The 4 best heating pads for pain relief in 2021

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  • Whether you’re looking for pain relief, relaxation, or a bit of both, you need a quality heating pad.
  • The best ones are easy to use, comfortable, and have different temperature controls.
  • The Sunbeam XpressHeat Heating Pad heats up fast, has several functions, and is affordably priced.

Heating pads are effective for soothing different types of pain and can provide relief within minutes. Some uses for heating pads include relieving aches from sports injuries, gym workouts, mild arthritis, menstrual cramps, and general tightness from sitting in front of a desk for prolonged periods.

A common concern is that you’ll fall asleep with the heating pad on, increasing your risk of burns or skin irritation. To combat this, most heating pads automatically shut off, though you can sometimes override this feature. In addition, many have a variety of temperature settings to choose from.

If you’re concerned about pain relief, you’ll want to look at heating pads that provide moist and dry heat therapy. According to a 2015 BioMed Central study, heat therapy helps with blood flow and metabolism, helps to decrease muscle tension, and helps to improve range of motion.

Some heating pads qualify as eligible flex spending account (FSA) expenses, so if you have funds to use up, a heating pad is an option to consider.

Here are the best heating pads of 2021

The best heating pad overall

Sunbeam heating pad

The Sunbeam XpressHeat Heating Pad heats up in just 30 seconds, is budget-friendly, and has easy-to-use LED temperature controls. 

Pros: Comes in two sizes, useful for dry or moist heat, auto shut-off feature, specifically alleviates pain from sore joints and muscles, easy-to-use LED temperature controls

Cons: The cord can get in the way

Warranty: Five-year limited warranty

When you’re in pain or want to soothe aches right away, you don’t want to wait around for your heating pad to warm up. The Sunbeam XpressHeat Heating Pad heats up in just 30 seconds for fast relief from aches and pains. You’ll know when it’s ready to use with the pad’s built-in heat meter, which grows brighter as the 180 watt-powered heat increases. Sunbeam specifically recommends it for use on sore and achy joints and muscles. What’s more, this heating pad comes in large and extra-large sizes, so you’ll have enough to cover your spine or place it across your shoulders.

An LED controller makes it simple to set temperatures, keep track of the current temperature, and regulate time settings. You can also use the controller to switch between the six different heat settings and to power off the heating pad, which features an auto shut-off option. 

For cleaning, remove the fabric pad and throw it in the washing machine. 

The best budget heating pad

Up&Up heating pad

If you’re looking for an affordable heating pad that covers all the basics, consider the Up & Up King Heating Pad.

Pros: Useful for moist and dry heat therapy; large enough for use on the back, legs, arms, and shoulders; auto shut-off; four heat settings; machine-safe cover

Cons: May not be as strong as our other picks

Warranty: Three-year limited warranty

The Up & Up King Heating Pad has four heat settings, is flexible, and comes with a remote controller to make your pain relief customizable and consistent for moist and dry heat therapy.

It lives up to its name as being king-sized and can contour around the small of your back, your legs, arms, and shoulders. It has an auto shut-off after two hours, too, so you don’t have to worry about leaving it on if you fall asleep on the couch.

When you’re not using it, you can wash the cover in your washing machine, too. 

The best for neck and shoulder pain relief

Pure Enrichment heating pad

The Pure Enrichment PureRelief Neck and Shoulder Heating Pad is specifically contoured for your upper body and is aligned with plush micro-mink material. 

Pros: Contoured for neck and shoulders, useful for dry or moist heat therapy, soft micro-mink material, four heat settings, long cord, auto shut-off, machine washable

Cons: None

Warranty: Five-year warranty on defective parts

If you’re feeling achy in your shoulder and neck area — likely from working at a desk for most of the day — you want a long, strip heating pad that will stay on your shoulders rather than the standard rectangle. The Pure Enrichment PureRelief Neck and Shoulder Heating Pad is specifically contoured for use around both upper body areas.

 You can drape the heating pad around your shoulders and then securely fasten it around your neck to treat two problem areas at once. Built-in magnetic closures hold each end firmly in place, too.

There are four heat settings — ranging from 110 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit — all of which can be selected using the LED controller. It also has an auto shut-off feature after two hours of use and the fabric cover is machine-washable on the delicate cycle. 

The best non-electric heating pad

ohuhu slide

If you lose power, or want the convenience of bringing a heating pad on the go, the Ohuhu XL Reusable Gel Pack for Hot & Cold Therapy is your best bet.

Pros: No power source needed; easy to use; portable; adjustable straps; great for those experiencing mild arthritis, sprains, and menstrual cramps

Cons: May not be as high-powered as our other picks

Warranty: None

Electric cords can sometimes be annoying and keep you within a few feet of a power outlet. To really relax (and maybe even walk around your home), the Ohuhu XL Reusable Gel Pack for Hot & Cold Therapy provides the customization you need to alleviate sore muscles and joints — all without a plug-and-heat system.

It’s essentially a nylon ice pack that you can either pop into the refrigerator for two hours or heat up in the microwave for 30 seconds. The pad has adjustable elastic straps that effectively hug your body to target the root of the pain. This grab-and-go pain reliever is ideal for those suffering from mild arthritis, sprains, and menstrual cramps, too. And, it’s leak-proof, so it will last you for years. 

Check out our other pain relief guides

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Pfizer is ramping up vaccine production and will meet its goal of 300 million doses two weeks early, its CEO said

covid-19 vaccine vial pfizer biontech
  • Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said on Twitter his company is ramping up COVID-19 vaccine production.
  • Bourla said his company will deliver 220 million doses of the vaccine to the US by the end of May.
  • He said that the complete supply of 300 million would be delivered by the end of July.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Pfizer has increased its production of COVID-19 vaccines and will deliver remaining doses to the United States faster than expected, CEO Albert Bourla said on Twitter.

Bourla said his company will deliver 220 million doses of the vaccine by the end of May – 10% more than previously agreed on.

He said that the complete supply of 300 million would be delivered by the end of July, two weeks earlier than expected.

“In the fight against COVID-19, we’re in this together,” he wrote.

The announcement came after US officials recommended a pause on the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, citing reports of blood clots forming in people who have received the shot.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Your phone could have 18 times more bacteria than a public restroom – this clever device sanitizes it for you

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

Sanitize your phone while it charges with PhoneSoap.

  • I’m a germaphobe, and PhoneSoap gives me peace of mind by cleaning my device with minimal effort.
  • PhoneSoap is a small device that uses UV-C light to sanitize your phone.
  • Keeping your phone clean is a good way to reduce exposure to bacteria.
  • The company claims that our cell phones hold 18 times more bacteria than a public restroom.

How often do you wash your hands? What about your face? Or your clothes?

The answer probably is – or should be (though I’m not here to tell you how to live your life): a lot.

Now how often do you wash your phone?

The answer is probably close to never, but it shouldn’t be. For most of us, our phones are like appendages, traveling with us everywhere we go, accompanying us through all of our daily activities. Maybe you take a cloth to your phone now and then to wipe away the smudges and call it a day, but if you think that actually cleans it, you’re in for a rude awakening.

A cell phone reportedly has 18 times more bacteria than a public restroom. That might sound crazy, but think about it – everything your hands touch touches your phone too. So, that bacteria lurking on the grocery cart you pushed, the doorknob you opened, the subway pole you held – well, you know where it ends up.

If these cringe-worthy facts just made you never want to touch your phone again, I get it. Luckily, there’s a solution – and no, it doesn’t involve dousing your phone in hand sanitizer.

Meet PhoneSoap, the little gadget that safely sanitizes your phone, leaving your device free of bacteria and you with some peace of mind.

It only takes ten minutes for the PhoneSoap to sanitize your phone.

How it works

PhoneSoap has a simple but effective design. It looks like a small, rectangular box – making it the perfect size to keep on your bedside table, at your office desk, or even your kitchen counter. On the outside of the box, you’ll find space for three cables – the power cord, a USB, and a USB-C. To get the PhoneSoap set up, plug the included power cord into the wall, then into the PhoneSoap, and you’re all set to get sanitizing. Place your phone inside the gadget and close it. Once closed, you’ll see the lightning bolt power signal turn blue – this means it’s charging. After ten minutes, the light will turn off, and your phone is ready to go. If you’d like to charge your phone simultaneously, you have the option to plug in your USB or USB-C cord.

PhoneSoap comes in four different models: the standard PhoneSoap 3, the PhoneSoap Pro, which sanitizes your phone twice as fast, a battery-powered model for mobile use called the PhoneSoap Go, and a version that supports wireless charging so that you don’t have to use a cable to power up your device.

Here’s a snapshot of how the different models compare:

PhoneSoap 3 PhoneSoap Pro PhoneSoap Go PhoneSoap Wireless
Price $79.95 $119.95 $99.95 $99.95
Sanitizing time 10 minutes 5 minutes 10 minutes 10 minutes
Charging methods USB, USB-C USB, USB-C USB, USB-C Wireless charging, USB
Number of UV-C lamps 2 4 2 2

So, you put your phone in a box and it cleans it, but how does it actually get the cleaning done? The power of PhoneSoap comes in the form of UV-C light. Inside the little box are two powerful UV-C lightbulbs. UV-C light is germicidal, meaning it breaks down the DNA of nasty bacteria so it can no longer function or reproduce. The bulbs on the top and bottom of the device, paired with the reflective interior inside the entire gadget, help achieve 360-degree disinfection – so even the tiny, hard-to-reach crevices of your phone are clean. The UV-C light is so powerful that it only needs ten minutes to get your phone clean – after that time, PhoneSoap automatically turns off, so don’t worry about your phone getting overheated.

Before using PhoneSoap v. after using PhoneSoap.

Does it really work?

You’ve probably heard that bacteria is good for you. It boosts our immunity, right? Well, the answer is not that simple. Our bodies do count on some strains of bacteria to function correctly, but many forms of bacteria are harmful and can cause illness and infections. Laboratory tests have shown that PhoneSoap kills 99.9% of common household germs, including bacteria that leads to E.Coli, Salmonella, Staph, Flu, and the common cold.

To some, this product might seem more placebo effect than practical, but the numbers tell a different story – 99.9% is almost all of the germy grime on your phone. Plus, sanitizing with UV-C light isn’t new – hospitals and laboratories have been using UV light to keep facilities sterile since the mid-20th century.

As for us, the consumers, I guess there’s no way we can really tell that our phone is cleaner. What we can rely on, though, is the data from all of the testing PhoneSoap has done to gauge the effectiveness of the product, and the lab pictures they’ve got to accompany it (see above).

It’s worth noting that PhoneSoap has not been tested against COVID-19 yet, so there’s no evidence to show that it kills the virus itself. However, keeping your phone clean is still a good way to reduce exposure to bacterias that could impact your health and potentially weaken your immune system.

My experience

My family has had a communal PhoneSoap for a few years now, and it has been a great investment in our health. At $80, it seems like a lot upfront for something you don’t necessarily need, but, you may need it more than you think.

My parents are the kind who always, without fail, have a bottle of hand sanitizer on them. In my house, we take a lot of other precautions to keep clean, so why should we just throw our phones (which touch all sorts of germs) on the kitchen counter, on our beds, or on the couch like it’s no big deal?

It’s easy to ignore the fact that our phones hold so much bacteria, but once you know the nasty facts, you may find it harder to do so. PhoneSoap gives me peace of mind that I can still keep my phone in my back pocket and use it as much as I want without having to worry that I’m transferring a host of bacteria from my screen to my face.

The process couldn’t be easier. You put your phone in the PhoneSoap, close the box (make sure you see the lightning symbol turn on), and let it sit for just ten minutes. When you take it out, there will be no noticeable difference, but your phone will be cleaner than before. I also use the PhoneSoap to sanitize my wallet, keys, AirPods, and any other small items I touch multiple times in a day. If you live with roommates or family members, this product is easy and safe to share with others.

The bottom line

For better or for worse, our phones are sticking with us. And, unless you’re planning on washing your hands and face before and after each time you pick up your device, all that bacteria is sticking with you too. PhoneSoap is a simple solution to keep harmful bacteria from spreading – not only from your phone to you but from you to others as well. If you live with anyone who may have a compromised immune system – young children, elderly or ill individuals – PhoneSoap could be a particularly valuable investment.

At $80, it’s generally just an excellent investment for anyone. PhoneSoap is large enough to fit all phones on the market, even with a case. Additionally, you can throw in anything else that will fit – earphones, watches, even wallets.

And it’s more than just peace of mind. PhoneSoap gives real results that’ll help keep you and the people around you healthier. Germaphobe or not, if you’re going to treat your phone like your third hand, you should clean it like one, too.

3 UV Smartphone Sanitizer & Universal Charger (button)

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Veterinarians debunk some of the biggest myths about cats

Following is a transcript of the video.

Carly Fox: “Pregnant women can’t live with cats.” This is a huge myth. Please don’t get rid of your cat if you are pregnant. “When cats purr, it means they’re happy.” This is definitely a myth.

Ann Hohenhaus: “Cats think their owner is their mother.”

Fox: Obviously your cat doesn’t think that you’re its mother. I’m Dr. Carly Fox. I’m an emergency and critical-care veterinarian at the Animal Medical Center in New York City.

Hohenhaus: And I’m Dr. Ann Hohenhaus, also at the Animal Medical Center, but I’m an internal medicine and oncology specialist.

Fox: Today we’re going to debunk some cat myths.

Myth #1

Fox: “Cats love milk.” I mean, I think this is sort of an image that has been put forth throughout our childhood, like, in storybooks and in movies and on TV, but unfortunately, cats, as they get older, actually are lactose intolerant. So their bodies actually can’t even digest milk. As kittens, they have an enzyme called lactase, which helps them break down milk, because they are supposed to be drinking their mother’s milk.

But as they get older, that enzyme, which is usually very present, goes away. And then they’re unable to digest milk. So if you feed milk to an older cat, or really any cat after they’ve been weaned from their mother, they really can’t digest it. Even though they seem like they’re really enjoying themselves, it actually can cause gastrointestinal upset.

Hohenhaus: You can go to the pet store, though, and buy cat milk. [laughs] And the cat milk has two things that make it special for cats. One is it’s lactose-free, just like the lactose-free milk you can buy in the grocery store. But it also has extra taurine added to it. And cats require taurine in their diet. So it’s just an extra source of that amino acid special for cats.

Fox: I mean, who knew?

Myth #2

Hohenhaus: “Cats are nocturnal.” How can you be nocturnal when you sleep 23 hours a day? [laughs] The typical cat sleeps 23 hours a day. They wake up long enough to kill some prey, eat that prey, and then go back to sleep until the next time they’re hungry.

Fox: They’re actually crepuscular animals.

Hohenhaus: They’re what?

Fox: Crepuscular. That means that they’re active during dusk and dawn, which goes back to what you just said about them hunting. So, that’s how lions hunt. They hunt in the dusk or the dawn, where they can, you know, see prey better, hunt, and kill, and our domestic cats actually evolved from that. So they’re actually supposed to be most active in the morning and in the evening, but not necessarily in the middle of the night. Though some cats obviously are.

Hohenhaus: Well, and they are most active in the morning. Ask any cat owner. At 4 o’clock in the morning, that cat’s walking on your head and running over the bed, trying to get you up, because they don’t have to hunt for breakfast. They just have to get you up.

Myth #3

Fox: “Cats hate water.” Can’t say that every cat hates water, but, I mean, in my experience, most cats definitely dislike water, as in they don’t like being bathed in water. You’re definitely not gonna see most cats go for a swim. I’d say most cats don’t love water, but when cats are feeling unkempt, perhaps they do like water.

Myth #4

Hohenhaus: “Cats think their owner is their mother.” [laughs] I think that they just see you as a source of food and comfort and cleanliness and a safe place to live.

Fox: Yeah, obviously your cat doesn’t think that you’re its mother, but they definitely think that you’re its caretaker and they need you, but, you know, another person could probably fill in that job just as easily for your cat, honestly, so I don’t think that cats think that you’re their mother. But some people definitely think that.

Myth #5

Fox: “Pregnant women can’t live with cats.” This is a huge myth. Please don’t get rid of your cat if you are pregnant. Cats can sometimes be infected with a parasite called toxoplasmosis, which can be shed in your cat’s feces. If picked up by a pregnant woman, this parasite can sometimes cause birth defects or miscarriage, and that’s obviously something we would want to avoid.

Cleaning the litter box daily will help with this. You definitely don’t want to leave the litter box to go for more than one day because that can increase infection. If you do need to clean the litter box, you should just wear gloves. So the best thing that you can do is have someone clean the litter box for you, which is also just great. Who wants to clean their litter box? It’s a break for nine months.

Hohenhaus: So, if you’re concerned about your health or your cat’s health during your pregnancy, be sure to bring up the topic with both your veterinarian and your obstetrician.

Myth #6

Hohenhaus: “Cats can see in complete darkness.” Cats have great night vision. They have, like, a mirror in the back of their eye. And you know that from taking photos of your cat because you see that yellow-green reflection in the camera, and that’s this mirror that’s in the back of the cat’s eye that helps to reflect light around to improve their night vision. And that reflector area is called the tapetum.

Fox: Cats really can’t see in complete darkness. They still need a little bit of light in their eye for it to bounce back and forth within the eye off the tapetum, so complete darkness they cannot see in, but a lot of darkness with a little bit of light, they actually can see.

Myth #7

Hohenhaus: “Human food is bad for cats.” We don’t recommend feeding a human diet to cats, because it doesn’t meet their nutritional needs. Cats are obligate carnivores, and it means they need to eat meat. So your diet is not appropriate for cats.

Myth #8

Fox: “Black cats are bad luck.” I mean, this is obviously a huge myth.

Hohenhaus: I think that black cats are bad luck for themselves, because they don’t get adopted from a shelter as readily as a pretty gray cat or a flashy tricolor cat. So the bad luck is actually for the cat, not for you.

Myth #9

Hohenhaus: “Cats don’t love people or babies.” My mother was so worried about this when I was having a baby, because I had these cats. And she said, “Those cats are gonna climb in the crib and suffocate my grandson.” Nothing like that happened. Babies are unpredictable, and they smell different than people, and they make different movements than people, and they have stinky diapers. So I think this actually might partly be true. It’s not that they don’t like babies. It’s that they’re different than the people they’re used to.

Myth #10

Fox: “Cats always land on their feet.” Well, cats do have an excellent righting reflex, meaning that a lot of the times they actually do land on their feet, and that has to do with their anatomy and their vestibular system. However, unfortunately, I’m an emergency doctor, I live in New York City. I see many, many, many cats not land on their feet. Definitely don’t think that your cat will just be fine if it unfortunately falls out of your third-story window or even from your top of your refrigerator.

Hohenhaus: And when they fall, they’ll land on their chin, and they often fracture their wrists, and then if they belly flop, as opposed to land on their feet, they’ll also get air in their lungs or around their lungs because their lungs get a little tear in it and start leaking. So these injuries are severe and life-threatening for cats. So the answer is get screens or don’t open your windows.

Myth #11

Hohenhaus: “Cats and dogs don’t get along.” I don’t have any idea where this would have come from. There are plenty of houses and households in the United States where there are both dogs and cats and they’re perfectly fine. Just like some people don’t get along, sometimes a dog and cat don’t get along, but sometimes you have two dogs and they don’t get along or two cats and they don’t get along. So I think this is more about the personality of your dog and your cat than it is that they can’t get along.

Fox: They’re not gonna be the next YouTube sensation, but I guess they maintain a working relationship.

Hohenhaus: Yeah, yeah, that’s good. A working relationship. We have to work together to be good pets.

Fox: Yeah. Let’s do that.

Myth #12

Fox: “When cats purr, it means they’re happy.” This is definitely a myth, and I can tell you I’ve been scratched by many a purring cat. You know, I think purring is oftentimes associated with pleasure in cats; however, sometimes cats can purr for other reasons, like they’re very nervous, or it’s a warning actually, or they’re hungry, not necessarily that they’re happy.

Myth #13

Fox: “One human year equals seven cat years.” This is definitely, definitely a myth. I think this is something we more associate with dogs, but if you apply it to cats, I think it’s even more of a myth.

Hohenhaus: Well, and if you look at it on the reverse end of the lifespan, a cat can have kittens when it’s 6 months old. 6-month-old cat would be 3.5 years in human age, and clearly no 3.5-year-old children are having babies of their own.

Fox: I hope not.

Hohenhaus: So, it doesn’t work in cats, no.

Fox: Today we debunked some cat myths. There is a little bit of truth to some of these myths that we talked about today, and I think that’s very fitting, since cats are these very particular, special animals that are a bit of, like, a mixed bag, just like these myths.

Hohenhaus: My son’s first words were “meow.” [laughing]

Producer: That’s crazy.

Hohenhaus: He would look at the cat and go “meow.”

Fox: That’s cute, really? [laughing]

EDITOR’S NOTE: This video was originally published in March 2020.

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What people get wrong about superfoods

Following is a transcript of the video.

Nina Shapiro: There is no such thing as a superfood. There are a lot of foods that are super good for you, and that’s fine, but this title of superfood is completely made up.

The notion of a superfood is that is so good for you, it will prevent cancer and even treat cancer or stave off evil illnesses, but food alone cannot do that. When we talk about superfoods, primarily we think of berries, foods with high antioxidants. And it’s really a misnomer. There is no such thing. There are foods that are good for you and foods that are not so good for you, but the idea of a superfood treating or preventing an illness is false.

Superfoods have evolved, and they may not have been called superfoods, but even back in the 1970s there were the quote-unquote health foods which were really the superfoods of their day, which included pasta.

New Catelli pasta. It’s made with a nutritious blend of unbleached flour. Catelli adds vitamins too.

Which is now considered this horrible gluten-filled, carb-filled evil with sugar in it. Bran muffins, which are really just like small cakes, were considered superfoods. Other things, such as frozen yogurt, was considered a superfood in the ’80s and ’90s because it was healthier than ice cream.

Delicious TCBY nonfat frozen yogurt. What a great tasting way to help you lose weight.

Although it does have pretty much as many calories, as much fat, and as much sugar. So superfoods of one day are gonna be different from superfoods down the line, but they’re not necessarily much healthier.

I think a lot of the superfoods of today are the things that are hard to pronounce. So the harder it is to pronounce, the better it is. so something like turmeric or quinoa, a lot of the berries, goji berries are a new one. We talked about blueberries and raspberries a few years ago being superfoods. Now we have acai as another superfood. Again, these are harder to pronounce. Those are sorta the newer superfoods.

I think as far as should we be eating a certain superfood, are we missing out? Not necessarily. I think, again, if you wanna eat healthy, eat berries, eat healthy grains, eat a balanced diet, and that will give you enough nutrition, antioxidants, vitamins as any superfood would give you.

People have the false notion that if they’re eating a lot of superfoods in high quantities that that will keep them healthy and they don’t need to do other things to take care of their health. So if you’re eating a lot of superfoods but you don’t get a flu vaccine, that doesn’t mean you’re not going to get the flu. If you’re eating a lot of superfoods and you don’t get basic cancer screening based on your age, that will not prevent cancer. So I think there’s some danger in eating superfoods in that you think that that’s going to be the be-all, end-all of your healthcare.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This video was originally published in June 2018.

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A new study found that Black women are 3 times more likely to die from COVID-19 when compared to white men

Florida Coronavirus Testing
  • A new study found that Black women are three times likelier than white men to die from COVID-19.
  • The findings underscore systemic inequalities that make people of color more vulnerable to COVID-19.
  • Data released last year showed Black people were also twice as likely as white people to contract the virus.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

New research suggests Black women are dying from the coronavirus at higher rates than any other demographic in the US, except Black men.

A team of university researchers from schools all around the country published an analysis earlier this week that found Black women are more than three times likelier to die from COVID-19 than white men.

The study, published in the Journal of Internal Medicine, examined mortality patterns in Georgia and Michigan. Researchers sorted their findings by race and gender.

“The deaths we see in the pandemic reflect pre-existing structural inequities; after the pandemic is gone, those will still be there,” Heather Shattuck-Heidorn, assistant professor of gender and women studies at the University of Maine and the study’s senior author, said in an interview on CBS MoneyWatch.

“Whatever is going on is probably not linked to the X chromosome or the Y chromosome,” Shattuck-Heidorn added.

The coronavirus pandemic has been particularly hard on Black people, studies show.

An analysis published November in the journal EClinical Medicine, for example, found that Black people in both the US and the UK were twice as likely as white people to contract the coronavirus.

The findings underscore systemic inequalities that make people of color more vulnerable to COVID-19 and more likely to experience serious illness if they do get sick.

“The clear evidence of increased risk of infection amongst ethnic minority groups is of urgent public health importance,” Dr. Shirley Sze, National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) academic clinical lecturer and a lead author of the paper, said.

“We must work to minimize exposure to the virus in these at-risk groups by facilitating their timely access to healthcare resources and target the social and structural disparities that contribute to health inequalities,” Sze continued.

And unemployment data consistently shows that Black women are among the hardest hit by the economic uncertainties brought on by the pandemic.

According to data from Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s nonprofit, Lean In, a survey from last year of more than 2,600 people found that Black women are twice as likely as white men to say that they’d either been laid off, furloughed, or had their hours or pay reduced because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Insider’s Anna Medaris Miller, Marguerite Ward, and Tyler Sonnemaker contributed to this report.

Have a news tip? Reach this reporter at

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The 6 best disposable gloves of 2021

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  • Whether you’re caring for someone who’s sick or cleaning your home, disposable gloves add protection.
  • Nitrile gloves are especially great because they are stronger than latex, plastic, or vinyl.
  • We found the best disposable glove options for food prepping, industrial work, cleaning, and more.

Though we tend to lean more toward “reusable” than “disposable” these days, having disposable gloves on hand is a safe and recommended practice to follow. The CDC recommends wearing gloves for cleaning, caring for someone who’s sick, and for manufacturing, public service, and transportation industries and occupations. And if you do any industrial work where you may encounter potentially hazardous materials, wearing heavy-duty gloves is recommended by Environmental Health and Safety programs for safety.

Even just around the house, disposable gloves are great for everything from deep cleaning to handling food for backyard barbecues. We found options from standard nitrile gloves to heavy-duty options. Our picks are also all latex-free to avoid potential allergic reactions.

Here are the best disposable gloves of 2021

The best nitrile gloves

Best disposable gloves - Hand E Touch Disposable Nitrile Gloves
These gloves are strong but thin for easy movement.

The Hand E-Touch Disposable Nitrile Gloves are stronger than other materials, highly stretchable, and reliable for many uses.

What we like: Easy-to-grip tactile fingertips, rip-proof, elegant sky blue design

Box count: 100

Nitrile gloves are one of the best materials for disposable gloves because they protect against most chemicals and infectious agents. The Hand E-Touch Disposable Nitrile Gloves allow for precise control with textured tips and can be used for medical situations, cleaning, salon work, food prep, and more. These gloves are a top pick because they are thick enough to provide protection, yet lightweight and stretchy for comfortable wear. 

The best for food handling

Best disposable gloves - Kleen Chef Disposable Food Handling Long Cuff Poly Gloves
These gloves are breathable and easy to see through when handling food.

The Kleen Chef Disposable Food Handling Long Cuff Poly Gloves are compliant with FDA standards and are extra long for when you’re cleaning uncooked or unwashed foods.

What we like: Ambidextrous hand orientation, durable HDPE material, covers wrists, FDA compliant

Box count: 525

These clear gloves are simple, easy to slip on, and are constructed with high-density polyethylene. The fact that they feature a long cuff design to prevent water from seeping into your sleeves and are compliant with FDA standards make them especially fit for food handling.

Keep in mind that though Kleen Chef’s Disposable Food Handling Long Cuff Poly Gloves serve as a nice barrier to avoid cross-contamination, they aren’t a substitute for thorough handwashing before and after food preparation. 

The best for industrial use

Best disposable gloves - Gloveworks Heavy Duty Industrial Nitrile Gloves with Diamond Grip Box
These heavy-duty gloves are puncture- and chemical-resistant.

When working in factories, mechanic workshops, or elsewhere with exposure to hazardous chemicals, the Gloveworks Heavy-Duty Industrial Nitrile Gloves with Diamond Grip Box is essential to keep on hand.

What we love: All-around textured protection, chemical- and puncture-resistant, repel dirt and grime

Box count: 100

When working with high-intensity tools or toxic chemicals, protective gloves are vital to protect against exposure via skin contact. Gloveworks’ Heavy-Duty Industrial Nitrile Gloves with Diamond Grip Box is fit for industrial use because of their thick and textured protection that makes for a heavier duty glove that’s especially resistant to ripping.

These gloves also offer good elasticity and are puncture- and chemical-resistant. These high-grade nitrile gloves are especially good for automotive, janitorial, painting, and plumbing uses. 

The best for household cleaning

Best diposable gloves - Mr. Clean Nitrile Solvent Resistant Gloves
A beaded cuff ensures these gloves won’t slide down when cleaning.

When deep cleaning your home, Mr. Clean’s Nitrile Solvent-Resistant Gloves are specifically designed for hassle-free, protective scrubbing.

What we love: Beaded cuff, great for sensitive skin, solvent-resistant

Box count: 40

Mr. Clean is one of the most well-known faces in the cleaning aisle, but that’s not the only reason the brand’s nitrile solvent-resistant gloves are fit for ridding household messes and grime. True to the name, the gloves are well-designed to block residue from soaking onto your fingers or palms — a must for when you’re ready to tackle kitchen countertops, sink faucets, or wiping down furniture.

The gloves are also great for sensitive skin and come with a beaded cuff so they stay intact better while cleaning.

The best on a budget

Best disposable gloves - Medpride Medical Vinyl Examination Gloves

For basic, single-use gloves, the Medpride Medical Vinyl Examination Gloves are affordable but effective.

What we love: Thick PVC material, comes in various sizes, ambidextrous hand orientation

Box count: 100

For one-time-use gloves, you may not want to spend much. Medpride’s Medical Vinyl Examination Gloves are an affordable option that aren’t quite as thick as nitrile gloves but are still a step up from cheaply-made plastic gloves prone to tears. They come in small, medium, large, and extra-large size options to ensure a good fit.

These gloves are fit to be used by medical workers and home or hospice care workers, but they are also an affordable solution if you just want to keep some disposable gloves on hand around the house. 

The best in bulk

Best disposable gloves - Dre Health Powder Free Disposable Gloves
With 1,000 gloves per box, these gloves are a good value.

If you run a business and need a large supply of disposable gloves on hand at all times, the Dre Health Powder-Free Disposable Gloves are your best bet.

What we love: Highly stretchable, come in various sizes, huge number of gloves per box

Box count: 1,000 

Dre Health’s Powder-Free Disposable Gloves are made of a strong nitrile blend that offers good grip and ideal stretch. An especially good option for those who need to supply employees with gloves or who work in an industry where they need constant disposable gloves at the ready, this bulk option offers serious value.

These gloves can be used for everything from medical exams to gardening and the beaded cuffs prevent them from slipping. They also come in four sizes to ensure a good fit.

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Pfizer and BioNTech have asked US regulators to make their COVID-19 vaccine available to adolescents ages 12 to 15

covid-19 vaccine vial pfizer biontech

Pfizer and BioNTech have asked US regulators to make their COVID-19 vaccine available for adolescents aged 12 to 15.

The vaccine is authorized by the Food and Drug Administration for individuals 16 years old and older. The companies asked that authorization be expanded to younger teens.

In a statement issued on Friday, the companies said they plan to make similar requests worldwide in the coming days.

The vaccine showed “100 percent efficacy” and triggered a “robust antibody response” in trials with adolescents, the companies announced last month.

This is a developing story. Please check back for more updates.

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A COVID-19 expert shares his simple sports analogy to explain why vaccines work against variants

coronavirus variants vaccines athletes 2x1
  • There’s concern coronavirus variants can partially evade vaccines made to target the original virus.
  • But research suggests the parts of our immune system activated by vaccines can still fight variants.
  • Experts say to think of vaccines like an elite athlete: They can dominate even when off their A game.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

For a while, Dr. Jeremy Faust struggled to put into words why he was not worried about COVID-19 variants rendering vaccines obsolete.

Faust, an emergency-medicine physician and instructor at Harvard Medical School, was loath to use data to explain his reasoning to nonscientists. Instead, he had a hunch that sports analogies might help people understand him a little better.

Recently, he came up with one comparison that seemed to resonate: Think of our COVID-19 vaccines as world-class athletes.

Even if Serena Williams or Tom Brady is not performing at their absolute best, even if they face a change in the game, and even if they face a strong opponent, they are still extraordinarily hard to beat.

Pfizer’s, Moderna’s, and Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 shots, which were all 100% effective at preventing hospitalizations and deaths in clinical trials of tens of thousands of people around the world, are kind of like the Williams or the Brady of vaccines.

Yes, viral variants are on the rise – some of which can evade virus-neutralizing antibodies. But make no mistake: These vaccines, like elite athletes, can still perform very well against them.

“If Serena Williams all of a sudden was 10% less effective than usual, or 50% less effective than usual, she would still kick everyone’s ass,” Faust, who is also the editor of Brief19, a daily review of COVID-19 research, recently told Insider on Clubhouse.

“So far, the variants have not rendered any of the vaccines useless,” Faust said, adding that like Williams or Brady, “they’re still quite impressive,” even when slightly less effective.

Fauci agrees: Vaccines are tough to beat, even for variants

Fauci Baseball

COVID-19 vaccines help our bodies prepare for the possibility of a future coronavirus invasion by teaching them how to fend off an attack from the original “wild-type” coronavirus.

Concerns that these shots could then be less effective against variants come from lab studies involving blood samples from vaccinated people, which showed that vaccinated people produced far fewer antibodies that could neutralize variants compared with the antibodies produced to combat the wild-type virus.

But Dr. Anthony Fauci, who spoke with Insider last week, stressed that drop wasn’t enough to render vaccines ineffective.

These authorized vaccines are also 66 to 95% effective at preventing sickness – far surpassing the US Food and Drug Administration’s 50% efficacy bar for COVID-19 vaccines, making consumers “spoiled,” some vaccine makers have suggested.

“Most people have high enough levels of antibody that even if you diminish it by several fold, we still have enough cushion effect to be able to block any issue of severe disease,” Fauci told Insider.

Like elite athletes, it would take a lot to overcome our highly effective COVID-19 vaccines

Rob Gronkowski Tom Brady

Scientists still don’t know precisely the amount of antibodies needed to keep us safe from a severe COVID-19 infection (just like we don’t know at what point a fatigued Brady or an injured Williams would cease to be some of the greatest athletes of all time).

But, like elite athletes, existing COVID-19 vaccines prompt such a high level of response to start with that even a little kick in the knees from some variants won’t completely stymie their efficacy, according to Alessandro Sette, an infectious-disease expert at the La Jolla Institute for Immunology in California.

“If you need a 10-foot wall to keep the virus out, and you start with a wall 100 feet high, even if the wall is reduced to 50 feet or 20 feet, it doesn’t really matter,” he told Insider.

Fauci has also said antibodies that are effective at combating the original virus can still partially work against variants – this is known as “the spillover effect.”

“It’s like you have a bug spray that is supposed to kill mosquitoes but might kill flies too, though maybe not as well,” Sette said.

Besides, that stark drop observed in neutralizing antibodies doesn’t happen against every variant. The variant first found in the UK, which is the one that is dominant in the US now, is “handled extremely well by the vaccines that are currently in use,” Fauci said.

Our T cells respond equally well to variants as they do to the original virus

Serena Williams

Concerns over plummeting antibody levels also don’t take into account other parts of our immune response to the virus – namely killer T cells that identify and kill infected cells, as well as helper T cells that help B cells make new antibodies.

While antibodies stop infection, your body’s T cell response – which lasts at least six to eight months – can influence how severe that infection will be.

And there’s good news on the T-cell front: Two new studies found people who’ve recovered from the wild-type version of the coronavirus had T cells that could recognize worrisome variants.

Sette compares this phenomenon to people’s facial-recognition skills.

“Maybe I learn to recognize your face, then I meet your sister,” he said. “It kind of looks like you, so I say, ‘OK, that’s probably someone related.'”

One study – led by researchers at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which Fauci directs – looked at blood samples from 30 people who’d gotten infected with the coronavirus before the emergence of the variants. It found that the patients’ T cells did indeed respond to the variants first identified in South Africa, Brazil, and the UK well enough to give protection.

Sette’s team reached the same conclusion. Its recent research found that after people recovered from the original virus, their T cells could respond to those three variants, as well as one first identified in Southern California.

The La Jolla researchers also looked at blood samples from people who’d gotten Pfizer’s or Moderna’s shots and found that their T cells responded just as well to the variants first found in the UK, Brazil, and Southern California as they did to the original virus.

In the case of the variant first found in South Africa, T-cell responses decreased by up to 33% but were still detectable. That indicates vaccines most likely prevent deaths and hospitalizations for cases involving variants, even if they’re not quite as effective against stopping infections by those strains.

The likeliest explanation for why the same set of T cells can recognize different variants, according to Fauci, is a phenomenon called cross-reactivity: Helper and killer T cells developed in response to a given virus are capable of reacting to a similar but previously unknown variant.

Top athletes can perform well even when the game changes. These COVID-19 vaccines are the same.

Michael Jordan golfing

Great athletes can still perform relatively well when the game changes.

LeBron James was training for the NFL during the NBA’s 2011 lockout. Michael Jordan played baseball after initially retiring from the NBA in 1993 (albeit, not nearly as well), and he’s got a decent golf game, too.

The only problem when it comes to the performance of our vaccines is: We just don’t quite know where their limits might lie.

“I worry more about the next variant than the current ones,” Faust said.

There may someday be some variant that will pack a wallop to our authorized vaccines, which would make booster shots essential.

But until then, the human body, when primed by a COVID-19 vaccine, seems a lot like an elite athlete: tough to compete against, even when some new, somewhat unfamiliar opponents (like viral variants) arrive on the scene.

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Getting AstraZeneca’s shot is safer than flying on a plane, experts say – the bigger problem is an ‘explosion of vaccine skepticism’

Veran France vaccination health minister AstraZeneca
French Health Minister Olivier Veran receives a dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine on the outskirts of Paris on February 8, 2021.

  • Blood clots are a “very rare” side effect of AstraZeneca’s shot, European regulators said Wednesday.
  • But five medical experts told Insider they aren’t convinced the shot actually causes clotting.
  • Experts worry that public skepticism may unnecessarily derail AstraZeneca’s global vaccine rollout.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The world’s most-administered coronavirus shot is facing what may be its biggest challenge yet.

On Wednesday, European regulatory authorities said potentially fatal blood clots are indeed a rare side effect of AstraZeneca’s vaccine. Following the announcement, the UK’s regulator said people under 30 years old should seek out other shots, if available.

AstraZeneca’s vaccine has already been rolled out to tens of millions of people around the world. In interviews with Insider, five medical experts emphasized that the shot is safe and effective.

“The risk of dying in an air crash is just astronomically higher than the risk of clotting after the vaccine dose, and yet we all get on a plane without a second thought,” Johan Bester, director of bioethics at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas School of Medicine, told Insider.

Wednesday’s announcement came after European medical officials reviewed fewer than 100 blood-clotting cases reported among more than 25 million people in the EU who’ve gotten AstraZeneca’s shot. That’s a rate of roughly 4.6 clot cases per 1 million shots – higher than expected, the review found, but still extraordinarily rare.

Given that, experts are more concerned about the consequences of public suspicion of the shot.

“All that people heard was: AstraZeneca’s vaccine can kill you because of blood clots,” Art Caplan, a bioethicist at New York University, told Insider, referring to the Wednesday announcement. “They’re not watching the fine tuning and the careful recommendations.”

Countries that have authorized the vaccine, he added, are now going to have to deal “with a very huge explosion of vaccine skepticism.”

A non-issue? A blip?

The World Health Organization also issued a note of caution on Wednesday, acknowledging that a relationship between blood clots and the vaccine is “considered plausible but is not confirmed.”

AstraZeneca, meanwhile, said these are “extremely rare events” that have occurred on a minuscule scale.

“There is no proof that the AstraZeneca vaccine leads to blood clots,” Todd Ellerin, director of infectious diseases at South Shore Health in Massachusetts, told Insider. “Association is not the same as causation.”

Alex Spyropoulos, a director at New York’s Northwell Health who specializes in blood clots, told Insider that he, too, is not yet convinced there’s a cause-and-effect relationship.

“This is almost a non-issue, a blip on the safety screen,” Spyropoulos said. “The numbers do not elicit the type of hysteria we are seeing.”

A vial of AstraZeneca’s shot.

Although even a minuscule chance of a fatal blood clot sounds scary, no medicine carries zero risk. After a year of taking birth-control pills, about one in 1,000 women will develop blood clots. (The risk is about 1 in 10,000 for all young women, so it’s elevated nearly 10-fold in birth-control takers.)

Even other authorized COVID-19 vaccines have faced safety scares. Johnson & Johnson’s trial was paused in October because of an unexplained illness in a study participant. Moderna and Pfizer’s shots also saw scattered reports of severe allergic reactions, but these cases have been extraordinarily rare and manageable.

Taison Bell, an infectious-disease physician at the University of Virginia, noted that the rate of blood clots among AstraZeneca recipients was close to the rate you’d see in a normal population.

“When we look at the risk of death from COVID-19, long haul from COVID-19, versus these very rare side effects, I think the overwhelming pendulum swings towards getting vaccinated,” he said. “I’m not particularly concerned about this announcement.”

Scientists are still studying the association between AstraZeneca’s shot and blood clots, particularly to find out whether certain groups may face higher risk for biological reasons. In the meantime, the public should take comfort in the fact that surveillance systems are working to detect and investigate unusual cases, experts said.

AstraZeneca has struggled with transparency

AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot
Pascal Soriot, CEO of AstraZeneca, testifies before the Senate Finance Committee on February 26, 2019 in Washington, DC.

Wednesday’s concerns about AstraZeneca’s two-dose vaccine are far from its first controversy.

The company’s global trial results puzzled many experts in November, because AstraZeneca combined data from its Brazil and UK groups, even though they had different sample sizes and demographics. It also averaged the results of two different dosing regimens, one of which was administered by mistake.

Subsequent analyses, meanwhile, revealed that the vaccine’s effectiveness could vary dramatically depending on the amount of time separating the two doses. Confusion about this disparate data led to a patchwork of mismatched vaccine authorizations and guidelines around the world.

The new blood-clot reports could make people even less likely to judge the shot on its merits, experts said.

“The perception that this is not as good as the Pfizer or the Moderna shot has taken hold among the public,” Bester said.

Blood-clot concerns are their own ‘worldwide crisis’

AstraZeneca vaccine Ghana 2021
A health worker holds up the AstraZeneca vaccine at the Ridge Hospital in Accra, Ghana, on March 2, 2021.

If countries continue to hold off on administering AstraZeneca’s vaccine to some or all of their populations – or if their citizens refuse to take it – it could slow the global rate of vaccinations. That, in turn, would give the virus more time to develop dangerous mutations.

“When we try to play the game of which one is better, we lose the overall point that they’re pretty much all good and have the potential, when widely deployed, to break the back of the pandemic,” Bell said. “If we have distrust or a preference when there’s not the supply to support preferences, that means on the public-health scale, we’re not globally vaccinating, which means we’re not getting protected.”

AstraZeneca’s vaccine remains the world’s best hope at inoculating lower- and middle-income countries in particular, since the drugmaker has priced its shot far lower than other vaccines and has vowed to produce up to 3 billion doses this year.

That makes the blood-clot concerns “a worldwide crisis” of their own, Caplan said.

“The perception of danger is huge, and I think many people are going to say, ‘I don’t want that,’ or ‘I prefer something else,'” he said. “It’s a big, big setback for those countries that invested heavily in AstraZeneca.”

The US could still authorize the shot

Denmark COVID-19 AstraZeneca
AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines in storage in Copenhagen, Denmark on February 11, 2021.

An AstraZeneca spokesperson told Insider that the drugmaker still plans to apply for emergency authorization with the US Food and Drug Administration in the first half of April.

Experts think the vaccine is likely to get a green light, given positive trial results last month, which showed the shot was 76% effective at protecting against symptomatic COVID-19. But the vaccine’s chances of being widely used in the US seem increasingly slim, given the large supply of other authorized vaccines.

Caplan said the FDA would likely take “a much longer and harder look” at the data now, given the blood-clot reports. The agency may even require a year and a half’s worth of data before moving toward authorization, he said.

“At the rate we’re vaccinating right now, we might be all vaccinated by the time this even becomes an issue” in the US, Bester said.

Because of that, many experts have been suggesting the US donate its supply agreement of 300 million AstraZeneca doses to other countries. However, the optics of such a move would be more difficult now.

“I’m sure in retrospect, it will be like, the US is shipping out the inferior vaccine, which is not the case,” Ellerin said. “AstraZeneca is not the inferior vaccine, but it has done just about everything in its power to cause unforced errors.”

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