Infectious diseases

Daily decisions about risk: What to do when there’s no right answer

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

With COVID-19 cases still rising in many places, all of us must make daily decisions involving personal risk. But often, there’s no single right answer that applies to everyone. Here’s how to make sensible decisions around many different activities.

Summer’s here, teens and parents — now what?

For many teens, summer activities like jobs, internships, and camps are probably on hold this year, and a sense of uncertainty hovers over nearly everything. How can parents guide teens and help them flourish while also keeping them safe?

Driving across the country in a pandemic

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Driving halfway across the country may not seem enticing these days, but at the moment traveling by car is arguably safer than traveling by plane. If you’re considering a road trip, some planning will make things easier — and safer.

How to socialize in a pandemic

Some social distancing will be needed for many more months, or even years, to keep the coronavirus at bay. But abstaining from all social contact for the long haul won’t be a sustainable option for most people. So, how can we make decisions about socializing safely?

Bracing for contact tracing

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

As states reopen, contact tracing — locating and testing people known to have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 — will be an important tool to help contain further spread of illness. But how does it work, and what do you need to know about it?

New warning on coronavirus symptoms in children — what parents need to know

Claire McCarthy, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

A rare syndrome in some children that affects the heart and other organs may be a reaction to a current or past COVID-19 infection, but test results for the coronavirus are sometimes negative.

No spleen? What you need to know to stay healthy

Wendy Stead, MD


You don’t need your spleen to live a normal, healthy life, but the spleen does play an important role in defending the body against infection, so those without it need to take certain precautions to ensure they remain healthy.

U=U: Ending stigma and empowering people living with HIV

People living with HIV can suppress the virus by taking medication daily. If the level of virus in a person’s blood is suppressed successfully, research shows that the virus isn’t passed on to others. U=U means “undetectable equals untransmittable.”

As the pandemic drags on, when can we get back to work?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

As the coronavirus pandemic stretches on, many people wonder when they can go back to their workplaces. The answers may depend on where a person lives and works, findings from antibody tests, and other factors.

A tale of two epidemics: When COVID-19 and opioid addiction collide

In our inner cities, the COVID-19 pandemic comes on top of another crisis that has plagued our country for years: the opioid epidemic. The combined effects of these two events are immense, and highlight already-existing problems with our society and our health care system.