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Articles by Michael D. Cohen, MD

May Update: Protect Yourself and Your Facility from COVID-19

In the April issue of Prison Legal News, I discussed the nature of the disease called COVID-19 (COrona VIrus Disease-2019) and ways to protect yourself and your facility through personal cleanliness, social distancing and environmental cleanliness. This month I will continue those themes and also give suggestions about how to take care of yourself if you get sick.

Higher Risk for Severe Disease

The most common risk factors for severe disease have been older age, hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease. But anyone, at any age, even without existing chronic illness, can get very sick. Be extra careful to protect yourself from infection if you have any chronic medical condition. Here is some more information about HIV infection and heart disease.

  • Inadequately treated HIV infection: All HIV patients should be tested for viral load (counts of viruses in the blood) and CD4 lymphocyte count (a special type of white blood cell). Viral load tells whether the person with HIV is infectious to others. CD4 count is a measure of the immune system’s ability to fight infections. The normal CD4 count is above 500 cells per cubic millimeter. It appears that people with HIV taking effective treatment ...

Protect Yourself and Your Facility from COVID-19

by Michael D. Cohen, M.D.


The novel coronavirus is now a global pandemic and is widespread in the United States, causing a disease called COVID-19. It is likely that a majority of the population will eventually become infected with this virus. Here is some information about the coronavirus and some thoughts about taking care of yourself and your facility during this pandemic. Recommendations are changing daily as the virus spreads more widely. Try to get newer information from trusted sources such as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO) or your state Department of Health. Don’t trust rumors. False information is widely circulating already.

Residential institutions with congregate living like boarding schools, mental hospitals, homeless shelters and prisons or jails bring together a large number of people into a very small space for prolonged periods of time. Communicable diseases are readily introduced from outside and spread more easily where people live in close quarters.

Coronavirus is coming to all of us in the free world. Prisons and jails will likely be hard hit, with rapid spread inside when the disease becomes widespread in the local community or home communities. Prisoner representative councils should try to ...

Prisoner Self Care: Hypertension

by Michael D. Cohen M.D.


This article is about high blood pressure, also called hypertension. Hypertension is a common chronic disease that arises slowly and continues for years. It generally causes few or no symptoms. Treatment is directed at controlling the blood pressure, not curing the underlying disease. Hypertension ...

Prison Health and Self-Care: MRSA

by Michael D. Cohen MD


There is much concern among prisoners about skin infections caused by a well-publicized germ called MRSA. This article explains what MRSA is, what you can do to protect yourself from MRSA, and how to take care of yourself if you get a skin infection ...