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Dr. Eric Rubin: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

eric rubin, new england journal of medicine covid, eric rubin trump, eric rubin editorial, heavy talis shelbourne


Dr. Rubin has been the editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine for a year.

Eric Rubin, the editor-in-chief of the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine, drew national attention when he expressed deep disappointment in President Donald Trump’s administration as well as in everyday Americans who refuse to follow the public health guidelines mean to limit the spread of coronavirus.

In an article titled, “Dying in a Leadership Vacuum,” Rubin said that “our leaders have largely chosen to ignore and even denigrate experts,” Rubin said. “Instead of relying on expertise, the administration has turned to uninformed “opinion leaders” and charlatans who obscure the truth and facilitate the promulgation of outright lies.”

Rubin also acknowledged the shortcomings of average Americans, writing, “(What) we can control is how we behave. And in the United States, we have consistently behaved poorly.” Along with being a leading authority on tuberculosis, Rubin still works in research and as a teacher.

Here’s what you need to know:

1. Rubin Has Been a New Englander Since Childhood

According to an article in the National Journal of Medicine introducing Rubin, he grew up in Brockton, an area less than an hour away from the city’s famed “Southie” region.

As Rubin told Harvard University, “Brockton was a working-class city when I was there, a really great place to grow up,” he said. Being a member of the only public high school meant that “everyone knew everyone,” and the people were genuine and down-to-earth. “I still play cards with people that I went to kindergarten with,” he said.

Rubin’s father was a salesman who never attended college, but wanted to ensure that his son did, Harvard reported. Rubin described him in the journal as “one of the funniest people” he ever knew.

Rubin, according to the journal, became “the acme of achievement.” He originally had an eye towards Princeton, but, after his father gave him five Harvard sweatshirts, Rubin ended up attending Harvard, graduating and going on to the Tufts University School of Medicine.

“He would be thrilled,” Rubin said of his father. “Both my parents were proud of their children. They were pure in their support and love for us.”

2. Rubin Is One of the World’s Leading Tuberculosis Experts

According to a Harvard piece on Rubin, when he was asked by immunologist Barry Bloom what he would do as an assistant professor, Rubin was sure he’d blown it by responding he’d like to

The medical facts about Mike Pence’s debate red eye

Vice President Mike Pence on Wednesday night managed to make it to the debate stage despite the fact the White House is in the middle of a coronavirus outbreak that seems to continue to grow. 

During the debate against Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris, Pence’s left eye quickly became the talk of the internet after people noticed it appeared to be red and blurry throughout his performance.

While it’s not clear why the vice president’s eye looked a bit off and he recently tested negative for COVID-19, it prompted many users to speculate on whether it could be an indication Pence may be infected with the coronavirus, as pink eye is known to be a symptom. 


Typical symptoms of the coronavirus include fever, cough, nasal congestion, sore throat, fatigue and shortness of breath, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

Although it’s true conjunctivitis has been seen in coronavirus patients, it appears to be a rare occurrence. 

A meta-analysis published in the Journal of Medical Virology in May found conjunctivitis occurs in about 1.1 percent of all COVID-19 cases. 

The study found pink eye was more common in severe coronavirus cases. The symptom was seen in 3 percent of severe cases compared to just 0.7 percent of mild cases. 

Conjunctivitis can be highly contagious and is typically caused by bacteria and adenoviruses that can spread easily from person to person, so COVID-19 is certainly not the only possible infectious cause of eye redness. 

It’s also a giant leap to make the claim Pence was experiencing pink eye to begin with, let alone that it was brought on by the coronavirus. Redness in the eyes can be caused by a long list of possibilities such as dry eyes, allergies and broken blood vessels in the eye. 

As President Trump and several other White House officials, aides and advisers have tested positive for COVID-19 over the past week, Pence tested negative for the virus on Tuesday and “has remained healthy, without any COVID-19 symptoms,” according to his physician Jess Schonau. 

Source Article

Corralling the Facts on Herd Immunity

Editor’s note: Find the latest COVID-19 news and guidance in Medscape’s Coronavirus Resource Center.

For a term that’s at least 100 years old, “herd immunity” has gained new life in 2020.


It starred in many headlines last month, when reports surfaced that a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force and adviser to the president, Dr. Scott Atlas, recommended it as a strategy to combat COVID-19. The Washington Post reported that Atlas, a health care policy expert from the Hoover Institution of Stanford University, suggested the virus should be allowed to spread through the population so people build up immunity, rather than trying to contain it through shutdown measures.

At a town hall event a few weeks later, President Donald Trump raised the idea himself, saying the coronavirus would simply “go away,” as people developed “herd mentality” — a slip-up that nonetheless was understood to reference the same concept.

And as recently as last week, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) sparked a heated debate at a committee hearing when he suggested that the decline in COVID cases in New York City was due to herd or community immunity in the population rather than public health measures, such as wearing masks and social distancing. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious disease official, rebuked Paul, pointing out that only 22% of the city’s residents have COVID antibodies.

“If you believe 22% is herd immunity, I believe you’re alone in that,” Fauci told the senator.

All this talk got us thinking: People seem pretty confused about herd immunity. What exactly does it mean and can it be used to combat COVID-19?

An Uncertain Strategy With Great Cost

Herd immunity, also called community or population immunity, refers to the point at which enough people are sufficiently resistant to a disease that an infectious agent is unlikely to spread from person to person. As a result, the whole community — including those who don’t have immunity — becomes protected.

People generally gain immunity in one of two ways: vaccination or infection. For most diseases in recent history — from smallpox and polio to diphtheria and rubella —vaccines have been the route to herd immunity. For the most highly contagious diseases, like measles, about 94% of the population needs to be immunized to achieve that level of protection. For COVID-19, scientists estimate the percentage falls between 50% to 70%.

Before the COVID pandemic, experts can’t recall examples in which governments intentionally turned to natural infection to achieve herd immunity. Generally, such a strategy could lead to widespread illness and death, said Dr. Carlos del Rio, an expert in infectious disease and vaccines at the Emory University School of Medicine.

“It’s a terrible idea,” del Rio said. “It’s basically giving up on public health.”

A new, large study found fewer than 1 in 10 Americans have antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Even in the hardest-hit areas, like New York City, estimates of immunity among residents are about 25%.

To reach 50% to