Longer Looks: Interesting Reads (And Listens) You Might Have Missed
Each week, KHN finds longer stories for you to enjoy. This week's selections include stories on the next pandemic, medical bills, long-haul covid, PPP loans abuse, the latest study on mask effectiveness, racist city planning's mark on public health, Roe v. Wade and more.
World Leaders Are Already Fighting Over The Next Pandemic
The world’s top health officials will confront two pandemics when they convene for their annual summit next week. Rich countries stocked with Covid vaccines are speeding ahead, taking steps toward normalcy. But most of the world remains in the grips of the coronavirus as they wait – and wait – for more doses. That tension has been building for weeks, as the world called on wealthy nations like the U.S. to do more while the virus ravages India and Brazil and spills into neighboring countries. But the upcoming meeting of the World Health Organization’s top policymaking body will look beyond this pandemic at how to prevent the next one. It could energize talks over a pandemic treaty idea supported by over two dozen countries, including U.S. allies like the United Kingdom, France and Germany – but not the U.S. itself. A treaty could aim to ensure equitable distribution of personal protective equipment and vaccines after seeing rich countries scoop those up over the past year. (Paun and Luthi, 5/20)
How To Supercharge Vaccine Production For The Next Pandemic
To defeat the next pandemic, the world needs year-round facilities pumping out vaccines for threats old and new. (Matthews, 5/20)
Deadly Fungi Are The Newest Emerging Microbe Threat All Over The World
These pathogens already kill 1.6 million people every year, and we have few defenses against them. (McKenna, June edition)
The New York Times:
First They Fought The Virus. Now They Battle The Medical Bills
One coronavirus survivor manages her medical bills in color-coded folders: green, red and tan for different types of documents. A man whose father died of the virus last fall uses an Excel spreadsheet to organize the outstanding debts. It has 457 rows, one for each of his father’s bills, totaling over $1 million. These are people who are facing the financial version of long-haul Covid: They’ve found their lives and finances upended by medical bills resulting from a bout with the virus. (Kliff, 5/21)
Clinic Helps Long-Haul Patients In London's "COVID Triangle"
At King George Hospital in the east London district of Ilford, respiratory consultant Adam Ainley began noticing last summer that some coronavirus patients who had been discharged were not getting better. They had a wide range of symptoms, including fatigue, muscle pain, breathlessness, headaches, anxiety and depression. The hospital serves an area dubbed the “COVID triangle,” three outer London boroughs that have had some of Britain’s highest infection rates. It’s a multi-ethnic area, home to many Black and South Asian Londoners, groups that saw higher rates of serious COVID-19 illness and death than white Britons. (Lawless, 5/18)
Hundreds Of PPP Loans Went To Fake Farms In Absurd Places — ProPublica
The shoreline communities of Ocean County, New Jersey, are a summertime getaway for throngs of urbanites, lined with vacation homes and ice cream parlors. Not exactly pastoral — which is odd, considering dozens of Paycheck Protection Program loans to supposed farms that flowed into the beach towns last year. As the first round of the federal government’s relief program for small businesses wound down last summer, “Ritter Wheat Club” and “Deely Nuts,” ostensibly a wheat farm and a tree nut farm, each got $20,833, the maximum amount available for sole proprietorships. “Tomato Cramber,” up the coast in Brielle, got $12,739, while “Seaweed Bleiman” in Manahawkin got $19,957. None of these entities exist in New Jersey’s business records, and the owners of the homes at which they are purportedly located expressed surprise when contacted by ProPublica. (Willis and DePillis, 5/18)
New Doctors In India Are Starting Off Seeing The Worst. It's Taking A Toll
A brand new generation of Indian doctors is just starting out in medicine in the middle of the world's worst coronavirus outbreak. On Wednesday, the country reported just over 4,500 deaths, setting a record for more coronavirus deaths in a single day than any other country during the course of the pandemic. Its total official caseload, likely still an undercount, is now over 25 million cases. For interns in India — entering their profession during such a heightened crisis — the unprecedented demand for doctors and number of deaths is taking an emotional toll. (Verma, 5/21)
The New York Highway That Racism Built: ‘It Does Nothing But Pollute’
For years, New York state officials have known that the ageing I-81 viaduct has needed to be radically redeveloped. Most residents and public officials agree that it must be rethought for safety, economic and public health reasons. However, for a neighborhood that has long been disenfranchised, tearing down the highway also means repairing the legacy of injustice done to their community. Across the US, community organizers have long been fighting to shine a light on the racist urban planning policy that led to highways being built through historically Black neighborhoods. And now, thanks to a recent gesture of support from the Biden administration, organizers in Syracuse feel there is finally some acknowledgment of the harm I-81 has caused, and new momentum around the idea of tearing it down. (Ramirez, 5/21)
ProPublica/Columbia Journalism Investigations:
Addressing Rape In Four Minutes Or Less: Dating App Reps Left Unprepared To Respond To Assault Victims
On a sunny afternoon in the summer of 2019, Natalie Dong stood outside the glass headquarters of the popular online dating platform Tinder, in downtown Los Angeles, with a poster board draped from her neck. It read: “MY RAPIST IS STILL ON TINDER.” More than a year earlier, Dong, then a 21-year-old engineering student, said she had been raped in her home by a man she had met on a different dating website, Coffee Meets Bagel. He told Dong he was on other dating platforms, including Tinder. She reported the events to the police, which didn’t lead to criminal charges. (Edwards, Picciani, Spicer and Cousins, 5/17)
Can 'Vaccinated' Breast Milk Protect Kids? The Science Is Hazy.
When it comes to breast milk from vaccinated people, studies suggest the biggest benefit may be to very young babies. (Gammon, 5/19)