Viewpoints: Searching For Origins Of Covid-19; Pathways For Psilocybin Rescheduling
Editorial pages weigh in on these public health issues.
The Washington Post:
To Prevent The Next Pandemic, We Must Find The Source Of Covid-19. China’s Stonewalling Is Unacceptable
Two years ago, in September and October 2019, something invisible happened in the city of Wuhan, China. A virus that caused a pneumonia-like illness began spreading, at first among a few people. Within months it exploded into a global pandemic that by now has directly killed 4.8 million people and indirectly perhaps twice that or more. The pandemic strain, a coronavirus, carried a feature known as a furin cleavage site, located on the spike protein. When cleaved by furin, a human enzyme, this site enhances the ability of the attacking virus to enter human lung cells and produce disease. (10/11)
A Strategy For Rescheduling Psilocybin
Public and scientific interest in psychedelics such as psilocybin and MDMA is expanding. Once off-limits because of federal prohibition, a trickle of research from the 1990s has grown into a stream. But despite increasing acceptance by the public, and commercial investment in psychedelic therapies, aging federal laws stem the flow of vital research. (Mason Marks, 10/12)
San Diego Union-Tribune:
After A Cheerleading Injury, My Doctor Became My First Legal Drug Dealer
I still remember the day my mother took me to a doctor at Kaiser Permanente for mild aches and pains I was getting from the strenuous routines and stunts I was performing during cheerleading. That year — 2000 — came with so much confusion and uncertainty. But nothing prepared us for the real danger that was just around the corner: the introduction of narcotic painkillers that hit the market and poured into the hands of children, creating an epidemic of destruction, disease and death, especially for young athletes who were aspiring to be something one day. My doctor was my first legal drug dealer to give me prescriptions for hydrocodone and muscle relaxers. There wasn’t any information, resources or knowledge yet about these new drugs that were considered “highly effective,” and we did not know that by consuming these pills every day, we were naturally building a tolerance that ultimately led us to becoming addicted. All we knew was that we trusted our health-care system, which failed us. (Lisandra Barrera-Rising, 10/8)
Is The Fight For $15 Going To Cost Low-Wage Workers Their Health Insurance?
If you're a low-wage worker, of course you want the government to mandate a raise in your wage. Who doesn't want more money for putting in the same hours on the job? But there's a reason the minimum wage campaign "fight for $15" isn't a "fight for $50." Workers understand that if a raise is too big or sudden, there can be consequences: layoffs, reduced hours or finding your job replaced by a robot. Losing health insurance benefits is another potential fallout. In a new paper, we analyzed state and federal minimum wage changes occurring over more than a decade. We found that, for every $1 increase in the minimum wage, low-wage workers and their families became 1 percentage point less likely to have job-based insurance coverage. (Michael S. Dworsky, Christine Eibner and Jeffrey B. Wenger, 10/11)
New Alzheimer's Drug Could Balloon State Medicaid Budgets
A new drug that was supposed to be a lifeline for thousands of individuals and families struggling with the tragic impacts of Alzheimer’s disease is evolving into a millstone around the neck of Medicaid, America’s largest safety net health insurer. The Medicaid program, which today connects one in every four Americans to the health care they need, is an essential part of the U.S.’s health care fabric. But a recent decision by the Food and Drug Administration to approve Aduhelm, an unproven and exceptionally costly new drug to treat the symptoms of early Alzheimer’s disease, could threaten Medicaid’s ability to continue to serve the millions of people who rely on the program. (Matt Salo, 10/12)
The New York Times:
How The Young Lords Changed Public Health Care
On July 14, 1970, members of the Young Lords occupied Lincoln Hospital in the South Bronx — known locally as the “Butcher Shop.” A group of activists, many of them in their late teens and 20s, barricaded themselves inside the facility, demanding safer and more accessible health care for the community. Originally a Chicago-based street gang, the Young Lords turned to community activism, inspired by the Black Panthers and by student movements in Puerto Rico. A Young Lords chapter in New York soon formed, agitating for community control of institutions and land, as well as self-determination for Puerto Rico. Their tactics included direct action and occupations that highlighted institutional failures. (Emma Francis-Snyder, 10/12)
Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Gym Studios Unite For Great Cause Via 'Fitness Crawl'
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month—a month specially dedicated to bringing about awareness and raising funds to help fight breast cancer, which mostly impacts women. “We are facing a crisis where every year over a quarter million women are diagnosed with breast cancer and over 40 thousand die from it in the U.S. In fact, 1 in 8 women are expected to develop breast cancer in their lifetime,” said Lindsey Langley, Senior Executive Director for the American Cancer Society of TN. (Rashed Fakhruddin, 10/11)