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Different Takes: Tonight’s Debate Can Help Steer Next Steps; So When Will The Country See The Next Round Of Fiscal Relief?

Opinion writers express views about the pandemic and other issues as well.

Fox News:
At VP Debate, Coronavirus Should Be Top Issue — Pence Must Answer For Over 210,000 Deaths

Wednesday night’s vice-presidential debate will take place as America is embroiled in a historic crisis. Our president, first lady and several White House staffers have tested positive for COVID-19. The Joint Chiefs of Staff and other high-ranking military leaders are self-quarantining because of exposure to the deadly coronavirus that’s on the rise in more than 20 states. More than 210,000 Americans have died and more than 7.4 million people in our country have been infected by the coronavirus, which has killed over 1 million people around the world and sent unemployment soaring in the U.S. and elsewhere. The pandemic has become the major issue in the presidential election that is already underway. The American people have a right to expect Republican Vice President Mike Pence and Democratic vice-presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris of California to discuss how to best respond to this crisis. (Richard Fowler, 10/7)

The Wall Street Journal:
Job One For The Veep: Explain Covid

When the vice-presidential candidates meet in Wednesday night’s debate, Subject One will be the coronavirus. President Trump tested positive and was hospitalized. Vice President Mike Pence has, since Feb. 26, chaired an administration task force. Here’s my wish. Let this be an opportunity for the country to remove its blinders. Some 7.4 million Americans have been infected with the virus. Or is it 74 million? According to Dr. Robert Redfield, head of the agency that the country relies on for such data, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, our testing as of late June was picking up perhaps 10% of cases. When we say 40,000 new infections are occurring daily, we might really mean 400,000 infections. When we imply that 2.2% of Americans have been infected, we may really mean 22%. (Holman W. Jenkins, Jr., 10/6)

The New York Times:
In-Person Debates Are Too Dangerous. Cancel Them. 

President Trump, fresh from the hospital and still battling Covid-19, tweeted Tuesday morning that he is “looking forward” to his next debate with Joe Biden on Oct. 15. “FEELING GREAT!” he tweeted separately. Here’s hoping the president is indeed feeling better and will continue to get better still. Regardless, that event should not take place in person. Nor should the other remaining debates, including the matchup on Wednesday between the vice-presidential contenders, Kamala Harris and Mike Pence. (10/6)

Trump’s Covid Relief Stall Holds U.S. Hostage To Economic Tragedy 

This is what the collapse of a federal effort to aid workers, states, cities and businesses battered by the Covid-19 pandemic sounds like, via a series of presidential tweets: “Nancy Pelosi is asking for $2.4 Trillion Dollars to bailout poorly run, high crime, Democrat States, money that is in no way related to COVID-19. We made a very generous offer of $1.6 Trillion Dollars and, as usual, she is not negotiating in good faith. I am rejecting their request, and looking to the future of our Country. I have instructed my representatives to stop negotiating until after the election when, immediately after I win, we will pass a major Stimulus Bill that focuses on hardworking Americans and Small Business,” President Donald Trump allowed on Tuesday afternoon. (Timothy L. O’Brien, 10/6)

The Washington Post:
Trump Blows Up Stimulus Talks, And With Them Perhaps His Chances Of Reelection 

Workers, businesses, and state and local officials have pleaded, for months, for more fiscal help. In recent days, it finally looked like that help was coming, as House Democratic leaders and the treasury secretary reportedly worked toward a compromise, perhaps one somewhat less generous than the bills the House had already passed. Then, on Tuesday afternoon, less than a month before the election, President Trump pulled the plug. The economy is already doing so very big-league greatly, he said, that no more fiscal aid is needed. Not until after Nov. 3, anyway. (Catherine Rampell, 10/6)

The New York Times:
Bidencare Would Be a Big Deal

In any case, how the nation votes will indeed make a huge difference to the future of health care — and not just because Trump, if he holds on to power, will almost surely find a way to destroy Obamacare, causing tens of millions of Americans to lose health insurance. Joe Biden, if he wins (and gets a Democratic Senate), will make a big difference in the other direction, substantially expanding coverage and reducing premiums for middle-class families. (Paul Krugman, 10/5)

Atlanta Journal Constitution:
Nov. 3 Could Decide Who Gets A COVID Vaccine First, And Who Must Wait

Whoever takes the oath of office as president of the United States on Jan. 20 will become the leader of a nation that is likely to be even more polarized than we are now. And yet he will immediately be faced with a dilemma that — morally, politically, and logistically — will be as delicate as any chief executive has had to wrestle with in decades:When we have a vaccine to end this pandemic, if we have a vaccine, who will get the first doses of protection? Who will be next in line — and next after that? And who will be required to wait at the end? (Jim Galloway, 10/6)

The Hill:
Trump’s Claims On Lowering Prescription Drug Prices Are Only Campaign Rhetoric 

As the Trump administration asks the Supreme Court to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, the president has made lowering prescription drug costs the core focus of his own plan to improve the American health care system. Responding to a question from moderator Chris Wallace during last week’s presidential debate about how the administration would replace ObamaCare, Trump shifted gears to repeat his claim that his administration’s policies will bring down drug prices 80 percent to 90 percent. (Varun Vaidya, 10/6)

Viewpoints: Pros, Cons Of Not Fearing COVID; Lessons On Deciding Not To Protect Others

Editorial writers focus on these public health and mental health topics as well as other health topics.

The Wall Street Journal:
Trump, Covid And Reason

President Trump’s tweet Monday “Don’t be afraid of Covid” has invited more criticism that he’s again downplaying the virus. Mr. Trump doesn’t do nuance, and he and his team have often acted recklessly, most prominently at the Rose Garden ceremony announcing Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination. But scientists generally agree with his fundamental point that Americans need to learn to live with the virus. (10/6)

Boston Globe:
The Unmasking Of Donald Trump

President Donald Trump is frantically trying to recast callousness as courage — and in doing so, he’s sending a life-threatening message to America. This cynical move insults not just the intelligence of the American people, but also the memory of the more than 210,000 Americans who have lost their lives to COVID-19. The president’s return to the White House Monday evening was a tinny spectacle of the sort that appeals to strongmen and fanatic followers everywhere: a helicopter flight from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center to the White House lawn, with the Washington Monument as a photographic accent point. A walk up the South Portico staircase to the Truman Balcony. A tearing off of his mask before a long salute for the cameras. (Scot Lehigh, 10/6)

Tracing The Source Of Trump’s Covid Infection

One of the bizarre subplots of President Donald Trump’s illness has been the White House’s unwillingness to explore exactly how he contracted Covid-19. Offers by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to investigate the outbreak have been rebuffed, leaving open pressing questions. Who gave the virus to the president, and where did that happen? To whom did he give it, and in what circumstances? Is the disease now sweeping through the White House all from a single source, and if so, who is the source? Twenty years ago it would have been all but impossible to answer those questions, but they can now be answered quickly and cheaply — so quickly and cheaply that I can’t help but wonder why we don’t already have the answers. (Michael Lewis, 10/6)

Los Angeles Times:
Trump Is No Churchill, No FDR. Try Typhoid Mary Instead

Sean Hannity was on TV the other night lavishing praise on President Trump for his “leadership” during the pandemic, comparing him to Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill, towering figures who steered their countries through times of war. Laughable stuff, of course. In Trump, we have a president who lied to the country about the dangers of the novel coronavirus, flouted the advice of public health experts, imperiled his credulous supporters by dispensing crackpot medical advice and congratulated himself repeatedly as much of the country morphed into a petri dish of disease. (Robin Abcarian, 10/6)

The Washington Post:
Chris Wallace Blasts Trump Family, Guests For Not Wearing Masks At Debate

Inside a Cleveland auditorium on Tuesday, everyone watching President Trump debate former vice president Joe Biden wore a mask, with a notable exception: Trump’s guests, including the first family. On Sunday, the debate’s moderator, Fox News anchor Chris Wallace, demanded answers from the Trump campaign for flouting the debate host’s rules — especially in light of Friday’s news that both the president and first lady Melania Trump later tested positive for the novel coronavirus. “The rules from the Cleveland Clinic could not have been more clear. Everyone, everyone in the audience was to wear a mask,” Wallace said on “Fox News Sunday.” (Tim Elfrink, 10/5)

The New York Times:
Trump’s Not Superman. He’s Superspreader.

The most important question today is not what President Trump has learned from his bout with Covid-19. Trump is one of those leaders who never learns and never forgets, as the saying goes. The most important question is what have we as citizens learned — and, in particular, what have Trump’s supporters learned? Because the debate over Trump himself is over. The verdict is in: He cast himself as Superman, but he turns out to have been Superspreader — not only of a virus but of a whole way of looking at the world in a pandemic that was dangerously wrong for himself and our nation. To re-elect him would be an act of collective madness. (Thomas L. Friedman, 10/6)

Coronavirus: Are Hospitals Ready For The Second Wave?

The brutal experience of Covid-19’s first wave humbled many rich countries where even generous health care systems were overwhelmed by an unfamiliar virus. Just as past outbreaks taught Asia hard truths about how to deal with pandemics, lessons from this novel coronavirus abound in the West: Italy has ramped up intensive-care capacity, France is paying health workers better and Spain is building a new pandemic hospital. Thanks to these and other efforts, national lockdowns are being portrayed as a one-off. Yet as cases surge again in Europe, strains on critical-care resources are leading to economic shutdowns on local and regional levels. (Lionel Laurent, 10/7)

Covid-19 Long-Haulers And The Experience Of ‘Hidden’ Disabilities 

I vividly recall standing with one of my college mentors in front of an iron lung in the lobby of Boston Children’s Hospital. He told me how polio had led to the last disability revolution because people with the disease made the public aware of disabilities and fought for the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act. (Harry T. Paul, 10/7)

Digital Health Companies Must Commit To The Highest Standards 

The digital health gold rush is on. Teledoc’s $18.5 billion acquisition of Livongo reflects the valuation and consumer demand for virtual care. The capital, talent, utilization — and, let’s face it, speculation — driving the boom are creating a historic opportunity to reimagine how health care works and who it works for. (Jenna Carl, 10/7)

Cutting Off H-1B Visas Will Hurt The Biopharma Industry 

I’ve traveled the world because of science. My undergraduate and doctoral studies were in Boston. I’ve done stem cell research in Singapore. I worked in Belgium to learn about camelid antibodies, studied chemistry in England, and given talks around the world. This type of freedom to study and work across countries made it possible for me to learn from the best, expanded my scientific horizons, and instilled in me a deep passion to make the world a better place. (Elizabeth O’Day, 10/6)

Dallas Morning News:
What Texas Stands To Lose By Failing To Require LGBTQ-Inclusive Sex Education

The Texas State Board of Education is revising the health and sex education standards for Texas students, and we have a real opportunity to take a much-needed step forward for all youth across our state. The last time the board revised the standards was 1997, a generation ago. Bill Clinton was in the White House, fewer than 20% of American households had internet access and the world was mourning the death of Princess Diana. (Cece Cox, 10/6)

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