Perspectives: Time To Prepare For Toll COVID Takes On Organs; Lessons On Resiliency, Second Surges
Opinion writers express views about these public health issues and others.
The Washington Post:
It’s Time To Focus On Potential Long-Term Organ Damage From Covid-19
New cases of covid-19 are declining across the country, so it's tempting to wonder whether the worst of the pandemic is behind us. Not by a long shot. Even as cases decline, it is possible we could soon be grappling with the burden of prolonged or permanent organ damage among the millions of people who have survived covid-19. There’s still a lot we don’t know about the long-term effects of this disease, but they could cripple not just these “survivors" but also our health-care system and our economy, too. (William Li and Andrew von Eschenbach, 9/14)
What Resilience During The Pandemic Really Means
As numbers in Massachusetts creep up again, and the governor considers backtracking on re-opening, I worry about another surge this fall. I worry my kids won’t go back to school even for the hybrid half-time currently planned. I worry that people don’t understand that flattening the curve doesn’t mean we are off the roller coaster yet. Most of all, though, I worry that even when this crazy time in history is past and we all go back to “normal,” we will have learned very little, if anything, at all. (Ellen H. O'Donnell, 9/14)
Understanding The US Failure On Coronavirus
On 9 August, the US passed the five million mark in cases of covid-19, representing slightly more than a quarter of all global cases. That day, more than half the states in the US qualified as coronavirus hot spots. The same day in South Dakota, the small town of Sturgis with a population of less than 7000 prepared to welcome 250 000 bikers to its annual biker rally. With no social distancing or face masks required by that mostly conservative rural state, it would be the largest known public gathering in the world in the middle of the covid-19 pandemic. At the same time, 40 million Californians were living with that state’s mandatory mask order imposed by the governor when the state’s decision to open up its economy led to a resurgence in covid-19 infections. (Drew Altman, 9/14)
Should You Go To The Doctor’s Office During Covid-19?
The safest course of action in the Covid-19 pandemic may not be to stay home as much as possible — not if you’re having symptoms of a stroke or heart attack or even if you have other health care needs that have been postponed for the last six months. But in yet another massive public health failure in the U.S., we still have no clear messaging about the relative risks and benefits of going to the doctor. (Faye Flam, 9/14)
'Mask Up' Is A Great Slogan. But People Need More Advice On Managing The Risk Of COVID-19
Eight months into this pandemic, we need better and more specific guidance for people on how to live safely and to weigh risks effectively. A big part of this is collecting data on transmission more efficiently, largely through contact tracing efforts and outbreak investigations. That transmission data needs to then be communicated in a timely manner to the public in ways that they can understand and apply to their own lives. (Abraar Karan and Ranu Dhillon, 9/15)
Spain, France And The U.K. Fail The Test-And-Trace Test
If Europe has a strategy to stop the spread of Covid-19, it’s keeping it well hidden. France’s President Emmanuel Macron has vowed not to go back to the dark days of national lockdown, preferring instead to “live” with the coronavirus disease, but his government is struggling to halt a jump in cases. France reported more than 10,000 new cases in 24 hours over the weekend, a grim postscript to its decision to cut the required quarantine for positive cases in half to seven days.It’s a similar story in Spain, the country with the most cases in Europe and the first to cross the barrier of more than half a million in total. (Lionel Laurent, 9/14)
Are Lung Function Algorithms Appropriate Or Perpetuating Discrimination?
"I can’t breathe” became a rallying cry against racism in the wake of the deaths of George Floyd and Eric Garner at the hands of the police. But chokeholds are far from the main cause of race-based disparities in respiratory deaths in the U.S. The Covid-19 pandemic is more likely to asphyxiate Black people than white people. They are also more likely to die from asthma, pneumonia, and non-Covid-19 acute respiratory distress syndrome. (Adam W. Gaffney, Steffie Woolhandler and David U. Himmelstein, 9/15)
Are We Mapping A Path To CRISPR Babies?
In November 2018, at a gene-editing “summit” hosted by scientific societies from the U.S., the U.K., and Hong Kong, a Chinese researcher announced that he had created the world’s first genetically modified babies. He Jiankui fully expected to be celebrated for a scientific breakthrough; he mentioned the Nobel Prize. Instead, he was almost universally condemned. (Katie Hasson and Marcy Darnovsky, 9/13)