Viewpoints: Covid Is Raising Superbug Threat; How Will AstraZeneca Rebuild Vaccine Trust?
Opinion writers tackle these covid-19 issues.
San Francisco Chronicle:
How COVID's Rise Is Elevating Another Serious Threat: Superbugs
In the midst of a raging COVID-19 pandemic with its growing variants, why in the world should we pay any attention to “superbugs,” bacteria that resist antibiotics? After all, COVID-19 is a virus, and superbugs are bacteria. For good reason: These rogue bacteria can seize on COVID’s weakened victims, and in many cases, become their final cause of death. So COVID’s rise has directly accelerated the use of the few, still-potent antibiotics we have to treat these bacteria. The more such antibiotics circulate, the more chance that resistant mutations will occur, curtailing their effectiveness. In effect, COVID-19 has given superbugs a true shot-in-the-arm, cementing their place as a health crisis equal and parallel to its own. (Jean Mudge, 3/21)
The New York Times:
The AstraZeneca Vaccine Is Safe. How Can We Get People To Trust It?
The European Medicines Agency, Europe’s top drug regulator, confirmed last Thursday that the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine is safe. In some ways, that shouldn’t be news: It had previously received approval by the E.M.A. and some 20 million people in Europe have already received doses, largely without issue. But earlier in the week, several European countries temporarily halted inoculations out of concern that it caused blood clots. Now that regulators have reaffirmed the AstraZeneca vaccine’s safety, we need to address the next key challenge: confidence and trust in it. Although the vaccine has been given the official green light, the reported risks and the temporary suspensions have heightened anxieties and increased hesitancy. (Heidi J. Larson, 3/22)
We Need To Start Thinking More Critically About Long Covid
A newspaper columnist reached out to me a while back after noticing a few of my tweets. As a pulmonary and critical care physician, I had made the point that researchers and journalists should speak more cautiously about a still-mysterious condition that was coming to be known as long Covid. The columnist was curious if other medical professionals shared my skepticism of the narrative emerging in news stories. “I’m asking as much as a person as a journalist,” this correspondent shared with me, “because I’m more terrified of this syndrome than I am of death.” (Adam W. Gaffney, 3/22)
Give Customers And Patients A Choice To Be Served By Vaccinated Workers
It’s apparently too much to ask that employers adopt a “no jab, no job” policy requiring all employees who deal closely with public to get vaccinated against COVID-19 when their turn comes or else find another line of work. I got a lot of pushback from vaccine skeptics when I floated that idea recently. So how about we flip the script? Let’s give customers — including and especially patients — the right to know if the employees they’re dealing with have been vaccinated and the opportunity to take their business elsewhere. (Eric Zorn, 3/20)
The Washington Post:
Virus Variants Mean Our Covid Winter Isn’t Over. Don’t Ease Restrictions Now.
f you live in the northeastern part of our country, you don’t put your winter jackets into storage at the first sign of spring because you know a cold snap is likely lurking around the corner. The same must be true of the pandemic. No matter where you live, it is too early to relax restrictions that continue to have a critical role in controlling this pandemic. From California to Maine, Florida to Seattle, the covid-19 winter is not yet done, and highly infectious variants are threatening new storms. (Ashish, K. Jha, 3/19)
How Will We Know If The Covid Pandemic Is Really Over? And How Will We Feel When It Is?
Most people remember the day Covid-19 became real to them. For me, it was March 13, 2020: I was in a foreign country and was told by the U.S. government that I needed to immediately return home. For some, it may have become real the day they began working from home, found themselves teaching their kids full time or canceled their weddings. For others, it may not have become real until they or someone they loved contracted Covid-19. Some of us have losses — loved ones, our businesses, our jobs, our careers — that made this pandemic traumatically tangible. Most of us have drifted through these often-disastrous last few months rather than really lived them. And now, while we have all been hoping for a clear conclusion to the pandemic, it’s likely that there won’t be a single day to mark in celebration. Rather, "the end" may be a series of small events and gradual re-emergences into a changed reality as changed people, and it may be more difficult to navigate than we imagine. (Ellen Braaten, 3/20)
We Need Social Science, Not Just Medical Science, To Beat The Pandemic
As with most disasters, when the history of the COVID pandemic is written, there will be a fair amount of finger-pointing involved. Much more could have been done to mitigate the coronavirus impact in the United States, but in reality, there are very few countries that totally escaped this scourge. Scientific research has provided a lot of new knowledge by which to manage the pandemic—and of course, the development of vaccines in record time is welcome news. But even with vaccines, success in controlling this virus continues to depend in large measure on human behavior. Science cannot take on these big challenges solely through medical fixes; rather it needs social and behavioral science to have a seat at the table as well. History is also a useful guide for understanding the present. (Nicholas Dirks, 3/20)