Published Nov 29, 2023

Healthcare updates on online Covid care, dogs and more

Latina mother and a 3 little daughters sit at the kitchen table having dinner, talking.
Published Nov 29, 2023

The worst pandemic days are behind us! But as winter settles in, we can’t ignore how Covid-19 disrupts life + causes severe illness for older adults and those with weakened immune systems.

So let’s review the latest on new vaccine reception issues, pet risk + why millions of post-Covid patients aren’t feeling better. Then, we'll close with updates on access to public healthcare, primary care + free Covid-19 tests. But first, it's time to get your...

  • Checkup: pleasure + pain reads
  • Covid-19: vaccines + dogs + time 
  • Healthcare: insurance + shortages + tests

The Checkup

A miracle Covid vaccine—for no one?

Enchanting grey-bearded white senior man with an elegant style looks away from the camera and smiles while sitting at a kitchen table at home.

The first vaccine was an early success—over 90% of adults in the United States received an initial dose! But now, only 14% of America adults have gotten an updated Covid-19 vaccine booster.

Why the shift? The vaccine is no longer the novelty that brought us out of quarantine. Many of us were disappointed that it doesn't deter all infections. (Though lower hospitalization risk is plenty to celebrate.) And we’re now more virus-savvy than we were a few years ago and so better empowered to calculate our personal risk. (But anyone can get long Covid. See more about that below.)

So, what could the future of the Covid-19 vaccine—and the virus itself—look like? Learn more at Vox.

Can dogs give us Covid-19?

A curvy white woman wearing sweatpants cuddles with her shiba inu on her living room couch.

Paws bring germs inside + slobbery dog kisses pass infectious organisms from their mouths to ours. But can dogs spread the virus that causes Covid-19 to humans? Our Dr. B resource article digs into what to know about dogs and Covid.

Limited research shows dogs can get Covid-19. In one study, 15% of pets (including cats and dogs) tested positive one week after their human fell ill. No shelter dogs have gotten it, which suggests dogs don’t spread it amongst themselves. And no evidence suggests that dogs spread Covid-19 to humans.

So instead of worrying about our risk, we should protect our furry friends when we’re actively infected with the virus. Check out the article for more about how to avoid close contact with your pets while ill. And if you need antiviral treatment to help prevent severe illness, explore Dr. B’s $15 online Covid consultations.

Long catastrophe?

A woman wearing pajamas lies on a bed covered in rumpled blankets, her face down in her pillow, as sunlight streams in through curtains.

Long Covid has disabled up to 35 million US adults. Yet while massive amounts of funds have gone to long Covid research, patients aren't getting better. Blame largely rests on how repetitive observational studies have led to few clinical studies. So, how do we fix this?

One theory suggests that long Covid isn’t an independent illness, but that long Covid patients have myalgic encephalomyelitis (MECFS), a condition triggered by several viruses. (This NY Times article explains how post-viral illness works.)

If we recognize this, then decades of (underfunded) MECFS research can become the foundation for a new kind of health service research that prioritizes patients by focusing on prevention, access to care + tools that improve quality of life. If you, a loved one or a family member suffers from long Covid, learn more at Time.

Healthcare 411

The US doesn’t have universal health care—but these states (almost) do (Vox). Ten states have an uninsured rate below 5%. They offer state additional state aid, low-premium plans and care to the undocumented, streamlined enrollment + more. Read the article for success stories. But having insurance doesn’t guarantee affordable care. In this resource article, our founder, Cyrus Massoumi, explores why + how Dr. B is dedicated to filling in the gaps.

No one’s promising you can keep your doctor anymore (Politico). With too few primary care physicians, many are going without care. The Biden Administration is investing in higher education for nurses so they can treat more conditions + relaxing rules so physicians can treat more patients virtually. Read the article for details. If you can’t get in-office care, Dr. B treats 30 common conditions online with a $15 consultation. Explore our care areas.

Four more free Covid tests will be available to U.S. households (NBC). Starting today, all US homes can get four more free at-home Covid-19 tests from the federal government. Sign up at Covid.gov. The latest CDC report shows that hospitalizations + deaths rose by about 9% last week and ER visits by over 7%. So if you’re at high risk for severe illness, come to Dr. B for same-day treatment. (We’re open holidays + weekends, too!)

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