Viewpoints: Where’s The Praise About Good News On Declining Opioid Deaths?; Shutting Down Air, Trade Over Coronavirus Will Be More Harmful In Long Run
Opinion writers weigh in on these health care issues and others.
The Wall Street Journal: Opioid Inflection Point?
A report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week that drug overdose deaths have declined for the first time in nearly three decades drew little attention until President Trump flogged it in his State of the Union address. Here’s hoping the opioid scourge that has taken hundreds of thousands of lives is finally abating. Drug overdose deaths fell 4.1% in 2018 thanks to fewer fatalities from prescription opioids, according to the CDC. Overdoses from natural and semisynthetic opioids such as oxycodone and hydrocodone fell by 13.4%, and 3.2% from heroin, though these declines were partially offset by a 10% increase from synthetic opioids like fentanyl. (2/5)
The Washington Post: In Combating Coronavirus, Slamming The Door To China Will Hurt More Than Help
Viruses are tiny parasites. They have a singular mission: to invade a host cell and use its machinery to replicate themselves — complete with their own genetic material — and then go on to infect other host cells. The new coronavirus, which has a comparatively large genome, is racing through part of China and beginning to spread around the world, transmitted from person to person. The family of coronavirus is so named because of a crownlike appearance of spikes — some say it looks like the sun during an eclipse, with a halo. But there is nothing sunny about its emergence as a respiratory disease that can harm and kill human beings. (2/5)
Stat: The Novel Coronavirus Exposes A Flaw In The Nagoya Protocol
The speed with which the sequence of 2019-nCoV has been shared is a potent reminder of how we should avoid tying up the research community in red tape when we are in a race to find a new vaccine or treatment for a new virus or other pathogen.Coronavirus Coverage: Read the rest of STAT’s up-to-the-minute reporting on the coronavirus outbreak. But that is precisely what a legally binding international agreement, the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing, has inadvertently ended up doing. This supplementary international agreement to the Convention on Biological Diversity could make it extraordinarily difficult to conduct disease surveillance or forge research collaborations around the world. (Thomas B. Cueni, 2/5)
The Washington Post: The Coronavirus Reawakens Old Racist Tropes Against Chinese People
At a middle school a few blocks from my house, a rumor circulated among the children that all Asian kids have the coronavirus and should be quarantined. Misinformation has also reached higher education: In college campuses across the United States, some non-Asian students have acknowledged avoiding Asian classmates for no other reason than, well, the coronavirus came from Asia. The disease apparently emerged in December from a live-food market in Wuhan, China. There have been over 20,000 confirmed cases in China, and the World Health Organization reported 146 confirmed cases in 23 other countries. There are serious concerns of a global pandemic, but the coronavirus has also reawakened centuries-old prejudices against Chinese people. (John Pomfret, 2/5)
The New York Times: How Abortion Warps Our Politics
Where will abortion opponents stand in 2020? President Trump recently made his bid for their votes, becoming the first president to speak in person at the annual March for Life in Washington, an event held since 1974. Two days later, a Democratic presidential hopeful, Pete Buttigieg, told a woman who called herself a “proud pro-life Democrat” that he would not support more moderate abortion language in the Democratic National Committee platform — basically suggesting that, on this issue, she will not find affirmation or support from her party. (Gracy Olmstead, 2/5)
Stat: Stem Cell Clinics, Especially Rogue Ones, Need To Be Better Regulated
Rogue stem cell clinics continue to victimize hopeful patients seeking cures for cancer, Parkinson’s disease, autism, chronic pain, and more. Most of these treatments are unproven and unsupported by evidence, wasting precious time and health care dollars for desperate patients and often doing more harm than good to patients’ health and survival.Yet public demand for stem cell treatments is outpacing our ability to regulate them. Government agencies like the Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission should be stepping up to the plate to do this, but it isn’t likely that the money will be found soon to do that. (David A. Pearce, 2/6)
Stat: Taxpayer-Funded Research Should Be Open Science
In the three years since Donald Trump was inaugurated as president, I have rarely supported anything he proposed. And for nearly 50 years as an academic researcher, I have almost always sided with the professional research establishment. Yet on one issue I now find myself siding with the president and opposing the scientific establishment. In December, E&E News reported that the president was considering an executive action requiring that all federally funded research become available to the public immediately upon publication. After all, taxpayers paid for much of this research, which could enhance their health or quality of life, and it should become open science. (Robert M. Kaplan, 2/6)
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