Wednesday, September 2, 2020 | Kaiser Health News

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Viewpoints: Pros, Cons Of Relying On ‘Herd’ Immunity, Trump’s Recent Strategy; End The Debate About Mask Wearing Once And For All

Editorial pages focus on these public health issues and others.

Los Angeles Times:
Coronavirus ‘Herd Immunity’ Is Just Another Way To Say ‘Let People Die’

Is President Trump embracing a “herd immunity” strategy for the COVID-19 pandemic?Last week, the White House directed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to revise guidelines to discourage people who have been exposed to COVID-19 from getting tested. This policy conflicts with what virtually all health experts recommend, but one that jibes with the view of his new pandemic advisor, Dr. Scott Atlas, who thinks America should adopt the Swedish model of letting the coronavirus run its course and infecting millions of people in order to protect the economy. (9/2)

The Wall Street Journal:
A Virus Progress Report

We hate to be the bearer of good news, but here goes: The so-called second virus wave is receding and has been far less deadly than the first in the spring thanks to better therapies and government preparation. Nobody is suggesting we should now let it rip, but the progress should give Americans more confidence that schools and businesses can reopen safely. (9/1)

The Washington Post:
Trump’s Disastrous Virus Response Is Veering Toward Another Terrible Turn 

President Trump’s disastrous response to the coronavirus pandemic is veering toward another wildly irresponsible turn. After first saying the virus would go away, then failing to properly boost the supply chains, then bungling the testing scale-up, then walking away and turning the burdens over to governors, then advocating a reopening in May that triggered a new virus firestorm, Mr. Trump has been asking questions about the strategy of relying on natural “herd immunity.” This is another way of taking a hands-off approach, protecting the most vulnerable while allowing the virus to spread until there is enough natural immunity in the population to block transmission. Mr. Trump should ask very hard questions about this. An analysis by The Post showed that in the United States, with a population of 328 million, reaching a 65 percent threshold for herd immunity could lead to 2.13 million deaths. This was the pandemic approach in Sweden, and it did not turn out well. (9/1)

Fox News:
Wearing A Mask Can Help Stop COVID And Get Our Jobs Back

If we all wear a mask when we’re around others, particularly indoors, we’ll all be safer and we’ll get more of our economy back sooner. My initiative, Resolve to Save Lives, just published a review on the facts and best practices on mask use.This hasn’t always been clear. We’ve never encountered the virus that causes COVID-19 before. Back in February and March, we learned that COVID-19 behaves very differently from most infectious diseases. Usually, the sicker you are, the more infectious you are. Surprisingly, that’s not how COVID-19 works. (Former Director Of The CDC Tom Frieden, 9/1)

The Wall Street Journal:
The Failed Experiment Of Covid Lockdowns 

Six months into the Covid-19 pandemic, the U.S. has now carried out two large-scale experiments in public health—first, in March and April, the lockdown of the economy to arrest the spread of the virus, and second, since mid-April, the reopening of the economy. The results are in. Counterintuitive though it may be, statistical analysis shows that locking down the economy didn’t contain the disease’s spread and reopening it didn’t unleash a second wave of infections. (Donald L. Luskin, 9/1)

Congress Must Act To Feed America’s Children

It’s hard to believe that America’s legislators, whatever their political leanings, would willingly allow millions of children to go hungry. Yet that is what’s happening during the Covid-19 crisis — and unless Congress acts quickly, the problem’s about to get worse.In one of the world’s wealthiest nations, food insecurity should not be an issue. Yet it is. Even in good times, the government’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (also known as food stamps) falls far short of reaching everyone in need. As of 2018, some 2.5 million children lived in households that reported being unable to give their kids enough to eat. Such deprivation has long-term consequences for health and broader well-being. (9/1)

The Hill:
COVID-19: Focus On The Science And Facts To Save Many Lives

“To save as many lives as possible, we are focusing on the science, the facts and the data.” We hold this truth to be self-evident. We embrace this as the only way forward for the United States amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet, these words were proclaimed during a widely televised national event, where few distanced and few wore masks as the best practices recommended by scientific and public health experts. Such marginalization of science, data, and facts result in an inadequate response that is detrimental to us all. (Michael Goodin and Felicia Goodrum Sterling, 9/1)

The Washington Post:
People Of Color Are Underrepresented In Covid-19 Vaccine Trials. There’s Still Time To Make It Right.

Six months into our battle against covid-19, the disease has killed more than 181,000 Americans, and the pandemic continues to disproportionately affect communities of color. Black Americans, Latinos, Asian Pacific Islanders and Native Americans are significantly more likely than White Americans to be diagnosed with covid-19, be hospitalized over it and die of the disease. Despite these appalling trends, the most promising covid-19 vaccine trials are reportedly failing to recruit participants of color. (U.S. Rep. Karen Bass, 9/1)

The Summer Of Staying Put

If you’d asked me this past February, here are the things I’d have told you I’d be doing this summer: Launching a fourth book of poetry and going on tour with said book. In June, I was going to be in Seattle, Chicago, New York and LA. In July, I was going to teach for a short stint in Paris. My husband was going to come with me to Europe; we were going to leave our kids with the grandparents — a blessed week alone together after nearly a decade of raising kids. Then I was going to give a reading in Edinburgh. Finally, in September, after the kids were back in school, I had a residency in Ireland. (Tess Taylor, 9/1)

The Washington Post:
It’s Time To Talk About How Toilets May Be Spreading Covid-19

It’s not something people like to talk about, but there’s a potential important source of covid-19 spread that deserves some attention: toilets. Studies are showing that the novel coronavirus can be detected in stool samples and anal swab samples for weeks. In fact, scientists are testing wastewater as an early tracking system for outbreaks. And a recent case on an airplane identified the airplane bathroom as the potential source. (Joseph G. Allen, 9/1)

The Hill:
How To Distribute COVID-19 Vaccines 

The development of new COVID vaccines is unleashing hope across the nation that we will soon gain control of this terrible pandemic. But vaccine discovery is only the beginning. Vaccinating 330 million Americans will be a tremendous operational undertaking. The surprising urgency and ferocity of the pandemic created a disjointed and inefficient approach this Spring. This time we can do better, but I worry. (Kathleen Silard, 8/31)

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