‘It’s Science, Stupid’: A School Subject Emerges as a Hot-Button Political Issue

At the top of Dr. Hiral Tipirneni’s to-do list if she wins her congressional race: work with other elected officials to encourage mask mandates and to beef up COVID-19 testing and contact tracing. Those choices are backed up by science, said Tipirneni, an emergency room physician running for Arizona’s 6th Congressional District.

On the campaign trail, she has called on her opponent, Rep. David Schweikert (R-Ariz.), to denounce President Donald Trump’s gathering of thousands for a rally in Arizona and his comments about slowing down COVID-19 testing.

“I believe in data; I believe in facts,” Tipirneni told KHN. “I believe in science guiding us … whether it’s the opioid crisis or tax policy or immigration reform. Those decisions could be and should be driven by the data. Science is not partisan.”

Tipirneni is one of four Democratic physicians running as challengers for Congress in 2020, all in closely watched races

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What to Do if Diminished Social Life Hurts Mental Health

The physical and mental health threats of COVID-19 are real and well-documented, but if you’re simply feeling bummed about missing your buddies, canceled pickup sports leagues, or—hell—your commute, that’s valid. The pandemic is affecting mental health in myriad ways.

“The isolation many are experiencing is one of the most devastating things about this moment,” says Avi Klein, LCSW, a New York-based therapist who specializes in men’s mental health.

See, human beings are hardwired for connection, explains Paul L. Hokemeyer, PhD, LMFT, a psychotherapist and author of Fragile Power: Why Having It All Is Never Enough. “Social connectedness is essential for our survival. It enables us to adapt to challenges and evolve as a species. Without social connections, we physically and emotionally atrophy.”

That’s well-documented, too. Some studies suggest loneliness and social isolation could be twice as detrimental to both your physical and mental health as obesity is.

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Readers and Tweeters Shed Light on Vaccine Trials and Bias in Health Care

Letters to the Editor is a periodic feature. We welcome all comments and will publish a selection. We edit for length and clarity and require full names.


On the ‘Subject’ of Vaccine Trial Participants

In the piece about the AstraZeneca vaccine trial subject who suffered severe spinal cord inflammation, that person was repeatedly referred to as a “patient” (“NIH ‘Very Concerned’ About Serious Side Effect in Coronavirus Vaccine Trial,” Sept. 14). Once someone is enrolled in a trial, everything that happens to them is because they are a “subject,” not a patient. A patient is someone getting health care; a subject is willingly participating to be exposed to something that has nothing to do with their health or wellness. Please use the right term so that the reader can be reminded that the person was participating in this trial. Nice piece.

— Robin Chalmers, Atlanta


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