Wednesday September 2, 2020 | Kaiser Health news

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Viewpoints: The pros and cons of relying on “herd” immunity, Trump’s recent strategy; Ending the mask-wearing debate once and for all

The editorial pages focus on these and other public health issues.

Los Angeles Times: ‘Herd immunity’ to coronavirus is just another way of saying ‘let people die’

Is President Trump adopting a “collective immunity” strategy for the COVID-19 pandemic? Last week, the White House ordered the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to revise the guidelines to discourage those exposed to COVID-19 from getting tested. This policy conflicts with what virtually all health experts recommend, but which supports the advice of its new pandemic adviser, Dr. Scott Atlas, who believes America should embrace the Swedish model of letting the coronavirus run its course and infect millions of people in order to protect the economy. (9/2)

The Wall Street Journal: A Status Report on Viruses

We hate to be the bearers of good news, but here it is: the so-called second wave of the virus is receding and was much less deadly than the first in the spring thanks to better therapies and government preparedness. No one is suggesting that we should now let it tear it up, but the progress should give Americans more confidence that schools and businesses can safely reopen. (9/1)

The Washington Post: Trump’s disastrous response to viruses points to another terrible turn

President Trump’s disastrous response to the coronavirus pandemic points to another hugely irresponsible turn. After first saying the virus would go away, then failing to properly strengthen supply chains, then messing up the scaling of testing, then walking away and putting the burden on governors, then advocating a reopening in May that sparked another virus storm, Mr Trump asked about the strategy of relying on natural “herd immunity”. This is another way to take 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 tough questions about this. Analysis from the Post showed that in the United States, with a population of 328 million, achieving a group immunity threshold of 65% could result in 2.13 million deaths. This was the approach of the pandemic in Sweden, and it did not go 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 are with other people, especially indoors, we will all be safer and reclaim more of our economy sooner. My initiative, Resolve to Save Lives, has just published a review of facts and best practices on mask use, which has not always been clear. We have never encountered the virus that causes COVID-19 before. In February and March, we learned that COVID-19 behaves very differently from most infectious diseases. Usually, the sicker you are, the more contagious you are. Surprisingly, this is not how COVID-19 works. (Former CDC director Tom Frieden, 9/1)

The Wall Street Journal: the failed experiment of Covid lockdowns

Six months after the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the United States has now conducted two large-scale public health experiments – first, in March and April, locking down the economy to stop the spread of the virus, and second, since mid-April, the reopening of the economy. The results are in. As counterintuitive as it may be, statistical analysis shows that the foreclosure of the economy has not curbed the spread of the disease and its reopening has not sparked a second wave of infections. (Donald L. Luskin, 9/1)

Bloomberg: Congress must act to feed American children

It’s hard to believe that American lawmakers, whatever their political stripes, would willingly allow millions of children to go hungry. Yet this is what is happening during the Covid-19 crisis – and unless Congress acts quickly, the problem is about to get worse. In one of the richest countries in the world , food insecurity should not be a problem. It is however the case. Even in good times, the government’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (also known as Food Stamps) falls far short of reaching everyone in need. In 2018, some 2.5 million children lived in households that reported that they could not give their children enough to eat. Such deprivation has long-term consequences for general health and well-being. (9/1)

The Hill: COVID-19: Focus on Science and Facts to Save Many Lives

“To save as many lives as possible, we focus on science, facts and data. We take this truth for granted. We see this as the only way forward for the United States in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet those words were proclaimed at a widely televised national event, where few left behind and few wore masks as the best practice recommended by scientific and public health experts. Such marginalization of science, data and facts results in an inadequate response which is detrimental to us all. (Michael Goodin and Felicia Goodrum Sterling, 9/1)

The Washington Post: People of color are under-represented in Covid-19 vaccine trials. There is still time to get 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 much more likely than white Americans to be diagnosed with covid-19, to be hospitalized and to die from the disease. Despite these appalling trends, the most promising vaccine trials against covid-19 have reportedly failed to recruit participants of color. (American Rep. Karen Bass, 9/1)

CNN: The summer of staying put

If you had asked me last February, this is what I would have told you I would be doing this summer: launch a fourth book of poetry and go on tour with that book. In June, I was going to be in Seattle, Chicago, New York and Los Angeles. In July, I was going to teach for a short stay in Paris. My husband was going to come with me to Europe; we were going to leave our children with the grandparents – a blessed week alone after nearly a decade of raising children. Then I was going to read in Edinburgh. Finally, in September, after the children returned to school, I had a residency in Ireland. (Tess Taylor, 9/1)

The Washington Post: Time to talk about how toilets can spread Covid-19

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

CNN: Trump ignores lessons from pandemic failures ahead of election

The fatal flaw in President Donald Trump’s botched pandemic response has been a yearning for a quick return to normal that is dangerous and unattainable while the coronavirus is still pending. And now he might be making the same mistake again. (Stephen Collinson, 9/2)

The Hill: How to distribute COVID-19 vaccines

The development of new COVID vaccines gives hope across the country that we will soon take control of this terrible pandemic. But the discovery of vaccines is only the beginning. Vaccinating 330 million Americans will be a formidable operational endeavor. The surprising urgency and ferocity of the pandemic has created a rambling and ineffective approach this spring. This time we can do better, but I’m worried. (Kathleen Silard, 8/31)

Des Moines Register: Watch the Iowa State football game on TV, not from the Ames stands

Iowa State may open its football stadium to 25,000 spectators on September 12, but you can watch the game on ESPN. You shouldn’t attend. And this message comes from the White House. The White House advises the Iowans to limit gatherings to 10 people or less. Translation: Don’t go to the ISU football game with 25,000 people. (9/1)

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