Viewpoints: US Needs To Stock Up For COVID, Next Pandemic; How Might A Vaccine Be Distributed Fairly?
Opinion and editorial pages focus on many issues related to the coronavirus crisis.
The Wall Street Journal:
Covid Shows The Need For A Diagnostic Stockpile
Similarly, Washington could contract with commercial labs and point-of-care test manufacturers to develop and maintain diagnostic capacity for a crisis. Think of it as part of the national stockpile. Under such contracts, companies would build more labs and sprinkle them throughout the country so capacity could be available wherever it’s needed. Labs usually run very efficiently at 70% or 80% of capacity. Under this arrangement, a facility with 5,000 testing machines might run each of them at 60% capacity, building in room for a surge. The federal government would pay the labs for maintaining the extra equipment and materials. (Former FDA Commissioners Scott Gottlieb and Mark McClellan, 7/26)
Los Angeles Times:
Will A Coronavirus Vaccine Be Distributed Fairly?
The United States’ largely uncoordinated and haphazard response to COVID-19 raises a crucial question: Even if we do develop a successful vaccine, is the government even capable of getting it to the people in time? (Daniel L. Liebman and Nisarg A. Patel, 7/27)
To Beat The Pandemic, We Need Outreach About A Covid-19 Vaccine
Americans anxiously await two key benefits that a Covid-19 vaccine will deliver: freedom from fear and a return to normal. No single vaccine is likely to offer a panacea for this pandemic. And even if it did, it might not accomplish its job if we don’t deal with hesitance to get vaccinated and counter vaccine disinformation. By failing to do these things, we risk a perpetual cycle of infectious disease coupled with persistent economic decline. (Brill Frist, Richard Pan and Max G. Bronstein, 7/27)
The Washington Post:
A Top HHS Aide’s Last Job Was ‘Labradoodle Breeder.’ He’s One Of Many Unqualified Appointees.
Early on in the coronavirus pandemic, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar assigned a top aide to run the day-to-day U.S. response. The aide’s occupation before his ascension to his prominent post? Labradoodle breeder. That is only one of the absurd and alarming examples of unqualified or otherwise dangerous political appointees carrying out critical duties in the Trump administration — and the worst part is, the public isn’t even aware of many of them. (7/26)
The Wall Street Journal:
Americans Are Waking Up To The First Wave
This column has been nearly alone in mentioning the advice that graced a CDC webpage for months and then mysteriously disappeared, warning that most Americans would eventually be exposed to the virus. The “open too soon” talk is nonsense in light of a disease that was guaranteed still to be circulating whenever a restive humanity began to interact again. When and how its circulation manifests in dramatic increases in local health-care demand could use some sorting out, but here’s betting a relatively small subset of social activities plays a big role. (Holman W. Jenkins, Jr., 7/24)
The Cure For Covid-19 Is Trust
As the number of Covid-19 cases goes up, another trend line is going down -- dramatically. The number of Americans who approve of President Donald Trump's handling of the pandemic is plummeting. In late March, according to an ABC News poll, 51% of Americans approved. Today, only 38% do. The number of Americans who trust what President Trump tells them about Covid-19 is even lower: only 34% put a great deal or good amount of trust in what he says on the subject. Sixty-four percent trust him only a little or not at all. (Ben Sherwood, 7/24)
The Washington Post:
With Trump On The Sideline, Nation’s Governors Must Put Aside Political Differences And Lead On Coronavirus
So, in the current crisis, it is up to the nation’s governors to set aside political differences and forge a collective response. They should work together, and with the private sector, to increase testing capacity and coordinate distribution of testing supplies and medical gear. If things get bad enough, they could call for a national mask mandate or even a shutdown. At the least, they should present a united front to the White House and Congress in demanding more forceful federal action, including fresh aid to state and local governments. (Robert McCartney, 7/27)
Trump's Team Dodges Virus Blame While Jobless Benefit Cuts Loom
The new administration drive to absolve Trump of responsibility and to speed up economic activity by encouraging people to go back to work follow the President's previously misjudged gamble to goad states that are now suffering terribly from the pandemic to open before they had properly suppressed the virus. It also coincides with his demands that all schools open while ignoring concerns of parents and teachers. (Stephen Collinson, 7/27)
The Washington Post:
Republicans’ Pandemic Blunders Keep Piling Higher
But when it comes to desperately needed aid for millions of Americans, Republicans are taking deadlines just as seriously as they’ve taken health experts’ guidance during this pandemic. That is to say: Not at all. Already cutoff dates are coming and going. The federal ban on rental evictions expired Friday (though White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow promised it would be extended). The extra $600 a week in unemployment benefits under the Cares Act expire this coming Friday; the last checks have already gone out. And most small businesses that received loans under the Paycheck Protection Program have exhausted that money. (James Downie, 7/26)
Los Angeles Times:
No, U.S. Isn’t 'Winning' At Coronavirus Testing. But We Can
Capacity for diagnostic tests varies wildly from state to state. Organized contact tracing and isolation of infected people isn’t happening in a meaningful way. It’s a mess. Winning is still an option — if Congress and the president commit now to spending billions of dollars to accelerate testing across the nation, to generate test results in a matter of hours rather than days, and to support state and local efforts to trace and isolate infected people. If we don’t do this soon, more states are likely to be caught alongside California in a cycle of closures, reopenings and re-closures that could continue through the months, maybe years that it will take to have a reliable and widely available COVID-19 vaccine. (7/26)
The New York Times:
What America’s Coronavirus Response Looks Like Abroad
The United States leads the world in Covid-19 deaths, nearing 150,000 lost lives. The unemployment figures brought on by the pandemic are mind-boggling. The Trump administration’s slow and haphazard response has been widely criticized. But what does it look like to young people around the world, whose governments moved quickly and aggressively to contain the coronavirus? We wanted to know, so we reached out to quite a few and showed them charts, facts, photos and videos illustrating the U.S. response. Spoiler: They were not impressed. (Brendan Miller and Adam Westbrook, 7/27)
The Challenge Of Disseminating Best Science During A Pandemic
Doctors treating COVID-19 patients face the greatest medical challenge since HIV/AIDS. Remdesivir shortens hospital stays for some, but evidence that it prevents death is, like the drug itself, in short supply. That leaves front-line clinicians scrambling to steadily improve the supportive care they provide seriously ill patients, whose ranks are growing rapidly. The U.S. case count now stands at 4 million—over a quarter of the world’s cases. The death toll is over 143,000 with the pandemic’s end nowhere in sight. (Merrill Goozner, 7/25)
Why Did Wealthy 'Green' Groups Receive Coronavirus Relief Funds From Taxpayers?
The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), Congress’ central economic response to COVID-19, approved $521 billion in loans to help businesses keep workers on their payrolls. Sadly, instead of helping those Americans who need support the most, a significant portion of that money is being used to fuel political agendas. Environmental groups are some of the most well-financed nonprofits in the country. The Sierra Club took in over $129 million in its latest tax filing. The National Resources Defense Council $177 million. Earth Justice $102 million. Still, despite this massive income, they received $2 million to $5 million each in PPP funding. In total, a group of 43 environmental groups received as much as $49.3 million. (Daniel Turner, 7/27)