Viewpoints: ‘It’s Really Horrible’: Lessons On Losing 500,000 Americans; Ways To Emerge Stronger Than Ever
Opinion writers weigh in on these pandemic topics and others.
As 500,000 Covid Death Looms, US Reaches Pivotal Moment
The United States will within hours record its unfathomable 500,000th death from Covid-19 paradoxically at a moment of rare hope in the pandemic. Yet the tragic landmark will occur with the White House loath to predict when the crisis may ease as it balances critical political and epidemiological risks. (Stephen Collinson, 2/22)
Propelling From National Crisis To A Resilient Health Care System
A year into the Covid-19 pandemic and the U.S. is still battling this crisis. As the country enters its second and third waves of cases, we know it won’t be back to “business as usual” soon. But was “business as usual” in our health care system really working? The two of us have devoted our lives to health care and to thinking about its future. We’ve watched the pandemic expose critical fissures in the country’s infrastructure, like supply chain challenges that left health care workers without essential protective gear, tragically unequal access to care, too many Americans dying from treatable diseases, and public health capacity constricted by underfunding. We’ve also observed with awe as care teams — grappling with workforce shortages and other long-standing problems — have continuously risen to the challenge with formidable innovation, decisiveness, and collaboration. (Melinda B. Buntin and Kristine Martin Anderson, 2/22)
The New York Times:
How To Prevent The Medical Care Crisis After Covid-19
The coronavirus pandemic has yet to end, but we are already beginning to feel the aftershocks. Even as thousands of Americans continue to die of Covid-19 every day, many people are suffering from serious health problems unrelated to the virus because their health care has been disrupted. With many Americans still afraid to go to hospitals and doctor’s offices, a second, more subtle pandemic is now looming because of the diseases that have gone undiagnosed and untreated since March 2020 .A study published in the Journal of the National Medical Association in December reported that 43 percent of Americans have missed preventive care appointments during the pandemic. In the three months after lockdown measures were first imposed, Epic Health Research Network found that screenings for breast, colon and cervical cancers had declined by two-thirds. (Howard University president Wayne A.I. Frederick, 2/22)
Nursing Homes Still Deserve Better
Nursing home residents infected by COVID-19 are approximately five times more likely to die than a person of the same age living at home. Nursing homes and other long-term care facilities make up about 33% of all COVID-19 deaths nationwide. As of last week, over 163,000 residents and employees of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities had died. Even before the pandemic, many facilities had quality control issues. (David R. Hoffman and Jerry Seelig, 2/22)
We Thought We Were Prepared For A Pandemic — And That's A Lesson For Next Time
Everyone thought the U.S. was well prepared to battle a pandemic. The country ranked first worldwide on the 2019 Global Health Security Index, an effort explicitly created to track abilities to address infectious disease outbreaks that was widely touted by the Trump administration in the early days of the pandemic. It was near the top of the World Health Organization’s Joint External Evaluation Exercise, designed to do the same thing. And yet, America ended 2020 the world leader in reported COVID-19 deaths. (Charles Kenny, 2/21)
Teachers Need COVID Vaccines, Now
If you want to understand how society values your life, wait for a pandemic and watch how it prioritizes your safety. If you’re a public-school teacher in Connecticut, you may not be a priority. According to Education Week, more than half of the states have already made their public-school teachers eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations. That includes big blue ones like New York and California and smaller red ones like Arkansas and Alabama. But Connecticut isn’t on the list. Its teachers are not eligible for vaccinations. (Joe Mandese, 2/21)
Health Care — Moms Can't Wait
Moms can't wait — this has been our ongoing message for years as we urged Congress to extend Medicaid coverage for pregnant individuals to 12 months postpartum to help address the nation’s maternal mortality crisis. This crisis is grave and disproportionately impacts Black and Brown mothers. (Eva Chalas, Jacqueline W. Fincher and Lee Savio Beers, 2/21)
The Washington Post:
On TV, Abortion Is The Road Less Traveled. Life’s Not Like That.
After the sixth episode of “Atypical,” I stormed into my daughter’s room. “Please tell me the therapist is not going to have that baby.” She paused to remember which show she had told me to watch, and then she shrugged sympathetically. “Sorry, Mom.” Dammit! I was hoping that the young, professional Californian, upon learning she was pregnant right after her jerky boyfriend left her, might decide to have an abortion. Instead, it turns out, she doesn’t even consider it. I’m so tired of this. (Kate Cohen, 2/19)
The New York Times:
50 Million Americans Are Unpaid Caregivers. We Need Help.
Five years ago I stood in a tiny hospital room wondering how I was going to care for the man I loved most without succumbing to despair. For four months, my husband, Brad, had been recovering from a stem-cell transplant that saved his life from aggressive lymphoma. The hospital administration said he must go home, but he needed a level of support that, I thought, only a hospital could provide. His homecoming ought to have been cause for celebration. But I felt anything but joyful. (Kate Washington, 2/22)
Los Angeles Times:
Lessons From The Long History Of Homelessness In L.A.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s campaign to “end homelessness” by 2028 — which has cost about $200 million in building shelters around the city — addresses some of the structural pitfalls ensnaring the poor. But it is far from living up to its promise of moving homeless Angelenos off the streets into permanent housing. Recent data show that of nearly 1,500 people who were in the shelters and left in November, only 15% moved to permanent housing. Two-thirds either went back to the streets or did not indicate where they were going. (Marques Vestal and Andrew Klein, 2/22)