Asymptomatic =/= Immune

I didn’t realize until last night that this was a point of confusion.  If my spouse didn’t get it, despite my many rants about asymptomatic spread for the last couple of months, then undoubtedly there are others who don’t get it either.

To be asymptomatic means that you’re infected but not showing symptoms.  This might actually mean you’re pre-symptomatic (you’ll eventually have symptoms) or that for whatever reason, you’ll never develop symptoms.  However, you are still infected, and you can spread the virus (or other infectious agent, but these days, we’re mostly talking about the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19) to anyone who is not immune.  If you are an asymptomatic COVID-19 carrier, you are infected.  You are not immune.  You will most likely eventually develop immunity.  To be asymptomatic is good for you, but bad for everyone around you, because you could be (and probably are) unknowingly spreading the virus.

If you are asymptomatic, you will (assuming 100% accuracy for all tests, which is a huge oversimplification)

– test positive for the antigen (virus)

– test negative for the antibody (proteins created by the body to fight the virus)

– be able to spread the virus to others

To be immune means you have the antibodies to the virus (or other infectious agent).  At some point, you either were infected with the virus and successfully cleared it from your system or you received a vaccine (which, on May 28, 2020, we don’t yet have anything other than a bunch of prototypes being tested).  If you are exposed to the virus again, your body has its defenses prepared to essentially kill on sight (again, oversimplification).  You are very unlikely to carry the virus to someone else.  To be immune is good for you and everyone around you.

If you are immune, you will (again, assuming 100% accuracy for all tests)

– test negative for the antigen (virus)

– test positive for the antibody (proteins created by the body to fight the virus)

– not spread the virus to others

The entire point to masking and social distancing is the same point as safer sex measures: you have to assume that you (and everyone else) are infected and capable of spreading the virus unless you have concrete proof that you cannot.  Concrete proof means a positive antibody test, because you could have tested negative for the antigen (virus) yesterday and been infected immediately after.

Also, on a related note, we don’t yet know for sure how long immunity lasts.  Hopes are for a minimum of 12 months, but we literally can’t know for sure until people who have tested immune (positive antibody test) lose that immunity (without a confounder like HIV attacking that immunity) or don’t.

Trying to find citable sources for all this that aren’t written in overly scientific language and/or behind a paywall is a fun challenge.  There’s this article, which isn’t exactly a peer-reviewed source but does explain things rather simply.  I suppose Johns Hopkins is a better source, but it doesn’t make the distinction in quite the way I think is needed.  Hopefully they’ll help explain this further, though.

Posthumxnism and the Pandemic


Co-contributors with Jessica Dillard Wright:*
Jane Hopkins Walsh
Brandon Blaine Brown

One of the things that’s coming to light is how the global spread of a microscopic virus is placing the ravages of racism and inequity under the microscope. But the fact is, we don’t all see the same thing! Racism has a way of actually DISTORTING our vision. Intertwined with many other forms of social domination, racism is mercurial, innovative, even viral.” (Benjamin, 2020

Celestial Octopus Our Celestial Octopus, emblem of the Compost Collaborative, created by nurse-artist Christian Tedjasukmana

As the Compost Collaborative,** a posthumxn rhizome of feminist, queer, nursing joy and terror, we wish to acknowledge some of the deep, enduring, and trenchant lessons of our dystopian present. As friends and scholars, we are deeply connected by a shared passion for a radical posthumxn path for the future of nursing. We first wish to convey our deep…

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A Call to Share Our Stories

GLMA Nursing

As we head into National Nurses Week (May 6-12), this is a good time to be reminded of the importance of sharing our stories as nurses.  Unless we tell our stories, the general public gets their impression of nursing entirely from news and popular media, and as we all know, that is frequently inaccurate.

GLMA is calling for all LGBTQ+ front line health care workers to share our stories (link).  By participating in this, you not only have the opportunity to educate the public on what nurses do but also on the contributions made by the LGBTQ+ community.  Telling our stories is also an important way of acknowledging and processing your own contributions.  If you are currently working the front lines in combatting the COVID-19 pandemic, please consider taking a moment to share your story.

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Nurses’ Concerns with COVID19: Update May 2, 2020


I find that nothing is more powerful than hearing the stories of our nurses during this pandemic crisis. This website has some of these powerful stories from nurses around the globe, sharing their experiences of caring for COVID19 patients:

PPE: Nurses continue to lack Personal Protective Equipment: A recent survey showed that 75% of staff in home-care settings are lacking in PPE. Home Care Survey. 86% of healthcare systems are also concerned with having adequate PPE available: PPE shortages

Political unrest emerges even as nurses remain on the front lines of providing care for patients during the pandemic. Nurses rose to the occasion to stand their ground in the face of protestors. Nurses Urge Protestors to Stay Homeimage.png

National Nurses United organized a nation-wide May-Day protest about lack of PPE:

image.png Nurses also took  action by protesting outside of the Whitehouse on April 21 and reading aloud the…

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The Denial of Care Rule, the Equality Act, and Nursing Ethics

While this is focused on nurses, you don’t have to be a nurse to call your representative and advocate for the Equality Act!

GLMA Nursing

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Civil Rights has released what they are referring to as “the final conscience rule protecting health care entities and individuals.” This rule is more broadly being referred to as the Denial of Care Rule, as it prohibits the government from penalizing practitioners or organizations for refusing to provide health care based upon religious conscience.

The president of GLMA, Gal Mayer, MD, has spoken out against this rule in no uncertain terms. In particular, he noted that, “The Denial of Care rule also stands in direct conflict with the Joint Commission and the major medical and health professional associations representing physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, psychologists, social workers and other healthcare providers that have adopted standards to ensure all patients, including LGBTQ patients, are treated with respect and without bias and discrimination in all healthcare settings.”


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GLMA Nursing Summit 2018 Keynote — GLMA Nursing

If last week’s agenda post was a little overwhelming, fear not! We’ll share some of the details between now and October 10. Our Keynote Speaker, Dr. TaMara Griffin, Sacred Soul SEXucator and Holistic Healer, will be speaking to us about the need for everyone, from clients to clinicians, to practice self care and heal old […]

via GLMA Nursing Summit 2018 Keynote — GLMA Nursing

Testing a nurse developed, patient-centered health tracking app

Fascinating study on the use of mobile health tracking apps. Like the author, I’m stunned that millennials were the hardest to recruit to participate and would love to know why!

ANS: Advances in Nursing Science Blog

The current featured article in ANS is titled “The Usability and Acceptability of a Patient-Centered Mobile Health Tracking App Among a Sample of Adult Radiation Oncology Patients,” authored by Susan D. Birkhoff, PhD, RN; Mary Ann Cantrell, PhD, RN, CNE, FAAN; Helene Moriarty, PhD, RN, FAAN; and Robert Lustig, MD, FACR. The article is available at no cost while it is featured on the website!

In speaking about this work, Dr. Birkhoff emphasized how important it is for nurses to be involved in designing, creating, and evaluating digital tools. Nurses, she believes, have a rich perspective on what patients need, arising from their close relationship with patients.  Her work reported in this article arises from her realization that existing digital tools lack the perspectives that nurses bring to healthcare. In this video, she speaks to her experience conducting this study, and why it is important.

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