Different Takes: Best Ways To Honor The Doctor Who Warned Us About Coronavirus; Lessons On Censuring Health News
Opinion writers express views about the challenges of the coronavirus.
The New York Times:
The Urgent Questions Scientists Are Asking About Coronavirus
Around the world and around the clock, scientists are trying to figure out what must be done to end the global health emergency unleashed by the new coronavirus. As the outbreak accelerates and spreads, dozens of countries have deployed increasingly stringent measures to try to contain the epidemic. Almost as quickly, in a herculean effort, an international network of researchers at data and wet laboratories has started gathering and analyzing data to unmask and disarm this perplexing new disease. (Gabriel Leung, 2/10)
Coronavirus: What Is China Not Telling Us?
Many experts are saying the virus from Wuhan, China, is turning into a global pandemic, with a mortality rate (based on official statistics) of roughly 2%. By contrast, the mortality rate of the 1918 Spanish Flu was 2.5%. The Spanish Flu was a global catastrophe, killing more people than World War I.Will Wuhan be the same? Unclear.Writing in The New York Times, Frankie Huang, an American in quarantine in Shanghai, reports that the problem is in trusting the official numbers: “Yesterday, I saw on social media that someone noticed that the ratio in the official figures for the total dead to the total diagnosed cases has remained exactly 2.1% every day since Jan. 30. ‘This magical virus is very good at math!’ (Glenn Harlan Reynolds, 2/10)
The New York Times:
How Fear Distorts Our Thinking About The Coronavirus
When it comes to making decisions that involve risks, we humans can be irrational in quite systematic ways — a fact that the psychologists Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman famously demonstrated with the help of a hypothetical situation, eerily apropos of today’s coronavirus epidemic, that has come to be known as the Asian disease problem. (David DeSteno, 2/11)
Coronavirus Could Break 'Medicare-For-All' — Single-Payer Systems Struggle With Outbreaks
Countries with single-payer health care may have a more difficult time. In the not-too-distant past, Canada and the United Kingdom have struggled to handle outbreaks of everything from severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) to the seasonal flu. That’s largely because these countries’ government-run, “Medicare-for-all”-style systems lack enough health care personnel, hospital beds and other resources to meet the needs of their populations even in good times. A public health threat like a pandemic can stretch single-payer health care to its breaking point. (Sally Pipes, 2/10)
Flu Wlll Kill More Kentuckians Than Coronavirus This Winter
While there has been plenty of news coverage regarding the spread of novel coronavirus, there’s a much more prevalent and potentially deadly virus already wreaking havoc across Kentucky, resulting in more than 10,000 confirmed cases and 21 deaths already this season. That virus is influenza, and it poses a substantial risk to even healthy adults. Flu comes on suddenly, most often accompanying a fever, aches, chills, cough, a sore throat and fatigue. Complications can include bacterial pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections and worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma, or diabetes. (R. Brent Wright and Ben Chandler, 2/10)