Thursday, November 19, 2020 | Kaiser Health News

Viewpoints: These Governors Urge Everyone To Stay Home For Thanksgiving; Federal Response Isn’t Winning War On Virus So Far

Opinion writers weigh in on these pandemic topics and others.

The Washington Post:
Seven Governors: Americans Need To Stay Home This Thanksgiving

For eight months, the covid-19 pandemic has devastated American families everywhere. To fight this virus, governors across the country have listened to medical experts and worked around the clock to protect our families, the brave men and women on the front lines, and our small-business owners. No matter the action we take, we understand that our fight against covid-19 will be more effective when we work together. That is why we, a group of bipartisan governors, are joining forces today to urge families across our region, and Americans everywhere, to do their part to protect themselves and their loved ones from the spread of covid-19. When it comes to fighting this virus, we are all on the same team. (Gretchen Whitmer, D-Mich.; Mike DeWine, R-Ohio; Tony Evers, D-Wis.; Tim Walz, D-Minn.; J.B. Pritzker, D-Ill.; Eric Holcomb, R-Ind.; and Andy Beshear, D-Ky., 11/18).

The Wall Street Journal:
Gretchen Whitmer Strikes Again

Rule by executive fiat in the states has become a hallmark of the pandemic, and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer seems determined to push its limits. After a rebuke by the state Supreme Court, the Democrat has found a new statutory justification to continue her arbitrary emergency rule of one. Michigan’s Emergency Management Act gives the Governor some emergency authority but requires legislative approval beyond 28 days. In October the state Supreme Court found Ms. Whitmer exceeded her authority by declaring a new emergency “for the identical reasons” after time ran out on the first one. (11/18)

What Winning The Covid-19 War Would Look Like 

In early spring, as Covid-19 began marching across the U.S., President Donald Trump described it as an existential challenge. “We’re at war. In a true sense, we’re at war,” he said. “Look, the greatest thing we can do is win the war. The war is against the virus. That’s the war.” He was right. And recently there’s been heartening and exciting news from the battlefront. Three companies, Pfizer Inc., BioNTech SE and Moderna Inc., have announced promising results from late-stage trials of possible Covid-19 vaccines. If all goes well, they might be generally available early next year. So far, though, we’ve been losing this war. The coronavirus is setting new caseload and hospitalization records nationally. (Timothy L. O’Brien, 11/19)

The Washington Post:
A National Covid Lockdown Won’t Happen, And The U.S. Doesn’t Need One

Can we please stop talking about lockdowns? A national lockdown is not going to happen in the United States. Every time it’s brought up, it distracts attention from practical public health measures that can work to control covid-19. I understand that a “shutdown” or “lockdown” is a convenient shorthand to describe restrictions that states have recently put into place. This week, Washington state closed bars and restaurants for indoor dining and prohibited indoor social gatherings for people in different households. Michigan closed casinos and movie theaters and ended in-person classes for colleges and high schools. And as of Thursday, New York City’s public schools are returning to all-remote instruction. (Leana S. Wen, 11/18)

The New York Times:
The Problem With Coronavirus School Closures 

Some things are true even though President Trump says them. Trump has been demanding for months that schools reopen, and on that he seems to have been largely right. Schools, especially elementary schools, do not appear to have been major sources of coronavirus transmission, and remote learning is proving to be a catastrophe for many low-income children. Yet America is shutting schools — New York City announced Wednesday that it was closing schools in the nation’s largest school district — even as it allows businesses like restaurants and bars to operate. What are our priorities? (Nicholas Kristof, 11/18)

The Year Of The Pandemic: A View From South Korea

The central explanation for South Korea’s success in taming the pandemic so far is its strategy of targeted testing and aggressive contact tracing. That and the willingness of the public — including most religious believers and political protestors — to follow basic precautions. So far, as schools have been closed or partially closed and many people have spent parts of this year working from home, we’ve managed to avoid a national lockdown. (Michael Breen, 11/19)

Self-Interest Nudged Me To Join Moderna’s Covid-19 Vaccine Trial 

I volunteered to take part in a Covid-19 vaccine trial. I wish I could say I did it to help hasten the defeat the coronavirus or to further science. But I really just wanted a chance to get a vaccine as soon as possible. (John Yang, 11/19)

The Covid Economy: Congress Must Pass Coronavirus Stimulus 

In the months leading up to the election, U.S. lawmakers failed to agree on a new coronavirus relief plan. Now, with a lame-duck Congress and President Donald Trump moving reluctantly toward the exit, the temptation will be to do nothing until President-elect Joe Biden is in office and the new legislature is installed. That’s too long to wait. (11/18)

The Wall Street Journal:
Amazon Shakes Up Health Care

Amazon has driven innovation and competition across the retail industry from supermarkets to books. Now it’s gunning for pharmacies, which could force healthy changes across America’s sclerotic health-care system. On Tuesday the retail and cloud-computing giant announced it is launching an online pharmacy that will deliver common medications, including insulin and asthma inhalers, with free two-day shipping for its Prime members. The move was facilitated by its purchase two years ago of PillPack, the online pharmacy startup that sorts, packages and delivers medication. (11/18)

The Shameful Abundance Of Birth- And Pregnancy-Related Deaths In The U.S. 

The U.S. spends more on health care than any other wealthy nation. Yet, more people here die from complications of pregnancy and childbirth than in any of those countries. The numbers are stark: Birthing people die in 17 of every 100,000 births in the U.S., compared to just three or fewer in the Netherlands, Norway, and New Zealand. Those who die in this country are, more often than not, Black people, the delivery room being one more place where systemic racism takes its toll on Black families. (Laurie Zephyrin and Roosa Tikkanen, 11/18)


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