Viewpoints: Lessons On Arrival Of Biden’s Vaccine Plan, Trusting Loved Ones About Covid Risks
Editorial pages focus on these pandemic topics and several other public health topics, as well.
The New York Times:
Biden’s Covid-19 Plan Is Maddeningly Obvious
I wish I could tell you that the incoming Biden administration had a genius plan for combating Covid-19, thick with ideas no one else had thought of and strategies no one else had tried. But it doesn’t. What it does have is the obvious plan for combating Covid-19, full of ideas many others have thought of and strategies it is appalling we haven’t yet tried. That it is possible for Joe Biden and his team to release a plan this straightforward is the most damning indictment of the Trump administration’s coronavirus response imaginable. (Ezra Klein, 1/18)
Staying Safe During The Covid-19 Era: Pay Attention To 'The Guy You Know'
For the last nine months, my team of anthropologists and I have been asking people across the United States to tell us their experiences of living during a global pandemic. We have seen a dangerous theme emerge: the belief that dangers of the virus come from strangers and that friendship and family ties can cancel contagion. Though logical, these interpretations of biology are wrong — sometimes dead wrong. (Lisa J. Hardy, 1/18)
The Washington Post:
Biden's Covid Vaccine Plans Are Good. What Matters Now Is Acting On Them Quickly.
When he takes office, President-elect Joe Biden will inherit a ragged and stumbling vaccine rollout. Mr. Biden understands the gravity of this crisis and has a solid proposal to speed up vaccination and bolster the creaky U.S. public health system. But hanging over it all is the question of whether Mr. Biden’s package can be executed fast enough to brake the out-of-control pandemic. (1/18)
The New York Times:
When Biden Becomes … Rooseveltian!
In some ways, F.D.R. had it easy. That’s the context of President-elect Joe Biden’s “America Rescue Plan,” a far-reaching effort to revive the American economy — and to do much more. Like Roosevelt, Biden is employing a crisis to try to address long-neglected problems in our country. This is Big Policy. You might even call it Rooseveltian. Of course, what was significant about Roosevelt was the scale not of what he proposed but of what he achieved, and even if Biden’s initial proposal gets through Congress, it does not add up to anything close to the 12-year revolution that was the New Deal. But after years of hesitation and half-steps, it’s thrilling to see truly bold efforts to tackle some of America’s deepest underlying problems. (Nicholas Kristof, 1/16)
Why Wait? If You Can Get A COVID-19 Vaccine, Do It Now
The vaccine the world has been waiting a year for is now available to the general public, but research shows many of those eligible to receive it would rather wait. In a recent Axios-Ipsos poll, only 43% of respondents said they would immediately get the vaccine when it becomes available to them, with the remaining 57% waiting weeks to a year -- or refusing altogether. (Dr. Adjoa Smalls-Mantey, 1/17)
COVID-19 Vaccine's Chaotic Early Rollout Echoes Past Inequities
On April 12, 1955, a wave of public relief resonated across the United States as news arrived of a vaccine that could successfully prevent polio — one of the most feared diseases in the U.S. at the time, causing "more than 15,000 cases of paralysis a year," according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. To the terror of parents, many of those paralyzed or killed by polio were children. Jonas Salk and his research team announced that their vaccine against the virus was safe and effective; the federal government quickly gave official approval, and vaccination distribution began across the U.S. within weeks. But collective relief soon gave way to frustration. There were simply not enough doses of the vaccine to go around at the start. Even worse, the available doses weren't going to the groups deemed most in need; instead, people who were socially well-connected and wealthy were finding ways to jump the line. (Hazar Khidir, 1/16)
Los Angeles Times:
A Single Dose Of COVID Vaccine May Help, But It's Not Enough
The all-important push to vaccinate Americans against COVID-19 faces a true dilemma: Two doses are required for the vaccines available right now. But because Americans — like people in many countries — would not refrain from holiday gatherings and keep their masks on, cases are surging higher than they’ve ever been. A single dose of vaccine would provide significant protection, but it’s not enough for long-term immunity. (1/19)
Oregon Must Clean Up Own Vaccine Messes
The news that the federal government doesn’t actually have any extra vaccines on hand despite pledging to ship such fictional doses to states is beyond astonishing. Even recognizing the Trump Administration’s track record of lies and incompetence, this false promise sold to millions of desperate Americans is incomprehensibly heartless. As Gov. Kate Brown noted on Friday, the revelation sets back the state’s plan to expand its vaccine program to teachers and older Oregonians as planned. The news means that many seniors who have been anxiously awaiting vaccines as a path out of isolation will have to wait even longer and could delay some schools’ plans to provide in-person instruction. (1/17)
COVID-19 Vaccine Needs A Fine-Tuned Message And A Better Messenger
The two COVID-19 vaccines rolling out across the country are keys to first managing and then ending the pandemic. But to achieve herd immunity, the level at which the novel coronavirus is considered under control, it is likely that 7 to 9 people out of 10 need to be inoculated. Once the logistical issues of delivering the vaccines are resolved we will need to overcome a vexing challenge: the resistance and distrust that many Arizonans have against the vaccine. Less than half of Arizonans say they’ll get the vaccine for sure, far below the level needed to achieve herd immunity. Almost as many are unsure, and 23% say they won’t get the shots. (Sybil Francis, 1/17)
Startups: Focus On Innovations That Truly Improve Mental Health
An unexpected side effect of the tragedy of the Covid-19 pandemic is unprecedented opportunity for innovation in mental health care, largely due to the rapid expansion of telehealth and the increased demand for mental health services. (David Mou and Thomas R. Insel, 1/19)
The Wall Street Journal:
The Flint Water Indictments
There’s plenty of blame to go around for the Flint disaster, and there can be reasonable arguments about how much falls on Mr. Snyder. His party paid a price in the 2018 election. But not every tragedy, to say nothing of every government foul up, is a crime. One prosecutor said Thursday that the case is about “simply giving a damn about all of humanity.” Is that language in a statute somewhere? Let’s see the evidence. But if these prosecutors are trying to shoehorn political failure into the criminal code, they will compound the Flint injustice and deter good Michiganders from ever seeking public office. (1/18)