Viewpoints: Where Is All The Important Information Health Care Providers Need About Coronavirus?; Suppressing News Is China’s Biggest Medical Mistake
Opinion writers weigh in on these health care issues and others.
Stat: We Need More Data To Prepare For The New Coronavirus Outbreak
As of Feb. 9, China has reported 908 deaths from 2019-nCoV, more deaths than were caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). Although some details on a small number of deaths have been provided in clinical case series published in top academic journals, more data are needed.Governments, public health authorities, clinicians, and hospitals trying to prevent deaths from 2019-nCoV would benefit from knowing, for example, what was the time elapsed between the first appearance of symptoms and the time of death? What percentage of deaths occurred due to resource constraints, such the lack of availability of mechanical ventilators or high-flow oxygen? What percentage occurred despite access to mechanical ventilation? What percentage occurred because of co-infection or some other disease mechanism? Are there any early symptoms or indicators of a poor outcome? (Caitlin M. Rivers and Tom Ingles, 2/11)
The Wall Street Journal: Coronavirus Needs A Free Press
China has declared a people’s war on the Wuhan virus. President Xi Jinping’s leadership is being tested, but so is the argument that a regime that at first underreacted now is overreacting. A young doctor who died after being interrogated for sounding the alarm about the virus has become a rallying symbol for reformers. All this is true. Politics is in charge. A flu-like disease may be impossible to contain but a plausible victory might be to slow its world-wide spread until a vaccine can be developed. Then we’d be able to say, for all the misdirected political energy, it could have been worse. Will we be able to say this? Probably not. (Holman W. Jenkins, Jr., 2/11)
The Washington Post: China’s Chernobyl? The Coronavirus Outbreak Leads To A Loaded Metaphor.
The official death toll from the coronavirus outbreak surpassed 1,100 on Tuesday. Chinese authorities have intensified the draconian lockdown on the epicenter of the crisis, the central Chinese city of Wuhan, as well as quarantines throughout the rest of the country. The precautions in place are understandable: Ahead of a World Health Organization expert meeting in Geneva on Tuesday, a leading Hong Kong epidemiologist warned that, if left unchecked, the current strain of the virus (now branded covid-19) could infect up to 60 percent of the global population. (Ishaan Tharoor, 2/12)
USA Today: Coronavirus Cruise: Evacuate More Than 400 American Passengers Home
Here’s a dark quiz of the day: Outside of China, where is the largest outbreak of the deadly coronavirus that has infected more than 45,000 and killed over 1,100?Hint: It’s not a country. It’s the cruise ship Diamond Princess, quarantined in Yokohama, Japan, with more than 400 Americans aboard. The number of passengers infected with the virus increased to 174 on Tuesday, at least 20 of them U.S. citizens. …”We are in a desperate, desperate stage,” passenger Milena Basso pleaded to Fox News. “We’re American citizens; we just want to get home.” Here’s an idea: How about the U.S. government make that happen? (2/11)
The Washington Post: Michael Phelps Says Olympians Face Greater Mental Health Risks. Does The USOPC Care?
You would like to believe athletes who wear USA on their chests are better cared for these days, after all the ghastly problems. The trouble is, you can’t. Not after you read William Moreau’s lawsuit accusing U.S. Olympic Committee officials of mishandling mental health issues. And especially not after you call up Michael Phelps and ask him what the leadership’s response was to his revelation that he suffered from depression while he was winning gold medals. The phone line practically burns up with Phelps’s answer. (Jenkins, 2/11)
Stat: Paying Gestational Carriers Should Be Legal In All States
Every year, hundreds of thousands of babies are born in the U.S. using assisted reproductive technologies, a multibillion-dollar industry that is controversial and largely unregulated. One of the controversies involves the use of paid gestational carriers, women who agree to carry a fertilized embryo, created from another woman’s egg, give birth, and give the baby to its parents. This is different from tradition (or genetic) surrogates, who provide both their own eggs and their own wombs. Gestational surrogacy now constitutes 95% of all surrogacy in the U.S. (Robert Klitzman, 2/12)
Detroit News: Opinion: Trump’s Drug Pricing Plan Is Wrong For Michigan, U.S.
The best way to lower consumer drug prices is to encourage a competitive marketplace, not to impose more government intervention in drug pricing. Improving approval processes at the FDA would enable drugs to enter the marketplace faster. It currently takes a decade or more to obtain FDA approval for new drugs and generics and costs billions of dollars to obtain the data necessary to obtain approval. (Kent Kaiser, 2/11)
Stat: A Daughter’s Plea: Doctors Must Stop Shirking Palliative Care
I believe that every physician who works with acutely ill people needs to be trained in having goals-of-care conversations with their patients, and these conversations need to happen early and often. In my dad’s case, this conversation should have started during his first hospital visit after moving to Massachusetts and continued through each subsequent visit. This work, of course, shouldn’t all fall on doctors’ shoulders. Patients and their family members need to be having conversations with each other about their wishes, ideally before a significant medical event even occurs. A better understanding about how my father would have wanted to live and the minimum quality of life he would have found acceptable would have given me the confidence to push back on his physicians much earlier. (Aimee Gindin, 2/12)
The Hill: What’s Old Is New: Patients Want Good New Days In Health Care
Until last year in our cancer center, health care staff scheduled tests and referrals for patients at check-out; ideally creating less stressful scheduling for patients. However, recently, staff now give patients resources to make their own appointments. Hospitals and health care providers in the U.S. have recently shifted from practices of the past to managed care, meaning a managing company monitors a patient’s health care treatment. Based on the number of individuals covered by the plan, the managing company sends the health care provider a set amount of funding each month. (Tochi Okwuosa, 2/11)
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