Editorial pages focus on these health issues and others.
Stat: With Coronavirus, As With AIDS, We Must Move Beyond The Fear
It was a Thursday evening in the fall of 2014, the end of one of those hectic days in the clinic at Bellevue Hospital — hardly a moment between patients and the computer system having epileptic fits. When I finally made my way out of the hospital’s atrium, my head was still swimming in all my patients’ issues. Suddenly I found myself up against a phalanx of news trucks parked in front of the hospital. There was a cackle of urgency in the air, with reporters and camera crews shooting live broadcasts up and down the block. And then I realized: Ebola had arrived at Bellevue. (Danielle Ofri, 1/30)
The New York Times: Beware The Pandemic Panic
Coronavirus is starting to freak me out — not the illness itself but the amped-up, ill-considered way our frightened world might respond to it. Yes, the novel virus appears to be spreading quickly at the outbreak’s epicenter in the Chinese province of Hubei, but after a late start the Chinese government is now imposing unprecedented measures to contain it. As the World Health Organization declared last week, it remains too early to call the outbreak a global public health emergency. (Farhad Manjoo, 1/29)
The New York Times: To Understand The Wuhan Coronavirus, Look To The Epidemic Triangle
Five cases of the mysterious Wuhan coronavirus have been confirmed in the United States, giving rise to concerns about a potential global pandemic. We’ve seen this story before, as health authorities working with threadbare data try to walk the line between epidemic readiness and needless panic. Is this new outbreak poised to become the next AIDS pandemic or a new SARS, which was stopped in its tracks after 774 deaths? To cut through the headlines, we can use a simple concept called the “epidemic triangle.” Employed by epidemiologists since the discipline’s earliest days, it is indispensable in predicting whether localized outbreaks will transform into full-blown epidemics. (Dan Werb, 1/30)
The Wall Street Journal: The Cure For The Chinese Flu
When most people get the flu, they don’t see a doctor. That’s why any measure of how many have been infected with the Wuhan virus will tend to be relatively misleading. America’s biggest Chinatown is in New York City. More than a million Chinese tourists visit the city every year; dozens of locals likely return weekly from trips to see family and business associates in Wuhan. The Wuhan virus reportedly can take 14 days to incubate; according to Chinese reports, carriers have been identified who can spread the disease without appearing sick. If you are a New York resident, are you taking comfort that, as of Tuesday, no cases have been confirmed in the city? Of course not. (Holman W. Jenkins, Jr., 1/28)
The New York Times: Is The World Ready For The Coronavirus?
The coronavirus outbreak, which began in early December in the Chinese city of Wuhan, had as of Wednesday sickened more than 6,000 people across at least 15 countries and claimed more than 130 lives, all of them in China. Experts don’t yet know how contagious, or how deadly, this new virus is. But the growing crisis has inspired panic. Cities around the world are bracing for a potential wave of infections. Stock and oil prices are tumbling. And experts in just about every global industry are fretting over the many supply chains that could be disrupted — from prescription drugs and surgical masks to rare earth metals — if the outbreak grows into an even wider epidemic. (1/29)
The Washington Post: The Trump Administration’s Cruelty Knows No Limits. Here’s The Latest.
When President Trump and Republicans in Congress failed in their 2017 attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act, it was in no small part because repeal would have wiped away the ACA’s expansion of Medicaid. They probably believed that it wouldn’t be such a big deal. After all, it’s a program for poor people, right? Who cares about them? What they found out, through an outpouring of protests and angry responses from constituents, was that Americans care quite a bit about Medicaid. (Paul Waldman, 1/29)
The Hill: US Government Basically Declares War On Millions Of School Children
The U.S. government has initiated a double-barreled attack on the health and nutrition of our school children using the same sinister strategies previously employed by workhouses and witches. The USDA is trying to deny essential food access to over half a million children by modifying the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Those without SNAP may become non-participants in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). Limiting access to secure healthful meals will promote food insecurity and hunger, and encourage consumption of cheap, calorically dense, processed foods by families for whom every penny counts. (Michael Rosenbaum and William H. Dietz, 1/29)
The New York Times: We Lost Our Son To Suicide. Here’s How We Survived.
On Sept. 7, 2017, my 31st wedding anniversary, a date marked by happy memories turned tragic. That was when I learned that my 23-year-old son, Garrett, had died by suicide. Two-and-a-half years later, the news that brought me to my knees rings in my memory as if it were delivered just yesterday. Garrett was popular, talented and loved by his many friends and family members. Yet he felt alone in his struggles. Despite our fervent efforts to get him help, he slipped through our grasp. My husband and I had to come to terms with the most brutal outcome for a parent: We could not save him. (Julie Halpert, 1/30)
The Washington Post: For Mississippi To Fix Its Prisons, It Must Recognize Their Dehumanizing, Eugenic Roots
On Monday, Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) announced the closing of a unit at Parchman, the epicenter of a crisis in its prison system, as well as other broad reforms. These moves were precipitated by 13 deaths in the Mississippi penal system in less than a month, nine of them at Parchman, the state’s oldest penitentiary. Several of the deaths resulted from violence during what authorities called a “major disturbance” and altercations. Three men were found hanging in their cells, in apparent suicides that are under investigation. Two people have also managed to escape. (Shobana Shankar, 1/29)
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