Different Takes: Finally Learning To Trust Scientists Is Paying Off; Why Isn’t Research On Life-Saving Drugs Faster?
Opinion writers weigh in on these pandemic topics and others.
Has The Coronavirus Finally Taught Us How To Listen To Science?
The coronavirus pandemic contains an encouraging surprise. If we can take the right lessons from the crisis, we will find ourselves better prepared to tackle the health of our fevered planet. The first lesson is that our deepest well of practical hope is in science and the people who practice it. The front-line health care workers, public health experts, engineers, and scientists working on face shields, masks, ventilators, testing, contact tracing, therapeutic drugs, and a vaccine — with courage and ingenuity — are fighting the current wildfire with torrents of scientific knowledge. (L. Rafael Reif, 4/21)
The New York Times:
Coronavirus Propaganda Is Coming. Be Ready For It.
Last month, a viral post attributed to Stanford University circulated on social media claiming that if you can hold your breath without coughing for more than 10 seconds, you most likely don’t have Covid-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. I initially believed it was credible and forwarded it to friends before I learned it was fake. I have studied influence campaigns for most of my career. How could I have been so foolish? And then I began to wonder about the impact that pandemic conspiracies like this one, labeled “infodemic” campaigns by the World Health Organization, will have on the American election in November. What sorts of lies, rumors and wild theories about the coronavirus will enshroud the Democratic and Republican campaigns, conventions, debates and Election Day? (Vera Zakem, 4/22)
People Are Dying Of Coronavirus Because We’re Too Slow At Clinical Research
When medical historians look back at the Covid-19 pandemic, they will reckon with how the United States, with its vast technological and scientific resources, stumbled so badly in the face of an emerging virus. They’ll wonder why the country responded so slowly, and why, in particular, it lacked adequate diagnostic tests for months after cases started to rise. But they will also be baffled at something else: that it took so long to study new medicines to determine if they worked — even as the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, was killing 2,000 Americans a day. Simply put, more people will die from Covid-19 because we cannot study drugs more quickly. (Herper, 4/22)
Creating A Culture Of Readiness Within The Healthcare System
On March 1, the first case of COVID-19 was diagnosed in New York City at Mount Sinai. Over the next month, our health system would work at an unbelievable pace to double capacity to manage the dramatic spike in COVID-19-positive patients. Engineers and facilities personnel transformed lobbies and conference rooms into hospital rooms, we canceled scheduled surgeries and admissions, and hospital leadership partnered with a disaster relief organization to open a field hospital in New York's Central Park. (Brendan Carr, 4/21)
A Dispatch From Two Residents Inside An ICU's 'Covid Crew'
“Welcome to the Covid crew,” read the email we received in mid-March. With that quick introduction, we started work in the first medical ICU team focused on the care of patients with Covid-19 at Boston Medical Center, a safety net hospital. Little did we know that the next few weeks would be the most trying times of our medical careers to date, and possibly ever. (Iniya Rajendran and Stephanie Van Decker, 4/22)
St. Louis Post Dispatch:
Coronavirus Moves To The Heartland, Where Some Issues Make It More Dangerous
The coronavirus thus far has hit hardest in urban areas, feeding a belief among many rural Americans that it isn’t their problem. Increasingly, though, it is. Even as larger cities start to see cases leveling off, infections are growing across the heartland, sometimes at even higher transmission rates than urban areas. As the virus moves out from the cities, rural America will face some unique problems, including older-than-average populations, lack of hospitals, lack of medical insurance — and a sense of complacency or tough-it-out self-reliance that too many rural-state political leaders have encouraged. (4/21)
Los Angeles Times:
Here’s What Coronavirus Reveals About Anti-Asian Discrimination
I called my parents a few nights ago to tell them to be cautious when stepping out of the house, because they might be targets of verbal or even physical abuse. It felt so strange. Our roles had flipped. My plea mirrored the admonitions I received from them as a child growing up in Houston. The world, they cautioned, was hostile and it viewed us as strangers. So they warned me to stick close to my family. Close to my kind. The fact that the coronavirus seems to have originated in China has spawned a slew of anti-Asian hate crimes. (John Cho, 4/22)
Covid-19 And Suicide: An Uncertain Connection
I live and work in Colorado, a beautiful state that can look to an outsider like a year-round playground of sunshine and skiing. But my state has a big problem: suicide rates that are among the highest in the country. (Emmy Betz, 4/22)
Cleveland Plain Dealer:
Needed, A ‘Fauci’ For The Elderly In Long-Term Care Facilities And Loved Ones Who Want To Visit
Last Friday, Dr. Deborah Birx from the White House Coronavirus Task Force laid out the phased reopening of the country, with bullet points that there would be no visitation to nursing homes in Phases 1 or 2. No timetable is given for the phases other than a steady drop-off in cases. So it would be at least 14 days, twice over, once cases solidly recede.This means the elderly with daily living needs are going to go 60 days to 90 days or more without being able to see their family or friends.I was astonished that no one challenged this. (Lynn Berner, 4/22)
U.S. Must Avoid Building Racial Bias Into COVID-19 Emergency Guidance
Across the United States, we are seeing alarming statistics about the disproportionate toll of COVID-19 on Latino and black people. In New York City, the New York Times tells us, coronavirus is twice as deadly for these minorities as for their white counterparts. In both Chicago and Louisiana, black patients account for 70% of coronavirus deaths, even though they make up roughly a third of the population. (Jossie Carreras Tartak and Hazar Khidir, 4/21)
Omaha World Herald:
Pause Packing Plant Operations To Boost Their Virus Protection
The nation’s meatpacking industry must take a break. Packing plants around the country have become hot spots in the coronavirus crisis, in particular fueling dramatic increases in cases in the Heartland, as The World-Herald reported Tuesday. In the past 10 days, South Dakota, with a 266% increase in cases; Nebraska (155%); Iowa (129%); and North Dakota (117%), account for four of the top five states in case growth. The increases are linked to packing plants, where workers must be in close quarters and where, the numbers clearly show, operators and health officials are behind the curve and playing catch-up with mitigation measures. (4/21)
Des Moines Register:
Coronavirus Exposes Issues In Our Rickety Food System
I woke up the other morning, as I imagine many others did, thinking about our current COVID-19 crisis, especially how it is impacting our food and farming sector. The magnitude and scale of the economic dislocation and disruption COVID-19 has already caused is shocking, and who knows what may be yet to come. The crisis has illustrated how fragile and brittle many parts of the food system are to this type of disruption. (Neil Hamilton, 4/21)