg

The byzantine world of pharmaceutical regulation has recently broken into the public consciousness, causing a bit of a panic. Aducanumab—the first new Alzheimer’s treatment in nearly two decades—was approved by the Food and Drug Administration on June 7 despite scant evidence of benefit, and against the nearly unanimous advice of the agency’s expert...

Post-Vaccination Infections Come in 2 Different Flavors

Updated at 1:21 p.m. ET on July 13, 2021.The first thing to know about the COVID-19 vaccines is that they’re doing exactly what they were designed and authorized to do. Since the shots first started their rollout late last year, rates of COVID-19 disease have taken an unprecedented plunge among the immunized. We are, as a nation, awash in a glut of...

Emergency Medicine’s Original Sin

Lindsey Kaczmarek gets called an ambulance driver more often than she gets called a paramedic. “That’s absolutely not what I do,” she told me. What she does do is show up when someone needs medical help, figure out what’s wrong with them, and do whatever she can to help them survive the trip to the hospital—in her case, the Mayo Clinic in Rochester,...

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