Perspectives: Warnings About U.S. Inability To Handle Coronavirus; U.S. Hospitals Are Ready To Take On Coronavirus If Necessary
Editorial writers offer views on the dangers coronavirus poses in the U.S.
Los Angeles Times:
U.S. Hospitals Are Unprepared For The Spread Of Coronavirus
When the new coronavirus COVID-19 first broke out, China’s healthcare system was unprepared. Hospital waiting rooms were so packed with prospective patients that hundreds more had no choice but to line up outside. Many waited several hours, only to be turned away and urged to self-quarantine. More troubling, experts say, is that the chaos of this initial surge likely did more to spread the disease than stop it. The same fate awaits us here if the new virus becomes a global pandemic. Hospitals in the United States are already so overburdened, and their staffs so overworked, that one bad flu season is enough to push them over capacity. (William Haseltine, 2/24)
The Wall Street Journal:
How Not To Panic Over The Wuhan Virus (Or Russia)
If you’re looking for something to be on the edge of your seat about, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will start testing people with flu symptoms in five cities (New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Seattle and San Francisco) to see if the Wuhan coronavirus has slipped around our defenses and taken root in the U.S. Or they could just wait for Bernie Sanders to come down with something. A 78-year-old man with a heart condition will be conducting five or six public events a day in coming weeks. In fact, he and his fellow Democratic candidates ought to be monitored as virtual blotters for any transmissible respiratory ailments that may be at large. (Holman W. Jenkins, Jr., 2/21)
The New York Times:
Is The Coronavirus Outbreak A Pandemic Yet?
On Tuesday, Feb. 18, no coronavirus cases had been reported in Iran. On Sunday, the government announced 43 cases and eight deaths. Some 152 cases (and at least three deaths) were confirmed in Italy on Sunday, up from three cases on Thursday. The number of infected people in South Korea jumped to 763 (and six deaths) in just days. As of Monday, Covid-19 was detected in at least 29 countries. In nations with few or no reported cases so far, particularly in South America and Africa, the absence of evidence shouldn’t be interpreted as evidence of absence. More likely, it reflects lack of testing. (Michael T. Osterholm and Mark Olshaker, 2/24)
The Washington Post:
Have Coronavirus Cases Peaked?
Chinese authorities have placed an estimated 760 million people into lockdown as part of an epic campaign to contain the spread of covid-19, the novel coronavirus. As of Sunday, there were over 77,000 confirmed cases and more than 2,500 deaths in China, mostly in Hubei province. Wuhan, the provincial capital and the epicenter of the outbreak, has been hard hit. Why did China’s CDC system, once touted as among the world’s best disease control programs, fail to help contain the virus early on? And what has the crisis exposed about China’s system of governance? Here’s what you need to know. (Dali L. Yang, 2/24)
The New York Times:
Trump Makes The American Health Care System Even Worse
President Trump praises a “strong, sharp and powerfully focused” Chinese President Xi Jinping for his handling of the coronavirus outbreak. “President Xi strongly leads what will be a very successful operation,” Trump said. This offended some Americans. At a time when many Chinese are criticizing Xi for initially covering up the outbreak, should America’s president really side with a dictator who punished doctors rather than listening to them? (Nicholas Kristof, 2/22)
Authoritarianism Is The Greatest Public Health Risk
The COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak has made clear the urgency of developing a vital yet overlooked antidote to pandemics — democracy. While the virus spreads, China's crackdown on freedom of expression has created an environment where doctors are stifled, the free flow of information is curtailed, health recommendations are ignored and the death toll rises. This isn’t the first time I have witnessed how the authoritarian Chinese state has fueled the spread of deadly disease. (Adam Nelson, 2/23)