Different Takes: Lessons For The U.S. From Sweden’s Questionable Approach To COVID; When Data Fails Us, Life Becomes Very Uncomfortable
Opinion writers weigh in on these public health topics and others.
The Wall Street Journal:
What If America Had Followed Sweden?
As the U.S. haltingly reopens its economy and nears its 100,000th death from Covid-19, many are wondering whether the country could have followed a better path. Some have pointed to Sweden as the model of a less intrusive government response that relied on individual compliance and common sense rather than edicts and laws. Sweden avoided lockdowns. It allowed shops, restaurants, bars and nightclubs to remain open, with social-distancing guidelines. It permitted gatherings of 50 people or fewer. Most of the country’s K-12 students continued to attend classes. (William A. Galston, 5/26)
The Philadelphia Inquirer:
Should The U.S. Favor Public Health Or The Economy? History Shows They’re Inseparable.
Is it better to dig a strong foundation or build a solid house? Say that again. You can’t build a solid house without a strong foundation. They’re inseparable. The question is ridiculous. It’s not as ridiculous as you might think. The United States is currently embroiled in a vitriolic political debate over a question that is just as nonsensical – should we favor public health or the economy? It plays out as a contest between relaxing COVID-19 lockdowns cautiously based on public health advice and repealing them quickly to encourage economic growth. (Robert I. Field, 5/26)
With Covid-19, Evidence-Based Medicine Is Out The Window
“What would you do, doc?” It’s a question I get all the time as a family doctor practicing full-scope primary care after describing an intervention like taking a daily aspirin to prevent a heart attack or deciding about a repeat C-section versus trying for a vaginal delivery. I often have a clear recommendation rooted in what evidence-based medicine has taught me. (Alison Block, 5/27)
St. Louis Post Dispatch:
President's Hydroxychloroquine Use Turns Even Fox News Into A Critic
President Donald Trump last week lashed out like a jilted lover at his favorite cable information outlet, Fox News, because it had the audacity to stray from its usual pro-Trump agenda. “Looking for a new outlet!” Trump tweeted. The president clearly relishes the emotional boost he gets from watching a cable channel that makes him feel loved, but it’s more important to remember that almost 100,000 Americans have died and 39 million have filed for unemployment benefits. Maybe it’s time for him to hit the TV “off” button and start doing his job. (5/26)
Mask And All, Biden Crushes Trump
"He's a fool, an absolute fool," former Vice President Joe Biden said of President Donald Trump's refusal to wear a face mask. "Every doc in the world is saying you should wear a mask when you're in a crowd." Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, didn't raise his voice and smiled often. But he pulled no punches. "Presidents," he said, "are supposed to lead, not engage in folly and be falsely masculine." (Frida Ghitis, 5/26)
Los Angeles Times:
Coronavirus: Asians Don't Have Privilege Of Going Maskless
“You are the most selfish [expletive] people on the planet.” I jerked my head to the left, where I saw a neighbor glaring at us from his driveway while unloading groceries from his trunk.“Where’s your [expletive] mask?” he said. “Unbelievable.”My jaw dropped. I had just walked three blocks home with my toddler and my dad in our mostly empty Los Angeles neighborhood because my kid had thrown a tantrum in the car. (Anna Almendrala, 5/27)
Trump Takes His War On Face Masks To New Heights
The simple act of wearing a mask to protect others during a pandemic is now a political and cultural flashpoint, underscoring the polarization afflicting every corner of American life. President Donald Trump's use of the bully pulpit to defy his own government's advice on face coverings has turned into the era's latest ideologically motivated assault on science and civility. His noncompliance is a symbol of his refusal to adopt the customary codes of the presidency during a crisis and his habit of turning even a dire national moment to political advantage. (Stephen Collinson, 5/27)
The New York Times:
The Coronavirus Has Made It Obvious. Teenagers Should Start School Later.
The pandemic has provided us with a unique opportunity to run an experiment in letting teenagers sleep in. It’s happening in my own house. My kids are 18, 16 and almost 14. Their school is being taught mostly asynchronously, through reading or videos. They do have some in-person meetings and tests, but none begin before 10 a.m., and many are in the afternoon. My wife and I have removed all restrictions and let them regulate their sleep themselves. The kids seem to be going to bed between midnight and 3 a.m. If they’re not required to be in a morning session, I might see them by lunch. (Aaron E. Carroll, 5/27)
5 Deaths Later, COVID-19 Haunts One North Carolina Family
Some dismiss the scale and danger of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. They say, ”I don’t even know anyone who has it.” That is not the case for Mark Colebrook. Five of his wife’s relatives have died from COVID-19 – her father, an aunt in Delaware and two cousins and a brother-in-law in New York City. He also has a brother and a niece who struggled with COVID-19 and have recovered. Colebrook, a 54-year-old teacher from Dunn, knows his experience is the exception, but as much of the state reopens, he fears that by the fall it will be less so. He thinks too many people are taking the pandemic lightly and are dismissing it as overblown. (Ned Barnett, 5/26)
St. Louis Post Dispatch:
History Has Lessons For Missourians Who Thumb Noses At Social Distancing
Missouri has suddenly become America’s poster child for irresponsible behavior regarding the pandemic, with national media coverage of videos showing huge crowds packed into swimming pools and other venues at Lake of the Ozarks over the holiday weekend. Gov. Mike Parson’s decision to prioritize freedom over responsibility goes to the heart of this embarrassing spectacle. St. Louis County Executive Sam Page felt compelled to issue a travel advisory urging revelers from this area to self-quarantine for two weeks. That’s an illustration of how limited official enforcement options are when portions of the public mistake a relaxation of restrictions for a declaration of, “It’s party time!” (5/26)