Different Takes: World Must Unite In Covid Fight; Elderly At Risk From Omicron
Opinion writers weigh in on these covid issues.
Ending The Pandemic Requires Global Solidarity, Not Blame
When historians write about the Covid-19 pandemic, they will certainly highlight the essential research behind safe and effective vaccines, the remarkable pace of vaccine development, and the sacrifices made by clinicians and clinical trial participants. They will also write about the gross neglect of global partners when designing a worldwide public health strategy, which has been plagued by vaccine inequity, nationalism, and fear. (Ingrid Katz and Abraar Karan, 12/8)
The New York Times:
Omicron Threatens The Old. Nursing Homes Must Act Now.
Lab studies, genomic analysis, and data from Botswana, South Africa and Europe strongly suggest that the Omicron variant will cause a lot more breakthrough cases by evading the antibodies generated by vaccines and prior infections. Based on very preliminary data, there have been suggestions that many such breakthrough infections could be mild and vaccines will continue to provide substantial protection against severe disease. Even if it is too early for conclusive answers, there are already many reasons to think Omicron could be a major threat to the elderly. (Zeynep Tufekci, 12/9)
Focus COVID Vaccinations On High-Risk Populations To Stop Pandemic
Evidence that COVID-19 vaccine immunity can decline significantly after eight months suggests an urgent need to reassess what is meant by vaccinating the world. Ambitious global targets, set by the World Health Organization and President Joe Biden, aim to fully vaccinate 70% of the population of every country by next fall. If this is to have real impact, in terms of protecting lives and reducing transmission, then we need to ensure that 70% of people are not just vaccinated but also that those at highest risk are and remain protected. (Dr. Seth Berkley, 12/9)
As We Wait To See Whether The Omicron Variant Causes Severe Disease, There Is Cause For Hope
Now is the winter of our discontent, as 2021 draws to a close accompanied by some sobering COVID-19 statistics. Before the end of the year, the U.S. will pass two grim pandemic benchmarks: 50 million total cases diagnosed and 800,000 total deaths. We are in the middle of a new surge that began in early November, fueled by the unvaccinated and those who were vaccinated early on but have not yet gotten a booster and have waning immunity. And now comes the omicron variant. (Cory Franklin, 12/8)
The New York Times:
Yes, Americans Should Be Mailed Free Tests
The White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, responded with exasperation this week to a question about distributing at-home tests to Americans: “Should we just send one to every American?,” she said. Yes, we should, and many more than one. Tests should be sent out week after week, free of charge. (Aaron E. Carroll, 12/8)
Vaccine Equity Is Essential. Vaccine Makers Need To Drop Barriers To Reaching Refugees And Other Displaced People
National-level Covid-19 vaccination figures can tell a lot about how the battle against the pandemic is going. But they say nothing about the populations most likely to be missed altogether: the many millions who aren’t part of any country’s vaccine roll-out plan: stateless people, refugees, asylum seekers, internally displaced people, vulnerable migrants, and people living amid conflicts or humanitarian emergencies. The world now has a system in place that can reach them. Last month, 1.6 million vaccine doses landed in Tehran, earmarked for 800,000 Afghan refugees, migrants, and displaced people living within Iran’s borders. But the effort to deliver more doses to vulnerable populations is being hindered by some vaccine manufacturers. (Seth Berkley, 12/9)