COVID-19 Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities

Underlying health and social inequities put many racial and ethnic minority groups at increased risk of getting sick, having more severe illness, and dying from COVID-19. Racial and ethnic minority groups are also unequally affected by unintended economic, social, and secondary health consequences of COVID-19 mitigation strategies such as social distancing.

“Health equity” means that everyone has the opportunity to be as healthy as possible. Equitable opportunity includes equal access to and distribution of resources. When policies, programs, and systems that support health are equitable, poor health outcomes can be reduced, health disparities can be prevented, and the whole of society benefits.

Madison ranks 58th (out of 133) in the state for overall health outcomes, a situation compounded by lack of access to clinical care (including lack of access to telemedicine via high-speed Internet). Greene ranks 36th, Culpeper 42nd, and Orange 53rd, according to statistics provided by the Robert Johnson Wood Foundation.

The Madison Free Clinic is committed to providing quality healthcare to all uninsured residents of Madison County. You can determine your eligibility and apply online at https://madisonfreeclinic.org/patient-application/.

Communities, Schools, Workplaces, & Events

Click each link above to learn about underlying health and social inequities that put many racial and ethnic minority groups at increased risk of getting sick, having more severe illness, and dying from COVID-19. Racial and ethnic minority groups are also unequally affected by unintended economic, social, and secondary health consequences of COVID-19 mitigation strategies such as social distancing.

Should You Be Taking Vitamin D?

Vitamin D has been promoted as a cure-all. You may have seen headlines claiming that taking vitamin D can help prevent or even treat COVID-19, but there’s no solid science to support that yet. A paper recently published in BMJ Nutrition, Prevention & Health indicated that while everyone should strive to get enough of the vitamin, there’s still a dearth of research showing a beneficial effect on COVID-19.

“There’s no question that additional vitamin D is helpful if someone is low or deficient,” says F. Michael Gloth III, M.D., an associate professor in the division of geriatric medicine at Johns Hopkins University’s medical school. “But no trial has shown any benefit for giving vitamin D in any population that’s already getting enough.”

But there’s a connection between vitamin D levels and the risk of respiratory infections in general. The vitamin plays many roles throughout the body. “It supports a range of antiviral responses,” says Adrian Martineau, Ph.D., a clinical professor of respiratory infection and immunity at Queen Mary University of London. It boosts the ability of lung cells to fight bacteria and viruses, among other things, he says.

As always, please consult a healthcare professional before making major dietary changes.

Should You Be Taking Vitamin D?

Consumer Reports sifts through the evidence to help you decide if you should be taking vitamin D supplements, telling you what you should know about the risk of low levels, and who should be tested.

Why Diabetes + COVID-19 Is So Dangerous

Living with diabetes—a disease in which the body doesn’t properly process glucose, or sugar, from food—has always been complicated.

But the arrival of the coronavirus has multiplied those challenges. As a result, many of the estimated 34 million Americans with diabetes (about 1 in 10 people) and 88 million with prediabetes (about 1 in 3 adults) may now be fighting for their lives in more ways than one.

Testing for both COVID-19 and diabetes is available at no cost to Free Clinic Patients. Call us at 540-948-3667 to schedule an appointment.

Why Diabetes + COVID-19 Is So Dangerous

In this special report on diabetes + COVID-19, Consumer Reports says people with diabetes and those who are at risk for it are far more likely to experience severe complications if they become ill with the coronavirus.

A Flu Shot Might Reduce Coronavirus Infections, Early Research Suggests

Flu season will look different this year, as the country grapples with a coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 234,000 people. Many Americans are reluctant to visit a doctor’s office and public health officials worry people will shy away from being immunized.

Although sometimes incorrectly regarded as just another bad cold, flu also kills tens of thousands of people in the U.S. each year, with the very young, the elderly, and those with underlying conditions the most vulnerable. When coupled with the effects of COVID-19, public health experts say it’s more important than ever to get a flu shot.

Flu shots are available at no charge for all Free Clinic patients. Call us at 540-948-3667 or 540-729-4373 or email us at intake@madisonfreeclinic.org for an appointment. Not a Free Clinic patient, or need to renew your application? You can do that right here Patient Application/Renewal

It might seem far-fetched that a vaccine designed to protect against one infection could protect against others, too. But a growing body of research suggests that this does, in fact, occur through a process called “trained innate immunity.” Vaccines are known to work by stimulating the adaptive immune system, causing the body to make antibodies that can recognize and attack a specific pathogen if it is encountered again. But recent studies suggest that some vaccines also train the body’s faster-acting and less specific innate immune system, improving its ability to fight off many kinds of infections.

A Flu Shot Might Reduce Coronavirus Infections, Early Research Suggests

U.S. health officials are urging Americans to get their flu shots this year in the hopes of thwarting a winter ” twindemic”-a situation in which both influenza and COVID-19 spread and sicken the public. But a new study suggests that there could be another key reason to get a flu jab this year: it might reduce your risk of COVID-19.

Airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned yesterday that the coronavirus spreads more readily than it had previously stated, after briefly posting and then removing a draft of the same advisory last month. The new guidance warns that in indoor settings with poor ventilation, contagion can spread via microscopic aerosol particles well beyond the 6-foot social distance many Americans have been observing.

A group of infectious-disease physicians and aerosol experts, in a letter published Monday in the journal Science, more strongly emphasized the airborne potential of the virus than the CDC did in its update.

COVID-19 testing is available free of charge for Free Clinic patients. Please call us at 540-948-3667 for more information.

CDC says airborne transmission plays a role in coronavirus spread in a long-awaited update after a website error last month

The update officially acknowledges growing evidence that under certain conditions, people farther than six feet apart can become infected by tiny droplets and particles that float in the air for minutes and hours, and that they play a role in the pandemic.

Flu vaccines are more important than ever this fall

The Madison Free Clinic will begin offering free flu shots to our patients soon. Stay tuned for details!

In the meantime, COVID-19 tests are available by appointment. Please contact intake@madisonfreeclinic.org for more information.

“COVID Toes” and Other Unusual Symptoms You Need to Know About

The majority of people with COVID toes — which Freeman likens to chilblains (also called pernio), an inflammatory skin condition that often occurs after exposure to very cold temperatures — don’t experience other symptoms of a coronavirus infection and don’t require hospitalization for care. “Many patients are developing these toe lesions well after their infection, or they’re otherwise completely asymptomatic, except for the toes,” she adds.

The Covid-19 virus can linger on objects for as little as a few hours or as long as a couple days, depending on the surface. Here’s the research.

The Covid-19 virus can linger on objects for as little as a few hours or as long as a couple of days, depending on the surface. Here’s the research.

Children are not immune

In the last two weeks of July, nearly 100,000 children in the United States tested positive for the coronavirus, according to data from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association.

The speed and the scale of the infections — dozens of countries have not yet recorded 100,000 cases in total — further complicate the already daunting issue of reopening schools. In Georgia, Indiana and other states, some schools that reopened have already closed down again after new outbreaks emerged.

Recent research suggests that children can carry at least as much of the virus in their noses and throats as adults do, even if they have only mild or moderate symptoms. That has prompted fears that students who become ill at school may spread the virus to their older relatives.

But it’s not just older people who are at risk — in some rare cases, a child’s health can be severely affected. Nearly 600 young people in the U.S., from infants to 20-year-olds, have developed an inflammatory syndrome linked to Covid-19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports. Most of the children required intensive care.

“I fear that there has been this sense that kids just won’t get infected or don’t get infected in the same way as adults and that, therefore, they’re almost like a bubbled population,” Michael Osterholm, an infectious disease expert at the University of Minnesota, told The Times in July.

“There will be a transmission,” he said. “What we have to do is accept that now and include that in our plans.”

Controlling Diabetes Takes on Greater Urgency During COVID-19 Pandemic

After cardiovascular disease, diabetes is the second most common underlying health condition associated with severe outcomes in COVID-19 patients, making people with diabetes six times more likely to be hospitalized and 12 times more likely to die than those without pre-existing, underlying conditions, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But having diabetes under control can make all the difference.