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Op-Ed Sections of Newspapers & Major Websites:  


2021-58-HW (Link to Article):  Why we must listen to science and get vaccinated to beat COVID-19 | Opinion.  
"I am not sure why our citizens continue to listen to those who have stated the pandemic was a hoax and medical personnel were diagnosing cases for money. Some of these same leaders also predicted the attainment of herd immunity after each COVID-19 surge.
Many around the world are envious of the COVID-19 resources available in the United States and perplexed why we do not fully utilize them. For the safety of our loved ones, let’s become vaccinated, wear masks and utilize home testing. All of these modalities are inexpensive and readily available."  References Courier Journal.  Dec. 1, 2021.   

2021-57-HW (Link to Article):  COVID-19 Omicron May Be More Infectious, Deadlier Than Delta.  
"If the infectivity, lethality, and immune avoidance of the Omicron variant is confirmed, it will be of utmost importance that all who can, become vaccinated. In addition, antiviral medications will become of prime importance. Omicron appears to be much more transmissible than the Delta variant. It is already spreading around the globe and is reported to be increasing exponentially in regions where it has taken hold.The epicenter of the Omicron variant is in Gauteng Province, South Africa.As can be seen from the graph below, hospitalizations tripled in just 2 weeks."  References Infection Control Today.  Nov. 29, 2021.   

2021-56-HW (Link to Article):  Smallpox Scare Offers Lessons About COVID-19 Vaccine Uptake.  
"The recent story of finding previously unknown smallpox vials at the bottom of a deep freezer in Pennsylvania should serve as a reminder of the need for the strictest research precautions when handling dangerous pathogens and the dangers of any virus research program, especially gain of function research. Unfortunately, the vaccine hesitancy movement has placed us all at high risk for infectious disease. Those who are against mandatory vaccinations of frontline workers need to take a page from history and follow the lead of the Continental Army where an estimated 90% of the deaths were from infectious disease. After smallpox mandates were enacted in 1777, “the isolated infections that sprung up among Continental regulars during the southern campaign failed to incapacitate a single regiment.” With SARS-CoV-2 we are significantly weakening our nation by not abiding by public health advice and widely embracing vaccinations."  References Infection Control Today.  Nov. 17, 2021.   

2021-55-HW (Link to Article):  Confused Messaging About Boosters Might Cause 5th Wave of COVID.  
"There is growing evidence that fully vaccinated should be defined as having 3 doses of an mRNA vaccine. The evidence is clear, and the path evident, we must expand our efforts to stop viral spread, including the upgrading of indoor ventilation along with the use of masks by all in public settings and expansion of home testing. But above all we need to offer boosters to all adults who are more than 5 to 6 months post receiving an mRNA vaccine."  References Infection Control Today.  Nov. 15, 2021.   

2021-54-HW (Link to Article):  Natural Immunity vs. Super Immunity: Only a COVID-19 Vaccination Away.  
"Many believe that super immunity can develop in those who have had SARS-CoV-2 infections and have become vaccinated. Meanwhile, fully vaccinated might mean getting 3 doses, not 2. The bottom line is that all need to be vaccinated, even those who have had previous infections. The definition of fully vaccinated for mRNA vaccines needs to be changed to 3 doses, making previous comparisons of infection versus 2 doses of a vaccine mute. In addition, those previously infected should also become vaccinated. How many doses and the exact vaccination schedule is still under investigation. But for now, those receiving 2 doses of an mRNA vaccine should obtain a booster and those with a previous infection should become “super-immune” with a vaccination."  References Infection Control Today.  Nov. 2, 2021.   

2021-53-HW (Link to Article):  COVID-19: Numbers Look Good, but Keep Guard.  
"Up As of today, the outlook is very good and the pandemic is on a trajectory of burning out, but there are valid concerns which require that we continue our vigilance and public health strategies. In the United Kingdom, cases from the Delta variant spiked early on July 17, 2021, and then rapidly fell in half. Then cases rose with the Delta plus variant on October 28, 2021, reaching another peak almost as high as the one in July. This raised concerns that under certain conditions, the Delta plus variant can successfully compete with the Delta variant and cause another surge in the US."  References Infection Control Today.  Oct. 27, 2021.   

2021-52-HW (Link to Article):  COVID-19:  Boosters Need to be Encouraged.  
"The term “mild COVID-19” is an oxymoron. The devastating long-term effects of long COVID, along with future emergence of cardiovascular disease in those with minimal initial symptoms, reminds us that all SARS-CoV-2 infections may pose grave dangers to those who contract the virus. As of October 24, 2021, the United States has only 57% of its population fully vaccinated. It is behind 50 other countries, including Cuba, Sri Lanka, Curacao, Fiji, Mongolia, Bhutan, and Cambodia, let alone the European Nations. Thus, we must encourage and administer boosters, but at the same time it is of utmost importance that we decisively counter the anti-vaxxer movement in the United States and increase the primary vaccination rates in our country." References Infection Control Today.  Oct. 25, 2021.   

2021-51-HW (Link to Article):  Your ‘right’ not to vaccinate delayed my cancer treatment.  
"Over the past few weeks my writing was placed on hiatus, since I was finally able to obtain needed cancer surgery. The surgery had been previously delayed because a bunch of misguided souls were exercising their 'right' to not become vaccinated. And then exercised their right to receive protracted medical care by filling regional ICU’s and hospitals; denying prompt medical treatment to many with serious illnesses.
And some of those so-called libertarians who advocate freedom from Government actually want to use the Government to shackle the free market by
prohibiting employers from implementing worker and patron safety measures. The era of Authoritarian Libertarianism, justified by pseudoscience, has been
born. In health care, exposing the most vulnerable to a dangerous pathogen is unconscionable. I would state, the health care vaccine mandate has been 100% effective, because it eliminated patient exposure to individuals, who did not care enough about those who have entrusted their lives to them, to become vaccinated." References Courier Journal.  Oct. 23, 2021.   

2021-50-HW (Link to Article):  Viewpoint: Here’s Why COVID-19 Is Much Worse Than Flu.  
"Unlike influenza, SARS-CoV-2 uses ACE2 receptors to infiltrate cells. Similar to HIV, SARS-CoV-2 can silently spread throughout the host’s body and attack almost every organ. Thus, COVID-19 has a myriad of different presentations, all of which can result in severe and long-term sequelae.Just because COVID-19 is asymptomatic or does not produce “severe” pulmonary disease does not mean the patient does not have a serious infection.It is of utmost importance for public health officials to implement strategies to prevent the occurrence of long-term COVID-19 related disabilities and not just focus on acute pulmonary symptoms." References Infection Control Today.  Sept. 27, 2021.   

2021-49-HW (Link to Article):  Viewpoint: Politics, Bad Science Taints Decisions About COVID-19.  
"Even if not hospitalized, COVID-19 often produces the most severe infection individuals will experience in their lifetimes and can produce lasting symptoms of fatigue, weakness, brain fog and cardiovascular damage. Walensky swiftly acted and in the evening reversed the committee’s decision. I feel this was a very wise decision which demonstrated proactive action and the ability to separate political rhetoric from science. These are not normal times; we need swift decisions which will often have to be based upon experience and the preponderance of evidence. As stated by John F. Kennedy “There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long-range risks of comfortable inaction."" References Infection Control Today.  Sept. 24, 2021.   

2021-48-HW (Link to Article):  Viewpoint: On COVID Boosters, CDC Panel Must Recover Ball That FDA Panel Fumbled.  
"Health care workers know all too well the lasting and debilitating effects of long COVID-19. They were one of the first to become vaccinated and are some of the first experiencing breakthrough infections. They are tired, burned out, and many are on the brink of collapse.
Initially, the FDA's concern appeared to be centered on having solid data which showed severe breakthrough infections were developing, especially in those who are biologically at high risk for disease. After the second vote, the concern was focusing on individuals having a high risk of exposure to COVID-19, regardless of the biological susceptibility of the individual. It would be more reasonable to either reconsider the initial proposal of offering boosters to all who are 16 years of age or older, or at least offering boosters to those who are 30 years of age or older, plus individuals who are at high risk for severe long COVID. Not including individuals with non-occupational exposure was unwise, since the proposal now may exclude caregivers of unvaccinated school age children, and places these caregivers at an unnecessary risk." References Infection Control Today.  Sept. 20, 2021.   

2021-47-HW (Link to Article):  FDA Panel Sidesteps Decision for Broad Distribution of Booster Shots.  
"Some medical experts say that in this case, inaction is also an action—either the US gives boosters or does not. That decision needs to be based on the best available evidence. Instead, there seems to be a desire to wait another 6 months for pristine randomized controlled studies. The logic of distinguishing between occupational and non-occupational high-risk exposure and why that makes a true difference was not evident. In addition, if exposure indeed is a major variable to obtaining a booster—shouldn’t the initial question about far-reaching availability of booster shots be readdressed" References Infection Control Today.  Sept. 18, 2021.   

2021-46-HW (Link to Article):  Kentucky's failure to unite against COVID-19 is like 'making a pact with the devil'.  
"Natural immunity does not work well with Ebola and rabies. Those who will point out that Ebola and rabies are animal viruses and are more dangerous because they do not depend upon mankind for survival need to remember SARS-CoV-2 is also an animal virus and has multiple animal hosts. SARS-CoV-2 will not miraculously disappear. In the short term, it is unlikely to become less severe. This virus has gotten meaner with each iteration. It does not need us, so it does not have to play nice.
We need to create the safest school and workplace environments possible. Kentuckians not coming together to fight this virus with all their might is nothing more than making a pact with the devil." References Courier Journal.  Sept. 17, 2021.   

2021-45-HW (Link to Article):  Viewpoint: We’re Reopening Schools Too Quickly.  
"The further away from an infected person you are, the less likely you are to contract the disease. But you are still not safe at 6 feet. The virus is airborne and can spread much further to the back of the classroom. There are those who advocate for herd immunity, but in reality, this is a fool’s dream. Teleschooling and hybrid programs may be a vital long-term strategy. They were not fully successful last year, but instead of discarding this strategy we should be developing improvements. It is apparent that the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic is an extremely difficult ever-changing problem. We must slow down the spread of this virus by adopting a layered approach so our pharmaceutical industry has time to catch up with development of therapeutics and next generation vaccines." References Infection Control Today.  Sept. 10, 2021.   

2021-44-HW (Link to Article):  The only way for us to fight COVID-19 is with a 'layered' approach. Here's what you can do.  
"Vaccines are a vital layer of armor but as a recent Israeli study has illustrated not a COVID-19 cure in themselves. As stated in a previous opinion column, vaccine immunity is starting to wane, necessitating the implementation of added interventions and plans for administering boosters. We must plan to live with the continued waves of this virus by implementing layered approaches, including keeping current with vaccinations and boosters, frequent testing (twice weekly) of all frontline workers and students in schools, wearing high-quality, well-fitted masks, preferably a KN95 or N95 mask, and enacting strategies to combat an airborne virus, including upgrading of indoor sanitization and complete air exchanges. But of utmost importance, we cannot solely be centered on protecting ourselves. We must also protect others in the community and drive down community spread. Remember, we are all members of the same community so protecting others, will also protect ourselves." References Courier Journal.  Sept. 8, 2021.   

2021-43-HW (Link to Article):  Mu Variant Might Escape Immunity from Vaccines, Past Infections.  
"After the Delta surge subsides, another surge is expected, possibly from the Mu variant. If Mu completely escapes immunity from vaccines and past infections, we must resort to stringent public health strategies. It is also becoming apparent we cannot vaccinate our way out of this pandemic. The vaccine’s effectiveness is waning, and the variants are becoming resistant making the wearing of masks, in a mask resistant population, an imperative. It was welcome news to finally have a clinical trial published by research from Stanford which demonstrated the effectiveness of surgical masks in curtailing COVID-19 infections.In those over 60, there was a decrease of 34.7%. Mask usage became even more important with a recent report in the CDC’s Morbidity and Morality Weekly Report (MMWR) demonstrating aerosolization in schools. A school outbreak was traced back to an unvaccinated, mildly symptomatic teacher who reportedly read unmasked to her 24 students who presumably were wearing masks." References Infection Control Today.  Sept. 6, 2021.   

2021-42-HW (Link to Article):  How the CDC's missteps left Americans vulnerable to COVID-19's delta variant.  
"Unfortunately, the hospitalization of Jesse Jackson, who was fully vaccinated, and the death of former Kentucky legislator Brent Yonts from COVID-19 are not outliers. It is in line with the Israeli data on vaccine effectiveness and is the culmination of a long string of failures by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in generating timely data and promptly informing the public regarding the risks of COVID-19.
The continued narrative that breakthrough vaccine infections are uncommon is not true. When they do occur, certain groups are at risk of hospitalizations and deaths. As immunity wanes, we all will enter this category. Thus, we will need to receive a booster. For now, wear a medical grade, KN95, or a well-fitted N95 mask, avoid indoor settings and above all keep current with your COVID-19 vaccinations."  References Infection Control Today.  Aug. 26, 2021.   

2021-41-HW (Link to Article):  Viewpoint: Should US Adopt an Elimination Strategy Against COVID-19?  
"On July 29, 2021, Infection Control Today® sounded the alarm regarding vaccine breakthrough infections and waning immunity, citing Israeli data which found vaccine effectiveness in the prevention of all infections and symptomatic infections to be only 16% after 5 months from full vaccination.
In nursing homes, we need to administer boosters to residents who were fully vaccinated early in this pandemic. Nursing home residents are the most frail and highest risk members in our society.
In Beijing the total cases in an outbreak were reported to be less than 10. China used over 100 million tests to eradicate what would be classified as a very small outbreak by US standards."  References Infection Control Today.  Aug. 25, 2021.   

2021-40-HW (Link to Article):  Viewpoint: Expanding Booster Shots to US Adults Needed to Happen.  
"In the Middle Ages a pandemic wiped out 50% of the world’s population. Presently we have a much higher population density, making us a feeding buffet for infectious disease…. If we do not follow the recommendations of modern science and public health, we are no better off than if we were living in the Middle Ages. "We do not have the luxury of waiting. Delta is here. In the case of delta, inaction is also an action, and an expedited decision is needed. Currently, the United States is discarding vaccines and these vaccines are known to be very safe. If we do not administer boosters to this high-risk population, we risk having a catastrophe on our hands.” The solution, if you have not already done so, get vaccinated. If you are vaccinated and are at risk of immunity waning, get a booster as soon as they are available."  References   Infection Control Today.  Aug. 18, 2021.   

2021-39-HW (Link to Article):  Take a Stand Now to Stop COVID-19 Variants .  
"Herd immunity is no longer possible, the virus is mutating and likely has animal hosts. We must raise the bar on public health outcomes, not only focusing on deaths but also morbidity and long-hauler syndrome which can be all too common, even occurring with vaccine breakthrough infections. An emerging pattern is that each new wave which envelops a nation is caused by different variants of the virus. It also is apparent that each major wave is caused by a variant which possesses immune escape properties. Slowing down the replication and mutation of this virus is of utmost importance. We must plan and invest in long-term solutions. This virus might disappear, similar to the 1918 flu, or it could be present for decades. Consistent messaging and widespread embracement of vaccines along with public health measures are key to providing our pharmaceutical industry the necessary time to formulate new vaccines and therapeutics which can effectively treat and prevent infections."  References   Infection Control Today.  Aug. 17, 2021.   

2021-38-HW (Link to Article):  Messaging Muddle: Pushing Vaccination as COVID Vaccines’ Effectiveness Wanes.  
"While not perfect, the mRNA vaccines do markedly reduce the chances of hospitalizations from critical disease and death.  This is a huge plus. Combining all of these reports shows that to control this pandemic we need to enact multiple layers of prevention including effective masking, vaccinations, upgrading ventilation systems and social distancing.  This virus is endemic.It is here to stay, and new variants are waiting in the wings to cause another surge with reinfections and breakthrough infections.  If we do this, we will be able to start to learn to live with this virus, we cannot simply wish it away."  References   Infection Control Today.  Aug. 12, 2021.   

2021-37-HW (Link to Article):  COVID-19 is ravaging our unprotected children. Opening schools now is dangerous.  
"Currently, we are confronting a variant that is more than twice as infectious as last year’s wild-type virus; it is more deadly and has an increased propensity to infect children. Kentucky’s community spread is extremely high with a test positivity rate of over 10%. To open schools at this time and expect our children to be safe is dangerous cult thinking. Unfortunately, we have done nothing to prepare for continued waves of COVID-19. We have squandered coronavirus funds and just hoped the virus will go away. However, at this point, stopping SARS-CoV-2 will also require a marked change in the way we live, along with a massive infrastructure investment and a sustained commitment to the safety and welfare of others."  References   Courier Jounral.  Aug. 10, 2021.   

 2021-36-HW (Link to Article):  Get Vaccinated Even If You’ve Gotten COVID-19, Study Suggests.  
"A CDC investigation shows 2.3 times the number of reinfections with natural immunity compared to breakthrough infections in those who are vaccinated.
Public Health England (PHE) briefing includes updated hospitalization data for Delta, which shows that in the period since the last update on July 19, "1467 people were hospitalised with cases of Delta confirmed by sequencing or genotyping." Of these, 808 (55.1%) were unvaccinated, while 512 (34.9%) had received both doses of a vaccine. This supports the Health Ministry of Israel’s data which shows waning of vaccine protection in those who are over 60 years of age and are more than 5 months post vaccination. As Infection Control Today® reported, 8.6% of breakthrough infections in this group of elderly patients have resulted in hospitalization and 2% have resulted in death."  References   Infection Control Today.  Aug. 8, 2021.   

2021-35-HW (Link to Article):  Lambda Variant, COVID-19 Animal Hosts Present Deadly Mix.  
"Data collected by Britain’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, Japanese researchers, and the US Department of Agriculture paint a picture of a growing challenge. Taken together, the report from SAGE, the viruses’ establishment of an animal host and the news regarding the lambda variant is an extremely deadly mix. We need to come together as a society so we can slow down the spread of this virus so viral recombination will not occur, and genetic drift slows. In addition, we need to formulate strategies to prevent the spread from animal hosts to mankind. Above all, we need to learn how to live with this virus so our pharmaceutical giants can develop and manufacture vaccines faster than the virus can mutate."  References   Infection Control Today.  Aug. 5, 2021.   

2021-34-HW (Link to Article):  The delta variant is the biggest public health threat we have faced. Here's how to beat it.  
"We cannot solely vaccinate our way out of this. We must also implement stringent public health strategies to slow down the spread and mutation of this virus, including universal access to N-95 masks and upgrading building ventilation. In that way, our pharmaceutical development and production can catch up with the emerging variants. The new mRNA vaccines are a medical miracle, and we can develop a new vaccine within weeks. The challenge is in producing and distributing hundreds of millions of doses and placing them into arms. With the VA’s large infrastructure and fourth mission mandate, it is the obvious vehicle to implement a nationwide public health care system."  References   Courier Journal.  Aug. 4, 2021.   

2021-33-HW (Link to Article):  COVID-19 Booster Shots for Older Americans Might be Needed.  
"Overall, the vaccines are still very effective in preventing hospitalizations and deaths, with the exception of those over 60 who have been fully vaccinated before the end of January 2021. Most of the infections in Israel are caused by the Delta variant. Overall if there was a breakthrough infection: 8.6% hospitalized and 2% died. However, the test positivity rate appears to be low, about 0.3%, indicating that vaccines afford protection against infection. Those who are not vaccinated need to become vaccinated and, similar to Israel, those over the age of 60 who were fully vaccinated before January of this year, should be considered for a booster."  References Infection Control Today.  Aug. 2, 2021.   

2021-32-HW (Link to Article):  Latest Data Point to a Need for COVID-19 Booster Shots.  
"Overall, The Israeli data found that after 2 doses of the vaccine the effectiveness in the prevention of infection with the Delta variant was 39% and the prevention of symptomatic disease was 41%. However, the main observation is that once immunity takes hold, the infections by the alpha variant (in May—middle graph) almost disappeared. But in late June and July, the Delta variant emerged and markedly decreased the vaccine’s ability to prevent breakthrough infections. Surprisingly, as indicated by anecdotal reports, the young are not spared. The Israeli data need to be confirmed. A good first step would be for the CDC to release its data on reinfections so all can evaluate it."  References Infection Control Today.  July 29, 2021.   

2021-31-HW (Link to Article):  Viewpoint: CDC Continues to Bungle COVID-19 Response.  
"We need to have a paradigm shift in the way we view this virus, planning and implementing strategies to allow us to live with an endemic pathogen. Needless-to-say, early recognition of aerosolization would require the use of N-95 masks and make upgrading ventilation systems an imperative. Others are starting to follow former Surgeon General Jerome Adams’ advice. On July 19, 2021, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that all children over the age of 2, regardless of vaccination status, wear masks in schools this fall."  References Infection Control Today.  July 20, 2021.   

Kentucky Health News:   

2021-30-HW (Link to Article):  Why we need a worldwide perspective about wearing masks, especially when traveling.  
"For many, they appear to be stuck in the stage of denial and anger. And one of the manifestations of this is the anger being displayed on air travel; most confrontations are over the use of masks.
There should be little question that one of the highest risk settings for acquiring COVID-19 are crowded transportation hubs and vehicles, especially where passengers can come in contact with international travelers.  Several countries, such as Australia and Singapore, have practically closed their borders to travelers. As long as the United States’ borders remain relatively open and we are dealing with highly contagious variants, the least we can do is to require travelers to wear masks.."  References Courier Journal.  July 19, 2021.   

2021-29-HW (Link to Article):  Stage May be Set for Next COVID-19 Surge.  
"Beating back infection is a numbers game: viruses against antibodies. If the virus changes its armor so the antibodies cannot attach, it develops an advantage. However, it can also produce viruses which are more efficient at attaching to and invading cells, or simply just produce a lot more viruses, overwhelming the immune system.
As we are on the beginnings of another COVID-19 surge, many are starting to question whether we can vaccinate our way out of this pandemic. Can we vaccinate our way into herd immunity? Possibly not, because 3 barriers are shedding doubt on accomplishing this goal."  References Infection Control Today.  July 13, 2021.   

2021-28-HW (Link to Article):  We can't will away COVID-19, and the delta variant is spreading rapidly. Get vaccinated.  
"Watching our nation’s Fourth of July celebration one could only conclude that we have decided to will COVID-19 away and ignore its presence. Many do not want to trust science and argue over the validity and meaning of the data, but determining what will happen is actually quite easy. Just look at the United Kingdom. Currently, the U.K. is spiking cases and Boris Johnson predicted there could be 50,000 cases by July 19, Both Gov. Andy Beshear and Sen. Mitch McConnell agree that everyone who can should become vaccinated. And when those two agree on something, one should listen."  References Courier Journal.  July 8, 2021.   

2021-27-HW (Link to Article): 
We Might Ignore the Delta Variant, but It’s Not Ignoring the U.S.  
"It has been two weeks since Infection Control Today® sounded the alarm that the Delta variant (B1617.2, Double Mutation Indian Variant) was spreading rapidly in the United States. On June 15, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a warning regarding the variant and declared it a “variant of concern.” As Australia and Singapore have adopted a zero tolerance to COVID-19, closing down sectors of the country with even 2 or 3 cases, we have adopted a wait-and-see policy, largely ignoring the potential dangers posed by these new variants. And there is now a Delta Plus variant (AY.1 & AY.2) which has emerged in India which is more resistant to monoclonal antibodies, including antibody cocktails and has also entered the United States. For now, I would strongly advise every person (even those who have had COVID-19) to be fully vaccinated to boost one’s immunity to the highest possible level and wear masks when indoors in poorly ventilated buildings. It is far too soon to be fully reopening our society."
 References Infection Control Today.  June 21, 2021.   

2021-26-HW (Link to Article):  Not Quite Over Yet: COVID-19 Variants on Rise in the U.S.
"As the United States emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, nobody really wants to hear (and few media outlets report) that the rapid emergence of immune escape COVID-19 variants pose a clear and present danger of a setback. Over three weeks, the percentage of genomic testing which was comprised of the Indian Double Mutation Variant, or Delta Variant, jumped from 1% to 7% in the U.S. The data was derived from, a website operated by Scripps Research and funded by the NIC, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and National Center for Data for Health." References
Infection Control Today.  June 7, 2021.   

2021-25-HW (Link to Article):  With COVID-19 variants lurking, we must prepare for the worst.
"We do not have an available booster for the next variant. One of the problems is that there are several different ones and unlike the flu, last year’s virus did not go away. Comparing the length of protection an infection with SARS or MERS affords is not applicable to COVID-19 with the immune escape variants. The evolutionary success of mutations is dependent upon increasing transmissibility or allowing the virus to escape immunity. SARS-CoV-2 (the virus which causes COVID-19) is doing both. In the case of the United States, we (need to) expand genomic testing of immune escape variants to early on detect community spread, and for all to receive vaccines to the wild type virus to boost their immunity to a level which will prevent disease, hopefully even mild to moderate disease, by the immune escape variants. We have the knowledge to avoid another devastation by this virus. Simply become vaccinated." References
Courier Journal.  June 3, 2021.   

2021-24-HW (Link to Article):  Rand Paul's statement about the COVID vaccine can be summed up in one word: Reprehensible.
"The recent statement by Sen. Rand Paul that he does not plan to be vaccinated until more citizens become reinfected with COVID-19 and are “dying in large numbers or being hospitalized or getting very sick” was nothing short of reprehensible. As a leader, he should have the foresight to ward off catastrophes, not react to them after they have already happened. We all should be out of this pandemic by now and returning to a more normal life. Case rates are plummeting in the nation, but only slowly falling in Kentucky. In many respects, the COVID-19 pandemic has ended, and what we are faced with is a massive pandemic of misinformation, being largely ignited by foreign adversaries and whose flames are being fanned by some of our own leaders." References
Infection Control Today.  May 25, 2021.   

2021-23-HW (Link to Article):  Viewpoint: CDC Might Help COVID-19 Make a Comeback in U.S.
"The day before the publication of the modeling study’s dire warning, the CDC abruptly removed mask and physical distancing requirements for those who are vaccinated. Unfortunately, this will probably also result in many unvaccinated individuals unmasking.
Those of you who advocate reopening at the peril of those who are vaccine hesitant—letting nature decide the fate of the ill-informed—need to remember that survival is not the same as recovery. Let’s not be cavalier in our approach to a return to a new normal. Let’s be smart and cautious. Continued masking and social distancing for a few months, possibly just a few weeks, is a small price to pay to assure the safety of our nation." References
Infection Control Today.  May 18, 2021.   

2021-22-HW (Link to Article):  Why the COVID-19 6-foot rule isn't enough and how to return to a more normal life.
"The 6-foot rule no longer applies; the virus is airborne. In poorly ventilated buildings, 60 feet is as safe as 6 feet away. These aerosols can be produced by talking, shouting and singing.
We need to reopen the state smartly. As a prerequisite, all public venues should be required to meet safe ventilation standards for airborne contagions. The public needs to embrace vaccinations and we need to be prepared for other waves of new variants. Hopefully, if we can lower the case rate in our state and manage small outbreaks with rapid and effective case tracking, only then will we be able to return to a more normal life." References
Courier Journal.  May 13, 2021.   

2021-21-HW (Link to Article):  COVID-19 Model Says 905,289 Died of the Disease in U.S.
"Infection preventionists need to stress the importance of aerosolization with increased recommendations for N-95 masks and we all need to realize that a prerequisite of reopening a business, school or public venue should be safe ventilation. Nowhere is safe inside a poorly ventilated building. The six-foot rule does not apply. Infection preventionists need to stress the importance of aerosolization with increased recommendations for N-95 masks and we all need to realize that a prerequisite of reopening a business, school or public venue should be safe ventilation with an increased number of complete air exchanges along with air sanitization." References
Infection Control Today.  May 8, 2021.   

2021-20-HW (Link to Article):  Infection Preventionists Must Ward Off a COVID Comeback.
"What happens in India, or anywhere else in the world, doesn't stay there. The longer COVID-19 hangs around, the more chance it has of mutating into a variant that the vaccines won't stop. Policymakers have falsely equated outdoor safety, produced by the rapid dissipation of aerosols, with safety from droplets and have ill-advised not wearing masks at some outdoor events. This may be effective in suppressing community spread, but it will not afford adequate protection for the individual." References
Infection Control Today.  May 4, 2021.   

2021-19-HW (Link to Article):  COVID-19: Here are the four most common myths and how to keep yourself and others safe.

  • Myth 1: Any type of masks will work. With these highly infectious variants, this is no longer true.

  • Myth 2: You are safe indoors, if you wear a mask plus are 6 feet away from someone.

  • Myth 3: If you survive, you recover and only the old do not survive. Too many do not worry about COVID-19, citing the extremely low chances of them dying of the acute illness.

  • Myth 4: If you are vaccinated you do not need to wear a mask; if you have to wear a mask then vaccines do not work.

During this pandemic we must all weigh the risks and benefits to ourselves regarding public health advice. Almost all activities have risks. But in our decision of how we engage in activities, even those that are necessary such as seeking medical care, we should not place others or our community at an undue risk of acquiring COVID-19. And above all get vaccinated.  References Courier Journal.  Apr. 29, 2021.   

2021-18-HW (Link to Article):  Viewpoint: Health Care Professionals—Get Vaccinated or Get Out.
"In the last 2 months COVID-19 cases have not fallen. They are hovering above 60,000 per day (7 day moving average). Some have wondered why doubling the number of vaccinated Americans has not budged the numbers. There are two reasons: variants and vaccine hesitancy.Thus, even with the E484K variants, vaccination appears to provide substantial protection against severe COVID-19. However, for the most part, severe is defined as dying or being hospitalized. This is a very low bar to set for community health. I personally know too many of my friends who have had “mild” COVID and are now suffering from chronic dyspnea and heart disease, such as arrhythmias.
If you work in a health care facility, you need to be vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2. If you choose not to become vaccinated, then you should choose not to be working in a health care setting." References
Infection Control Today.  Apr. 22, 2021.   

2021-17-HW (Link to Article):  With young people and sports, COVID-19 must be our main opponent.
"With the looming new variants, our society needs to have a paradigm shift in thinking; we must respect the dangers of nature and this ever-evolving natural predator. Businesses need to markedly upgrade ventilation systems; we all need to obtain the vaccine (which is highly effective against the wild-type and current UK variant); and we need to obtain the booster for the “EeK” variants once it is available. Until then we must stop spreading the virus, making it more likely that the more dangerous variants will take hold in our communities and even worse, increases the likelihood a totally vaccine-evading mutation will emerge."References 
Courier Journal.  Apr. 15, 2021.   

2021-16-HW (Link to Article):  COVID-19 Variants Make Road to Normal a Bit Rocky.
"Infection preventionists (IPs) are now faced with delivering a difficult message. It is much easier to advocate for vaccinations which prevent disease, than it is for vaccinations which lessen the severity of disease or reduces your chances of becoming infected.
Thus, both natural (post-infection) and vaccine immunity appear to provide excellent protection against COVID-19. At least for the original strain or wild-type of the virus.
One must ask, why are some sounding the alarm? Fauci recently has stated that the COVID-19 case rate has creeped up from around 30,000 to 40,000 cases per day to 60,000 cases per day. And he warns we do not want to declare victory prematurely because of the viral variants.  Variants which are of special concern contain one of two new spike protein mutations which can evade immunity. Thus, both natural and vaccine immunity appear to provide excellent protection against COVID-19. At least for the original strain or wild-type of the virus."References 
Infection Control Today.  Apr. 8, 2021.   

2021-15-HW (Link to Article):  What stands in the way of ending COVID-19? Only variants and anti-vaxxers.
"And these roadblocks are highly related. Those who do not become vaccinated, will spread the virus and promote emergence of variants. Ironically, the same group of individuals who are against vaccinations also tend to not want to wear masks. Herd immunity will not protect them since, they tend to meet and clump together which will spread the virus. There is now more than six months of safety data with COVID-19 vaccines and so far, the benefit has been great and severe reactions extremely rare. If you are afraid of the vaccine but for the safety of others receive it anyway, then you are displaying the compassion and bravery that our nation was built upon. We all need to become vaccinated to achieve herd immunity and return our society to a new and better normal."References 
Courier Journal. Mar. 25, 2021.   

2021-14-HW (Link to Article):  'We are so close.' Let's not play Russian roulette with our nursing homes and COVID.
"We are so close to stopping this virus from spreading, so let's not play Russian roulette with our grandparents and with others who are at high risk for severe COVID-19 infections. We have already lost over 500,000 souls to COVID-19 and we are on the verge of stopping this pandemic. Let's undertake strict public health strategies for just a few more weeks and allow our race with vaccinations win out over the spread of variants." References
Lexington Herald Leader.  Mar. 20, 2021.   

2021-13-HW (Link to Article):  Possible New Variant Causes Outbreak in Highly Vaccinated Nursing Home - Argues Against CMS's New Guidance.
"If one does the math, if a third of our population is vaccinated, which means they may be protected from severe illness but can become infected and spread the virus, it places those not vaccinated at grave risk. If these variants are more infectious and deadlier than last year's, D614G, then we may be headed for another major surge. Those offering reassurance based on the upcoming warm weather have forgotten last year's lessons and the major summer surges. The best advice is to get vaccinated and follow strict public health advice. Infection Control Today. Mar. 19, 2021." References Infection Control Today.  Mar. 19, 2021.   

2021-12-HW (Link to Article):  Possible New Variant Causes Outbreak in Highly Vaccinated Nursing Home - Argues Against CMS's New Guidance.
"As I have stated repeatedly, if we keep spreading around SARS-CoV-2, it may well mutate into a variant which evades the vaccines for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). According what recently went on in a Kentucky nursing home, the virus may well have done just that. According to WKYT: "The governor says a COVID-19 outbreak has been reported at a nursing home in eastern Kentucky. There are 41 cases reported, including five residents that have been hospitalized. Dr. Steven Stack says 30% of vaccinated individuals are symptomatic and 83% of the unvaccinated at the nursing home are showing symptoms" It is reported that one vaccinated resident is hospitalized (1 in 71) with COVID-19, compared to 4 unvaccinated residents that are hospitalized (4 in 13). According to "85 percent of residents and 48 percent of staff opted to get a coronavirus vaccine." References Infection Control Today.  Mar. 17, 2021.   

2021-11-HW (Link to Article):  Viewpoint: Nursing Home Guidance Endangers Elderly.
"Our elderly in nursing homes have been at grave risk for contracting coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Yesterday the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released revised nursing home guidelines for visitation recommendations. They are designed to provide relief to the grave psychological toll COVID-19 has inflicted through long-term isolation and separation of residents from loved ones. But one has to ask, are they safe? I have grave concerns.... Regardless of what we deeply desire to take place, or are able to mandate or recommend, the virus will spread relentlessly. It is an uncaring soulless machine which is evolutionarily programmed to inflict a devastating toll as it efficiently spreads and evolves throughout our communities. Enacting these recommendations at this time is reckless and places nursing home residents at undue risk.Our loved ones deserve better." References Infection Control Today.  Mar. 11, 2021.   

2021-10-HW (Link to Article):  The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the dangers of distorting science for political ends.
"On Feb. 15, 12 prominent scientists, sent a letter to the White House and CDC pointing out that current policies appear to be minimizing the importance of aerosolization and are not providing adequate protection of frontline workers. And we are still following advisements designed for stop-gap measures in an acute crisis, such as resterilization of N95 masks. I am not sure if I am most disturbed by the deficiencies discussed in the letter or that these scientists are now out of the key inner circle, having to resort to sending a letter. We must break this downward spiral in our society by not distorting science for political ends and by giving the truth to the public. Only then will we have the knowledge and willingness to invest the needed resources to address this and future pandemics." References  Courier Journal.  Mar. 4, 2021.   

2021-9-HW (Link to Article):  Schools can be reopened safely amid COVID, but only if we take overdue steps.
"There needs to be a shift from droplet precaution standards to airborne spread standards and we need to invest in the safety of our frontline workers. Quite simply, this virus is aerosolized, meaning it is airborne. I really thought this had been decided last July when a letter was sent to the World Health Organization (WHO) by 329 top scientists from 33 countries. But although agencies responded by recognizing airborne spread in some of their statements and webpages, their recommendations on controlling spread and reopening of businesses and schools largely did not. Most importantly, the CDC needs to articulate firm and harmonized advisements which are consistent across all materials, recommendations and webpages. Until this happens, there will not be a demand for N95 masks and air sanitization units. Manufacturing will not gear up production and pathogens will continue to spread. We need to enact these reforms not only for COVID-19 and the next pandemic, but for other endemic dangerous pathogens. Our children deserve better than the status quo." References  Infection Control Today. Mar. 4, 2021.   

2021-8-HW (Link to Article):  Schools can be reopened safely amid COVID, but only if we take overdue steps.
"Political debate is one thing, but spinning science and placing our children at risk is unacceptable. Statements that research shows "schools are safer than the community" or that we should take the "default position of opening schools" are being grossly misinterpreted. "Safer" is not "Safe." It depends upon the rate of community transmission, and "default" means to do something if there is not a reason to otherwise not do it.... Instead, we need to focus on transformation and making the needed investments in our society to effectively eliminate this virus and then to snuff out outbreaks. And this includes schools. Smaller class sizes and healthier buildings are something we should have done long ago, regardless of the COVID-19 pandemic. School-age children have always been known to have an increased risk of transmitting infections from school and all these transmissions are potentially preventable." References  Courier Journal. Feb. 19, 2021.   

2021-7-HW (Link to Article):  Viewpoint: CDC’s School Reopening Plan Gets an 'F'.
"The argument that preventative strategies need to be tailored to the needs and resources of local communities, along with a one-size-does-not-fit-all approach, may placate political pressures, but the virus does not care. You need to do what you need to do to control the disease. It needs to be clearly stated what needs to be done and if a community cannot comply and wants to open schools, then the parents need to be informed of the increased risks to students. Recommendations should not be changed to reassure families of a degree of safety which does not exist.....Frequent, (three times a week) screening of our athletes has been key to the opening of professional sports. Our students deserve the same safety precautions as professional athletes. Infection Control Today." References  Infection Control Today. Feb. 15, 2021.   

2021-6-HW (Link to Article):  Beginning of the End? Some Hopeful COVID Developments.
"The good news? The fact that 3 different viruses with 3 different lineages came up with the same mutation to evade natural immunity and the vaccines. And initial reports are that it only partially evades the vaccines. And one needs to ask, why did these viruses not come up with different mutations? After all they do not plan the mutations, they evolve by random chance. Maybe the answer is that this random amino acid combination is possibly the last major mutation the virus can produce without changing its ability to enter the cells or its infectivity." Infection Control Today. Feb. 3, 2021.   

Kentucky Health News.  Feb. 3, 2021. 

2021-5-HW (Link to Article):  Dangerous COVID-19 variants lurk, but there are signs of hope.
"We are fighting not only a deadly virus, but an inability of our nation to unite to confront this deadly adversary, being kept apart by "fake news" and an alternate reality being inflamed by a misplaced trust in false idols. Even more formidable strains of the virus already exist. The P1 in Brazil and the 501Y.V2 in South Africa are even more concerning. They may evade monoclonal antibodies, make the vaccines less effective and cause reinfections. We all need to receive vaccinations when vaccines become available. We now have many months of safety data which should capture the vast majority of adverse events. So far, both vaccines have been found to be effective and very safe, certainly safer than developing COVID-19. Some recall the Tuskegee experiments and are concerned, but this is much different. With this virus, our only choice is to get the vaccine or be an experimental "control." I for one will choose the vaccine." References  Courier Journal. Jan. 29, 2021.   

2021-4-HW (Link to Article):  Problem: COVID-19 Hospital-Acquired Infections.
"HSJ analyzed England's National Health Service Data regarding hospital-acquired SARS-CoV-2 infections. SARS-CoV-2 is the virus that causes COVID-19 and unfortunately HSJ found that hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) are not uncommon, estimated to cause almost 1 in 4 hospital COVID-19 cases. We need to have mandatory reporting of worker and patient acquisition of SARS-CoV-2 and the development of COVID-19 with metrics to provide us the most accurate estimate of cases so we can effectively plan and allocate resources.." References  Infection Control Today. Jan. 20, 2021.   

2021-3-HW (Link to Article):  As Vaccine Rollout Stalls, Move Monoclonal Antibodies Into COVID Fight.
"As of January 16, 2021, only 39.4% of the 31.2 million allocated vaccine doses have been placed in arms. The original goal was to vaccinate 20 million citizens by the end of 2020. Until vaccines become widely available, it is imperative that those at high risk for severe COVID-19 be offered monoclonal antibody therapy. So far, the use of monoclonal antibodies has not been a priority in the United States' COVID-19 response, and the medication has largely gone unused, with 80% of the 600,000 doses still “sitting on shelves.” Monoclonal antibodies need to be given within 3 days of diagnosis and to those who are at high risk for severe COVID-19. To locate a facility, the Dept. of Health and Human Services has posted a medication locator at:  Then click on the "Find Infusion Locations" screen button." References  Infection Control Today. Jan. 17, 2021.   

2021-2-HW (Link to Article):  With the coronavirus mutating and vaccinations behind schedule, here's what we must do now.
"Infection preventionists need to spread the message and articulate the uncertainties of this new variant of COVID-19. They need to emphasize that it is just not the old who are at risk and employ stricter containment measures......   Many health departments are understaffed. In one Kentucky Public Health District, staffing has been cut almost in half over the last decade. Our stressed healthcare system has an inadequate infrastructure to administer the initial vaccine dose, let alone doubling the effort to administer the second dose." References  USA Today. Jan. 9, 2021.   

Courier Journal:  

 Yahoo News:  

Kaiser Healthcare News Morning Briefing: 

2021-1-HW (Link to Article):  COVID-19 Variants Make Infection Prevention Harder.
"Infection preventionists need to spread the message and articulate the uncertainties of this new variant of COVID-19. They need to emphasize that it is just not the old who are at risk and employ stricter containment measures......   Many health departments are understaffed. In one Kentucky Public Health District, staffing has been cut almost in half over the last decade. Our stressed healthcare system has an inadequate infrastructure to administer the initial vaccine dose, let alone doubling the effort to administer the second dose." References  Infection Control Today. Jan. 4, 2021.   

2020-51-HW (Link to Article):  Vaccines Should Work Against New COVID-19 Strain.
"We must treat this strain with the respect it deserves, but we must not panic. There is no doubt that increased infectivity equates with increases in deaths, but it does not mean the vaccines will not work. It is imperative that we follow public health advice. Just remember what happened to the snow leopards in the Louisville Zoo, they are exceptionally good at enforcing social distancing, but not so good at wearing masks. They caught COVID-19. Thus, you must do both. And be steadfast, since we have to slow down the spread of SARS-CoV-2, so the viruses natural production laboratory does not outstrip the capacity of our pharmaceutical giants." References  Infection Control Today. Dec. 22, 2020.   

2020-50-HW (Link to Article):  Viewpoint: Monitoring Systems Track COVID Vaccine Reactions.
"V-Safe and VAERS are 2 monitoring systems for patients who are given a COVID-19 vaccine. Infection preventionists can play a vital role in educating about the strengths and drawbacks of each. However, questions remain. We do not know how long immunity will last, if those vaccinated can become infectious as an asymptomatic carrier, or how the vaccine affects special populations such as those who are pregnant, very young or immunosuppressed." Infection Control Today. Dec. 15, 2020.   

2020-49-HW (Link to Article):  COVID-19 Vaccine? Hurry Up and Wait.
"At last, the vaccines are here! Or are they? There appears to be a shortfall, not enough to initially vaccinate even all of the frontline healthcare workers and nursing home residents against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). By some estimates only about 20% of the expected doses will be available by year's end. Shortages can more easily be corrected, than the combating of anti-vaxxer misinformation. However recent polls have been reassuring, with those willing to take the COVID-19 vaccine increasing to 63%. Infection preventionists are an important component of this effort and need to actively articulate to both patients and on social media the need to be vaccinated and to follow public health advice."  References  Infection Control Today. Dec. 10, 2020.   

2020-48-HW (Link to Article):  In Battling COVID-19, Government Needs to Engage, Not Fight With Religious Communities.
"Public health strategists should realize these rulings set a template for a unified national strategy that is not perverted by economic or political interests. New York City, the genesis of the Supreme Court Case, closed schools and allowed bars and restaurants to remain open, which made little sense. And many in Kentucky question the wisdom of closing schools with sporting events remaining open. All of this is creating unnecessary public confusion, eroding faith in our public health institutions and most importantly ineffectively controlling the spread of COVID-19."  References  Courier Journal. Dec. 4, 2020.   

2020-47-HW (Link to Article):  We can see a light at the end of the COVID tunnel, but we still have to be diligent.
"We can now see a light at the end of the tunnel but let's not brick up the end. We must slow down the transmission of this virus, so nature's lab does not outpace our pharmaceutical giants. If a safe and effective vaccine is available, please take the vaccine and encourage others to receive it. And wear a mask along with social distancing."  References   Lexington Herald Leader. Nov. 20, 2020.   

2020-46-HW (Link to Article):  Viewpoint: Healthcare Workers Not Being Protected from COVID.
"Faced with greater than three times the number of cases as the last surge, along with exponential growth with no end in sight, there is little hope healthcare workers can safely treat patients without a drastic change in policy and a more productive and secure supply line."  Infection Control Today. Nov. 15, 2020.    References

2020-45-HW (Link to Article):  Distortion of Science to Inhibit the Adoption of Infectious Disease Strategies.
"Distortion of science for political and economic ends has prevented the allocation of needed resources to stop the spread of dangerous pathogens. This places all of society as a whole at risk, but exacting an insufferable toll of death and disability on our front-line healthcare workers, along with our most vulnerable populations. COVID-19 has demonstrated how dangerous this scenario has become.
Whether one deals with MRSA or COVID-19, screening and decolonization or self-isolation of healthcare workers is of utmost importance. Their health, the health of their families along with their patients depend upon it."  Biomed Central. Nov. 13, 2020.    References

2020-44-HW (Link to Article):  Will the COVID-19 Pandemic Transform Health Care ?
"Many lessons have been learned from COVID-19. We have learned that case definitions can be rapidly created and a reporting system which comprises all types of healthcare facilities can be implemented. The same needs to be done for other dangerous pathogens, including the CDC's Urgent and Serious Threats, and strategies need to be standardized across all types of facilities. SARS-CoV-2 does not vary its lethality or infectivity based upon the facility type or region of the country."  Biomed Central. Nov. 11, 2020.  References

2020-43-HW (Link to Article):  Viewpoint: Quackery Might Stall Progress Against COVID-19  "The worst-case scenario is that if an effective and safe COVID-19 vaccine is found, a large segment of our population will elect to use hydroxychloroquine or another ineffective treatment instead, allowing the virus to continue to thrive, and devastate our nation. As a nation, we can easily defeat this virus, but it requires us to trust modern science and embrace a national strategy coordinated by public health officials and our federal government. Let's not embrace attitudes and views of the 1800's."  Infection Control Today. Nov. 6, 2020.  References

2020-42-HW (Link to Article):  To successfully deal with COVID-19, we need to transform our way of life  "It is imperative that we need to take our head out of the sand and unite as a nation. Successfully dealing and living with viruses is the new norm. We need to adapt and need to invest in our infrastructure and transform our society. New Zealand, Australia, Taiwan, China and South Korea have done this, so can the United States."  Courier Journal. Nov. 5, 2020.  References

2020-41-HW (Link to Article):  FDA Panel Reviews Many Challenges Facing a COVID Vaccine "The overall cost for society is far too high for a flawed and relaxed vaccine approval process. If the vaccine has low effectivity and primarily prevents mild disease, it will offer little protection to society and may cause inconceivable harm. To paraphrase Peter Luri, MD, MPH, from the Center for Science in Public Interest.  The benefits of a minimally effective vaccine can be negated if the public relaxes wearing masks and social distancing. But even worse, if the vaccine is ineffective, it will further fuel the antivaccine movement for decades to come."  Infection Control Today. October 25, 2020.  References

2020-40-HW (Link to Article):  Viewpoint: The "Not So" Great Barrington Declaration   "Recently, an international group of scientists signed a declaration advocating for achieving herd immunity from coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) by opening communities and business, while protecting the vulnerable with 'focused protection'. The Declaration states: "A comprehensive and detailed list of measures, including approaches to multi-generational households, can be implemented, and is well within the scope and capability of public health professionals. But to be honest, I'm not sure how this can be done.
Currently, the United States is undergoing a third peak of infections on our first wave and the metrics, of cases and test positivity rates are increasing.
For infection preventionists and frontline healthcare workers, the Great Barrington Declaration places their lives and livelihood at risk. A field hospital has been activated in Wisconsin and the state is at risk of running out of hospital beds and trained staff." Infection Control Today. October 15, 2020.    References

2020-39-HW (Link to Article):  School Daze: COVID-19 Spreads Fear, Confusion   "Opening schools should depend upon low rates of viral spread in the community, widespread testing, rigorous following of public health guidelines, and upgrading the physical infrastructure of our buildings. Our schools are anything but healthy buildings.18 Concerns have existed for decades regarding both the air quality and the crowded conditions our children are exposed to. COVID-19 should be viewed as an opportunity for transformation, allowing us to build a better school system with smaller class sizes for better education and implement strategies to prevent the spread of all infectious diseases" Infection Control Today. October, 2020.

2020-38-HW (Link to Article):  Trick or Treat? or COVID-19?  Yes it is Airborne?   "Traditional trick or treating is viewed as a high-risk-activity by the CDC. Of course, we all knew Halloween would be problematic. An important caveat for Halloween is not to use your Halloween mask to prevent the spread of coronavirus. It will offer very little protection. These recommendations contain many important lessons both for Halloween and how we should be living our lives in general. And Yes it is Airborne." Infection Control Today. Sept. 28, 2020.   Oct. 8, 2020 Article Update

2020-37-HW (Link to Article):  Eli Lilly Neutralizing Antibodies: Breakthrough for COVID-19 Treatment?   "Eli Lilly announced preliminary results to their SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibody product, LY-CoV555, which was reported to have spectacular results with a 72% decrease in hospitalizations or ER visits when mildly or moderately symptomatic patients are given the drug within 3 days of diagnosis.
As observed in the Eli Lilly study, those newly diagnosed patients who are obese or have advanced age are the most likely to become hospitalized, and I feel initially this innovative product should be targeted toward these high-risk patients." Infection Control Today. Sept. 17, 2020.  

2020-36-HW (Link to Article):  Taking Aim at Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria During COVID - A review of the Fall 2020 PACCARB Meeting.
"Patients afflicted with COVID-19 have an increased susceptibility to antibiotic resistant infections both from prolonged hospitalizations and the use of immunocompromising agents such as dexamethasone."
 Infection Control Today. Sept. 15, 2020.  

2020-35-HW (Link to Article):  Is COVID-19 Primarily a Heart and Vascular Diseases?
"Thus, the once thought asymptomatic patients who luckily dodged a bullet and were spared from the ravages of the disease, may indeed be truly sick. A significant portion of them may develop myocarditis along with vascular vasodilation with resultant hypoxemia. This pathological process could easily be more significant than the pulmonary effects of the virus, since it is present in both symptomatic and asymptomatic patients. And could explain the debilitating symptoms of fatigue and mental fog which 'long-haulers' are experiencing, many of which had a mild initial illness."
 Infection Control Today. Sept. 8, 2020.  

2020-34-HW (Link to Article):  Viewpoint: Infection Preventionist Guide to Dealing with COVID Misinformation.
"It is imperative that infection preventionists engage and combat this messaging on social media and wherever it occurs. To not do so, allows misinformation to fan the pandemic, placing all of our lives at risk."
After one leave retorts to the misinformation, "you will notice that you have numerous exchanges with one individual. That this individual has left a junkyard full of highly complex and intwined web of misinformation. Yet for all of this work, when you go to the troll's home page, it will most likely be blank. This tells you may be dealing with a professional. If the troll responded to you throughout the entire day, he may well be on a payroll."
 Infection Control Today. Sept. 7, 2020.  

2020-33-HW (Link to Article):  Our nation needs to learn how to live safely with the coronavirus.
As our society continues to live in a way that defies public health logic, one can only conclude the infectivity and lethality of this virus is being severely underappreciated by our leaders. An underappreciation exemplified by Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul's recent push for a policy of opening all schools and having only those at risk wear masks.  We need to approach this pandemic not with third-world nation strategies but by expanding rapid testing and case identification, along with transforming our infrastructure and society to allow us to safely live with this virus.
 Courier Journal. Aug. 26, 2020.   References

2020-32-HW (Link to Article):  The 2020 Flu: Dud or Devastation, It is Up To You.
This year we have to do more than just rely on the flu vaccine. Avoiding the flu plus COVID-19 catastrophe is contingent on the US widely embracing public health guidance of wearing masks, meticulous hand hygiene and social distancing. If one looks at the data from the CDC, the flu became almost nonexistent in the United States by the end of March, with a very steep drop-off in cases. The World Health Organization (WHO) data from the Southern Hemisphere is even more surprising. Summer is their peak Flu season. But unlike previous years no viral specimens were submitted to the WHO from many countries during the Summer months.
 Infection Control Today. Aug. 18, 2020.  

2020-31-HW (Link to Article):  Infection Preventionists Might be Needed in Schools.
"Similar to our healthcare system as a whole, COVID-19 is shedding a light on deficiencies and the dearth of personal safeguards in our schools. Let us not forget, schools are a nidus for spreading the flu and other diseases. Opening schools should depend upon low rates of viral spread in the community, widespread testing, rigorous following of public health guidelines and upgrading the physical infrastructure of our buildings. COVID-19 should be viewed as an opportunity for transformation, allowing us to build a better school system with smaller class sizes for better education and implement strategies to prevent the spread of all infectious diseases."
 Infection Control Today. Aug. 10, 2020.  

2020-30-HW (Link to Article):  New Study: Hydroxychloroquine Works in Monkeys, Not Humans.
Thus, at this point, there is no compelling evidence to recommend the use of hydroxychloroquine for clinical use and several large organizations have suspended research involving this drug. There has been an enormous amount of valuable scientific resources which have been devoted to answering this scientific, now political, issue. These resources would have been better spent on more promising treatment modalities, such as studying Camostat mesilate or nafamostat mesylate therapy for COVID-19, a compound which has been shown to block TMPRSS2."
 Infection Control Today. Aug. 3, 2020.  

2020-29-HW (Link to Article):  National Reporting System for All Dangerous Pathogens Needed.
"After decades of reluctance to implement a national reporting system, when COVID-19 came along we witnessed almost overnight the formulation of case definitions and comprehensive national reporting from all healthcare facilities.  A dangerous pathogen is a dangerous pathogen; we should not discriminate on our approach to COVID-19. The frequency of an outbreak should not be used to deter a policy that an outbreak of a dangerous contagious pathogen should be publicly reported in real time. The nursing home reporting policies for COVID-19 need to be adopted systemwide for all dangerous pathogens and our infrastructure permanently enhanced."  Infection Control Today. July 20, 2020.  

2020-28-HW (Link to Article):  On COVID-19, the U.S. is turning into a dangerous cult of bad information.
Some of us formed into online cliques and developed a Jonestown cult mentality in our approach to American life. Added to the toxic mix, foreign agitation placed us on the precipice of one of the greatest ordeals which our society may endure, COVID-19. A study from Carnegie Mellon University found almost half the tweets regarding the coronavirus are likely bots with a playbook similar to Chinese and Russian disinformation campaigns. Reuters reported similar findings, describing a European Union document which concluded Russia implemented an online misinformation campaign, in multiple languages, which was making the EU's response to the epidemic difficult."  Lexington Hearld Leader. July 8, 2020.   References

2020-27-HW (Link to Article):  Viewpoint: Despite Happy Talk, We�re Far From Out of the COVID Woods."COVID-19 cases in many states have risen and the false narrative is that this is because of increased testing. But the rise in cases far outstrips the rise in testing... the young are not shielded from the viruses' devastating effects. We need to take this pandemic seriously, the public needs to wear masks and practice social distancing. As stated by Avindra Nath, MD, the senior investigator at the Section of Infections of the Nervous System at National Institutes of Health: "It's quite possible some will never get their health back." " Infection Control Today. June 22, 2020.  

2020-26-HW (Link to Article):  If we don't come together as a nation, the coronavirus will win the battle"Currently, society is struggling on two fronts, both for social justice and at the same time to control a raging epidemic. The epidemic of COVID-19 may be with us for a long time. And those who try to minimize it are doing so by placing front-line workers and economically disadvantaged populations at risk.  We are opening our economy, but we need to do so safely, and we need to learn to live with this virus. That means wearing masks in public and in stores, social distancing and protecting, not fighting others.  While we fight for social justice, it is imperative that at the same time we need to slow the spread of this virus, so our technology and vaccine development can catch up.  References  Courier Journal. June 16, 2020.  

2020-25-HW (Link to Article):  COVID-19 Experience Suggests Need for National Reporting System for Dangerous Pathogens"It is of utmost importance to screen healthcare staff and patients for dangerous pathogens along with the establishment of a national tracking system. The nursing home reporting policies for COVID-19 need to be adopted system wide for all dangerous pathogens and our infrastructure permanently enhanced.  IPs need to document their experiences and keep telling their stories so our memories of this horrific ordeal do not fade." Infection Control Today. June 6, 2020.  

2020-24-HW (Link to Article):  Reopening After COVID-19 Needs to be Done Carefully (Interview).
"Kevin Kavanagh, MD, the board chairman of the patient advocacy group Health Watch USAsm, talks to Infection Control Today about the perils of reopening too quickly and the value of cloth masks. "What worries me the most about reopening is that people are going to say, 'Oh, it's over with' and not do any sort of protection, whether it's social distancing, wearing masks, not gathering in crowds. I really think that people will think, 'Well, we got this beat.'" 
Infection Control Today. May 28, 2020.  

2020-23-HW (Link to Article):  Why the Public Should Wear Masks During the COVID-19 Pandemic.
"Initially, the public was advised not to wear masks. However, this was before the importance of asymptomatic transmission was known. Recent studies have also underscored the growing importance of person-to-person transmission through the air. Guidance changed. It is now recommended for the public to wear cotton masks. This guidance is not intended to protect the wearer, but to help prevent the wearer from spreading the virus to others if they are an unknown asymptomatic carrier." 
Infection Control Today. May 27, 2020. 

2020-22-HW (Link to Article):  When COVID-19 Knocks on Nursing Homes' Doors, Systemic Problems Welcome It.
"Despite nursing homes becoming a nidus of multi-drug resistant organisms (MDROs), the regulations for staffing infection preventionists (IPs) at nursing homes are far too lax. Nursing homes should have a full-time IP. Presently the regulations only specify a part-time IP without a specific required time commitment. In view of the large number of nursing home residents and the high drug-resistant carriage rate, a full-time position is certainly needed." 
Infection Control Today. May 7, 2020. 

2020-21-HW (Link to Article):  Viewpoint: COVID-19 Modeling: Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics.
"We have now received our fourth projection on deaths. I'm not sure if it will be right or wrong, but the others have proven to not be correct, so I'm not hopeful for this one. That is actually good news because the last projection doubles the number of expected deaths to 134,475 by Aug 4, 2020." Infection Control Today. May 6, 2020. 
Infection Control Today. May 6, 2020. 

2020-20-HW (Link to Article):  Viewpoint: Have You Heard About the Herd? It's a COVID-19 Fallacy.  "Strategies of social distancing, not gathering in large crowds, wearing masks and protecting those at increased risk are required to manage this epidemic.Returning to life as usual with the dependence on herd immunity in a non-vaccinated population to control spread is almost certainly a false narrative." Infection Control Today. April 29, 2020. 

2020-19-HW (Link to Article):  Healthcare system's basic infrastructure left it unprepared for COVID-19.  "Hospitals are receiving massive bailouts based upon their Medicare billings. However, this will primarily shunt money to large healthcare systems as opposed to frontline hospitals. Similar, to everyday citizens' stimulus checks, hospital bailouts should be based upon need. Non-profits with high net assets should not receive as much funds as frontline hospitals with negative assets. If for-profit facilities or private equity firms receive a bailout, it should be paid back with interest or the Government should acquire an equity position in the company. And all of this should be predicated on not furloughing workers." Lexington Herald Leader. April 27, 2020.   References

2020-18-HW (Link to Article):  Lessons of the Hydroxychloroquine Debacle: Solid COVID-19 Research Matters.  "In the new reality of making decisions with limited and incomplete data, it is important that decision makers and scientists are free from biases.17 Biases can be financial and even geopolitical pressure created by the huge trade war and divisive rhetoric between the United States and China. In a time of great national fear and stress, we must be careful in both reporting and interpreting messaging, including the results of unconfirmed research. Let's not repeat the mistakes of HCQ for unproven benefits, since these are powerful drugs which may also cause harm." Infection Control Today. April 17, 2020. 

2020-17-HW (Link to Article):  Viewpoint: CDC's Changing Guidance Underscores How COVID-19 Keeps Winning  "Needless to say, additional PPE is desperately needed, hopefully both increased manufacturing and sterilization techniques will relieve the shortage. In addition, the strategy adopted by New York State to designate some facilities to exclusively treat COVID-19 patients and others for non-COVID-19 patients to help improve patient safety should be adopted in other areas of the nation.  We must make protecting our frontline healthcare workers and patients a priority." Infection Control Today. April 15, 2020. 

2020-16-HW (Link to Article):  Viewpoint: As COVID-19 Spreads, Where's All the Money Hospitals Have Made?"There is no excuse for running a system which is lean on hospital rooms, supplies and staff. Net-profits and assets are desirable, but not at the expense of public safety. Hospital staff are being asked to see patients under draconian conditions and at the same time they do not have an adequate economic and healthcare safety net. Healthcare workers do not need paid sick leave, they need adequate PPE and worker's compensation benefits, if they become infected. IPs are placing both themselves and their families' lives at grave risk under the crisis management CDC infectious disease recommendations. That is the very least we can do for them." Infection Control Today. April 7, 2020.   Med Page Today.  April 20, 2020. References   Hospital Financial Filings    Related Radio Segment     

2020-15-HW (Link to Article):  Viewpoint: What To Do About ACE Inhibitors During COVID-19 Pandemic  "Authorities are split on what to do if a person is already on ACE Inhibitors and ARBs. Many in the United States have advocated to stay the course, until more information is known. Switching medications may be difficult at best. At the least, until this controversy can be resolved, if you are on one of these medications one should perform strict social distancing and protect yourself from contracting COVID-19. Staying safe at home is best and follow strict recommendations when contacting the public." Infection Control Today. April 7, 2020.      

2020-14-HW (Link to Article):  Churches Could be the Deadliest Places in the COVID-19 Pandemic  "One may ask: Why am I calling out churches? The answer is asymptomatic spread and aerosolization of the virus from singing." Infection Control Today. April 3, 2020.      

2020-13-HW (Link to Article):  As COVID-19 Knocks on Nursing Homes' Doors, Full-Time Infection Preventionists Needed More Than Ever  "Despite nursing homes becoming a nidus of multi-drug resistant organisms (MDROs), the regulations for staffing infection preventionists (IPs) at nursing homes are far too lax. Nursing homes should have a full-time IP. Presently the regulations only specify a part-time IP without a specific required time commitment. In view of the large number of nursing home residents and the high drug-resistant carriage rate, a full time position is certainly needed." Infection Control Today. March 27, 2020.      

2020-12-HW (Link to Article):  Evidence Continues to Link ACE Inhibitors to Severe COVID-19 Symptoms "There is mounting consensus that ACE inhibitors may be a primary driver of the severe symptoms. The concerns were originally raised in the Lancet. ACE inhibitors up regulate (increase) the ACE2 receptor. This is the receptor the COVID-19 virus uses to attack the lungs."  Infection Control Today. March 26, 2020.      

2020-11-HW (Link to Article):  The United States has squandered resources it needs to fight coronavirus
"The United States is on the verge of being ravaged by an invader which we have far too little resources to confront. New estimates from the United Kingdom are predicting 2.2 million deaths in the United States from an unmitigated coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic.  In Italy, there are reports of those over 80 not being placed on ventilators. In addition, critical care survivors, including the young, may well develop pulmonary fibrosis, a disabling chronic lung disease." Lexington Herald Leader.   Mar. 24, 2020 (Online).      References

2020-10-HW (Link to Article):  We'll Know We've Won the War Against COVID-19 When...
"Judging when we have won the war against the coronavirus is not simple. The good news is that we have the technology and know-how to confront and substantially mitigate these epidemics. What we have lacked is the willpower to implement this knowledge. If we are unable to rapidly transform our system and correct these flagrant deficiencies, then the worse projections from the Imperial College projections of 2.2 million United States citizen fatalities may come to pass
"Infection Control Today.   Mar. 20, 2020 (Online).

2020-09-HW (Link to Article):  COVID-19: IPs, Other Healthcare Workers at Greater Jeopardy Than Thought
"Of extreme concern, of the 3711 Diamond Princess cruise ship passengers, 634 tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 (the virus which causes COVID-19) and of these 17.9% were asymptomatic and presumably could spread the virus."Infection Control Today.   Mar. 17, 2020 (Online).

2020-08-HW (Link to Article):  Viewpoint: US Woefully Unprepared for COVID-19 Pandemic
"A news commentator made the alarmist statement that we may get to the point where the national guard is escorting patients to a high school gym for placement on ventilators. This is of course a ridiculously misinformed statement since we do not have enough ventilators."  Infection Control Today.   Mar. 11, 2020 (Online).  

2020-07-HW (Link to Article):  Viewpoint: We're Losing the Fight Against COVID-19 So Far
"We seem to be at risk of entering into a blame game and "politicizing" the problems. Our response to this contagion shows severe flaws in our healthcare delivery system. As one government official stated, "We have for whatever reason and there are many good ones, designed a system based on very lean staffing practices based on just-in-time supply chains and purchasing."
Infection Control Today.   Mar. 9, 2020 (Online).

2020-06-HW (Link to Article):  The Untimely Reporting of Drug-Resistant Outbreaks in the United States.   Over the course of the last few decades, the United States has fallen into the dark abyss of secrecy: if truth is inconvenient, just cover it up and don't disclose it. The United States needs to implement mandatory real-time public reporting of the CDC's dangerous biological threats. References  The Center For Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy.   Mar. 3, 2020 (Online).

2020-05-HW (Link to Article):  Coronavirus is the biggest challenge our healthcare system has faced. Is Kentucky prepared?   In January, I concluded an OpEd with an alarmist statement: "The epidemic of antibiotic resistant organisms may be the final solution to global warming."  We are currently on the precipice of a massive pandemic from the coronavirus (COVID-19). Initial data from China has documented massive economic disruption with a 25 percent drop in carbon emissions.  A sobering observation, but of even more concern when one considers the United States does not have the authoritarian structure and a culture of population control which exists in the Chinese government. According to the CDC, the unknown is when, not if, the epidemic will hit the United States and "severe disruption" of everyday life may occur.  Lexington Herald Leader.   Feb. 27, 2020 (Online).

2020-04-HW (Link to Article):  Infection Preventionists, Hospital Administrators Will Be on Frontlines of Coming COVID-19 Epidemic.  "Preparation for the impending epidemic of the COVID-19 coronavirus is of utmost importance and will place a tremendous strain on our healthcare system that will require coordination between the IPs, administrators and the hospital's board. This impending epidemic underscores the importance of the work that the CDC is undertaking by using surveillance and quarantine strategies to delay entry and slow the spread of this pathogen." Infection Control Today.   Feb. 27, 2020.

2020-03-HW (Link to Article):  As a doctor, I put patient well-being above my personal feelings. Don't pass SB 90.   Medicine is difficult and diverse, and we are destined to encounter conflicts in the management of some patients. We may have strong feelings about them, but we try our best to help because we are doctors and we don't turn away. Kentucky Senate Bill 90 deserves a swift and merciful death.  Lexington Herald Leader.   Feb. 25, 2020 (Online).  References 

2020-02-HW (Link to Article): A Conversation With Kevin Kavanagh, MD: Infection Preventionists Are Underutilized and Underappreciated (Expanded and Updated).  "At 100% compliance, recent research looking at glove and gown acquisitions of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) indicates that gloves alone stop almost two-thirds of MRSA acquisitions, making hand hygiene a cornerstone of infection control. However, two-thirds control may not be adequate to prevent spread, and in the case of drug-resistant dangerous pathogens, hand hygiene should be viewed as a backup measure, since these pathogens should not be on a healthcare worker's hands in the first place." Infection Control Today.   Jan. 21, 2020.

2020-1-HW (Link to Article): Amid disgrace of U.S. nursing homes lurks epidemic of drug-resistant bacteria. "A recent study in California found that over 50 percent of nursing home residents harbor dangerous antibiotic resistant bacteria. Unfortunately, there are few regulations which safeguard the health and well-being of either the facility's residents or the nursing home's staff. It needs to be remembered that these resistant bacteria do not care about policy and politics, they are out to win. And unless we decisively act, the prophetic tragedy predicted by several commentators in a La Times OpEd may come true. The epidemic of antibiotic resistant organisms may be the final solution to global warming."  Lexington Herald Leader.   Jan. 16, 2020.

2019-10-HW (Link to Article): A Conversation With Kevin Kavanagh, MD: Infection Preventionists Are Underutilized and Underappreciated. The CDC estimates (at a minimum) that 35,000 individuals die each year from resistant organisms with another 12,800 patients dying from C. difficile. This does not count the long-term disability many of the survivors will endure. The United Kingdom's Wellcome Trust report estimated that by 2050 antibiotic resistance will have a cumulative cost to the world of $100 trillion dollars and 10 million lives will be lost each year.  Infection Control Today.   Dec. 15, 2019.

2019-9-HW (Link to Article): Healthcare may not be a right but it is a necessity for society. Almost everyone is worried about healthcare. Kentuckians are pushing for reforms on a state level, but state administrations have limited ability to transform our system, since so much of the framework is mandated and fixed in stone by either federal law or federal dollars. Thus, lets promote a healthy Kentucky. If universal healthcare is not a right, it is a necessity, not just for the individual but for Kentucky's society as a whole.  Lexington Herald Leader.  Nov. 15, 2019.

2019-8-HW (Link to Article): Data for Action, Not Complacency, is Needed to Stop Dangerous Pathogens.  Economic and political forces in the United States are impeding the adoption of these important infection control tenets. But, as the toll of drug resistance on American citizens mounts, denials will become harder to make, and political policy may well merge with science. Hopefully, not too late..   The Center For Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy  July 22, 2019.

2019-7-HW (Link to Article): From plague to parrot fever, history shows inequity of medical care. Don�t let it continue.  In the 1980s many of us witnessed the near lack of concern and urgency in the AIDs epidemic because it was initially perceived that it affected only a small minority group whom many disliked and who were easy to discriminate against.  Lexington Herald Leader July 8, 2019.

2019-6-HW (Link to Article): The changing narrative of MRSA infection control in the United States.  But of utmost importance, we need to protect our healthcare workers who may well be acting as reservoirs to spread these pathogens to patients and their familiesBiomed Central.  June 19, 2019.

2019-5-HW (Link to Article): Collective ignorance and government timidity are public health threats.  I am a firm believer that we must learn from history or be doomed to repeat it. Unfortunately, the United States and many other nations appear not to have learned this lesson with regard to public health and are heading down a dangerous path.  Los Angeles Times.  May 16, 2019.

Kaiser Healthcare News

2019-4-HW (Link to Letter): Bevin's misery for his nine children is not necessarily over.  They are now at risk for shingles in later life. Shingles results from reactivation of the chickenpox virus. The misery can last from weeks to even years in people who develop complications.  Lexington Herald Leader.  Publication Online Mar. 29, 2019.

2019-3-HW (Link to Article):  News on hospital infections in Kentucky, nationally is not good. What needs to change?
"Instead of mathematically massaging the numbers lets institute additional interventions which other institutions have used successfully."  Lexington Herald Leader.  Publication Online Mar. 8, 2019.

2019-2-HW (Link to Article):  Patients now have more information about hospital prices, but will need patience to sort it out
"Posting of the hospital's sticker prices in an accessible understandable format is a social responsibility that all hospitals should willingly undertake."  Lexington Herald Leader.  Publication Online Feb. 25, 2019.

2019-1-HW (Link to Article):  Arguments for medical review panels unjustified
"We the people -- we the patients -- deserve health policy shaped by facts, not rhetoric reflecting fears and fantasies. Let's work together to solve real problems within health care in Kentucky. Melissa Clarkson is a member of Health Watch USAsm and an assistant professor of biomedical informatics at the University of Kentucky."  Lexington Herald Leader.  Publication Online Jan. 4, 2019.   Print Jan. 7, 2019.

2018-5-HW (Link to Article):  Patients have few remedies for spiraling health-care costs, but here are a few tips.  "It is fair to say that all of us have had experience with skyrocketing health-care costs and are astonished that this situation is allowed to continue. Policymakers seem to have an insurmountable inertia. The conclusion: the United States spends almost twice as much on health-care than other developed nations but has similar health-care utilization. Although, commonly blamed, this is not the patient's fault."  Lexington Herald Leader.  Publication Online Nov. 27, 2018.   Print Dec. 3, 2018.

2018-4-HW (Link to Article):  Politics is Protecting Pathogens, Not Patients.  "The current United States government is still relying on the widely held misconception that the health-care industry is in a competitive market and will improve its quality because of market pressures.  At the same time, access to health-care quality information -- essential to consumers' choice -- is under attack."  Lexington Herald Leader.  Sept. 21, 2018.  

KY Hospital Rankings2018-3-HW (Link to Article):  How to choose a hospital (spoiler: it's not getting any easier).  "Even in Kentucky's leading hospitals, infections rates are alarming, which makes it even harder for patients to be smart consumers."  Lexington Herald Leader.  June. 1, 2018.  

2018-2-HW (Link to Article):  'Roseanne' reflects how much opioid use is now engrained.  "I know from studying the science and personal experience that prescription narcotics are not an effective treatment for chronic pain.  Yet, narcotic usage has become rampant and even trivialized as a laugh line on the "Roseanne" reboot .."  Lexington Herald Leader.  April. 13, 2018.

2018-1-HW (Link to Article):  Survival tips in the age of drug-resistant bacteria.  "There is a war going on, reminiscent of a zombie apocalypse. The insidious agent is spread easily between people, a bite is not required. It does not turn its captors into mindless killing drones but instead, when they least expect it, they are slowly eaten from the inside out. The apocalypse is called drug-resistant bacteria and, so far, modern medicine is failing miserably at stopping it."  Lexington Herald Leader.  Dec. 29, 2017. (Print Publication: Jan. 13, 2018)

2017-5-HW (Link to Article):   Kentucky doctor says Medicare-style plan could curb costs, empower consumers (Print Title:  "The fix: Revive competition to cut health costs").  "The answer to healthcare reform is simple, you must lower health care costs. Either instill true provider competition or give more power to the purchasers with a variation of a single-payer system. In our present political climate, a pragmatic solution may be Medicare-Advantage-For-All."  Lexington Herald Leader.  Oct. 20, 2017.

2017-4-HW (Link to Article):   Shoddy research, deadly results.  "(The problem of Conflicts of interest) is of paramount importance. Research is the foundation for treatment protocols and health policy. A murky fog has descended over what works and what does not."  Lexington Herald Leader.  July. 30, 2017.    

2017-3-HW (Link to Article):   The incidence of MRSA infections in the United States: is a more comprehensive tracking system needed?  "If MRSA is being spread by the hands of healthcare workers, then their hands must at one time have become contaminated with MRSA and there must have been a failure of containment and control, which should be viewed as our frontline intervention. "  BioMed Central.  On Health.  Mar. 10, 2017.    

2017-2-HW (Link to Article):   Hospitals, doctors must come clean when patients are harmed.  "There is room for improvement in patient safety in every facility, even in higher-functioning ones. As stated by Jim Conway, past senior vice president of Institute for Healthcare Improvement, 'In the gap between excellence and perfection, there is suffering, harm, tragedy and death.' "  Lexington Herald Leader.  Mar. 5, 2017.   References 

2017-1-HW (Link to Article):   Choosing a hospital? Read this first.  So how did the hospitals do? In the Lexington region, they overall have improved.  Lexington Herald Leader.  Feb. 2, 2017.  References

Coverage by Kentucky Health News

2016-4-HW (Link to Article):   Drug industry's quest for profits yields superbugs.  The next bailout: Big Pharma  now asking for tax dollars to fund new antibiotics.  Lexington Herald Leader.  Sep. 24, 2016.   References

2016-3-HW (Link to Article):    US Health Reform Now Needs Reforming   We spent $24,691 for each family on healthcare--almost half of the average family income of $54,000.  Lexington Herald Leader.  Aug. 20, 2016.   References

2016-2-HW (Link to Article):    Non-profit hospitals an oxymoron (Healthcare Rendition)   Kentucky Hospital Charges and Those In the Nation are Far Too High.  Lexington Herald Leader.  May 20, 2016.   References

2016-1-HW (Link to Article):    Buyer beware: no return, redo in hospital care   Kentucky Hospital Rankings by Major Hospital Ranking Organizations, Including CMS (Medicare)  Lexington Herald Leader.  Jan. 16, 2016.   
Download Expanded Ranking Table        References

2015-6-HW (Link to Article):    Needed: Greater Surveillance, New Norms in the Fight Against Antibiotic Resistance  The 21st Century Cures Act needs to assure effective antibiotic stewardship and Antibiotic Resistant Organism Surveillance  Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy.  Oct. 8, 2015.     

2015-5-HW (Link to Article):    Without more monitoring, medical devices will keep harming patients  We all need to encourage Congress to amend the 21st Century Cures Act to assure effective pre-market testing and post-market monitoring of medical devices.
 Lexington Herald Leader.  Aug. 14, 2015.     

2015-4-HW (Link to Article):  hospitals should act as Ky. falls on key infection ranking. One of the most prevalent superbugs is MRSA which causes the deadly staph infection. Until recently, Kentucky had one of the highest rates of staph bloodstream infections in the nation. New data from the Centers for Disease Control's National Healthcare Safety Network show that our MRSA bloodstream infection rate has worsened; Kentucky is now dead last among the 50 states in controlling this deadly disease.  Lexington Herald Leader.  June 18, 2015.     

2015-3-HW (Link to Article):  Single-payer health care may emerge as best option. Returning to a free-market system will be more difficult than just saying "repeal Obamacare." Six difficult changes would have to be made to create a free market.  Lexington Herald Leader.  May 16, 2015.     

2015-2-HW (Link to Article):  Health-care non-profits may not be what they seem. Profits soar Yet cost is the often repeated excuse for not doing more to control infections.  Lexington Herald Leader.  Mar. 27, 2015.     

2015-1-HW (Link to Article):  Legislative panel must support more hospital reporting of infection outbreaks.  Lexington Herald Leader.  Jan. 13, 2015.    

2014-7-HW (Link to Article):  How Ebola reveals scary gaps in U.S. health care.  Lexington Herald Leader.  Oct. 12, 2014.   

2014-6-HW (Link to Article):  Beshear moving to protect Kentuckians from health-care associated infections.  Lexington Herald Leader.  Sept. 15, 2014.   

Kentucky Hospital Rankings

2014-5-HW (Link to Article):  Use Hospital Rankings to Help Stay Out of Harm's Way.  Lexington Herald Leader.  Aug. 10, 2014.    Download Complete Expanded Table

2014-4-HW (Link to Article):  VA lesson: defend and deny bad health policy.  Lexington Herald Leader.  Jun. 22, 2014.  View Op-Ed References   More on Full Disclosure - Steve Kraman

2014-3-HW (Link to Article):  Overuse of antibiotics aids attacks of deadly bacteria.  Lexington Herald Leader.  Mar. 13, 2014.

Healthcare Paradox2014-2-HW (Link to Article):  Book Review - The American Health Paradox.  Louisville Courier Journal.  Mar. 13, 2014.

2014-1-HW (Link to Article):  Mandate reporting of Ky. health-care related infections.  Lexington Herald Leader.  Mar. 13, 2014.

2013-8-HW (Link to Article):  Surcharge on smokers under Ky. health reform is unfair, shortsighted.  Lexington Herald Leader.  Sep. 5, 2013.

Lexington Herald Leader Editorial Board:  Pricing smokers out of health care is bad policy. Kentucky's 40 percent surcharge is short-term gain for long-term pain  Sep. 8, 2013.   

Burchett M.  The Lazer.  State health-insurance exchange plans to make smokers pay 40 percent more for coverage; varied interests object...   Sep. 9, 2013.

2013-7-HW (Link to Article):  Disclosure key to curbing medical errors; UK board should demand it.  Lexington Herald Leader.  Aug 11, 2013.  UK board responsible for hospital safety.

2013-6-HW (Link to Article):   Better monitoring needed in a post-antibiotic era.  Lexington Herald Leader.  July 11, 2013.  The case is made for public reporting of Healthcare Associated Infections and for Engagement of the Health Department.

2013-5-HW (Link to Article):   Tough Diagnosis: Hospital Rankings.  Lexington Herald Leader.  May 12, 2013.  An Op-Ed which describes the various hospital rating systems and give Kentucky Hospital Ratings.  Download PDF of how Kentucky Hospitals do on these rating systems. 

2013-4-HW (Link to Article):  Costs soar when doctors work for hospitals.  Lexington Herald Leader.  April 22, 2013.  The case is made to reduce hospital facility fees.  View Op Ed      View Op-Ed References   

See Shortened Version of the Published in Op-Ed in US News & World Report  
View Op Ed

2013-3-HW (Link to Article):  'Book Review - Bad Pharma'  Courier Journal, Louisville, Ky.   Feb 23, 2013.   Details of Drug Company Tactics.    
View Book Review References


2013-2-HW (Link to Article):   More scrutiny on spread of infections; health care industry resists surveillance.  Lexington Herald Leader.  Feb. 11, 2013.   Healthcare Industry Resists Surveillance.   View Op-Ed References

2013-1-HW (Link to Article):  Hospital Facility Fees Raise Out-of-Pocket Costs for Medicare Patients.  US News & World Report.  Jan 11, 2013.  The case is made to reduce hospital facility fees.  View Op Ed    View Op-Ed References  

Opposing Op-Ed from American Hospital Association:  View Op-Ed 

2012-11-HW (Link to Article)  Consumers must scrutinize details of hospital rankings.  Herald Leader Lexington, Ky,  Nov. 7, 2012.  The Quality Measures used in different hospital ranking systems.   View Op-Ed References   

2012-10-HW (Link to Article)  The Changing Role of the Physician.  American College of Surgeons Surgical News,  Oct. 23, 2012.   Changing healthcare governance, fiduciary responsibility and the driving forces behind integration.   View Op-Ed References 

2012-9- HW (Link to Article)  Assessing Changes in Reform.   Courier Journal,  Aug 27, 2012.   Healthcare Consolidation, Integration and Oligopolies are increasing healthcare costs.     View Op-Ed References   View Op-Ed Text

Rooted in the Mountains, Reaching to the World2012-8- HW (Link to Article)  'Book Review:  Rooted in the Mountains, Reaching to the World'.   Courier Journal,  Aug 17, 2012.   The book is more about adventures involving horses shod with ice nails and the forging of swollen streams; about the power and courage of humanity to overcome obstacles, to instill hope.  

Appalachian Health and Well-Being2012-7- HW (Link to Article)  'Book Review:  Appalachian Health and Well-Being'.   Courier Journal,  July 14, 2012.   Healthy living challenge for Appalachia.  

2012-6-HW (Link to Article)  'Patients dissatisfied with unnecessary, expensive care'.  Herald Leader, Lexington, Ky,  June 25, 2012.  There is a wide variation in the recommended medical care which is received by patients.    View Op-Ed References

My Father 2012-5-HW (Link to Article)    'Book Review:  My Father'.   Courier Journal, Louisville,   Jun. 16, 2012.  "One of the most disturbing chapters details the legislative hearings and ill-motivated national politics that have prevented an effective national response, spurring the birth of the consumer advocacy movement to combat hospital-acquired infections."  

Battle Over Healthcare2012-4-HW (Link to Article)   'Book Review:  The Battle Over Healthcare'.   Courier Journal, Louisville,   May. 19, 2012.    As stated by the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu, �If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.� Unless we change, we are headed for a health care system that few can afford and few will want.

2012-3-HW (Link to Article)  'A tale of two cows: Why we have a cow map and not a healthcare acquired infection map.   Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy,   Mar. 13, 2012.  A parody comparing the availability of data between agriculture and healthcare.  View Op-Ed References

Coverage by William Heisel's Antidote: Spotting MRSA & Other Superbugs

Coverage by William Heisel's Antidote: Better Definitions and Better Data

2012-2-HW (Link to Article)  'More doctors controlled by hospitals mean restricted care.   Herald Leader, Lexington, KY,   Mar. 1, 2012.  Healthcare Integration, Medicare Expenditures and the Shrinking Role of Physicians in Healthcare.  View Op-Ed References

See Letter to Editor by Cameron S. Schaeffer, M.D.

2012-1-HW (Link to Article Text)  'Hospital Infections are Underreported.  Courier Journal, Louisville, KY,  Jan. 31, 2012.  The case is made for Public Reporting and Full Disclosure of Adverse Events and Not to Charge Patients for These Events.   View Op-Ed References    Link to Archived Abstract    Link to Article Text

2011-9-HW (Link to Article)  'Don't Tell' Culture a Plague Health Care.  Herald Leader, Lexington, KY,  Dec. 5, 2011.  The case is made for Full Disclosure of Medical Errors.   View Op-Ed References

2011-8-HW (Link to Article)  One in Seven Hospitalizations Results in Harm:  Hospital performance tied to Board Engagement.  Medical News,  Nov. 2011.  View Op-Ed References

2011-7-HW (Link to Article)   Outpatient Antibiotic Utilization Highest in West Virginia and Kentucky  The Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy.  Washington, DC,  Nov. 17, 2011.  Quoted by Charleston Daily Mail 

2011-6-HW (Link to Article)   Investigate staffing, infection rates at UK hospital  Herald Leader.  Lexington, KY,  Sep. 4, 2011.   

2011-5-HW (Link to Article)   Public, patients have right to know hospitals' infection rates  Herald leader. Lexington, KY,   July 11, 2011.   The case is presented for patients right to know hospital infection rates.

2011-4-HW (Link to Article Text)   Tracking of Hospital Acquired Infections   Courier Journal, Louisville, KY,  Apr. 20, 2011   Norton Healthcare System's Award from the NQF is Outstanding.  Other Kentucky hospitals should follow its example.   Link to Archived Abstract    Link to Article Text

2011-3-HW (Link to Article)  UK Wrong To Downplay Loss of Nursing Honor  Herald Leader, Lexington, KY,  Mar. 21, 2011   It is important for hospitals to achieve the Magnet Recognition and to participate in the Leapfrog Group Survey.

2011-2-HW (Link to Article Text)  Revising Health Care Reform  Courier Journal, Louisville, KY,  Jan. 21, 2011   The healthcare system still has significant problems with increasing insurance premiums.   
 View Op-Ed References    Link to Archived Abstract
  Link to Article Text

2011-1-HW (Link to Article)  State Reporting on Hospital Infections - Lax, Dangerous    Lexington Herald Leader, Lexington, KY, Jan. 21, 2011   As other states are issuing infection reports to the public.  Kentuckians are endangered by the lack of reporting and inhibited health department oversight.  View Op-Ed References

2010-5-HW (Link to Article Text)  Health Care Strom Brewing   Courier Journal, Louisville, KY,  Dec. 8, 2010   The healthcare system is still in crisis, checks and balances on quality and costs have been weakened.  
View Op-Ed References     Link to Archived Abstract    Link to Article Text

2010-4-HW (PDF)  Hospital Acquired Infections Reporting and Kentucky's HAI Health Plan    Lexington Herald Leader, Lexington, KY,  July. 25, 2010   The State of Kentucky Needs to require hospitals to report all Hospital Acquired Infections.  

2010-3-HW (Link to Article)  Kentucky Should Award CONs so All Hospital Systems in The State Benefit, Not Just One  Medical News - The Business of Healthcare, Louisville, KY,  March. 12, 2010  The certificate of need should be abolished or placed up for bid so all facilities can benefit.

2010-2- HW (Link to Article Text)  Fight Hospital-Acquired Infections  Courier Journal, Louisville, KY,  Jan. 12, 2010   The healthcare industry can and needs to do more to prevent healthcare acquired infections.   
Link to Archived Abstract    Link to Article Text

2010-1-HW (PDF)  Poor Way to Decide Who Gets Hospitals   Lexington Herald Leader, Lexington, KY,  Jan. 11, 2010   The Certificate of Need is adversely affecting the health of residents of Jessamine County and is running up healthcare costs.   

2009-3-HW (PDF)  Keep Public Reporting in Reform Plan - Lexington Herald Leader, Lexington, KY,  Oct. 4, 2009   Public reporting of healthcare acquired infections is now supported by major national medical organizations.

2009-2-HW (PDF)   Stop Hospital Borne Infections  Courier Journal, Louisville, KY, July 9, 2009   Public reporting of healthcare acquired infections is now in the process of implementation in 27 states.    View CJ Editor's Comment on HAI

2009-1-HW (PDF) Kentucky's Certificate of Need Process Needs Overhauling- Courier Journal, Louisville, KY, January 5 2009  Kentucky's CON process for acute care facilities is frozen with decronian regulations making it impossible to build additional facilities.  The State not petitioners, should decide where CONs are needed; they should place them nationally up for bid. 

2008-3-HW (PDF) Hospitals Reckless to Leave Floors Short of Nurses- Lexington Herald Leader, Lexington Kentucky, May 28, 2008  Low levels of hospital staff has been reported by nurses and lack of facility cleanliness and responsiveness by patients.  Medicare is no longer paying for preventable adverse patient outcomes, Medicaid should follow suit.

2008-2-HW (PDF) The Case for Surveillance for MRSA - Lexington Herald Leader, Lexington Kentucky, March 21, 2008  One could argue that Medicare patient admissions in the State of Kentucky would develop 2,500 hospital acquired infections and at risk of losing between $80,000,000 to $131,000,000 in revenue.

2008-1-HW (PDF) Mandatory Reporting of MRSA and HAIs - Lexington Herald Leader, Lexington Kentucky, Feb. 4, 2008  HAIs are more common than any other reportable disease and deaths exceed several of the causes listed in the top 10 causes of death in the US vital statistics.

2007-7-HW (PDF) Health Care Crisis Unites Disparate Groups, Interests - Lexington Herald Leader, Lexington Kentucky, Oct. 15, 2007  Problems in Kentucky's health care system are discussed in a statewide conference.

2007-6-HW (PDF) Too Much to Expect From Too Few Nurses - Lexington Herald Leader, Lexington Kentucky, April 16, 2007  Frontline Caregivers get little support in protecting patients.

2007-5-HW (PDF) The CON Steals Jessamine's Health Care Access - Jessamine Journal, Nicholasville Kentucky, April 12, 2007  As long as hospitals exist in Lexington, the CON is preventing Jessamine County from building a hospital.

2007-4-HW (PDF) The Fletcher Administration & Oakwood, a Sordid Affair - Lexington Herald Leader, Lexington Kentucky, Feb 26, 2007  Reason for outrage, scrutiny -- Fletcher aides, donors hurt Oakwood, State.

2007-4-BG (PDF) CON Law Shrinks Health-Cares Iron Triangle - Bluegrass Institute, Kentucky, Jan 8, 2007 The CON fails to lower prices or improve quality or access.

2007-3-HW (PDF)  Give Public Info About Health Care Facilities - Lexington Herald Leader, Lexington Kentucky Jan 29, 2007 A call to increase the transparency of health care quality.

2007-2-HW (PDF)  Medical Tourism or Creative Destruction - Courier Journal Online, Jan 18, 2007 Foreign countries are competing and trying to attract patients from the United States.

2007-1-BG (PDF)  Prognosis for Ailing Health Care System Will Improve Only With Competition, Transparency - Bluegrass Institute, Kentucky, Jan 8, 2007  The high cost and low quality of the United States healthcare system

2007-1-HW (PDF)  Quality Not Rising With Cost of Health Care - Herald Leader, Lexington KY, Jan 2, 2007  The high cost and low quality of the US healthcare system

2006-8-HW (PDF)  Certificate of Need Unneeded - Herald Leader, Lexington KY, November 13, 2006  

2006-45-BG (PDF)  Eliminate CON, Embrace Competition - Bluegrass Institute, Kentucky, OCT 23, 2006

2006-7-HW (PDF) State Blocking Medical Competition - Herald Leader, Lexington KY, July 31, 2006

2006-6-HW (PDF)  Health Care in Crisis: What is Wrong With Frankfort? - Jessamine Journal, Nicholasville KY July 27, 2006

2006-5-HW (PDF)  Frankfort Didn't Tell Whole Story on CON Details - Commonwealth Journal, Somerset KY July 5, 2006

2006-4-HW (PDF) Certificate of Monopoly - Courier Journal, Louisville KY, June 22, 2006

2006-3-HW (PDF)  Second Hospital Now Out of Reach ? - Commonwealth Journal, Somerset KY, April 26, 2006

2006-2-HW (PDF)  Nursing Shortage Argument Doesn't Hold Water - Commonwealth Journal, Somerset KY, January 8, 2006

2006-1-HW (PDF)  Kentucky's New Healthcare Plan - Courier Journal, Louisville KY January 3, 2006

2005-3-HW (PDF)  Let Consumer Demand Ensure Adequate Nursing Staff  - Herald Leader, Lexington KY November 21, 2005

2005-2-HW (PDF)  Health Savings Accounts a Possible Solution for the Kentucky Health Care Crisis - Herald Leader, Lexington, KY February 26, 2005

2005-1-HW (PDF)  Marriage of Managed Care, Medicaid Can Be Saved - Herald Leader, Lexington, KY January 24, 2005

2004-1-HW (PDF)  RX For High Drug Costs - Herald Leader, Lexington, KY October 21, 2004

MRSA PictureThe picture on the right is a photomicrograph of
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA).