Coronavirus 2020 Q&A

18115_lores[1]Learn how to protect your friends, your family, and yourself from the coronavirus.

The coronavirus is big news throughout the world, with over 90,000 cases and 3,000 deaths so far. It does not show many signs of abating. I have corresponded with journalists writing articles on this topic for the Huffington Post, Rolling Stone magazine, and other venues. But since I am most concerned for (and praying for, even last night), our readers and subscribers at the MD Harris Institute, I want to share important coronavirus information with you.

US and world public health authorities, such as the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), are developing and following scientific protocols for quarantine, isolation, and personal protective measures. Hospitals are ramped up for detection and treatment. Top scholars are researching the virus and searching for treatments and vaccines. Many people have died, and more will, both in the US and abroad, but we want to minimize that number. The coronavirus is a serious challenge to all of us, as individuals and as nations, and we must face it as individuals and as nations. As with every other threat in life, governments can only partially protect us; we must protect ourselves and our families.  

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Ballad of the Corona Virus

A medical musical tale of love and survival between an American man and a Chinese woman in the world of the new corona virus.

The Ballad of the Corona Virus (tune “Open Arms”, Journey)

Verse 1
Lying beside you, here in the dark
Feeling your fever so high
Weakly you touch me, pain so severe
Why did I stay for the night?
I thought it was true love, I wanted some fun
But now, I just want to run

Cause it’s Corona virus, twelve thousand cases
It has got you, will it get to me too?
Oh why, did I, visit China?
Can I catch a plane, or a boat or a train, outta here?

Verse 2
In California, hospital bed
Aching and coughing up blood
In isolation – gloves, gowns, and masks
Chills come on me like a flood
Nurses and doctors, don’t know what to do
There’s no vaccination for me.

Cause it’s Corona virus, often fatal
Waiting for doctors, insurance won’t cover
But soon my lady will arrive from Wuhan
I’m fading away, but we’ll beat you someday, Corona


Public Health

A compendium of articles in outside sources written by Dr. Harris and looking at Public Health. 

In 2009 I wrote an article detailing the three most important factors in ensuring the health and security of a people: societal stability, public health, and primary care. The article studied the Black Death, the Great Influenza, and other key events in history to determine how these three factors, or lack thereof, impacted people’s lives.

In 2016 this has not changed. Large outbreaks like Ebola and Zika, and smaller ones like Influenza and Salmonella, impact the world every day. Non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, and injuries of all sorts, remain major threats to health. New hazards arise, whether from pollution or exposure to untested industrial chemicals. And as always, unhealthy lifestyle choices cause more early disease and death than anything else.

Meanwhile, as nations and individuals sink further into debt, public health funding declines. Greater need and fewer resources in public health mean that professionals in that field need to work smarter. Articles below are intended to help these public health and other medical professionals meet their mission.

American Family Physician

High Altitude Medicine


Military Medicine

Hearing threshold comparisons between 2001-02 NHANES and 2003-05 Fort Bliss U.S. Army Service components

Modeling hospital response to mild and severe influenza pandemic scenarios under normal and expanded capacities

Comparison of nondeployable hearing profiles by Army component (Active Duty, National Guard, and Reserve) and by gender

Preventive medicine in Task Force 1st Armored Division during Operation Iraqi Freedom

Medical reference databases used by Army primary care physicians in field environments


Infectious Disease in Athletes 

Laser eye injuries in military occupations

Societal stability, public health and primary care as three pillars of defence in biosecurity

Vaccinating health care workers against smallpox in an isolated primary care facility



Outbreak Investigation

The Year in Medical History

1 Jan – German scientist William Rontgen announced his discovery of x-rays (1896).

1 Jan – All cigarette packages sold in the US were required to include the US Surgeon General’s warning “Caution: Cigarette smoking may be hazardous to your health (1966)

1 Jan – The first law requiring fluoridation of public water supplies became active in Connecticut (1967).

1 Jan – The Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Health Care Organizations (JCAHO) enacted a policy to remove accreditation from all hospitals allowing indoor smoking (1992).

1 Jan – Iowa became the first state to ban mercury (thimerosal) in all vaccines used in children (2006).

4 Jan – Dr. William West Grant performed what was probably the first successful appendectomy, on Mary Gartside (1885).

6 Jan – Diphenylhydantoin (phenytoin) was approved as an anti-epileptic drug by the US Food and Drug Adminstration (FDA) (1953).

10 Jan – Drs. Hubert Loring and C.E. Schwerdt at Stanford University isolated the polio virus (1947).

11 Jan – Elizabeth Blackwell became the first woman to earn a US medical degree (1849).

15 Jan – The Pemberton Medicine Company, known today as the Coca Cola Company, was incorporated in Atlanta, Georgia (1889).

21 Jan – First medical pamphlet in America, covering smallpox, was published (1677).

2 Feb – To combat a deadly epidemic, dog sleds from Anchorage reach Nome with diphtheria serum, saving lives and inspiring the Iditarod Race (1925).

3 Feb – The world’s first baby conceived by embryo transplant was born in Long Beach, CA (1984).

4 Feb – Dr. M. S. Roberts performed the longest surgery in medical history, lasting four days. He drained a nine-foot circumference ovarian cyst of Mrs. Gertrude Levandowski, removing 200 lbs of fluid at 120 drops per minute and then excising the remainder of the 100 lb cyst (1951).

23 Feb – The first US pharmacy college, the Philadelphia College of Apothecaries, was founded (1821).

27 Feb – US patent awarded to the drug and dye firm Bayer for the new pain killer, acetylsalicylic acid (ASA), popularly known as aspirin (1900).

1 Mar – Rebecca Lee became the first black women to earn a US medical degree (1864).

19 Mar – CSS Georgiana was destroyed on her maiden voyage while carrying munitions, medicine and merchandise (1863).

30 Mar – American Surgeon Crawford Long used ether for surgical anesthesia for the first time (1842).

1 Apr – English physician Joseph Lister completed a series of 11 compound fracture repairs using antiseptic technique. When the results were published in Lancet, his techniques became standard of practice worldwide (1867).

2 Apr – Francis Crick and James Watson published an article in Nature correctly describing the double helix nature of DNA (1953).

4 Apr – Professor C. Glen King of the University of Pittsburgh isolated vitamin C (1932).

24 Apr – Sigmund Freud published his famous paper, Das Ich und das Es, outlining his concept of the Id, the Ego, and the Super-Ego (1923).

1 May – The director of Japanese Chisso Corporation hospital announced the outbreak of an unknown disease of the central nervous system, later known as Minamata Disease, which was caused by mercury waste in the food and water supply (1956).

3 May – First US medical college opened in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (1765).

7 May – The American Medical Association was founded and Dr. Nathaniel Chapman was elected as its first president (1847).

7 May – The Johns Hopkins Hospital, one of the first modern medical centers in the United States, was founded under the tutelage of pathologist William Henry Welch, surgeon William Stewart Halsted, internist William Osler, and gynecologist Howard Atwood Kelly (1889).

14 May – British physician Edward Jenner administered the first vaccine (cowpox) found to be effective against smallpox (1796).

14 May – Lina Medina, the youngest mother in history at age five years, seven months and 17 days, gave birth to Gerardo Medina by caesarean section (1939). The biological father is unknown.

1 Jun – The Heimlich maneuver for rescuing choking victims was published in the Journal Emergency Medicine (1974).

10 Jun – New York passed the first law effectively regulating medical practice (1760).

20 Jun – On La Noche Triste, Aztec warriors drove Spaniards under Hernan Cortez out of Tenochtitlan (Mexico City), but the smallpox epidemic that had just begun in the city decimated the populace and ensured ultimate Spanish victory (1520).

21 Jun – The first graduate of the first US medical school, John Archer, graduated with a bachelor of medicine degree (1765).

1 Jul – American President Grover Cleveland secretly underwent a successful surgery on the yacht Oneida to remove a verrucous carcinoma in his mouth and jaw (1893).

6 Jul – Rabies vaccine developed by Louis Pasteur and Emile Roux used on the first human patient, nine year old Joseph Meister (1885).

17 Jul – The first US dental school, the Harvard School of Dental Medicine, was founded (1867).

10 Aug – German chemist Felix Hoffman, employed at the Bayer Company, discovered acetylsalicylic acid. Later trademarked by Bayer as Aspirin, it is one of the most important drugs in history (1897).

12 Aug – Dr. Joseph Lister first used carbolic acid as a surgical disinfectant. The patient was James Greenless, aged 12, who had a leg fracture from being run over by a cart (1865).

31 Aug – The London cholera epidemic spread to the Soho District, killing 127 people on or near Broad Street in the first three days. Physician John Snow tracked the source to the water pump on Broad Street, and when the handle to the pump was removed on 8 Sep, the outbreak dwindled (1854).

4 Sep – Meningitis vaccine was first offered in Great Britain (2006).

6 Sep – Human insulin was first produced by genetic engineering using E.coli bacteria. This improved insulin availability for diabetic patients (1978).

28 Sep – Sir Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin at Saint Mary’s Hospital in London when he noticed a petri dish contaminated by blue-green (Penicillium notatum) mold with a halo of impaired staphylococcal growth around the mold (1928).

1 Oct – Allied troops entering Naples discovered an ongoing typhus epidemic among the civilian population with over 400 fatalities. A mass delousing program with DDT aborted the outbreak (1943).

19 Oct – Albert Schatz isolated Streptomycin, the first antibiotic effective against tuberculosis (1943).

30 Oct – The first successful kidney transplant in Great Britain was performed by Michael Woodruff in the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary (1960).

1 Nov – Boston Female Medical School, the first such school in the world exclusively for women, opened its doors to the first class of twelve (1848).

1 Nov – Dr. J. E. Gillman announced the first x-ray treatment for breast cancer (1901).

4 Nov – Benjamin F. Palmer received the first US patent for an artificial leg (1846).

10 Nov – Dr. Rudolph Matas of Louisiana anesthetized a patient for surgery in the spinal, subarachnoid space, thus pioneering spinal anesthesia (1899).

29 Nov – Vivien Thomas and Alfred Blalock performed the first successful human surgery to treat Blue Baby Syndrome caused by the Tetralogy of Fallot (1944).

9 Dec – After the conclusion of the main portion of the Nuremberg Trials, the Doctors’ Trial began, in which 23 Nazi physicians and others were tried for inhuman experimentation and mass murder Seven were acquitted (1946).

10 Dec – In the Brown Dog Riots, after passage of the Cruelty to Animals Act of 1876, medical students and feminists clashed with London police over vivisection practices in medical education (1907).

17 Dec – Davina Thompson survived the first heart, lung and liver transplant in history (1986).