Viewpoints: Should Masks Stay Post-Pandemic?; Health Care Provider Burnout Needs Swift Attention
Opinion writers tackle these covid issues.
Covid Masks Save American Lives. They Still Can (And Should) Post-Pandemic.
As an emergency physician, there are many things that I will not miss when the Covid-19 pandemic is finally brought under control. I will not miss having to wear full personal protective equipment (two masks, face shield, gown, two sets of gloves) for every hospital shift. I will not miss having to tell a patient's family that they are unable to visit their loved one in the emergency department. I will not miss wondering whether I am bringing the virus home to my family. Most of all, I will not miss treating the rooms full of people, gasping for breath from this virus, hoping the few effective treatments available will save their lives. I do hope, though, that a few things stick with us after SARS-CoV-2 becomes less of a threat. Respect for masks is at the top of that list. (Dr. Megan Ranney, 4.9)
Healthcare Will Pay For Provider Burnout After COVID-19
Like many people, I'm beginning to venture out to medical practices for long overdue visits. I always ask my providers how they're doing. They tell me the truth—maybe because I'm also a doctor and somebody who is focused on helping medical practices thrive. One provider told me she's selling her medical practice and retiring early, in her late 50s, after losing her mother and a close friend to COVID-19. Another was in the room with me physically, but barely there mentally. And another who used to love talking about her practice with me only wanted to talk about her weekends in the mountains. (Dr. Halee Fisher-Wright, 4/9)
Los Angeles Times:
Stop Grousing About Vaccine ‘Passports’ — They’re The Key To Reopening Society
It was a bright yellow booklet I carried everywhere, and at some national borders it was scrutinized even more carefully than my government-issued passport. It was my vaccine certificate, showing the dates I’d received shots or screenings for more than half a dozen diseases. ... Immunization rules were rigorously enforced because those diseases were endemic in the countries I visited. Today, COVID-19 is more than endemic; it’s a pandemic, of course. And that’s what makes the political debate over COVID vaccine “passports” so bizarre. Make no mistake: In the United States, the debate is being driven almost entirely by ideology and partisan politics. Conservatives and Republicans have embraced opposition to vaccination requirements as the newest flashpoint in their culture war. (Michael Hiltzik, 4/5)
How Humility Can Help Save Us From Covid-19
“I was wrong.” That simple statement should have been at the top of the soundtrack for our first pandemic year. But it was rarely uttered, replaced instead by confident soundbites. That was too bad, because the admission “I was wrong” and the humility it reflects can help save us from Covid-19. (Eric D. Katz, 4/8)
San Diego Union-Tribune:
Vaccine Mandates Sure To Spur Lawsuits. But Long History Shows They Are Legal.
The power of collective bargaining laws complicates the question of whether public employees can be required to get COVID-19 vaccinations before returning to their workplaces. It’s a big reason why San Diego Unified officials have urged all employees to get vaccinated but never made it mandatory. Private employers, however, do have the right to require their workers to take the COVID-19 vaccine, subject to a handful of legally protected exceptions for disabilities and religious beliefs. That was the Dec. 16 guidance from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, in keeping with more than a century of court rulings — dating to a 1905 Massachusetts case involving mandatory smallpox vaccinations in which the U.S. Supreme Court upheld vaccine laws that were “reasonably required for the safety of the public” while noting that individual liberty was not absolute. The California Supreme Court and Legislature have also upheld private employers’ right to make workers follow their edicts so long as they don’t constitute discrimination involving race, national origin, sex, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation or religion. (4/8)
The New York Times:
Racism Makes Me Question Everything. I Got The Covid Vaccine Anyway.
Last summer, when Covid-19 vaccines were in development, friends on text threads and Zoom calls asked if I’d get one. My response was always the same: Sure, I’ll be right in line — after 100 million of y’all go first. I told them I’d seen too many zombie movies. But my hesitancy was actually grounded in a less cinematic reality.: I just don’t trust America enough. This mistrust comes from an awareness of the ubiquity of American anti-Blackness — a dynamic that can, um, modify your sense of reality. That’s what happened, for instance, with the persistent myth of Tommy Hilfiger’s racist comments. (Damon Young, 4/9)