Promoting equity and community health in the COVID-19 pandemic

Editor’s note: Second in a series on the impact of COVID-19 on communities of color, and responses aimed at improving health equity. Click here to read part one. In early March 2020, as COVID-19 was declared a public health emergency in Boston, Mass General Brigham began to care for a growing number of patients with […]

Communities of color devastated by COVID-19: Shifting the narrative

Editor’s note: First in a series on the impact of COVID-19 on communities of color and responses aimed at improving health equity. By now we’ve read headlines like these all too often: “Communities of Color Devastated by COVID-19.” Way back in March, available data started to show that vulnerable, minority communities were experiencing much higher […]

Cough and cold season is arriving: Choose medicines safely

With the summer winding down and fall moving in, colder weather will arrive soon — along with cold and flu season. Millions of Americans get the common cold each year, often more than once. To counter coughs and runny noses, many will turn to over-the-counter (OTC) medications available for relief without a prescription. Heading to […]

Vaccines for COVID-19 moving closer

As the world reels from illnesses and deaths due to COVID-19, the race is on for a safe, effective, long-lasting vaccine to help the body block the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. The three vaccine approaches discussed here are among the first to be tested clinically in the United States. How vaccines induce immunity: The starting line […]

How risky is using a public bathroom during the pandemic?

Given the choice between using a public bathroom and doing anything else, some people will always choose the latter. Regardless of the urgency or however pristine it’s reported to be, the space comes with an ick factor, says Dr. John Ross, who practices hospital medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and is board-certified […]

Daily decisions about risk: What to do when there’s no right answer

Let’s face it: there’s still a deadly virus out there and it’s not going away anytime soon. And that means we all must make a lot of decisions that involve personal risk. And for many of these daily decisions, there’s no single right answer: no Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines, World Health Organization recommendations, […]

Summer’s here, teens and parents — now what?

Summer is upon us, and for many teens in this country, school’s already out. Now what? Typical and cherished summer activities like jobs, internships, and camps may be on hold. There is a general sense of uncertainty about what the coming months will bring, and higher levels of worry in cities and states that struggled […]

Driving across the country in a pandemic

Thinking about traveling during the pandemic? Before heading out, there’s a lot to think about, including: Do you have risk factors for severe COVID-19, such as advanced age or chronic medical conditions? What about your co-travelers’ health and risk factors? Are your co-travelers part of your household or tight social circle? Is the virus spreading […]

How to socialize in a pandemic

In early March, when most Americans began social distancing, the hope was that life would get back to normal after just a few weeks. It’s become clear now that some distancing will be needed for many more months, or even years, to keep the coronavirus at bay. But quarantine fatigue is real. Abstaining from all […]

Bracing for contact tracing

What should you do if you get a call from a contact tracer letting you know you’ve been exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19? Even our best efforts to stay well — by maintaining distance, washing hands often, restricting the size of our social circles, and wearing masks — may not keep the […]