Can you throw away your mask and go back to pre-pandemic activities? No.

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Author’s Photo

Caution is still the byword, and you will need to be cautious for many months to come both to protect yourself and to help quell the pandemic.

You may be wondering if you can go to a restaurant, hug your grand-kid, feel safe in the supermarket, go to a movie, and in general, just go back to normal living after a year of the pandemic upheavals. These are important questions about daily living. Here are some of the facts to help you make informed decisions.

There are two vaccines authorized in the US by the Food and Drug Administration for…


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Pfizer BioNTech Vaccine Efficacy vs Placebo, FDA Presentation

The light at the end of the tunnel is certainly shining brighter. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted emergency use authorization for the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine and the very similar-based technology Moderna vaccine. Both have demonstrated excellent efficacy — 95% and 94% protection. But and it is a major but, there is a lot of concern nationwide and internationally about vaccine safety.

My message today is that the FDA’s emergency use authorization is an assurance of safety but it is important to note that safe does not mean there are no side effects. More on side effects later.


Covid Related “Compression Syndrome” — Don’t Let the Media Drive Up Your Stress

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The Scream by Edvard Munch, Photographed by Borre Hostland, National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design

“Compression Syndrome.” You probably have never heard of it. It may not be a formal medical syndrome but I suspect once defined you will not be surprised.

Nine months into this pandemic and we’re all tired. We’re all frustrated. There’s so much frustration and the stress just keeps building and building and building. And it’s not just what we’re facing concerning the coronavirus — the masks, the social distancing, giving people more space, avoiding crowds, no restaurants or movies, and so on. It is also the other…


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Jessica Tan via Unsplash

What is Covid-induced caution fatigue? Let’s get started by remembering that this pandemic began back in March so it has been March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, and now December and it will continue beyond. That is a long time to be frustrated, to be tired, to be bored, to be scared, and even a bit angry. These are all emotions that are building up inside of us, and as they keep layering some new stressor means an additional layer. It’s like a layer cake with more and more layers and the layers seem to be getting…


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krakenimages via Unsplash

You may be thinking about getting together on Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas or New Year’s with a group of your close friends or family, now often dubbed as your “bubble.” This is probably not a good idea. Let’s remember that the virus is disbursed especially in settings of crowding, prolonged contact, poor ventilation, or where there is loud talking, singing, or heavy breathing. Does all that sound like a holiday gathering?

We all have “caution fatigue.” It’s a very real phenomenon, resulting from all the stresses that you are under — the necessity of wearing a mask, social distancing, and keeping…


Here’s How To Get Your Moxie Back

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Surreal —Artist Carol Schimpff

If you are feeling fatigued, bored, or just downright lazy after a few months of sheltering in place, then you are like very many others. My interest was piqued after a comment from a friend that is usually very engaged in activities but expressed her “lassitude.”

My wife and I live in a continuing care retirement community (CCRC) of 2000 residents just outside of Baltimore, Maryland. 1800 of us are in independent living with about 200 in assisted-living, rehabilitation, long term nursing care or memory care. The average age is 82 years with many in their 60’s and 70’s but…


Don’t Let “Caution Fatigue” Result in Getting Infected with Covid19

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Joshua Hoehne via Unsplash

Trust no one. Harsh sounding words but following them is essential during this pandemic. Everyone knows the basics: wear a mask, social distance, avoid crowded spaces, avoid areas where air circulation is limited and, of course, use good hand hygiene. Most of us do it now.

But there is another very critical issue — never assume another person is virus free, no matter what they may think or tell you.

It’s worth repeating — never assume another person is virus free. They may feel fine with no symptoms, no fever…


Choosing Further Cancer Chemotherapy versus Hospice Amidst a Dysfunctional Healthcare System

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Jen Leslie on Unsplash

James (not his real name) had widely spread cancer and died in hospice. Until then his care had been less than satisfactory; indeed, it had been poor. His travels through the healthcare system demonstrate some of the massive dysfunctions that patients encounter regularly. Amidst these problems, he confronted a true conundrum — the necessity of choosing between hospice care with its certain conclusion or additional treatment with an uncertain outcome.

For thirty years he had been the maître de of a well-known restaurant in his home town and was…


Four Critical Steps to Improved Health

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Author Image, Graphic by Hannah Reinsel

I live in a retirement community of about 2000 residents. We had been sheltering in place for the better part of two- and one-half months. It has been effective; no one in independent living has developed an infection. We are all pleased and thank the management for doing their best to protect us as we are inherently more susceptible to serious illness if infected. Recently some of the restrictions have been lifted but with continued vigilance to keep the virus at bay.

Sheltering in place because of the pandemic has left many people both here and across the country feeling…


Yes and No — It All Depends on Your Risk-Reward Analysis

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Case fatality rates in first 44,000 confirmed Chinese patients

The decision is all about your risk-reward equation. But if you are uncertain, you are not alone; it is the issue of the day. It may be much different if you are older, working but from home versus working in the community, a student in school, the parent of a preschooler who needs daycare, or a person with one or more of the high-risk chronic illnesses. Your risk-reward equation may also depend on who you might transmit the virus to if you should become infected — an elderly grandmother…

Stephen Schimpff MD, MACP

Quasi-retired physician, academic medical center CEO, professor & researcher. Author of 6 health & wellness books. https://megamedicaltrends.com/

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