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You Are Going to Get COVID Again … and Again … and Again

Two and a half years and billions of estimated infections into this pandemic, SARS-CoV-2’s visit has clearly turned into a permanent stay. Experts knew from early on that, for almost everyone, infection with this coronavirus would be inevitable. As James Hamblin memorably put it back in February 2020, “You’re Likely to Get the Coronavirus.” By this...

Rebound COVID Is Just the Start of Paxlovid’s Mysteries

The first data on Paxlovid, out last November, hinted that the COVID antiviral would cut the risk of hospitalization and death by 89 percent. Pundits called the drug “a monster breakthrough,” “miraculous,” and “the biggest advance in the pandemic since the vaccines.” “Today’s news is a real game-changer,” said Albert Bourla, the CEO of Pfizer, which...

Americans Need to Treat Gun Violence Like a Public-Health Problem

Nearly 15 years ago, a young man who had shot himself in the head with his father’s gun was wheeled into the emergency room where Megan Ranney worked. Despite her team’s best efforts, the patient died. “It was the first firearm suicide I’d ever taken care of,” Ranney, an emergency physician and public-health expert in Rhode Island, told me. In the days...

Vaccines Are Still Mostly Blocking Severe Disease

For the past year and a half, since the COVID-19 vaccines first became available—even as last summer’s reprieve gave way to Delta’s surge, then Omicron’s; even as the coronavirus continued to rack up mutations that lifted its speed and its stealth; even as millions of vaccinated Americans caught the pathogen and passed it on—there’s been one huge slice...

How the End of Roe Will Change Prenatal Care

Pregnancy, in this age of modern medicine, comes with a series of routinely recommended prenatal tests: At 11 weeks, a blood draw and an ultrasound to check for conditions such as Down syndrome. At 15 weeks, another blood test, for anomalies such as spina bifida. At 18 to 22, an ultrasound anatomy scan of the baby’s heart, brain, lungs, bones, stomach,...

So, Have You Heard About Monkeypox?

Updated at 9:51 a.m. on May 20, 2022Yesterday afternoon, I called the UCLA epidemiologist Anne Rimoin to ask about the European outbreak of monkeypox—a rare but potentially severe viral illness with dozens of confirmed or suspected cases in the United Kingdom, Spain, and Portugal. “If we see those clusters, given the amount of travel between the United...

Rich Parents Are Tapping Into a Baby-Formula Black Market

The baby-formula shortage has been something of a nightmare for Aleisha Velez, a 25-year-old mother of two who lives in Philadelphia. Velez relies on the federal government’s Woman, Infants, and Children (WIC) program to get free formula, which means she can’t just get the product shipped to her home. So over the past two months, she has called store...

What COVID Hospitalization Numbers Are Missing

For weeks now, as COVID-19 cases have ticked upward in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic, pundits and political leaders have offered a supposedly reassuring refrain: Cases might be climbing, but hospitalizations aren’t yet following suit. In some places, that has been true. Several health-care workers around the country told me they’re seeing the lowest...

No, They Didn’t Find the Cause of SIDS

Sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS, “will be a thing of the past,” according to Carmel Harrington, a sleep researcher at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead, in Australia. A press release describes her new study, out this month, as a “game-changing” effort and a “world-first breakthrough” that could prevent future deaths from the tragic illness....

We’ve Never Been Good at Feeding Babies

Keeping an infant fed is a precarious task in the best of circumstances, and for many American parents, the circumstances have become quite bad. Nutritional formulas are currently in very short supply across the United States, and in some markets, more than half of all products are out of stock. For babies with medical conditions, as well as older kids...

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