Viewpoints: Respect For Scientists Can’t Be High Enough; Over-Reassurance Is Not What The U.S. Needs Now
Opinion writers weigh in on these pandemic issues and others.
Scientists As Heroes: Let's Keep That Image In The Public Eye
“You truly have emerged as a personal hero for me,” Julia Roberts tells Dr. Anthony Fauci in an interview broadcast on YouTube. Calling the U.S. infectious disease expert “maybe the coolest man on the planet,” the Oscar-winning actress is clearly star-struck during their conversation, part of an initiative by an advocacy group to raise the profile of medics, scientists, and experts. (Marja Makarow, 6/18)
Los Angeles Times:
Coronavirus Is Surging And People Are Worried About Facemasks?
Even as deaths from COVID-19 decline nationwide, there’s been an upswing in cases in a number of states, including California, as more businesses reopen and more people go back to work. Nine states have hit new highs for daily or weekly infections reported, a sign that the first wave of the pandemic is still well underway. Under other circumstances, this kind of increase might not be cause for alarm. The number of cases naturally rises as testing expands and picks up mild infections that might have otherwise gone undetected. Same with the reopening of closed businesses. There’s no way to avoid some additional spread of the virus with more people out and about in hair salons, bars, beaches and stores. (6/18)
The Washington Post:
Mike Pence Is A Case Study In Irresponsibility
Every handbook for a public health crisis emphasizes that open, transparent communication is extremely important. Officials must maintain credibility and public trust. They must not “over-reassure” and should be candid about risks and unexpected events. By this measure, Vice President Pence, who heads the White House task force on the coronavirus pandemic, has been a case study in irresponsibility. His op-ed published Wednesday in the Wall Street Journal rightly called attention to some progress in fighting the virus, but also included a burst of happy talk. Mr. Pence declared, “We are winning the fight against the invisible enemy” and took the media to task for worrying about a second wave. (6/17)
Trump And Pence: A Two-Man Covid-19 Gaslighting Act
If you were hoping for the coronavirus threat to come down significantly in the United States any time soon, you should lower your expectations. The prospect of a meaningful nationwide drop in the number of new infections looks like a distant dream right now. To a large extent, that is the fault of the President of the United States. (Frida Ghitis, 6/17)
The Wall Street Journal:
What Covid Models Get Wrong
Here we go again. The University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation has issued a new forecast that Covid-19 fatalities would spike over the summer in states that have moved faster to reopen. Cue the media drumbeat for another lockdown. Maybe someone should first explain why the models were wrong about so much the last time.Take New York, where Gov. Andrew Cuomo locked down the state in mid-March based on dire warnings. His public health experts projected the state would need as many as 140,000 hospital beds and 40,000 intensive care units—two to three times more regular hospital beds and 10 times more ICU beds than were available. The UW model forecast that 49,000 regular beds and 8,000 ICU beds would be needed at the peak. (6/17)
The Washington Post:
Stop Scolding The Coronavirus Partiers. They Aren’t The Problem.
New York City’s East Village went viral this past weekend, after a local blogger posted a 45-second video of Friday night revelers on St. Mark’s Place, complete with a jazz band. The armchair epidemiologists of Twitter took the partyers to task: “I hate these people,” one woman wrote. Even New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo got involved in the online smackdown: “Don’t make me come down there …” he tweeted; he has since threatened to reimpose shutdowns in Manhattan and the Hamptons. It’s easy to understand the Twitter rage over all this. We’re living through a global pandemic, one that has taken more than 100,000 lives in the United States in a little over three months. People are scared. But the attacks on the revelers are less about coronavirus than they are about expressing a flawed moral judgment. We are asking people to sacrifice in a way that’s clearly unsustainable, and then dumping hate on them when they fail to live up to an inhuman ideal. (Helaine Olen, 6/17)
Looming Confusion As COVID-19 State Emergency Orders Begin To Expire
As the COVID-19 emergency continues to spread across the country, governors and executive agencies across the United States have taken actions to loosen cross-border licensing restrictions for health care professionals. However, in the absence of a unifying statement of suggested action from the federal government, these actions are a patchwork of disparate state emergency orders. (Julia F. Costich and Danielle N. Scheer, 6/17)
12 Million People A Year Are Abused By Their Partners. The Pandemic Is Making That Much Worse
Decades after my mother’s battle with intimate partner violence, I’m newly disturbed by the surge of intimate partner violence during the COVID-19 crisis. With staggering unemployment numbers, families sequestered in their homes and physical distancing measures interrupting social networks, intimate partner violence is putting more people at risk than ever. (Nancy Rappaport, 6/18)
Coronavirus Run On Guns Highlights Need For More Gun Safety Research
Shortages of toilet paper at neighborhood grocery stores have become a symbol of the nation’s response to the COVID-19 virus, but recent reports suggest that people also reacted to the pandemic by purchasing firearms and ammunition in massive numbers. Year over year, estimates of gun sales increased 85% in March, the highest level ever recorded in the United States, followed in April by a 71% increase. Eventually, the pandemic will recede, scientific rigor will lead to treatments or a vaccine, and life will start to return to a new normal — but those new firearms aren’t going anywhere. What does this mean for public safety? (Andrew R. Morral and Jeremy Travis, 6/17)
The Wall Street Journal:
State Taxes Shouldn’t Be Another Pandemic Worry
As New York struggled with tens of thousands of coronavirus cases, medical professionals from across the U.S. traveled to the city to help. Their work was crucial to the city’s effort to contain the pandemic and undoubtedly helped save lives. And in May, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced their reward: tax bills from the state of New York. That’s right: tax bills. Doctors and nurses who voluntarily crossed state lines to come help, in some cases sacrificing vacation time to do so, are now being informed that they will owe New York’s substantial income tax on any money they made there. (John Thune, 6/17)
The Birmingham News:
Shhh. Anyone Hear Gov. Ivey Yet On Coronavirus Spike, Police Reform, Confederate Memorials, Health Disparities?
Shhhh. I’m trying to hear the governor. She must be saying something. Something about the recent staggering spike in coronavirus infections in the state. Something about police reform, which leaders across the nation are publicly addressing. Something about growing defiance of the state’s law protecting “memorials." Something about a plan to attack Alabama’s racial health disparities, about African American residents dying at twice the rate of white residents. (Roy S. Johnson, 6/16)