Viewpoints: ‘Like Nothing I’ve Ever Seen Before’: Lessons From Doctors On COVID-19; Minorities Pay The Price For Racism, Health Disparities
Opinion writers weigh in on these pandemic issues and others.
The New York Times:
The Infection That’s Silently Killing Coronavirus Patients
I have been practicing emergency medicine for 30 years. In 1994 I invented an imaging system for teaching intubation, the procedure of inserting breathing tubes. This led me to perform research into this procedure, and subsequently teach airway procedure courses to physicians worldwide for the last two decades. So at the end of March, as a crush of Covid-19 patients began overwhelming hospitals in New York City, I volunteered to spend 10 days at Bellevue, helping at the hospital where I trained. Over those days, I realized that we are not detecting the deadly pneumonia the virus causes early enough and that we could be doing more to keep patients off ventilators — and alive. (Richard Levitan, 4/20)
A Legacy Of Health Disparities Laid Bare By COVID-19
City health authorities released a report showing African Americans with the disease were dying at nearly twice the rate of whites—19.8 per 100,000 lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases compared with 10.2 for whites. The disparity was even greater for Latino victims, who were dying at a rate of 22.8 per 100,000 cases.It's not surprising COVID-19 exacts a high toll on racial and ethnic minorities, who historically have suffered grievously from natural disasters. (Bruce Siegel, 4/20)
You Are Waiting For The Surge
The death toll from the march of Covid-19 through New York City soars past 10,000. You track the wave of patients requiring life support in Boston. Rhode Island — your state, your community, your hospital — is described as being caught between these two hot spots. Models predict you’ll be overrun with cases in a week or two. For now, you’re waiting for the surge. (Jay Baruch, 4/21)
To Defeat COVID-19, Don't Only Treat The Patient, Treat The Neighborhood
A virus that many once believed would impact only a small group of international travelers has infected nearly 750,000 Americans and killed another 39,000. Those numbers are shocking enough, but if you’re an African American or Latinx, you have even greater reason to be concerned. (Jay Bhatt, Kelli Todd and Kavita Patel, 4/20)
COVID-19—Looking Beyond Tomorrow For Health Care And Society
Just 6 months ago, the novel coronavirus now known as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and COVID-19, the severe disease it causes, were unheard of. ...Millions of people have been affected by COVID-19, hundreds of thousands have experienced critical illness, and tens of thousands have died. Physicians, other health care professionals, and health care systems around the world have been challenged like never before in recent history.Since one of the first publications in JAMA, titled “Coronavirus Infections—More Than Just the Common Cold,” by Fauci and colleagues on January 23, 2020, it was clear that the scope and ultimate effects of this outbreak were unclear and would evolve rapidly. However, at some point the acute phase of the pandemic will end, and it will be necessary to understand what the future may look like in health care and in society. Various forecasts have suggested possible timelines for when peaks in disease activity, intensity, and severity of COVID-19 may begin to gradually subside. There are major concerns and uncertainty not only regarding when a return to some semblance of “normal” activities might occur, but also regarding what that “new normal” will be like, in terms of the implications related to the lingering risk of ongoing COVID-19 disease. These implications may be profound and most likely will have important consequences for daily life and for the health care system. (Phil B. Fontanarosa Howard Bauchner, 4/17)
If A Vaccine Quenches Covid-19, What Will Pharma Want In Return?
Make no mistake: The only long-term solution to the Covid-19 pandemic is a safe and effective vaccine. The current focus on identifying effective treatments, while important, serve only as a temporary Band-Aid. (Stewart Lyman, 4/21)
Loneliness, Anxiety, Grief — Dealing With The Mental Health Impacts Of The Coronavirus
Scientists and other professionals are collaborating across borders in a race to find treatments and a vaccine for COVID-19. The urgent need to combat the disease has made it patently obvious that such large-scale national and international efforts to safeguard and treat the physical health of the populace are essential. However, despite the fact that the psychological effects of the pandemic will linger long after the physical threat has abated, little effort has been made to address mental health. (Guy Winch, 4/21)
How Will Telehealth Fare After COVID-19?
Earlier this year, experts in children’s mental health gathered in Columbus, Ohio to talk about a pediatric crisis. Suicide is now the second leading cause of death in young people 10-19 years old. Half of the mental illnesses start by the age of 14. One in five children is living with a significantly impairing mental illness. (Tim Robinson, 4/20)
Detroit Free Press:
Behind The Scenes Of A Metro Detroit Funeral Home During Coronavirus
The news is full of the changing nature of work during the coronavirus pandemic: shuttered businesses, laid-off workers, spiking unemployment claims. That's not Wujek-Calcaterra. If anything, business is up, a grim reality of life during a deadly virus. But the funeral homes are almost eerily quiet, 10 chapels and visitation rooms all but empty, chairs spaced six feet away awaiting mourners who may never arrive. Just 15 of the business' 48 employees are present — although none have been laid off — a short staff to handle a high demand. (Kaffer, 4/18)