Longer Looks: Dignity For The Dead; Human Migration; A Prescription For Reopening; And More
Each week, KHN finds interesting reads from around the Web.
The New York Times:
How Do You Maintain Dignity For The Dead In A Pandemic?
Nick Farenga stood amid the body bags in a refrigerated 18-wheel trailer at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center in Manhattan. “This is him,” a hospital worker said, pointing to a white body bag among the roughly 40 others lying on wooden platforms that resembled hastily constructed bunk beds. As a funeral director in the Bronx, Farenga has spent two months on the front lines of Covid-19, picking up dozens of bodies. Yet somehow, until that day in late April, he had escaped the pain of retrieving the body of someone he loved. Philip Foglia was Farenga’s former Little League coach. He and his brother, Sal, played baseball with Foglia’s sons; the families lived just blocks apart; their fathers were longtime friends. (Montgomery and Jones, 5/14)
How Coronavirus Could Upend Human Migration
The coronavirus is upending our jobs, canceling our pastimes and messing with our social lives. Some of these effects might linger for months, even years, becoming the new normal. But the pandemic isn’t simply likely to change how we live—it could also alter where we live. As we contemplate all the ways that Covid-19 could change the world, big and small, we should consider that the pandemic’s combined effect on public health, the economy and social behavior may cause fundamental shifts in our human geography. Why choose to stay in a crowded city where body bags piled high during the worst parts of the pandemic? Why especially, when Covid-19 has shown many employers that remote work is a serious possibility? (Khanna and Prasad, 5/13)
The New Yorker:
Amid The Coronavirus Crisis, A Regimen For Reentry
In places around the world, lockdowns are lifting to various degrees—often prematurely. Experts have identified a few indicators that must be met to begin opening nonessential businesses safely: rates of new cases should be low and falling for at least two weeks; hospitals should be able to treat all coronavirus patients in need; and there should be a capacity to test everyone with symptoms. But then what? What are the rules for reëntry? Is there any place that has figured out a way to open and have employees work safely, with each other and with their customers? Well, yes: in health care. The Boston area has been a covid-19 hotspot. Yet the staff members of my hospital system here, Mass General Brigham, have been at work throughout the pandemic. (Gawande, 5/13)
The New York Times:
Can ‘Team Science’ Yield A Covid-19 Treatment?
Xin Yin was excited to be visiting his parents in the Shandong Province of China last December. Yin, a researcher in the Immunity and Pathogenesis Program at the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute in California, hadn’t been home in five years. So much had changed since then — a new high-speed rail station now connected his hometown with Beijing, for example. On Jan. 1, Yin was at the Beijing station, headed back to Shandong after seeing friends, when someone texted him about an unusual cluster of pneumonia cases in Wuhan. Pneumonia, an infection of the lungs, is typically caused by the flu or another virus. Yin, whose Ph.D. is in molecular virology, was intrigued. He texted a friend who lives in Wuhan, as well as several others who work in hospitals, to see if they had heard anything about the cluster. It wasn’t the flu, they told him. (Tingley, 5/13)
The New York Times:
He Was A Science Star. Then He Promoted A Questionable Cure For Covid-19.
When diagnosing the ills afflicting modern science, an entertainment that, along with the disparagement of his critics and fellow researchers, he counts among his great delights, the eminent French microbiologist Didier Raoult will lightly stroke his beard, lean back in his seat and, with a thin but unmistakable smile, declare the poor patient to be stricken with pride. Raoult, who has achieved international fame since his proposed treatment for Covid-19 was touted as a miracle cure by President Trump, believes that his colleagues fail to see that their ideas are the products of mere intellectual fashions — that they are hypnotized by methodology into believing that they understand what they do not and that they lack the discipline of mind that would permit them to comprehend their error. (Sayare, 5/12)
Where Psychologists Should Fear To Tread On Covid-19, They Don't
Consider the following brain teaser: A bat and a ball cost $1.10 in total. The bat costs $1.00 more than the ball. How much does the ball cost? A researcher devised the question 15 years ago as a measure of our ability to move past intuitive responses to deeper, reflective thinking — a concept Daniel Kahneman, a psychologist and Nobel Prize winner in economics, would go on to explore in his 2011 book “Thinking, Fast and Slow.” It’s been popularized to the point you may already know the answer. (Hint: It’s not 10 cents, the response that springs to mind for most people. If you ponder a bit you’re more likely to arrive at the correct answer, which I’ll get to later.) (Carr, 5/6)