It is now roughly 6 months since the start of mass vaccination in the United States .  I think that we can definitively say that the vaccination campaign saved the national economy and society as a whole.  Thinking back to the first wave of COVID-19 in March and April 2020, the second wave in June-August 2020, and the 3rd in November 2020 through February 2021 one has to recognize how certain weaknesses and inequities in our society were so starkly revealed.  Israel and the United Kingdom were the first countries to roll out a significantly large vaccination campaign, and they were successful in reducing case counts, serious disease, hospitalization and deaths.  The same was true in the United States despite that even now only slightly more than 50% of eligible persons have been fully vaccinated.

These successes, however, were short lived as we are now in a 4th wave, which so far is much less significant (in numbers) than the prior waves, except in those areas of the country which have low vaccination rates.

The Delta variant is the current dominant strain.  It is more contagious than the original strain, and the vaccines are somewhat less effective against becoming infected, although they are still very good against severe infection, hospitalization, and death.

The term “vaccine” has traditionally meant that infection is prevented (“immunity”), but  the current  “vaccines” were not designed for that, and since we aren’t aggressively testing the population for asymptomatic cases, we don’t really know the true incidence of Delta infections in the vaccinated population.   The CDC has stopped using the word “immunity” in favor of the term “protection”.

But it is clear that “breakthrough cases” (infections in vaccinated people) are not rare.  In terms of the numbers of people hospitalized and dying with COVID, such breakthrough cases are a small minority.

“Booster” shots may provide additional protection (Yalemedicine.org on September 24th).  The word “may” means that we don’t really know yet to the usually accepted degree dictated by science.   The booster has been approved for those over 65 years of age, and for those younger persons who are  severely immunocompromised  (solid organ transplant patients taking immunosuppressive drugs, people under treatment for solid tumor and blood malignancies, advanced or untreated HIV infections,  active treatment with high dose steroids and other strongly immunosuppressive medications, as well as a few other rare immunodeficiency syndromes).  Booster shots are now recommended for those eligible persons who have received the Pfizer “vaccine” but not yet for the Moderna or Johnson and Johnson products.

On another side of the debate about the response to the pandemic, there are prominent scientists, including a Nobel Prize winner (Luc Montaigner) and others, some of whom were instrumental in the development of mRNA vaccines, who since the beginning of the pandemic have raised concerns about the current strategy.  Among the issues that are raised is that using a “vaccine” that does not prevent infection but does promote an immune response (which we know now works very well to prevent severe infection, hospitalization, and death, even in the case of the Delta variant) will increase the “evolutionary pressure” on the virus to mutate (which happens normally in any case).    With regard to this point, the Delta variant mutation is thought to have originated in India, which at that time had an extremely low vaccination rate.  But the example of India does not invalidate the concern.

Another question has been raised about the mRNA vaccinations creating what is known as “antibody dependent enhancement”.  This has been demonstrated in other Coronavirus diseases.   In brief, the “vaccines” place a short piece of genetic code into your body which instructs your cells to create a part of the viral “spike protein”.  That spike protein subunit (S1) has the job of attaching itself to the cells.  These proteins are recognized as foreign and provoke the immune system to create an antibody to them.  The antibody combines with the spike protein subunit, changing its shape so that it is much less likely to do its job of attaching to the host’s cells.  But it is possible for the differently shaped molecule to bind to other receptors on the cell surface, and “attachment” is then accomplished anyway.  The spike protein of the coronavirus has a 2nd subunit (S2) which has the job of then fusing the outer membrane of the virus with the outer membrane of your cell, at which point the entire genetic code of the virus enters your cells and then your cells start to make more complete virus particles.  At that point, you may or may not be sick, but you can transmit the virus to others.

I lack the expertise to definitively evaluate these claims.  There are other concerns that have been raised.  But what is most disturbing is that when these dissenting voices are raised, they are either ignored or are silenced (even censored), or labeled as “anti-vaxxers”, even though some of them have worked in the field of vaccine development for decades.  The rapidity and virulence of their silencing and marginalization is not in the tradition of true science.   The silencing of debate also creates suspicion.

So what are we to do?  Ironically, I wind up in the same place as when I first started posting about the vaccines.  In the short run they are relatively safe and reduce the likelihood of severe disease, hospitalization and death.  By so doing they relieve the intolerable strain upon the health care system, and serve to protect the many among us who provide needed services to infected people (health care workers, first responders, and the many other “essential workers.”)  Social isolation and its attendant risks (domestic abuse, opioid dependence and overdoses, the lost opportunities for learning for many millions of children, etc.) are reduced.  Society almost “opened up” in the late spring but the Delta variant arose to blunt the then prevailing optimism.

As a society, we could aim for a “zero tolerance” policy which necessitates mass vaccination, severe and protracted lockdowns, strict masking and distancing, long-distance learning and working.  Or we could aim to tolerate the disease, practice masking and social distancing, targeted lockdowns, vaccinate those at the highest risk (although we can’t identify all of those individuals at this time) and eventually natural immunity would develop in sufficiently large numbers of the population that the disease would become much milder and would be considered to be “endemic” (present in the population but not out of control, and usually much milder).  Natural immunity is superior to vaccine-induced immunity.

Countries that took the zero-tolerance option (China and New Zealand, for example) were initially very successful but were still eventually vulnerable to the Delta variant.  The response in China depended on an authoritarian top-down control structure that is antithetical to democracy.  I imagine that New Zealand was able to do zero-tolerance owing to clear messaging from politicians and scientists and a more internally cohesive society that accepted the policy.

In the reality that faced us at the beginning of 2020, with the severity of the rapidly growing epidemic in Wuhan, China, the United States was not prepared.   In the last few years of the Obama administration with congressionally mandated budget cuts, and continuing straight through the Trump years our “pandemic preparedness” was not properly maintained.  Stockpiles of personal protective gear, including masks became depleted owing to expiration dates and lack of maintenance for other equipment, including ventilators.  Income inequality has been increasing for the past 40 years and has reached levels last seen before the economic collapse of 1929-30.  There is a widespread lack of trust in our institutions and rather severe polarizations in our society along class, racial, and political lines.

Another aspect of “booster shots” is the fact that while the rich, developed countries of the world are able to provide “vaccine” protection to their populations, a very large percentage of the world’s population cannot afford to do so.  Although the developed world has promised to donate vaccine to the poorer countries, the effort is so far inadequate.  In the meantime, more people can get sick and potentially recreate the chaos that other parts of the world have already experienced, as well as providing the virus with more opportunities to mutate, as has already happened with the delta variant.  The morality of booster shots in the developed world while the rest of the world does not have access to any protection has emerged as a major issue.

At least we can presently say that most of these issues are now being discussed.  Whether there is sufficient political will to address them is uncertain at this moment.  Perhaps we will be better prepared in the future.

COVID-19 7/26/2021

July 29, 2021

As I’m sure everyone knows, We are in the early stages of an uptick in cases, hospitalizations, etc.   Mask mandates are being reinstituted in many “hot spots” and continue to be resisted.

The “Delta variant” has displaced earlier variants, and appears to be more contagious, owing to it replicating at a much more vigorous rate (1000 fold!) and therefore spreading much more virus.  It is not clear at this time that the Delta variant causes more severe illness.

It was always clear that the currently available vaccines would not prevent infection (and therefore would not prevent replication and spread of the virus).  Serious disease and death declined drastically in countries where immunization was widespread (particularly in Israel and the United States).  This was predicted by the initial studies of the vaccine which gained them Emergency Use Authorization by the FDA.

But with the emergence of the Delta virus and its spread internationally, disease levels have increased.  At this time, according to the most recent figures that have been reported, 97% of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 are carrying the Delta variant, and very few of those patients were previously immunized.

While the Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson  & Johnson vaccines are still effective against severe illness from the Delta variant (more so the Pfizer and Moderna products) there are “breakthrough” infections in the vaccinated population.  Please see https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2021/07/28/1021888033/breakthrough-infections-may-cause-long-covid-symptoms-small-study-suggests  for a discussion.

From a practical point of view we don’t need to go into lockdown but please maintain caution.  Wear masks when out in public.  It is too early to go into crowds, even masked, especially if there are large numbers of unmasked individuals.

 

It is with mixed-feelings that I am announcing my intention to retire at the end of March 2022.  While it continues to be an honor to work with you towards the goal of achieving a better state of health, this is my 48th year of medical practice and the time for retirement has come.

I am sending this letter out 9 months in advance to give everyone that I’ve seen in the last 3 years enough time to make other arrangements for ongoing care. This is especially true for those of you for whom I am prescribing any kind of prescription drug on a chronic basis.   I will not be ordering refills that would extend past my retirement date.

I am making efforts to find someone that can continue your homœopathic care, should you so choose, but it does not appear likely that I will be successful.   There are vanishingly few MDs or DOs entering homœopathic practice.  The rate of new entries from the Naturopathic profession (ND) is only slightly better.  As time goes by I will inform you on my website of homœopathic practitioners in southern New England that might be open to taking on new patients.

Regarding your medical records, a very complex issue:

  • I will retain them for 7 years after your last visit, as required by law.
  • My electronic medical record (EMR) can print out a Continuity of Care Document (CCD) which summarizes your care since 2010, when I first began using the EMR. This includes demographic data, allergies, medications (past and present), dates of treatment, vital signs and some, but not all, lab reports, diagnoses, and assessments and plans.
    While the CCD does not include my detailed notes on your homœopathic case, it contains the essential data that another physician might need in order to continue your care.
    The fee for printing the CCD will be $ 0.30/page.  This report is likely to be 8-10 pages at a minimum but could go much higher if I have been seeing you for a long time.
    There may be certain consultation notes or imaging studies that also should be included, but this will need to assessed on a case-by-case basis and done manually ($0.65/page).
    The CCD (and indeed your entire EMR) can be transferred electronically, if your new physician uses the same EMR as I (PracticeFusion). Arrangements can be made to do so at no or minimal cost to you.  Physicians using other systems might be able to do so but the process is likely to be cumbersome.  Other forms of electronic transfer may be possible but might violate HIPAA regulations.  More information on this will be made available on my website should it turn out to be feasible.
  • My EMR can also print out a complete record of all visits since August of 2010 (when I first started using the system). The fee for this will be $0.30/page).  Any other information from your paper chart (pre-August 2010) will need manual selection and photocopying which will be charged at $0.65 per page plus postage costs, to be paid when you pick them up or before we mail them to you.
    In the case of a new homeopathic practitioner, they will usually want to take your case “fresh” and would likely to be overwhelmed by the amount of data in my notes. If you will not be transferring care to a physician who understands homeopathy, the vast bulk of your record will not be meaningful to them.
  • As you know from talking with me while I’m transcribing almost everything you say, my notes are long, and the page count can be high. The longer and more often that I have seen you, the more this will add up.
    My office notes also may contain information which is highly personal.  When I photocopy records for insurance companies I redact information which I consider to be too sensitive, using a thick black magic marker.  This is not going to be possible now as I am looking at transferring records for several hundred people.

As you can see, transferring and copying records will be a big job that will take a lot of time and effort for both Donna and me.  If you will not be seeing me between now and my retirement and you wish to have your records transferred in some form, I would greatly appreciate knowing that as soon as possible so that I can plan accordingly.

After this letter, all further notices and details regarding my retirement will only be available on my website (www.drshevin.com/journal).  For those few of you who are not able to utilize the internet, please let Donna know so that we can make other arrangements for you to continue to be informed.

Samuel Hahnemann MD, who systematized homoeopathic medicine in the early 19th century, wrote:

“The physician’s highest and only calling is to make the sick healthy, to cure,  as it is called.”

Thank you for giving the opportunity to work with you towards realizing that ideal.

Just a short post tonight:  Although cases nationwide are declining, COVID-19 is very much with us in the Northeast. We have been on somewhat of a plateau which may just be starting to break up, and lockdown restrictions are being lifted.  I hope that “returning towards normal” doesn’t generate another wave.

Vaccination rates are increasing, but it is likely that a substantial number of people will not be vaccinated.  That will reduce the likelihood of achieving “herd immunity.”

There are other places in the United States which are experiencing increases.  Michigan was a prominent example although it appears that things are starting to improve.

Internationally, we know that there is a very bad 3rd wave happening in India right now.  Many places in South America are also in desperate straits.

Aside from the many tragedies occurring in those places, we have to be concerned about the the development of mutated strains of Sars CoV-2 which could evade natural immunity (for those who have already had COVID-19 or evade vaccine-induced immunity.  Those strains can spread across the globe,

My basic message is that we cannot think that we are in the last stages of the pandemic.  Rather, we have to continue to be vigilant and maintain our innate immunity, whether vaccinated or not vaccinated.  We also have to use common sense. Please be careful.  If you consider eating inside a restaurant, make sure that social distancing rules are maintained, that ventilation is good, or even better eat outside wherever possible.  I would advise continuing to avoid large gatherings which include people that you don’t know.

Don’t throw away your masks.  Do use them when it is appropriate.  If you wonder if you should use one, use it.

There continues to be opinion contrary to the “conventional wisdom” out there.  Some of it is generated from the work of prominent scientists and cannot be quickly dismissed.  But when those opinions seem to deny what we see in the world, you have to question it.  Some people claim that the whole pandemic is a hoax.  But such claims are impossible to reconcile with what we have seen, now in India and South America, and recently in the United States.

We are all tired (“COVID fatigue”) but this is not the time to completely relax.

Retirement Planning

February 23, 2021

Next year will be my 48th year in clinical practice, and my 40th year of using homœopathy as my main therapeutic tool   While I have not yet set a definite date, I plan to retire in that year, most likely in the spring.  I will make every effort to finalize the date at least 90 days in advance.

I will be saying more about this in future posts and mailings. I’m beginning the process of informing you quite early as I don’t have anyone to take over the practice, and we don’t have a surplus of physicians in Eastern Connecticut.

Those of you who are on conventional medications prescribed by me will especially need to make arrangements with another physician because I will not be able to schedule refills dated for after I retire.

In April 2020 I assumed the Presidency of the Homœopathic Pharmacopoeia Convention of the United States.  I have been on the Board of Directors of that organization for about 30 years.  These are very challenging times for homœopathy in many parts of the world, and the United States is no exception.  I am already spending a good amount of time on various projects connected to this work, and expect that to continue for several years.

I have stopped taking new patients so that I can focus on those of you that I have been seeing over the years.

The issue of transfer and copying of medical records is complex and I will send information on that at a later date.

The office will continue to be open for appointments on Tuesdays from 10 am to 5 pm, and Wednesdays from 9 am to 5 pm.

Nationally, cases and deaths continue to rise, though at a lower rate than 2 weeks ago.  Connecticut ranks as the 17th state from the top of the list of cases per 100,000 persons.  In comparison, Rhode Island is at the 4th place, New York in the 9th place, and Massachusetts  is in 10th place.

In Connecticut , Windham and New London counties top that list, at 95 and 93 cases per 100,000 persons, while the other counties are in the 50’s to the 70’s.

Now that vaccination has been introduced world-wide we are starting to see more data on adverse events.   But before addressing what has recently come out in scientific and news reports, I would like to set the stage:

  • The first dictum for an individual physician is “Primum non nocere”, a Latin phrase which means “first do no harm.” An individual physician deals with individual patients, one at a time.  In the sphere of public health, however, medical science deals with populations as a whole.  Large populations can of course be divided into smaller units such children, young adults, middle-aged, the elderly, those with or without various chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, autoimmune disease, allergies, etc.  But still those subunits are composed of people who may differ in many other categories of health, to say nothing of their race, their stress levels, their socioeconomic status, their histories as groups, etc.  These differences, in various combinations and permutations may become significant when individuals have to make choices and seek guidance from their doctors.  When the science is not adequately settled, the situation becomes much more complicated.
  • In the present situation, the question of vaccination is clouded by all of the above factors. Those who deny the existence of the pandemic have no basis in fact for that view.  As I have previously discussed, pandemics are part of human history, and will continue to occur.  COVID-19 is the 3rd major epidemic from the family of Coronaviruses.  The first was SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) which began in 2003.  The second was MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome)in 2012.  Those two were lethal enough that their spread was easily contained, since people got sick and died quickly.  COVID-19 is much less lethal and much more easily transmitted and as a result has spread globally.
  • I have previously noted the failures of many governments to limit the spread of the virus. I have also noted that even in countries which did well (China belatedly but then efficiently), South Korea, and New Zealand most notably, 2nd waves are occurring at higher levels than the first wave.

So here we are a few weeks after the introduction of the mRNA vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna.  Allergic reactions can be severe, although rarely, and can result in death, even more rarely.  A Florida physician in good health developed a fatal autoimmune blood disorder on day 3 after the vaccination and died.

In Norway, the government has revised its guidance to physicians who treat the elderly based on a number of deaths soon after vaccination in already frail persons aged 85 and older.  Assuming that vaccination and those deaths are related, this is obviously a “harm”.  But these people would presumably have died of COVID-19 had they been both unprotected and exposed.  How can an individual physician distinguish which of the many very elderly and frail people in nursing homes (high-risk environments) might not be able to tolerate the vaccine?  That this intolerance would exist was never in doubt, and such deaths were “expected.”

In Israel, as reported in the Jerusalem Post 13 cases of Bell’s palsy occurred after vaccination.  Most people recover completely from an acute Bell’s palsy (one-sided facial paralysis), while a few will be left with some residual paralysis.  Assuming firstly that the reported cases of paralysis are firmly linked to the vaccine, would the outcome for those particular patients have been worse if they were both unprotected and exposed?

In the development of previous coronavirus vaccines (SARS and MERS)  enhanced immune system reactivity to other infections, such as influenza, was found.  This includes enhanced reactions (stronger symptoms that might otherwise have occurred) to other coronaviruses, some of which have long been known to “cause” some common colds.  I put quotes around the word “cause” because illness is often as much or more about susceptibility to a noxious stimulus (bacteria or virus, toxins, etc.) than to the presence of that noxious stimulus.  Of course, when a virus is introduced to a population that has had no previous exposure to it, as is currently the case with COVID-19, the results can be severe, as evidence by the reaction of Native Americans to exposure to smallpox and measles when the Americas were colonized by Europeans.

The last item of news for this post is the introduction of a newer vaccine (Novavax) which is now in production.  While this is also a “spike protein” vaccine, it is formulated in an entirely different way from the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.  The “spike protein” which is used by COVID-19 to attach to human cells (establishing the infection) is composed of 2 “subunits” named S1 and S2.  While the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are aimed at S2, the Novavax product is aimed at S1.  Since S1 is the subunit that the spike protein uses to attach to the cells, the Novavax product may actually reduce the risk of infection, as noted in the early investigations of the vaccine conducted in monkeys.  S2 has to do with the virus’s entry into the cell after attachment so that it can multiply inside the cell.  We do not yet know if the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines actually reduce the likelihood of infection or spread.  The effectiveness of those vaccines appears to be that people don’t get sick, with an impressive protection rate of 95%.  But we know already that asymptomatic people spread the disease.  This is why recipients of those vaccines are still going to have to wear masks and practice social distancing.  Whether they will choose to do so is unknown.  Please note:  one can be infected but not sick (asymptomatic), and spread the virus to others.

While I am neither an immunologist nor a virologist, if the Novavax vaccine proves to be effective and safe, it might be a better choice than the currently available vaccines.  But the Phase III trial has just begun and early results will not be available until March 31st 2021, and the trial will not be concluded until December 30th 2022.  We also do not presently  know if the vaccine will pass scrutiny and be authorized for Emergency Use Authorization.  The Phase III trials for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have both reported their preliminary results and have gained Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA,  but the final reports will also not be issued until the end of 2022.  That means that these trials are still in process.

There are also many other vaccines in development.   It is more traditional for vaccines to not be licensed until Phase III trials are complete and have undergone scientific and regulatory review.   As a society however, we find ourselves in a crisis situation, which might have been avoided had world reacted more quickly or had been better prepared when this all started in the fall of 2019.

Getting back to “first do no harm”, my duty is to inform my patients to the best of my ability.   Even though we don’t yet have all the information that would make for a fully-informed choice, when vaccines are available, choice is unavoidable.  The choices:  vaccinate now; wait for more data or other vaccines; or never vaccinate. All choices contain potential risks and benefits.    We should all understand that those risks and benefits pertain both to ourselves and to our family members, to our friends and people that we come in contact with, and to society as a whole.   To not vaccinate ourselves eliminates possible risks from the vaccines (which so far have for the most part been “tolerable” from a public health standpoint) but also exposes us to infection and sickness from the virus.  This then creates the possibility of spreading the virus to other people who may then suffer a disease which can be asymptomatic (but spreadable), or result in a mild illness, or a more serious one that can later lead to significant disability or even to death.

In America, individual rights are strongly emphasized.  The pandemic has exposed us to the consequences of not sufficiently taking the collective interest into account.

Finally, as of the week ending on January 9th, the CDC reports continuing “unusually low” levels of flu activity.

As I’m sure you all know, COVID-19 is spreading across the country in a 2nd or 3rd wave (depending on how one counts the waves) and reaching new highs in terms of test positivity, cases, and the number of deaths.  Hospitals in many areas, especially in the more rural parts of the country, are stretched very thin.  Front-line and supporting health care workers are especially hard hit.

Locally the situation is much the same.  The post-Thanksgiving holiday time, as expected created a further uptick, and this can be expected to happen again after Christmas.  Countries which had been very successful at containing the virus (South Korea, New Zealand) are also experiencing substantial increases.

All precautions previously mentioned and promoted by the CDC are still in effect.  The current guidance for Quarantine in Connecticut can be found here.

As to the two newly approved vaccines, I would make the following points:

  • Everyone knows that the vaccine has been rushed into production, but that makes sense given that the disease can be severe and that there is no effective conventional treatment.  Although the outlook for hospitalized patients is better now than it was in the spring, mortality for hospitalized patients remains high, especially for those on ventilators, and some people with milder symptoms and who do not require hospitalization are experiencing prolonged and debilitating problems.
  • This is a disease that is therefore worth preventing, if that can be done safely.
  • Although there have been a few reported severe reactions to the vaccine (see below), those appear rare, at least so far. More common is a “flu-like” state following the vaccine, which is mild-to-moderate (worse than with the influenza vaccine) but short-lived (1-2 days).  The vaccine should be given in a facility which can monitor the vaccine recipient for possible allergic reactions (which can be severe, even life-threatening) and  treat (with epinephrine, etc.) if necessary.
  • The long-term side-effects of the vaccine will take more time to be properly appreciated. Since most people will not have access to the vaccine for at least 3-4 months, by that time we will have more data.
  • The vaccine appears to be highly effecting (90% or greater), which is obviously a very good number. If widely used, this could reduce transmission to such a low level that fewer people would get sick and so that the economy could gradually reopen and family and community life could become more normal.  In the most currently optimistic assessment, this might happen as early as the summer of 2021.
  • 2 doses of the currently available vaccines, a few weeks apart, are currently being recommended to establish adequate immunity.
  • The high level of effectiveness of these vaccines is presumably related to their ability to promote activation of the body’s “innate” immune system, which is more basic than just promoting high antibody levels as other conventional vaccines do. I like this aspect.
  • What is not yet  known about these vaccines is whether they will prevent vaccinated persons from harboring and transmitting the virus. Therefore, until vaccination levels are widespread (late summer or fall most likely), or subsequent studies show this not to be a problem, vaccine recipients should continue to wear masks and practice social distancing.  The current  Connecticut regulations on Quarantine can be found here.
  • Regarding testing, DNA tests are still the “gold standard.” These can be done through nasal swabs  or through so-called “rapid” tests.  The rapid tests are just coming onto the market and may soon be available on pharmacy shelves for home use.  While these are not as accurate as the nasal swabs that use PCR amplification techniques, they are certainly better than nothing, and their substantially reduced costs may allow for repeated tests which will reduce the likelihood of a “false negative” result.The Nasal swab test that has been in use for several months now has been accused as being oversensitive because it can detect COVID-19 dna in amounts that are so small that the person may not be able to transmit the disease.  The likelihood of such a “operationally” false positive result depends on the extent of  “amplification” used by the laboratory.  More information on such “false positive” tests can be found here.

Seasonal Flu:  Currently there are extremely low levels of influenza-like-illnesses across the country.  There is a slight uptick in Oklahoma as of December 12th but activity is “minimal” in the rest of the country.  The most recent report from the CDC can be found here.

It is possible that the upcoming flu season will be very mild.  This may be due to reduced transmission from COVID-19 precautions (masks, social distancing, etc.) as well as the possibility that people will not seek care and testing for flu because of the COVID-19 pandemic.  More information regarding this can be found here.  Regardless, the flu virus will certainly circulate in North America this winter.

For those of you who use Influenzinum, there is no compelling reason to start taking it as yet.  But there is no harm in doing so either.  I am getting more calls as the season progresses.  I will continue to post as circumstances warrant.

 

COVID-19 10/15/2020

October 15, 2020

I haven’t posted in quite a while because my recommendations have not really changed. As predicted by epidemiologists and virologists, the virus is still circulating almost everywhere in the world, and continues to cause outbreaks. Even New Zealand, which was one of the most successful countries in terms of managing the initial wave, the relaxing of restrictions was followed by an increasing number of new cases prompting a resumption of restrictions, albeit in a more geographical focused way.

As I’m sure that you all realize, the United States has not managed the pandemic well at all, and we are now seeing a 3rd rise in case loads in many parts of the country, including newer areas in the midwest and rural areas of the country.

Connecticut, in the last two weeks, has seen a 102% rise in cases, along with smaller increases in New York, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. Although the Connecticut doubling seems drastic, we ae still in good control and my supposition is that the increase has mostly to do with the reopening of colleges and schools and will hopefully be temporary.

It clearly remains necessary to continue the use of masks, social distancing, hand-washing, and common sense. All of my previous recommendations still hold.

As for my practice, I have been very busy, even though I am working a reduced schedule, but other than counseling people about COVID, I haven’t treated anyone who I thought might have COVID-19 since I last posted. I have still not seen any patients inside of my office, but have seen 9 people outside the office door when a virtual visit would not have sufficed. Fortunately, the weather has cooperated.

I have purchased an air purifier, which provides both robust HEPA filtering with a single wavelength ultraviolet light and strong air exchange which should be effective in terms of virus particles as well as mold spores and other impurities. Together with scheduling in a way that avoids more than 3 people (including myself and Donna), 4 at the most being in my small office at one time, I should be able to see people in person (everyone masked, of course). I will try to continue to schedule as many people with virtual appointments as possible. Ironically, I get better non-verbal information from a virtual visit than a face-to-face but masked encounter. I also find that I am much more on time with my appointments since working virtually.

I look forward to the day when all this is behind us, but I don’t expect that day to arrive until next fall at the earliest, and possibly until spring of 2022. An effective vaccine might change that timetable, but that has not yet materialized.

COVID-19 8/16/2020

August 20, 2020

This will be a short post, as there hasn’t been much change, at least not for the better…

Re-opening has not worked well in many areas that have done so. In the Northeast, while the experience has been better owing to better leadership with regional cooperation among the states, there have been small “upticks” in the case counts, and schools and colleges and universities have not yet re-opened.

I have spoken with a number of parents, some of whom are also teachers, and as you might imagine there is quite a lot of anxiety around reopening the schools.

We still don’t have adequate testing capacity, a problem which is greatly compounded by delays in getting results.

I wish that I could feel more optimistic about the near future. My heart goes out to teachers especially, as well as to parents of school-aged children. There is currently some sense that school reopening could be safer for elementary school students than for middle and high school level students, who can at least benefit from online instruction. But we still don’t have enough understanding of the virus and its behavior to be certain of this.

As far as seeing patients in person, at the moment I am only seeing those people whose issues necessitate an in-person visit, and I am dong those visits outside, with masks and social distancing when near-proximity is not required. This have been only 4 instances of this since the pandemic started.

As you know, my office is small, and even to have myself, Donna, and one other patient in that space is questionable. I am looking into whether there is a way that I could improve the ventilation so that there is inflow of outside air, and exhaust of inside air to the outside so that there can be adequate air exchange. I think that is the main issue. I’m not sure how that would work in the cold winter…

Fortunately, I can do most of what I need to do by “virtual” appointments. I am hoping that insurance carriers will continue to cover these visits.

Lastly, now that the Federal Government has not been able to cope with the ending of the stimulus packages, we may be facing even more widespread financial distress. People tend to not seek care when they don’t have the financial resources to pay for it. I like to work with “good faith” (on my part as well as on yours), and so if you are experiencing financial distress and are contemplating forgoing care, please reach out to me.

If there was ever a time when so many people, and so many groups and institutions needed to come together for the common good, this is certainly that time.

COVID-19 7/19/2020

July 19, 2020

This is my first post in a few weeks because nothing much has changed, at least in the northeast US. Other areas of the country are not so fortunate, largely due to the premature opening from the “lock-down.” We are vulnerable to the same thing and need to continue to take precautions.

In my practice, since the 8 or 9 patients that I’ve previously reported on, I’ve not needed to treat anyone else in whom I suspected COVID-19. I did find out that one of those 8 or 9, that the sickest one was later confirmed to have antibodies to Sars-coV 2. This is the only confirmed case of this group. She was (in my estimation) sinking into a more serious stage when I gave one of the 3 remedies that I’d sent out. She threw a high fever that night, with delirium, and woke the next morning feeling much better. Within another 2 days she was back to normal.

The international homeopathic community is collaborating on collecting and analyzing cases, and we hope to have something that will demonstrate the validity and effectiveness of homeopathy.

An interesting video from a vaccine scientist from Cuba surfaced in my email the other day. She discusses her experience with vaccines prepared homeopathically. It is well worth watching.

A closely related 10 minute video clip from a recently released movie called “Magic Pills” should also be watched. This one will only be freely available for another 6 days, so I urge you to watch it.

Homeopathy has a very strong track record in the treatment of epidemic diseases, but this has not yet been accepted in conventional medical circles. Perhaps this time will be different…