• Mass shootingsMost Mass Shootings Occur Closest to Non-Trauma Hospitals

    In an analysis of 2019 mass shootings and hospital locations, researchers found that the closest hospital to more than 70 percent of mass shootings was a non-trauma center, where sudden, high casualty loads were more likely to overwhelm capacity and trauma-specific care options may have been limited. They also found that in more than half of mass shooting events, the nearest pediatric trauma center was more than 10 miles away.

  • PerspectiveCyber Attacks against Hospitals and the COVID-19 Pandemic: How Strong are International Law Protections?

    In a situation where most, if not all of us are potential patients, few government-provided services are more important than the efficient delivery of health care. The strain on hospitals around the world is rapidly growing, to which states have responded by mobilizing military medical units, nationalizing private medical facilities, and building emergency hospitals. All of this underlines the urgent need to understand what protections the law offers against attacks – including cyberattacks – on medical facilities.

  • Nuclear warEven a Limited India-Pakistan Nuclear War Would Bring Global Famine, Says Study

    By Kevin Krajick

    The concept of nuclear winter—a years-long planetary freeze brought on by airborne soot generated by nuclear bombs—has been around for decades. But such speculations have been based largely on back-of-the-envelope calculations involving a total war between Russia and the United States. Now, a new multinational study incorporating the latest models of global climate, crop production and trade examines the possible effects of a less gargantuan but perhaps more likely exchange between two longtime nuclear-armed enemies: India and Pakistan.

  • ArgumentThe Four Key Reasons the U.S. Is So Behind on Coronavirus Testing

    The COVID-19 outbreak has been a confusing time for Americans, but one thing has been glaringly clear: The U.S. is way behind when it comes to testing people for the coronavirus. Testing is essential for identifying people who have been infected and for understanding the true scope of the outbreak. Yet, among the numerous failures of the Trump administration to deal effectively with the COVID-19 outbreak, the lack of testing equipment stands out. Olga Khazan writes that bureaucracy, equipment shortages, an unwillingness to share, and failed leadership doomed the American response to COVID-19.

  • EpidemicsWhat’s the Difference Between Pandemic, Epidemic and Outbreak?

    By Rebecca S. B. Fischer

    The coronavirus is on everyone’s minds. As an epidemiologist, I find it interesting to hear people using technical terms – like quarantine or super spreader or reproductive number – that my colleagues and I use in our work every day. But I’m also hearing newscasters and neighbors alike mixing up three important words: outbreak, epidemic and pandemic. Simply put, the difference between these three scenarios of disease spread is a matter of scale.

  • EpidemicsWHO Warns of COVID-19-Related Protective Equipment Shortage

    The World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) director-general yesterday warned that shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gowns are masks could leave frontline health workers unprotected from the COVID-19 virus, which comes as the epicenter shifts from China to three nations on three different continents.

  • EpidemicsWhat Can the Black Death Tell Us about the Global Economic Consequences of a Pandemic?

    By Adrian R. Bell, Andrew Prescott, and Helen Lacey

    Concerns over the spread of the novel coronavirus have translated into an economic slowdown. A look back at history can help us consider the economic effects of public health emergencies and how best to manage them. In doing so, however, it is important to remember that past pandemics were far more deadly than coronavirus, which has a relatively low death rate. By far the worst death rate in history was inflicted by the Black Death. Caused by several forms of plague, it lasted from 1348 to 1350, killing anywhere between 75 million and 200 million people worldwide and perhaps one half of the population of England. The economic consequences were also profound.

  • Truth decayFake News Exacerbates Disease Outbreaks

    The worry that fake news might be used to distort political processes or manipulate financial markets is well established. But less studied is the possibility that misinformation spread could harm human health, especially during the outbreak of an infectious disease.

  • Protective gearWWI Helmets Protect Against Shock Waves as Well as or Better than Modern Designs

    Biomedical engineers have demonstrated that, despite significant advancements in protection from ballistics and blunt impacts, modern military helmets are no better at protecting the brain from shock waves created by nearby blasts than their First World War counterparts. And one model in particular, the French Adrian helmet, actually performed better than modern designs in protecting from overhead blasts.

  • EpidemicsMore Outbreak Details Emerge as COVID-19 Cases Top 70,000

    As cases passed the 70,000 mark today, China published a detailed picture of its COVID-19 outbreak, which now shows signs of declining; however, officials warned cases could rebound as people return to work and school after the extended Lunar New Year break.

  • Truth decaySocial Media and Vaccine Misinformation

    People who rely on social media for information were more likely to be misinformed about vaccines than those who rely on traditional media, according to a new study of vaccine knowledge and media use. The researchers found that up to 20 percent of respondents were at least somewhat misinformed about vaccines. Such a high level of misinformation is “worrying” because misinformation undermines vaccination rates, and high vaccination rates are required to maintain community immunity, the researchers said.

  • Climate & healthChildren to Bear the Burden of Negative Health Effects from Climate Change

    Climate change will have grim effects on pediatric health, researchers say. The effects of climate change increase mortality and morbidity due to heat waves and fires, increased risk of food- and water-borne illnesses, and malnutrition due to food scarcity. These negative experiences bring with them psychological trauma and mental health issues that can affect both children and their caretakers.

  • China syndromeThe Silent Threat of the Coronavirus: America’s Dependence on Chinese Pharmaceuticals

    By Christine Crudo Blackburn, Andrew Natsios, Gerald W Parker, and Leslie Ruyle

    As the new coronavirus, called 2019-nCoV, spreads rapidly around the globe, the international community is scrambling to keep up. In the midst of all of this, a potential crisis simmers in the shadows: The global dependence on China for the production of pharmaceuticals and medical equipment. Today, about 80 percent of pharmaceuticals sold in the U.S. are produced in China. This number, while concerning, hides an even greater problem: China is the largest and sometimes only global supplier for the active ingredient of some vital medications. The U.S. must develop a response plan for the inevitable shortages in the near-term and take necessary actions to reclaim control of our medical supply chain. Continuing to overlook this long-known vulnerability will only lead to catastrophe.

  • EpidemicsDHS Issues Restrictions on Inbound Flights with Individuals Who Have Been in China

    In response to the evolving threat of the novel coronavirus, and to minimize the risk of spreading within the United States, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has on Sunday begun to enforce restrictions for all passenger flights to the United States carrying individuals who have recently traveled from the People’s Republic of China. The restrictions began for flights commencing after 5:00 p.m. EST on Sunday, 2 February, and direct the arrival of U.S. citizens who have traveled in China within fourteen days of their arrival to one of seven designated airports, where the United States Government has enhanced public health resources in order to implement enhanced screening procedures. The administration is taking these actions to protect the American people.

  • PerspectiveQAnon-ers’ Magic Cure for Coronavirus: Just Drink Bleach!

    QAnon, a fervently pro-Trump conspiracy theory which started with a series of online posts in October 2017 from an anonymous figure called “Q,” imagines a world where Donald Trump is engaged in a secret and noble war with a cabal of pedophile-cannibals in the Democratic Party, the finance industry, Hollywood, and the “deep state.” Will Sommer writes as the global death toll from an alarming new coronavirus surged this week, promoters of the QAnon conspiracy theory were urging their fans to ward off the illness by purchasing and drinking dangerous bleach.