Viewpoints: Lessons On Treating Covid; Hope For The J&J Vaccine
Editorial pages focus on these covid topics, on the impact of the pandemic on people of color and the physically challenged, and on other public health topics, as well.
Is Doctors' Doing Less Why More People Are Surviving Covid-19?
Last month as my colleagues and I took care of Mrs. Smith (not her real name), a middle-aged woman hospitalized with Covid-19, every day felt like an education in learned helplessness. No matter what our team did, her infection kept getting worse. At first she was breathing just room air. Then she needed extra oxygen delivered by a small tube sitting below her nostrils. After that she needed more oxygen delivered through a facemask. (Haider J. Warraich, 1/15)
Is Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 Vaccine A Game Changer?
We won’t know the efficacy of the vaccine for another couple of weeks — that’s when the first results from late-stage, phase III trials will be reported — but the data from an earlier stage in the trial that was just published in a peer-reviewed article in the New England Journal of Medicine helps us make some predictions. The findings, looking at various aspects of the immune response after one or two doses, look better than the preliminary report from the same trial that we saw in September. After just one dose, the immune reaction looks similar to that seen with two doses of the Pfizer Inc.-BioNTech SE and Moderna Inc. vaccines, though it’s important to note that different methods were used to measure antibody levels, so they are not directly comparable. What’s also good is that the antibody response continued to remain strong and even improved up to 71 days after the first dose, while the effect in people older than 65 was pretty much the same as that seen in younger adults. Given all this, and the fact that the Pfizer vaccine had close to 90% efficacy in its phase III trial between the first and second dose, I am optimistic that J&J’s phase III will also report very strong efficacy. (Sam Fazeli, 1/14)
Biden’s $1.9 Trillion ‘Rescue Plan’ Could Destroy 4 Million Jobs — Here’s A Better Idea
All that Biden’s proposal does is stimulate Washington and many of the governments in blue states in America, which have lockdown governors who have bankrupted their own states. Casey Mulligan of the University of Chicago and I estimate that at least 4 million jobs would be destroyed by the Biden bill because all of the free money makes work less essential and — in many cases — less financially attractive than getting off the couch and working. That’s some stimulus. (Stephen Moore, 1/14)
The New York Times:
The Coronavirus Is Erasing Minority Women From The Workforce
For years, the story of working women in the United States has been one of slow but steady progress. Against this backdrop, the latest monthly employment figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics delivered an acute shock. A net total of 144,00 jobs were lost in December, the clear effect of the continuing economic downturn. But while male employment increased slightly, 156,000 women lost their jobs, mainly in pandemic-hit sectors such as hospitality and education. And since the employment of white women actually increased, on net these losses fell on women of color.This is the scourge of the pandemic: It is landing multiple blows on those least able to bear them, widening inequalities stemming from gender, class and race. (Diane Coyle, 1/14)
The New York Times:
Disabled Americans Are Losing A Lifeline
At a time when the pandemic has hit the disabled and elderly the hardest, they also face the erosion of a critical income lifeline, Supplemental Security Income (S.S.I.). The program has collapsed during the pandemic: From July to November 2020, the Social Security Administration awarded benefits to about 100,000 fewer individuals compared with the same period in 2019. In July 2020 the agency distributed just 38,318 new awards — the fewest in 20 years of available data.At this rate, more than 230,000 low-income disabled and elderly Americans will miss out on vital cash benefits and access to health care (via Medicaid, which S.S.I. recipients generally qualify for) in one year. (Jonathan Stein and David Weaver, 1/14)
The Washington Post:
Four Years Ago, I Set Out In An RV To Understand Trump’s Appeal. Here’s What I Found.
We went back and forth, in the way that friends do — friendly, teasing, laughing. At one point the electrician began sharing a story about an experience with his union — more new members and fewer jobs. But then he slipped as he described the new union members, the “colored” ones. I didn’t bat an eye in the momentary awkwardness, while he quickly corrected himself. But there it was — the heart of the Trump thing. Race. (Donna F. Edwards, 1/14)
The Baltimore Sun:
The Death Of Dr. Amanda Cook Zivic From COVID-19: A Loss For Family And Friends, For Psychiatry, In Some Way For Us All
We stand on the banks of a swelling river of news about infections, hospitalizations, deaths. Some of us know people who died in the pandemic, but many do not. The casualty reports have started to become background noise, or like the small-print lists of American combat deaths that years ago appeared in newspapers. (Dan Rodricks, 1/14)
Portland Press Herald:
Maine Democratic Leaders: Mainers Deserve A COVID-19 Patient Bill Of Rights
Ten months ago, the first COVID-19 case was reported in Maine. Almost overnight, our lives were upended and our sense of normalcy shattered. Throughout it all, Mainers have shown resilience, but it hasn’t been easy. With each passing holiday, birthday or life event, it gets harder and harder to be apart. Mainers are more than ready for their lives to go back to normal. Grandparents want to play with their grandkids. Children want to be able to visit and hug their parents again. That’s why we’re proud to introduce L.D. 1, An Act to Establish a COVID-19 Patient Bill of Rights. It takes basic steps to protect the health and safety of Mainers, and gets us closer to restoring our communities and economy. (Troy Jackson and Ryan Fecteau, 1/14)
The Wall Street Journal:
The Good News On Cancer
Ready for some good news for a change? The American Cancer Society reported this week that cancer mortality declined by a record 2.4% in 2018 and 31% since the 1991 peak. Credit better and earlier diagnostics and therapies and a decline in smoking. About 40% of Americans will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime, and the risk increases with age. Cancer is the leading cause of death for middle-aged Americans and two to three times more likely to kill someone in their 50s or 60s than even Covid-19. The incidence of some cancers like breast, liver and kidney is also increasing partly for demographic and lifestyle reasons. (1/14)
Los Angeles Times:
Climate Change Remains The Greatest Crisis Of Our Crisis-Filled Era
As the nation deals with the tragic drama of President Trump’s final days in office, and the world reels under a now-year-long assault by a virus, the Earth continues to evolve into a dangerously inhospitable environment. And it is our collective fault. This past year was, in essence, in a statistical tie with 2016 for the hottest on record, with temperatures driven upward by the warming effects of human activities that spew carbon and other greenhouse compounds into the atmosphere. (1/14)