Longer Looks: Interesting Reads You Might Have Missed
Each week, KHN finds longer stories for you to enjoy. This week's selections include stories on covid, allergies, polio, malaria, and more.
The New York Times:
How a Chinese Doctor Who Warned of Covid-19 Spent His Final Days
In early 2020, in the Chinese city of Wuhan, Dr. Li Wenliang lay in a hospital bed with a debilitating fever. He was no ordinary patient, and even then — before Covid had its name — he feared that this was no ordinary ailment. Dr. Li was widely regarded in China as a heroic truth-teller. He had been punished by the authorities for trying to warn others about the virus, and then, in a terrible turn, had become severely sickened by it. Weeks later, he would become China’s most famous fatality of the emerging pandemic. He was 34. (Xiao, Quian, Liu and Buckley, 10/6)
Why Do Some Allergies Go Away While Others Don’t?
What I went through is, technically speaking, “completely weird,” says Kimberly Blumenthal, an allergist and immunologist at Massachusetts General Hospital. Some allergies do naturally fade with time, but short of allergy shots, which don’t always work, “we think of cat allergy as a permanent diagnosis,” Blumenthal told me. One solution that’s often proposed? “Get rid of your cat.” (Wu, 10/5)
Everything You Need To Know About Polio In The U.S.
The type of poliovirus now circulating in the U.S. complicates polio eradication here and reflects the history of vaccination against the condition. In the last few decades of the 20th century, the U.S. relied on an oral polio vaccine containing a weakened version of the virus. The oral vaccine is cost-effective, easy to administer, involves no needles and triggers an immune response that reduces risk for later infection and prevents disease. It comes with an additional benefit: a person carrying the weakened virus can shed it for a few weeks, passing it to unvaccinated close contacts without causing symptoms—a form of secondary immunization. The upshot is amplification, meaning a single, easily administered vaccination can indirectly immunize many people against both infection and disease once immunity kicks in. (Willingham, 9/29)
The New York Times:
Can New Vaccines Finally Eradicate Malaria?
All through childhood, Miriam Abdullah was shuttled in and out of hospitals, her thin body wracked with fever and ravaged by malaria. She was so sick so often that her constant treatments drained her parents, who also cared for her many siblings, both financially and emotionally. “At some point, even my mum gave up,” recalled Ms. Abdullah, now 35. In Nyalenda, the poor community in Kisumu, Kenya, where Ms. Abdullah lives, malaria is endemic and ubiquitous. Some of her friends developed meningitis after becoming infected; one died. “Malaria has really tormented us as a country,” she said. (Mandavilli, 10/4)
What A Gift To Give': A Sister's Unexpected Offer To Carry A Child
Lydia Gatton’s first in vitro fertilization appointment was just a week away when the fifth-grade teacher fell to the floor in the cafeteria of Hopewell Elementary in Bettendorf, Iowa, suffering a grand mal seizure. She was rushed to the hospital, where doctors diagnosed the then 29-year-old with a brain tumor. (Baggenstoss, 10/5)
The New York Times:
The Challenges Of Dating With Chronic Illness
On the dating app Hinge, users fill out profiles by responding to open-ended prompts. When Hannah Foote, a 22-year-old marketing professional from Phoenix, shared “disability rights” as a social issue she supports, the responses she received were revealing: Matches called her “a saint” for caring about disabled people, she said. They were unaware that she lives with her own debilitating illness. Ms. Foote has a genetic disorder that causes shortness of breath, fatigue, dizziness and frequent fainting. Her condition adds a layer of complexity to the already confusing world of online dating, she said. She has received inappropriate messages from matches who declared her “too pretty to be disabled,” while others have asked sexually invasive questions. (Latifi, 10/28)