Different Takes: Pros, Cons Of U.S., WHO’s Responses To Coronavirus; Big Reason To Hope For More Cases Than Those Being Reported
Opinion writers weigh in on issues pertaining to coronavirus.
The Wall Street Journal: Why Does The U.S. Have So Few Confirmed Coronavirus Cases?
A mere 15 cases of the Wuhan coronavirus have been diagnosed in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and that number hasn’t budged in a week. But the true number of cases is unknown, because the U.S. is testing only those who recently arrived from China or have been in close contact with confirmed patients. Public-health authorities need to be prepared for a wider outbreak. The CDC says it will set up a pilot program in five states to screen some patients with unexplained lung infections. (Luciana Borio and Scott Gottlieb, 2/20)
Bloomberg: Coronavirus Threat Means WHO Should Demand More Help From China
In late January, the World Health Organization began offering to send an international team of experts to China to observe and help with the outbreak of a novel coronavirus. On Monday, that team of experts was finally allowed to start its investigations. The Chinese government, however, will not let them to visit epidemic-stricken Hubei province or the city of Wuhan, the likely source of the virus now called Covid-19 and the site of the largest quarantine in history. …The WHO cannot organize a response to a global health emergency if the country at its center won’t cooperate. But recent history shows that too much political deference in a health emergency is a global risk in its own right. The WHO is uniquely positioned to demand more from China. It needs to do so now. (Adam Minter, 2/18)
The Washington Post: There’s A Glimpse Of Victory Against Coronavirus
Meanwhile, on the other side of the Earth, there have been more than 75,000 cases of coronavirus and more than 2,000 deaths. This leaves U.S. health experts hoping that the number of infections has been dramatically underreported. That is not a typo. If the current numbers are close to accurate, it indicates a coronavirus mortality rate upward of 2 percent. The mortality rate for the seasonal flu is generally 0.1 percent. The mortality rate for pandemic flu is 0.3 to 0.5 percent. The particularly deadly flu pandemic of 1918 — which took the lives of 50 million people around the world — had a mortality rate of about 2 percent. (Michael Gerson, 2/20)
The Washington Post: The U.S. Is Actually Doing A Great Job Fighting The Coronavirus Threat
First, there were no plans to quarantine people arriving from the center of the covid-19 outbreak; then the U.S. government imposed its first quarantine in more than 50 years. Passengers on the Diamond Princess cruise ship were ordered to stay on board for two weeks; then the government announced it would evacuate the Americans among them. The initial quarantine, which was due to end, was extended for two additional weeks. (Leana S. Wen, 2/20)
St. Louis Post Dispatch: Mishaps And Mistakes Help Globalize The Coronavirus Pandemic
Professionals devoted to preventing global pandemics know best how to do their jobs — when they’re left to do their jobs. The danger comes when politicians and bureaucrats intervene with an eye toward easing human suffering or minimizing political fallout and wind up hastening the spread of the very viruses they’re fighting. One bad decision after another helped make the 2014 ebola scare far worse than it should have been. The new novel coronavirus pandemic is exposing an entirely new dimension in bad calls. (1/20)
Boston Globe: The Collateral Damage Of The Coronavirus
As scientists race to thwart the novel coronavirus, little is being done to protect people from the significant vulnerabilities that arise from our policies, fractured health systems, and interlinked economies. The devastation of health systems and economies are two significant hazards of a burgeoning epidemic. Both forms of collateral damage are worsened by political maneuvering, mismanagement, lack of resources, lack of transparency, corruption, and purposeful disinformation campaigns. (Juliette Kayyem, Margaret Bourdeaux, Vanessa Kerry, and Annmarie Sasdi, 2/19)
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