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The older I get, the more excited I am to be corrected when I’m wrong.

Sure, it may sting for a second because hearing someone say “actually…” can be kind of annoying, and if I’m wrong about something, then that means that contrary to my sparkling self-image, I don’t know it all.

Tyler Russell / Connecticut Public

This story has been updated.

Rev. Elvin Clayton has been the pastor at Walter’s Memorial African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church in Bridgeport for the past six years.

And in the COVID-19 era, Sunday mornings look a little different -- Clayton speaks at the pulpit from behind glass partitions, keeps services to an hour and broadcasts it all live on Facebook. 

“We’ve had great success thus far with it,” he said. 

Joe Amon / Connecticut Public

Black Americans are more likely to be infected from COVID-19, be incarcerated, live in poverty, and/or be killed by the police than white Americans. It took a pandemic and the killing of George Floyd to crystallize those facts.

The Placebo Effect

Aug 31, 2020
Christian Schnettelker / Creative Commons

Placebo treatments have been making people feel better since long before Franz Mesmer was run out of 18th-century Vienna for "mesmerizing" a young pianist into regaining her eyesight after doctors had given up on a medical cure. 

Doctors often dismiss the placebo effect as inferior to conventional medical treatments - even when studies show that placebos can reduce the pain of arthritic knees as well as in some surgical procedures like arthroscopy

A diagram of the kidneys from Henry Gray's "Anatomy of the Human Body" (1918)
Henry Gray / Wikimedia Commons

State Representative Jeff Currey is a longtime public servant. Now he’s asking the public to help him. The East Hartford lawmaker is in kidney failure, and he needs a transplant.

This hour, he joins us to talk about kidney donation. We often think of organ donation as something considered after someone’s death, but living donors can give a kidney to a person in need.

Coming up we hear from patients, donors, and medical professionals about this lifesaving transplant.

And we learn about a revolutionary system that pairs matching donors and patients--that allows for multiple kidney transplants. 

Have you considered becoming a kidney donor?

The Food and Drug Administration on Sunday authorized the emergency use of convalescent blood to treat people hospitalized with Covid-19. Sunday's decision comes on the heels of a presidential tweet that may have put pressure on the FDA to authorize it prematurely. We talk about this and more news on Covid. 

Also this hour:  The Republican National Convention begins this week, a few days after former Vice-President Joe Biden accepted the nomination to represent Democrats in November's election. We talk about last week's convention, how this week's convention might play out, and other political news from the weekend.  

Airman 1st Class Daniel Hambor / U.S. Air Force

Businesses have reopened and most schools have come up with plans to see students again, but it’s increasingly clear life won’t truly get back to “normal” until we have a vaccine.

But when will that be? This hour, we get the latest from New York Times science writer Carl Zimmer on the race to develop a COVID vaccine. We hear the status of ongoing vaccine trials and learn more about the research process that ensures a vaccine will be safe and effective.

Today, you’re gonna hear from three people who had close encounters with wild animals - and have the scars to prove it.

You’ll hear how - and if - any of these people felt defined by their experiences, and what sense they’ve made out of their encounters. Plus, you’ll hear from a wildlife expert about what animals you should be careful to keep away from here in New England.

Tyler Russell / Connecticut Public

The Trump administration announced on Wednesday a $1.95 billion contract with pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, which has a location in Connecticut, and its German partner BioNTech to buy 100 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Colin Gillette, Bradford County, PA

The number of people testing positive for coronavirus continues to rise in many parts of the U.S., with sharp rises in places like Florida, Nevada, Alabama, Texas, and Puerto Rico. Yet, President Trump continues to attribute the rise to more testing -- despite the rise in hospitalizations and deaths -- and he wants to reduce federal aid for more testing, tracing, and for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Also this hour: The ABC News/Washington Post poll released Sunday shows former Vice President Joe Biden leading President Trump by 15 points among registered voters, 55% to 40%. A majority of respondents are not happy with the president's handling of the coronavirus, among other things.

National Human Genome Research Institute / Flickr Creative Commons

Right now the world population is 7.8 billion, and growing fast. We have doubled our population over just the past 50 years!

Even though the population is growing, fertility rates, overall, are dropping. So, more people are here, but we’re having fewer babies. There’s a lot of reasons for that, and one of them is infertility. The CDC estimates that nearly one out of eight couples struggles to conceive, but because of assisted reproductive technology, we’re upping the population numbers in the United States. The CDC reports that almost 2 percent of all U.S. births annually - or about 4 million babies - are here as a result of things like in-vitro-fertilization (IVF), surrogacy, and egg donation.

Ascalon Studios

We have spent the last few months bringing you coverage on COVID-19. This hour, we’re going to talk to someone who was diagnosed with coronavirus, and recovered. For those that survive the virus, the recovery process is not easy. Many have long-lasting side effects from having the virus, including permanent damage to the heart and lungs. And later, we learn those who have survived the virus can donate blood and help others defeat the virus with convalescent plasma. We will also hear how physicians are using plasma transfusion to treat the seriously ill.

Childhood Immunizations Dropped Sharply During Pandemic

Jul 13, 2020
Rhoda Baer/National Cancer Institute / Creative Commons

At the height of the coronavirus pandemic this spring, many families fearful of setting foot inside a doctor’s office avoided pediatric checkups. Physicians converted in-person visits to virtual appointments.

That fueled a sharp downturn in Connecticut’s immunization levels for vaccine-preventable diseases. Data show 39,140 fewer vaccine doses were distributed by the state Department of Public Health to medical providers in April – a 43% decrease over the amount circulated during the same month in 2019.

David / Creative Commons

There are just over 10 million cases of coronavirus globally and almost 500,000 deaths. U.S. deaths recently rose to 125,000.

Yet, the Trump Administration continues to downplay the seriousness of this pandemic. The White House Coronavirus Task Force met Friday for the first time in two months, with Vice-President Pence acknowledging the surge in several states but insisting, "We're in a much better place," than we were two months ago. 

Décolleté Dekoltee / Pixabay

Imagine you’ve got breasts. It shouldn’t be too hard to imagine, because most every human being has’ em! And that means that most of us are candidates for breast cancer.

This hour, we hear very intimate conversations with two women who go through the process of getting a double mastectomy - the removal of all the breast tissue. One decides to get reconstruction, and one does not.

Nik Anderson / Creative Commons

The U.S. is on track to reach 100,000 deaths from COVID-19 this week. Yet, most states began reopening last week using data that may be undercounting how many people are currently infected. 

healthcare workers
Joe Amon / Connecticut Public/NENC

Connecticut will join six other states in forming a consortium to purchase protective gear, medical equipment and testing supplies – an effort aimed at saving money and preparing for a possible second wave of the novel coronavirus.

Dr. Raymond Foley
Courtesy: UConn Health Center

Doctors caring for critically ill COVID-19 patients have had to find new ways to treat a fierce and mysterious virus, and at the same time comfort patients who are isolated without loved ones near them.

Connecticut Public Radio’s Diane Orson spoke with Dr. Raymond Foley, medical director of the intensive care unit at UConn John Dempsey Hospital in Farmington.

Merima Sestovic
Courtesy: Stamford Health

Stamford has been hit hard by COVID-19. The latest data show more than 2,300 confirmed cases, the most of any city or town in the state of Connecticut. 

Connecticut Public Radio’s Diane Orson reached out to Merima Sestovic, a nurse at Stamford Health, to hear how she and other front-line medical workers have been managing during the pandemic.

National Museum of Health and Medicine / Creative Commons

This show originally aired on July 25, 2018.

Two years ago, Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, alongside government leaders, ran an intricate simulation of a rapidly spreading pandemic. Their goal was to talk about the difficult ethical questions that arise in the event of a public health crisis. These are the same questions we find ourselves confronting today.

 

Dave Wurtzel/Connecticut Public

When Connecticut schools closed in mid-March to slow the spread of the coronavirus, most school nurses thought they'd be out of work for a while. But when COVID-19 drive-thru testing began in the Bristol-Burlington region, school nurses from the local health district stepped up to help staff the specimen collection station.

Dr. Patrick Broderick
Courtesy: Nuvance Health

The coronavirus has hit many hospital emergency rooms like a storm. Connecticut Public Radio’s Diane Orson spoke with Dr. Patrick Broderick, chair of emergency medicine at Danbury Hospital -- part of Nuvance Health in Fairfield County.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

America got (more) serious last week about COVID-19. Schools and colleges closed, workers went remote, professional sports teams canceled their seasons, theaters and restaurants closed their doors, and Americans hunkered down at home to reckon with the fragility of life as we know it.

We want to hear from you. Colin and an epidemiologist answer your questions.

researcher facility
Jackie Filson / Connecticut Public Radio

Scientists in Meriden are working on a vaccine to protect against COVID-19.

Protein Sciences said its COVID-19 research will be based on a vaccine candidate produced in Meriden in the early 2000s to combat SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome).

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

Samantha Merwin hoped to put money away in a college fund for her 13-year-old son, Logan.

But instead, any savings have gone into a health account that’s intended for Logan to use in his young adult years as he manages Type 1 diabetes, a lifelong chronic disease. 

Publicdomainpictures.net

The death of a pet can be devastating --yet when you lose an animal companion--you’re sometimes expected to “just get over it.”  This hour, we talk about human attachment to pets. Have you experienced the death of a beloved animal? How comfortable were you talking about your grief with others?

Jonathan Grado / Flickr Creative Commons

Life after death, in one form or another,  has been examined by multiple disciplines for centuries: From theology, to physics, to philosophy, to medicine and more. But while the topic is taken seriously by some, it remains a focus of ridicule and skepticism by others.

SUDOK1 / ISTOCK / THINKSTOCK

Syed Alishan Nasir, a fourth-year medical student, recently completed a clinical rotation at Norwalk Community Health Center, which, like other community health centers, treats many low-income and underserved residents.

The experience further cemented Nasir’s idea to one day become a primary care physician and work in a similar setting, but said he and others face significant barriers to going into primary care, which typically doesn’t pay as much as other specialties.

Images Money / Creative Commons

Major health care bills died in the Connecticut legislature earlier this year, including proposals for a public option insurance program, prescription drug pricing, and spending.

With health care policy shaping up to take prominence in both local and national politics next year, state lawmakers hope to get a jump-start on ways to lower health care costs and spending in Connecticut.

BRIANAJACKSON / ISTOCK / THINKSTOCK

Senior physicians at Yale New Haven Hospital were in the middle of presentations during a recent meeting of the graduate medical education committee when a group of interns, residents and fellows interrupted.

At the front of the room, they unfurled a banner painted with the words “Doctors Are Humans Too.”

The group of training doctors then presented staff with what they called a Resident and Fellow Bill of Rights.

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