By Dr. Anthony Policastro

When we were children we learned different kinds of sayings. One of them was: “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” It is a saying from 19th century England. According to Wikipedia, its purpose was “to increase resiliency, avoid physical retaliation and to remain calm and good-living.”

The whole idea was to try and take the emotion out of words. We taught our children that, but sometimes we forget that lesson. We get very emotional over things that are words.

There are some current examples of that. The Washington Redskins very name insulted and angered Native Americans. For a number of years they tried to get the name changed. This year they succeeded.

There are currently people who are upset over the use of Confederate military leaders’ names on military installations. That too has been a source of emotion.

Of course there are some words that are pretty much always inappropriate. They actually are often used to generate an emotional response.

The disparaging term for an African-American is one of those words that we just should not use. There are other words like that. Calling someone a “retard” is something that should not be done. These words have an inherent evil about them.

We have gone through many movements in our history. They include things like Women’s Suffrage. They include things like Prohibition. More recently, we have the Me Too movement about sexual harassment. Those names tend to elicit little in the way of emotions.

The same cannot be said of reactions to the Black Lives Matter movement. Emotions run strong both for and against the title. The proponents feel that black lives matter too. The opponents feel that the name stand for the concept only black lives matter.

Change comes with discussions that use logic rather than emotion. So whenever we see ourselves becoming emotional about names that are used, we need to take a step back. We need to ask ourselves what the best approach is to make progress.

We teach our children to pay less attention to words than to actions. We need to make sure that we act the same way that we expect them to act.


From July 7th through August 2nd the number of new cases nationally ranged from 56,000 to 79,000 daily; thus the rate of rise was pretty steady. On August 3rd the number of new cases was only 48,000. It looks like the number for Aug 4th will be similar. So despite some hot spots, there may be some decreases related to people learning how to properly behave in the COVID era.

Last week, my section on immunizations contained an error that might have led to some confusion. So I will clarify it this week.

Immunizations have always been two types. One used dead viruses. Flu vaccine is an example. A trial of COVID dead virus vaccine resulted in only a 57 percent antibody rate. That will not work.

The second type used inactivated (attenuated) viruses. MMR is an example. Coronavac trials with attenuated virus has produced better than 90 percent antibody rate in 743 patients. A larger trial is now underway.

All other COVID vaccines use a brand new technique. They manufacture proteins in a lab. The proteins mimic COVID proteins. The hypothesis is that once antibodies are made to the protein, they will also react with COVID. Given the fact that we have not tested many patients to this point, the answer is not yet clear.