Good news: Deaths due to HIV are way down

World news this month appropriately focuses on containing the COVID-19 pandemic, as the first vaccines become available. Yet we can also celebrate major success in the fight against a different global viral scourge: HIV. During my medical training in the 1980s, hospital wards were often filled with people dying of HIV. Since then, antiviral treatments […]

Masks save lives: Here’s what you need to know

Surging COVID-19 rates throughout the country and in many parts of the world make our efforts to protect ourselves and others more important than ever. Yes, the predictions are dire, but we are not helpless. Experts estimate we can save hundreds of thousands of lives and considerably boost the chances of controlling the pandemic if […]

It’s still true: Not all the news about COVID-19 is bad

I thought the pandemic would be over by now. And I’m not alone; there were sophisticated models predicting a dramatic drop in the number of infections by the summer. And while there was understandable worry about the second wave, re-infection, and the coming flu season, there was good reason to believe we’d have the worst […]

Keeping your family safe this Thanksgiving

So much is different and hard during this pandemic — including planning for the holidays. It’s understandable to want to gather with friends and family. We are all so worn out by the COVID-19 pandemic, and need some cheering up. And most of us have friends and family that we haven’t been able to really […]

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, […]