Opinion writers focus on these public health issues and others.
The Wall Street Journal: Thanks To Congress, America Is Prepared For The Coronavirus
The world watches with concern as the virus originating in Wuhan affects more nations. While it’s still too soon to know if this coronavirus strain will become a pandemic, Americans should take some comfort: Thanks to the bipartisan foresight of Congress and lessons learned in the past five years, the U.S. is in better shape today than at any other time in recent memory to confront a major public-health crisis. (Tom Cole, 1/31)
USA Today: Americans Stranded In Wuhan, China: Coronavirus Has City On Lockdown
There are about 1,000 U.S. citizens in Wuhan, and Washington evacuated 195 Americans last week, but the process has been confusing.I first heard about the flight from the WeChat group, and I was told that Americans who do not work with the U.S. Consulate had to pay $1,000 per seat. Sadly, my wife and I were not able to get on this flight, not only because she is not an American citizen and is still recovering from her surgery, but also because they would not allow my son to board the flight. My son does not have any paperwork showing he is a U.S. citizen because of the city’s lockdown. I won’t leave Wuhan without my family or get evacuated to America without them because of some minor paperwork, and $3,000 is a lot to ask one family to pay to leave. (Justin Steece, 1/31)
The Washington Post: Fighting Coronavirus With Travel Bans Is A Mistake
Despite China’s aggressive measures to try to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus, which first emerged in Wuhan (located in Hubei Province), the epidemic has continued to grow. Reported cases have surpassed those of the 2003 SARS epidemic, which was also caused by a coronavirus. Nearly 20 countries have reported cases, some of which resulted from local transmission. U.S. health officials recently announced a ban on U.S. entry of foreign nationals who visited China in the last 14 days and implemented a 14-day quarantine of Americans returning from Hubei Province. The move came one month after Chinese health authorities first announced an outbreak of viral pneumonia now recognized to be caused by the new coronavirus. Russia and several European countries have taken similar steps. (Jennifer B. Nuzzo, 2/2)
USA Today: Military Has Failed Its Troops On Mental Health Research And Treatment
First the Pentagon said no U.S. troops were injured in Iran’s missile strike last month on an Iraqi air base hosting Americans. Then it rose to 11 with brain injuries, then 34, then 50, and by Thursday the number was up to 64. That’s upsetting, as was President Donald Trump’s recent comment that “it’s not very serious.” This is consistent with a decades long tradition of downplaying the significance of traumatic brain injury. Senior government leadership and the departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs have failed utterly in caring for the mental health of war fighters. (Stephen N. Xenakis, 2/1)
Stat: Cash From Cannabis Companies Creates Conflicted Researchers
Imagine that scientists charged with doing research on tobacco’s health implications were funded by tobacco companies. (In fact, the tobacco industry used this tactic for decades to cast doubt on the adverse health effects of smoking.) But today it would be an outrageous conflict of interest — research on addictive drugs shouldn’t be paid for by people who stand to profit from selling them. Yet this is exactly what is happening with cannabis. (Shaun Koo, 2/3)
The New York Times: Who’s Afraid Of Gwyneth Paltrow And Goop?
When Netflix announced the trailer for Gwyneth Paltrow’s “The Goop Lab” in early January, the media and #medtwitter made dire predictions for both the streaming service and for humanity itself. The show would surely promote “dangerous pseudoscience,” peddle “snake oil,” and be “undeniably awful for society.” Longtime Paltrow critic and health law researcher Timothy Caulfield was among the many opiners who warned on Twitter of the “spread of health misinformation” and the “erosion of #criticalthinking.” Other relevant hashtags included #PostModernDarkAge and #saynotogoop. (Elisa Albert and Jennifer Block, 2/3)
The New York Times: There’s No Right Way To Mourn
When Kobe Bryant died on Jan. 26, there was an outpouring of grief for the legendary N.B.A. champion. Sports fans placed bouquets of flowers at his high school and held a vigil outside the Staples Center. Shaquille O’Neal, his friend, rival and former Lakers teammate, cried on TV while giving an emotional tribute. Much of this grieving also took place on social media. His widow, Vanessa Bryant, wrote a powerful tribute on Instagram that was “liked” by more than nine million people. So did Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul. Grief is no longer private these days, which lets us mourn together. But doing so also allows people to publicly shame how others deal with loss. (Sian Beilock, 2/1)
Cincinnati Enquirer: Homelessness For Many Is More Than Finding Place To Live
Being an adult without a place to recover from hospitalization, dealing with a complex Medicaid system, and uncertainty for the future is daunting. Many of our clients have lost their way and simply need a helping hand in bridging back to independence and healthier living. Health means more than physical recovery it also includes emotional, psychological and social well-being. (Laurie Derks Nelson, 2/1)
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.
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