Viewpoints: Why Settle For This Modest OxyContin Settlement?; Data On COVID Is For Government’s Eyes Only
Editorial pages focus on these public health issues and others.
The Washington Post:
The Maker Of OxyContin Admits To Serious Crimes. Why Is No One Going To Prison?
The opioid addiction epidemic has engulfed the United States in three devastating waves, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. During the first, which began in 1999 and peaked in 2010, the primary killers were legal prescription pain medications. A crackdown on those drugs led some users to turn to heroin, which created a second wave between 2013 and 2018. Since then, synthetic opioids such as fentanyl have predominated. Two key facts help put this history in perspective: Deaths from opioid overdose used to be rare, with only three for every 100,000 persons in 1999. Now they occur five times as frequently, and almost 450,000 people had died as of 2018. (10/22)
The Roanoke Times:
On Purdue Pharma, Trump's Justice Department Just Did What Bush's Refused To Do
President Trump’s Department of Justice has just done something that George W. Bush’s Department of Justice refused to do.It’s secured a criminal conviction against the maker of OxyContin — which has agreed to plead guilty to three felony counts, pay more than $8 billion and shut down the company. Separately, the Justice Department has reached a civil settlement with the Sackler family, the former owners of Purdue Pharma. They will pay $225 million in civil penalties, while leaving open the possibility of future criminal charges. (10/23)
The New York Times:
Why Can’t We See All Of The Government’s Coronavirus Data?
The Trump administration has declined to release critical data to outside public health experts that would enable them to devise strategies against the virus that has killed 223,000 Americans and counting.Federal agencies have told us that since March they have been compiling basic data for each county and city on Covid-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths, the timing of social distancing mandates, testing, and other factors. This information can provide insights into how combinations of public health mandates — masks, social distancing and school closures, for instance — can keep the virus spread in check. But the government, inexplicably, is not sharing all of its data. (Christopher J.L. Murray, 10/23)
Covid-19 Reinfections Are Real, Should You Be Worried?
We all suffer multiple bouts of the common cold throughout our lives and never think twice about it. We live with recurring influenza seasons despite a vaccine. But what about Covid-19? Repeat occurrences of cold and flu happen because our immune systems seem to “forget” the previous infection. Sometimes, a case isn’t serious enough for the body to develop an immune reaction and create a “memory” to help fight it the next time. In other cases, the virus has changed enough such that the immune system doesn’t recognize it and has to mount a brand new reaction. This tends to happen with the flu because it mutates a lot, and is why vaccines targeting a specific flu strain become less effective as new ones arise. (Sam Fazeli, 10/22)
Countering Covid-19's Threat To Community-Based Cancer Care
Americans take great cancer care for granted. We pride ourselves on access to the best specialists and the most innovative medicines. And this January we learned of the largest ever single-year drop in the rate of cancer deaths across the country. The Covid-19 pandemic is putting this success at risk, as is the loss of independent oncology practices, reducing patients’ access to community-based cancer care and increasing their costs. (Zachary A.K. Frosch, Lawrence N. Shulman and Justin E. Bekelman, 10/22)
The Washington Post:
For Thanksgiving 2020, We Should Rethink How We Celebrate
It’s time for Americans to plan for a very different kind of Thanksgiving. Many of us need to be prepared to accept a Thanksgiving where we do not see our loved ones in person — or if we do, only with serious precautions. I had hoped we wouldn’t get to this point. Up until a few weeks ago, I thought there was a chance we could turn the trajectory of covid-19 enough to lower the baseline of infection, allowing us to resume holiday gatherings. That didn’t happen. On the contrary, we are in the midst of a major coronavirus surge. On Friday, the United States recorded more than 70,000 new daily infections, the highest rate since the previous surge in July. (Leana S. Wen, 10/22)
Fauci Is An American Hero Trying To Save Lives — Everything Trump Is Not.
Sen. John Cornyn, we have a question for you. A question for you, as well, Sen. Ted Cruz :Are the two of you so beaten down by the bloviating bully in the White House that you’re unable to speak up on behalf of the most trusted man in America? Are you too craven to object when the president denigrates the scientist and veteran public servant who by word and deed has the power to save thousands of lives during this dreadful pandemic? We’re talking, of course, about Dr. Anthony Fauci, the globally respected director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Fauci also is a member of the Trump administration’s Coronavirus Task Force and this week a target for Donald Trump’s trademark arrows of denigration. (10/20)
I'm Never Prepared For Emptiness, Grief When Police Shoot A Black Person
Another day. Another Black person in America shot by police. I should be well-equipped to deal with the emotions that arise in me every time such an event occurs. As a child and adolescent psychiatrist, I hold the emotions of others every day... I’m also African American and gay. All of the skills forged over seven years of medical training aren’t enough to stop what happens to me every time a Black individual is shot in America. A lifetime of being Black and gay in America hasn’t made me “tougher” — it has made me more susceptible to racial pain. (Chase T.M. Anderson, 10/23)