Photo by Emily Morter on Unsplash

The lies and misinformation around the COVID-19 pandemic can be comical at times.

According to some people who don’t like masks, masks don’t work against the novel coronavirus that is causing the COVID-19 pandemic. They say that infections still happen even when people wear masks, so there’s no sense in wearing them. …

Image of a hand holding a syringe and preparing to load the syringe with something from a spoon while there are two bottles of medicine in the background along with another syringe.
Photo by Michael Longmire on Unsplash

Sure, the pandemic had a lot to do with what we’re seeing nationally, but economic problems and the stress they bring have a lot to do with rates of substance use and substance disorder. And those rates can both rise or fall in a good economy and in a bad economy.

I recently gave an interview to WTOP News (Washington, DC) about the opioid epidemic and how local impacts in light of the recent national numbers indicating that a record number of residents in the United States had died from opioid overdoses in the period between April 2020 and April 2021

Some crimes in the Charmed City happen “in plain daylight” while others happen mostly at dark, but is there a real difference or just a perceived one?

I got curious and decided to look at some of the Baltimore City open data on crime. Then I got the idea of analyzing it to see if some crimes were more likely to happen in the daytime than at night. For this, I was going to need data on…

A father and daughter facing away from the camera and toward the ocean. The daughter is a toddler and sitting on the father’s shoulders. Both have their arms spread out.
Our greatest achievements as men are not behind us… They’re right next to us.

Contrary to what you may hear in political speeches, masculinity is alive and well… And it’s only getting better.

Did I ever tell you how I grew up in the machismo culture of Mexico, and how I survived being a sensitive kid who cried when he was sad and didn’t get into fights? Well, I did. I did because I learned at a young age that there was nothing…

Image of a protest with one protestor holding a sign that reads “The Earth is Flat.”
Photo by Kajetan Sumila on Unsplash

Health Officers in Maryland sit at the top of the organizational charts for local health departments, where the most impactful public health work happens. In Maryland, they’re being fired or quitting at an alarming rate.

What do you think of when you think of your local health department? Do you think of some obscure building somewhere where work is done that you don’t know much about? Do you think of the people with the thermometers going into kitchens and restaurants to make sure your food…

Image of a longhorn cow laying on the grass, looking straight at the camera. There is another smaller cow behind it, and there is a fence behind the two of them.
“Let me tell ya about herd immunity, pardner…”

Herd Immunity or Community Immunity has been touted as the thing that will end the pandemic. But, with several populations reaching the herd immunity threshold, why are we still in this mess?

According to the Gospel of Luke, Jesus was asked about loving one’s neighbor with a simple question, “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus answered with the parable of the Good Samaritan. It’s a good parable, even when you strip away all the religious context, it is a story that can teach…

Header image by John Cameron on Unsplash

Too many of us portrayed vaccines as a panacea against COVID-19 and treat them like a sacred cow against criticism

In one of the many interactions I’ve had on social media about vaccines in general and the COVID-19 vaccines in particular, an individual who shall go unnamed asked if a person who was vaccinated against COVID-19 was still capable of catching and transmitting the virus. “Yes,” I replied. …

A swimming pool in the dark, with only low lighting. The swimming pool is divided into lanes for lap swimming.

Do I have your attention? Let’s talk about why we won’t shut down all pools to prevent those drownings, nor will we shut down schools to prevent a comparable number of pediatric deaths from COVID-19. It boils down to being able to do other things to reduce harm, like fences and vaccines for each respective problem.

I recently mentioned on Twitter that people who were okay with four hundred deaths from COVID-19 in children so far in the epidemic were sociopaths. My definition of a sociopath is a person who doesn’t understand the feelings of someone else. To them, it’s too bad you feel bad about…

Thomas Jefferson’s coming ho-oh-ohme!

Before Edward Jenner widely publicized his observations on vaccination, the only protection against smallpox was the practice of variolation (also known as inoculation). Variolation consisted of artificially exposing a person to smallpox (usually Variola minor since it caused less death than Variola major) under the care of a physician. Observations…

Rene F. Najera, MPH, DrPH

Doctor of Public Health in Epidemiology. Associate at JHSPH. Adjunct at George Mason Univ. Epidemiologist at a large County Health Department. Father. Husband.

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