Perspectives: India’s Health Care Needs Huge Overhaul; What Will Be The Next Worldwide Disaster?
Opinion writers examine covid, global disasters and vaccine issues.
Too Few Indians Have Proper Health Insurance, Exacerbating Covid Crisis
Covid-19 related deaths in India are expected to double in the coming weeks. People across socioeconomic classes are being cremated en masse in large holes in the ground. The ordeal doesn’t even end with death. Medical bills are piling up, a burden large enough to tip working-class families into multi-generational poverty. Younger adults desperate for vaccines are effectively being forced to pay for them, while those most at risk aren’t adequately insured. The state’s threadbare safety net has all but collapsed. (Anjani Trivedi and Andy Mukherjee, 5/9)
The Next Global Disaster Is Already On Its Way
The Covid-19 pandemic is not over, but it is already clear that Lord Rees, Britain’s astronomer royal, has won his 2017 bet with the Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker that “bioterror or bioerror will lead to one million casualties in a single event within a six-month period starting no later than Dec. 31, 2020. ”Last year, according to Johns Hopkins University, the SARS-CoV-2 virus claimed the lives of 1.8 million people. The global death toll could exceed 5 million by Aug. 1 — or 9 million, if one accepts the drastic new upward revision by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. It could have been worse, of course. In March 2020, some epidemiologists argued that, without drastic social distancing and economic lockdowns, the ultimate death toll could be between 30 and 40 million. Yet the cost of such nonpharmaceutical interventions has been enormous — for the U.S. alone, an estimated 90% of GDP. (Niall Ferguson, 5/9)
The Washington Post:
It’s Time To Apply Warp Speed To Vaccinate The Globe
The Pandemic fortunes of the world have flipped. At the outset, the United States and Europe suffered intensely, while much of the global south was relatively unscathed. Now, the United States is tasting recovery, thanks to highly effective vaccines, while infection, sickness and death ravage the less developed world. South Asia and Latin America are being swamped by the coronavirus. This cries out for a more generous and ambitious response than has been forthcoming. (5/8)
America's Covid Vaccine Hesitation Is An Insult To Countries In Need
As a field producer covering vaccine hesitancy in rural America, I've been hearing from people who sit on the extremes of the vaccination hesitation spectrum. Last week in rural Oregon, a woman of advanced age breathlessly explained to me how she was never taking the vaccine because Covid-19 "is just the flu." A 26-year-old waitress told me she was hesitant because the vaccines are too new, and since she and her fiancé are fit and eat a balanced diet, she didn't think they needed it. A local health official said one person in his county declined the vaccine because they said it would turn them into a Democrat. (Julia Jones, 5/7)
Our Pathetic Herd Immunity Failure
Could today’s version of America have been able to win World War II? It hardly seems possible. That victory required national cohesion, voluntary sacrifice for the common good and trust in institutions and each other. America’s response to COVID-19 suggests that we no longer have sufficient quantities of any of those things. In 2020 Americans failed to socially distance and test for the coronavirus and suffered among the highest infection and death rates in the developed world. Millions decided that wearing a mask infringed their individual liberty. (David Brooks, 5/10)
Dallas Morning News:
The Vaccine Wall Is Coming, And It Will Take All Of Us To Knock It Down
Millions and millions of vaccine doses have been administered to Americans in a matter of months. This Herculean effort has brought peace of mind back to workers, students, teachers, families and entire communities, pushing us closer than ever to what health experts call “herd immunity. ”Herd immunity can be reached through vaccinations and the antibodies developed from contracting COVID-19, and when we reach herd immunity, this nation can finally return to normal. Hallelujah! (Richie Butler, 5/9)