Viewpoints: Pharmaceutical Help Is On The Way At A Time When Everyone Needs Good News; Freeing Certain Prisoners Can’t Wait Any Longer
Opinion writers weigh in on these pandemic issues and others.
The Washington Post:
Three Cheers For Big Pharma As It Rushes To Develop A Vaccine
Doctors warn us that we can’t feel truly safe against the novel coronavirus until an effective vaccine is developed. Fortunately, there’s good news on that front. Both in the United States and elsewhere, many vaccines are already either being tested on humans or will be soon. Two clinical trials are in process in the United States. One underway in Seattle uses two doses injected into the bloodstream while a second, being performed in Kansas City and Philadelphia, merely pricks the skin and is followed by a small electric shock to help the chemicals penetrate deeper into the body. Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine are applying to the Food and Drug Administration to put a third potential vaccine into clinical trials soon. Scientists in Israel might be moving even faster. (Henry Olsen, 4/9)
Searching For An Effective Covid-19 Treatment: Promise And Peril
In response to the most serious global health threat in a century, the world’s biomedical establishment is unleashing an unprecedented response to the Covid-19 pandemic, rapidly increasing resources aimed at finding safe and effective treatments for the disease. But without careful attention to the pitfalls that can befall biomedical research and regulatory decision-making during a time of crisis, a lot can go wrong. (G. Caleb Alexander, Aaron S. Kesselheim and Thomas J. Moore, 4/10)
The Washington Post:
America’s 2.3 Million Prisoners Are Sitting Ducks For This Virus. Here’s How To Save Them.
Washington, D.C., is an emerging hot spot for the novel coronavirus, but its jail is already a five-alarm conflagration, with an exploding number of inmates who have either tested positive for the disease or are suspected of having it. On a more cataclysmic scale, the infection rate among inmates in New York City’s main jail complex on Rikers Island is nearly seven times higher than in the rest of the city, which is ground zero for the nation’s covid-19 pandemic.Some 2.3 million people are behind bars in U.S. jails and prisons, and many of them are sitting ducks for a virus that thrives in cramped quarters and in confined spaces where standards of hygiene, and often even the availability of soap and other cleaning products, are notoriously poor. (4/9)
St. Louis Post Dispatch:
To Protect Missourians, Release Missouri Prisoners
We are in the midst of an unprecedented, worldwide health crisis. Schools and businesses have shuttered, professional sporting events have been postponed, and as of Tuesday, at least 316 million people in at least 42 states have been urged to stay home — all in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Elected officials recognize that strong, swift action is necessary to flatten the infection-rate curve and save lives. These actions must address prisons and jails. Public health experts agree that decarceration is critical to slowing the spread of this coronavirus. (Amy E. Breihan and Tricia J. Bushnell, 4/9)
Coronavirus Deaths In The U.S. Reveal A Startling Truth About America's 'Two Pandemics'
Every day, we are inundated with information about the horrors of the coronavirus pandemic. We hear about the rising number of deaths, the increasing rate of infections, the mental anguish, the shortages of critical supplies in hospitals, the people struggling to pay bills and survive, the long lines at food banks and so much more. But lost in the coverage of this virus is one critical point that we simply cannot ignore: the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on African Americans and disenfranchised communities. (The Rev. Al Sharpton, 4/10)
Poor State Reporting Hampers Pandemic Fight
Short of a cure or vaccine, our most powerful weapon against the COVID-19 pandemic is the information: The right data can tell us the severity of the problems we face and whether social distancing is working. Despite considerable handwringing by public officials about what we don’t know about this disease, state health departments already have most or all of the relevant data. Unfortunately, they don’t make it available in ways that provide a clear picture of what’s happening. (Dr. Steven Goodman and Dr. Nigam Shah, 4/9)
America's Coronavirus Response Must Center Women. And The Black Plague Helps Show How.
When a major crisis threatens to destabilize the economy and society, there are two choices: We can respond by trying to keep old systems in place, or we can rethink them, innovate and create a better path to prosperity. Attitudes and practices related to women are going to have a major impact on how we fare during the coronavirus pandemic, and full recovery seems unlikely until the challenges they face are placed front and center. The coronavirus pandemic is exposing the weakness of outdated social norms and poor policy choices in the United States that have, among other things, placed painful burdens on women — ranging from unworkable family roles and a meager social safety net to insufficient labor protections and intrusions on autonomy. (Lynn Stuart Parramore, 4/9)
The Washington Post:
The One Thing About Giving Birth During The Covid-19 Pandemic That I Didn’t Anticipate
My husband and I arrived at the hospital last Friday for my labor induction. Just two years ago, I gave birth in the same facility. But this time everything was different.As an emergency physician, I’m trained to think in terms of worst-case scenarios. As an expectant mother, I had nightmares about all the things that can go wrong in pregnancy. But there was one thing about giving birth during the covid-19 pandemic that I didn’t anticipate: how I would become scared of, and also scared for, my health-care providers. (Leana S. Wen, 4/9)
The Challenges Of Giving Birth In The Time Of Covid-19
There are about 300,000 births every month in the United States. That won’t change as Covid-19 continues its march across the country. Health systems are doing the best they can under immensely difficult circumstances to treat very sick patients, stem the spread of the virus, and keep those on the front lines healthy... As is always the case, the weaknesses in our strained health care infrastructure are disproportionately affecting the most vulnerable people, and that includes pregnant women. (Laurie Zephyrin, 4/10)
Los Angeles Times:
Coronavirus Proved Bernie Sanders Right. But Only Partly
One piece of conventional wisdom circulating in the wake of Bernie Sanders’ withdrawal from the Democratic presidential primary is that the COVID-19 pandemic proves he was right about healthcare.In truth, it proves him half right. The pandemic is causing millions of people to lose their jobs and their health insurance just when they are most in need of coverage. If this country had universal insurance coverage, as the vast majority of the civilized world does, that wouldn’t be happening, and the federal government wouldn’t be maneuvering to send billions of dollars in emergency aid to hospitals and state health programs. (John Healey, 4/8)
Chicago Sun Times:
Mount Sinai Hospital Staff Battles Coronavirus And Their Own Anxiety, Too
Many struggle with COVID-19 without ever being infected. Think of how worrisome this epidemic is to rational folks sheltering in comfort at home. Now, consider the mentally ill, the disturbed patients treated at a place like Mount Sinai Hospital — the psychotic and bi-polar, schizophrenic and depressed. Like your world, their worlds, too, are turned upside down, though they often have far less ability to cope with events that even the most stable person can have trouble processing. “We are seeing more patients experiencing more ill effects of emotional distress,” said Dr. Paul Berkowitz, chairman of the department of psychiatry and behavioral health at Sinai. (Neil Steinberg, 4/9)