Different Takes: Lessons On Death Drawing Near Again; Pleas From Cruise Ships Looking For Safe Harbors
Editorial pages focus on these health topics and others.
The New York Times:
What Are The Dying Worth?
Before this novel coronavirus ever reached American shores, I heard dark tones of reassurance. Don’t worry, people said. It kills only the old and the sick. The thought, a temporary (and misleading) escape from rising panic, crossed my mind, and surfaced in conversation. When I spoke last week to Jessica Smietana, a 30-year-old doctoral student in French literature at New York University, she admitted the thought had occurred to her, too. “I remember saying, ‘Well, you know, when it’s reaching people that aren’t in vulnerable populations, that’s when I’ll worry about it.’” (Elizabeth Bruenig, 4/1)
The Wall Street Journal:
Lost At Sea In A Pandemic
During a time when we’re afraid to go out, fearful of others as possible Covid-19 carriers, how do we ensure we continue acting in ways consistent with our common human dignity? Holland America Line is working tirelessly to find medical help and safe passage home for the 1,243 guests and 1,247 crew stranded at sea, cruising north near Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, on two of our ships, Zaandam and Rotterdam. (Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line, 3/31)
The New York Times:
I’m A Doctor Fighting 2 Epidemics: Coronavirus And Gun Violence
My pager goes off again: The police are en route to my hospital. They’re bringing a gunshot victim. E.T.A.? Right now. I get these pages almost every night at the trauma center where I work. I rush to put on my protective equipment to guard against blood and other bodily fluids. But for the first time, I’m saving clean masks to reuse them. Because of coronavirus, the parents of my patients need a special escort because visitors are not allowed in the waiting room. I can’t bring a family to a gunshot victim’s bedside in the intensive care unit. I can’t tell a frightened mother that she can stay as long as she wants. (Elinore Kaufman, 4/1)
The Washington Post:
Let Health Workers Have The Medical Gear. But We Should All Start Covering Our Faces.
Early in the coronavirus crisis, many public health officials insisted that masks could not protect the public from covid-19. But that thinking is increasingly in question. People should be encouraged to cover their faces — responsibly.To be clear: No one should hoard equipment that health-care workers need, particularly N95 masks that protect them from fine aerosol particles their patients exhale. Doctors and nurses who must interact closely with sick people need that gear. (3/31)
Kaiser Health News:
He Got Tested For Coronavirus. Then Came The Flood Of Medical Bills.
By March 5, Andrew Cencini, a computer science professor at Vermont’s Bennington College, had been having bouts of fever, malaise and a bit of difficulty breathing for a couple of weeks. Just before falling ill, he had traveled to New York City, helped with computers at a local prison and gone out on multiple calls as a volunteer firefighter. So with COVID-19 cases rising across the country, he called his doctor for direction. He was advised to come to the doctor’s group practice, where staff took swabs for flu and other viruses as he sat in his truck. The results came back negative. (Elisabeth Rosenthal and Emmarie Huetteman, 4/1)
Hydroxychloroquine Is A Crucial Drug For Me
I am sitting at my desk in a furious rage. Recently I read an article in ProPublica in which pharmacists described "unusual and fraudulent" prescribing activity for the drug hydroxychloroquine, suggesting that doctors may be hoarding it in a "just in case" manner. Not long after that, another article popped up in my Facebook feed, describing a 45-year-old woman with lupus who said she was denied a refill on her hydroxychloroquine at Kaiser because all supplies had been diverted for the "critically ill with Covid-19" who might fill their system. As for her? According to Buzzfeed, the woman was told she could manage for 40 days without the drug and thanked her for her "sacrifice" and "understanding." (Cory Martin, 3/31)