Different Takes: China Needs To Cooperate With WHO Probe; Maskless GOP Lawmakers Don’t Get It
Editorial pages express views about these pandemic topics and other public health issues.
China Needs To Come Clean On Covid-19
On Thursday, a team of World Health Organization experts will arrive in China to investigate the origins of Covid-19. The mission, which has been planned and negotiated for nearly a year, almost didn’t happen. As recently as last week, China was still refusing to authorize it. Although the government seems to have had a change of heart, there’s every reason to think it will continue to try to bend the pandemic narrative to fit its perceived political interests. And that’s likely to be a big mistake. China’s reticence about such probes is longstanding. Nearly two decades ago, the government covered up the SARS outbreak with tragic consequences. (Adam Minter, 1/12)
How Did Covid-19 Start? Researchers Are Still Trying To Find Out
People want to know where the coronavirus came from. If humans first caught it from bats, then where and how? Did Covid-19 escape from a lab, as several magazine articles have insinuated? While most scientists dismiss a deliberate release of the virus as a conspiracy theory, they can’t completely dismiss the possibility that it escaped by accident. International investigations could shed light on the matter, but they’ve gotten off to a bumpy start. A WHO investigative team was held up for months before finally getting admitted to China this week. Another team associated with the Lancet has yet to start field work there. Getting to the bottom of things is not only critical for preventing future pandemics, it’s important for keeping the public in the loop, to keep people motivated to help mitigate the spread. (Faye Flam, 1/12)
The Washington Post:
I Got Covid-19 Because My Republican Colleagues Dismiss Masks And Facts
Over the past day, a lot of people have asked me how I feel. They are usually referring to my covid-19 diagnosis and my symptoms. I feel like I have a mild cold. But even more than that, I am angry. I am angry that after I spent months carefully isolating myself, a single chaotic day likely got me sick. I am angry that several of our nation’s leaders were unwilling to deal with the small annoyance of a mask for a few hours. I am angry that the attack on the Capitol and my subsequent illness have the same cause: my Republican colleagues’ inability to accept facts. (U.S. Representative Bonnie Watson Coleman, 1/12)
Atlanta Journal Constitution:
Informal Rules Have Helped Curb COVID-19′s Spread
Through much of the last year, COVID-19 has propelled many people to accept and follow new patterns of behavior. These include wearing a mask in public, attempting to socially distance and restricting groups to smaller numbers. Developed in what critics say was an absence of strong national leadership, these behaviors have been policed, by and large, by people themselves – fines and other punishments are seldom enforced at an official level. Instead, nonobservance is greeted by the disapproval and occasional anger of others. While we wait for vaccines to provide more lasting protection, these decentralized social norms have helped our collective safety. But an interesting question arises: How important are informal rules in keeping us safe, and why do people alter their behavior to follow norms when they don’t expect disobedience to be punished by authorities? (David Mednicoff, 1/11)
The New York Times:
Why Is A Woman’s Body Always In Question?
From youth to old age, a woman’s body is viewed as something to regulate, comment on and critique — what’s personal becomes a matter of public opinion. In the short documentary above, five women share experiences from different stages of life. What they have in common is the sensation of being treated less like a person than like a body — like flesh. (Camila Kater, 1/12)