Science

How to make Thanksgiving COVID-safe with boosters and rapid tests

For many families, this will be the first Thanksgiving they’ve been able to celebrate together in two years. Booster shots and vaccines for kids five and older mean that many of the most vulnerable relatives are better protected. But COVID is still circulating, and you might be wondering what you need to do to make sure your family is safe while getting together. Just how cautious you need to be depends on your risk tolerance, and your family and community.…

Science

Which COVID-19 booster should I get?

Late last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approved COVID-19 booster shots for anyone over the age of 18. That decision capped off a chaotic week for booster eligibility, as multiple states offered boosters to anyone who wanted them in hopes of stopping a winter surge. As things stand now, the CDC says that anyone who is over 50 should get a booster. Same goes for residents of nursing homes or other congregate settings, and anyone who received…

Science

How much does vitamin D protect us from diseases like COVID?

“What is this nonsense?” Erica Rice, a social worker from California, remembers thinking while she watched the rambling video her aunt had shared on Facebook. A middle-aged woman in Hunstville, Alabama, stood on her porch telling viewers they needed to get outside and lay in the sun to prevent “the COVID.”  It was April 2020, early in the pandemic—before masks became like a second skin—and Rice assumed the minutes-long clip was just one of the many virus-conspiracy theories plaguing the…

Science

How to tell when the COVID pandemic is nearing its end

In a recent interview with the LA Times, Center for Disease Control and Prevention officials stated for the first time that they no longer consider ‘herd immunity’ a goal for COVID-19. This means that the health agency no longer believes that the disease will functionally disappear in the face of high vaccination rates. To many public health researchers, this didn’t come as a surprise. While vaccines have been miraculously effective in preventing severe illness, they don’t fully stop transmission, especially…

Science

You might not be ‘fully vaccinated’ soon

This time a year ago, Americans were anxiously waiting for a COVID-19 vaccine and figuring out how cold is too cold to eat outside at restaurants. Now, the US has three kinds of shots available, plus boosters, plus two antiviral pills on the way. Families are getting their five-year-old children immunized to make life a little bit safer and more normal. The pandemic isn’t over, but many people are in a much better position than they were a year ago,…