Different Takes: Reconsider Holiday Plans And Save Lives; Rethink Masks, Lockdowns
Opinion writers weigh in on these pandemic issues and other health issues, as well.
The New York Times:
Holidays Must Look Different This Year. Lives Are At Stake.
In some ways, the coronavirus is still a mystery. Scientists can’t say for certain why it’s deadly or debilitating in some people but has virtually no effect in others. They don’t know exactly how long immunity lasts or whether (or when) a vaccine will stop its spread and bring this wretched chapter to a close. But they do know this: The virus spreads most rampantly between people who gather indoors, in close quarters, to talk or laugh or sing, without wearing masks. Experts say the wave of outbreaks now sweeping the nation has been caused by precisely these types of gatherings. As gut-wrenching as this may be, one of the most obvious ways to mitigate further viral spread will be for as many people as possible to stay home this holiday season. (10/29)
Los Angeles Times:
A Mask Mandate May Prevent More COVID-19 Lockdowns
The way President Trump tells it, the COVID-19 pandemic is all but vanquished in the U.S., with a vaccine just around the corner. Healthcare workers across the country know better. Coronavirus cases are surging to record highs, a fact that’s not attributable to increased testing, according to Adm. Brett Giroir, who leads the federal government’s coronavirus testing response. Hospital beds in hard-hit states such as Utah, Idaho and North Dakota are filling up with COVID-19 patients, and if the surge continues, those hospitals could be overwhelmed. (10/30)
The CT Mirror:
Preventing The Spread Of COVID-19 Is Everybody’s Responsibility
Winter is on the horizon and already the specter of another viral resurgence looms before us. Dr. Anthony Fauci is already warning of a “difficult situation,” as the number of infected people in the United States has started trending upward again. Significant numbers of states are currently reporting more than 3% of corona virus tests returning positive. This trend concerns me. It concerns me because I have seen first-hand the worst cases of COVID-19. (Ben Ways, 10/30)
Don’t Weaken Contact Tracing Just As COVID Cases Are Rising
It should come as no surprise, eight months into the ebbing and surging coronavirus pandemic in Florida, that we are not in this thing together. True to form, the state of Florida seems poised to stop funding for contact tracing, an effective tool to alert people who have been exposed to the virus to get tested. It pushes those who test positive into isolation and treatment, while giving peace of mind to those who test negative. But, according to the Tampa Bay Times, Alina Alonso, director of the Palm Beach County health department, informed a county commission meeting that the state will stop funding local contact tracing efforts at the end of November. (10/30)
Think COVID Is Disappearing? Just Look At The Crisis In El Paso.
With hospitals and funeral homes filled to capacity, the crisis in El Paso is irrefutable evidence that the COVID-19 pandemic is not just “going to disappear.” The outbreak also should puncture those reckless claims that the seriousness of the virus has been overblown or that reasonable steps to keep ourselves and others safe are too costly or inconvenient. The startling surge of COVID-19 cases in West Texas and around the globe shows infections can erupt suddenly, spread quickly and overwhelm health-care resources with devastating consequences. (10/28)
The Ever-Expanding Role Of The Chief Medical Officer
Until March of this year, my job as chief medical officer of Salesforce was demanding but reasonably predictable from one day to another. I focused on steering the company’s health care and life sciences strategy, identifying opportunities to bring solutions to market, and interpreting the significance of government policy changes for our clients and partners. Covid-19 blew up my job description overnight. (Ashwini Zenooz, 10/30)
And on other topics —
'Patient Friction Coefficient' Can Gauge A Clinical Trial's Patient Burden
The rigor and complexity needed to generate measurable results from clinical trials often makes them difficult for patients to participate in. And that’s a problem for the biopharma industry. (David Cameron and Murray Aitken, 10/30)
The Wall Street Journal:
Walmart’s Opioid Whipsaw
The Trump Administration has criticized the practice of regulating by informal guidance, but its opioid enforcement comes straight out of that old Obama-Biden playbook. Walmart is pushing back against this bureaucratic abuse. At stores across the U.S., Walmart’s pharmacists fill legal opioid prescriptions written by doctors licensed in their states and registered with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). For conducting this legitimate business, the Trump Administration has threatened to sue Walmart for contributing to the opioid crisis and plans to seek a “massive liability,” the company claims in a pre-emptive lawsuit filed last week. (10/29)