Viewpoints: Is Long Covid America’s Next Big Health Crisis?; Investment in Health Care Workers Needed
Opinion writers weigh in on these pandemic issues.
The New York Times:
Long Covid Is A Looming Health Crisis
Both of us developed Covid-19 last March in New York. We didn’t know each other at the time, but we had much in common: We didn’t imagine our symptoms would last for more than a couple of weeks. We were young and otherwise healthy, and were told we should recover easily. But after Fiona’s shortness of breath subsided and she was discharged from the hospital, she developed new symptoms ranging from gastrointestinal problems to rashes and hives to migraines. A few weeks later, Hannah began experiencing fevers, headaches, memory lapses and a debilitating brain fog that made her unable to work. By April two truths had become evident: We were not getting better, and we were not alone in our experience of lingering symptoms. (Fiona Lowenstein and Hannah Davis, 3/17)
Covid Triggered Another Crisis: Rebuilding Our Fragile Health System
Last Thursday marked one year since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared Covid-19 a global pandemic. The statistics on lives lost are heartbreaking. The reports of economic and labor disruptions are staggering. For decades to come families will bear these impacts; from the empty seat at the dining room table to devastating medical bills and lost wages. Among the many casualties of Covid, you'll find an underreported but alarming danger: Last week, health workers' deaths due to the pandemic reached the gruesome milestone of 17,000 across 70 countries. According to Amnesty International, this equates to a health worker dying from Covid-19 every 30 minutes. (Vanessa Kerry, 3/16)
The Philadelphia Inquirer:
Stimulus Package Will Help Health In U.S.
The $1.9 trillion stimulus is going to stimulate more than the economy — it’s a prescription for health. Trust me, I’m a doctor. By ensuring our country’s children have their basic needs met, we are choosing to invest in our future — expansion of the Child Tax Credit will pay dividends in the long term. Imagine having to choose between paying for a heating bill or medication. Or trying to take your mind off of your empty stomach to focus at work or school because you can’t afford to buy food. At least one out of 10 people in the United States may not have to wonder, because they — maybe you — live in poverty. Sadly, children are even more likely to live in poverty, with one in six children falling in that category. The COVID-19 pandemic has made things even harder, with many individuals worried about their ability to recover from 2020′s economic devastation. (George Dalembert, 3/16)
Kansas City Star:
Kansas, You Are Out Of Excuses. COVID Relief Would Pay For Expanding Medicaid
Again this year, Kansas Republicans have said they see Medicaid expansion as a non-starter. But Kansas just lost its last excuse for failing to expand the program that provides health insurance for the working poor. All but 11 other states have already done so, in the 11 years since the Affordable Care Act went into effect. Year after year, stingy state legislators have said Kansas simply can’t afford Medicaid coverage for another 165,000 residents. Too bad about the closing of rural hospitals, they said. Such a shame about poor health outcomes in urban areas. It was just too expensive, they argued. (3/17)
The Washington Post:
The Biden Administration’s Restrictions On Vaccinated Americans Are Ridiculous. Get Your Shot. Live Your Life.
With more than 2 million Americans getting covid-19 vaccination shots each day, many are asking a simple question: When can we resume normal life? The answer should be pretty simple as well — as soon as your immunity kicks in. But the Biden administration is telling the covid-weary country: Not so fast. Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released complex guidelines, full of conditions and stipulations, listing what vaccinated people can and cannot do. You can “visit with other fully vaccinated people indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing” and “visit with unvaccinated people from a single household who are at low risk.” But “all people, regardless of vaccination status, should adhere to current guidance to avoid medium- and large-sized in-person gatherings.” So, no church services, sporting events, concerts or long-delayed weddings. Even more absurdly, the CDC advises after getting the vaccine, you should continue to “delay travel and stay home.” (Marc A. Theissen, 3/16)
Why Don't Inmates Get Priority For Covid-19 Vaccination?
In the four-tier priority list for Covid-19 vaccination set out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, residents of long-term care facilities are at the top along with health care personnel — but not if those long-term care facilities are prisons, jails, and other detention centers. The “science” behind that decision continues to baffle me. Had the Covid-19 pandemic struck six years earlier, during the time I spent serving time at York Correctional Institution in Niantic, Conn., I would have been one of those inmates fretting about her time in line for the vaccine. During the H1N1 pandemic, I lived in one of the 11% of state prisons that didn’t get a supply of H1N1 vaccine in 2009 and 2010. I never got the shot and, quite frankly, never knew if I needed it or not. (Chandra Bozelko, 3/17)