Viewpoints: Lessons On Doctors, Leaders Pushing Lies About Public Health; Pros, Cons Of Rushing Vaccines
Editorial pages focus on these public health issues.
The New York Times:
What To Do About Doctors Who Push Misinformation?
It’s bad enough when our political leaders promote quack theories about coronavirus and its treatment; but what do we do about the doctors who enable them and use their medical authority to promote pseudoscience? Take Scott Atlas, a former Stanford University radiologist with no training or expertise in public health or infectious disease. As President Trump’s special adviser on coronavirus, he cast doubt on the efficacy of face masks, long after science had confirmed their efficacy. He was a staunch proponent of herd immunity — a recommendation that would almost certainly have resulted in vast mortality. (Richard A. Friedman, 12/11)
The Washington Post:
The Covid-19 Pandemic Is Trump’s Legacy. He Can Still Salvage A Shred Of His Reputation.
President Trump's shameful legacy will be the needless death and vast devastation of the covid-19 pandemic. More than 3,100 Americans died from the novel coronavirus on Wednesday, a shocking all-time high, with the virus currently the nation's leading cause of death. The health and economic impacts of covid-19 were always going to be brutal, but Trump made everything much worse than it had to be. And he has capped his mismanagement of the crisis by making it more difficult not just to persuade Americans to comply with life-saving preventative efforts but by also sowing doubt about the vaccines that are the way out of this crisis. (Eugene Robinson, 12/10)
Coronavirus: The Vaccine Approval Fight Is A Dangerous Game
Drug regulators only have two speeds, as an old gag puts it: Too fast, and too slow. That’s certainly the perception in this pandemic. As Western nations begin to roll out the first batch of promising vaccines against Covid-19, with the U.K. leading the charge and the U.S. the latest to follow suit, the gatekeepers whose job it is to supervise their efficacy, safety and distribution are in a very tough spot. (Lionel Laurent, 12/11)
The Wall Street Journal:
A Shot (Instead Of Two) At Saving Lives
Recent days brought good news and bad news about coronavirus vaccines. The developments could add up to months of delay in getting most Americans inoculated. But there’s a way to make use of the good news to speed up herd immunity. The bad news is that in July the U.S. passed up an opportunity to secure by June 2021 more than 100 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine, now expected to receive emergency-use authorization in the next few days. Instead, officials followed a balanced-portfolio strategy that reserved as many as 300 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, whose prospects are unclear. (Michael Segal, 12/10)
Washington's Paralysis Is Deepening America's Inequality
There was another key step in the incredibly thorough US drug approval process toward a vaccine today as an FDA panel recommended approval for Pfizer. Final approval could come within days. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, who has now met with President-elect Joe Biden's health policy team, said Thursday that 20 million Americans could be vaccinated within weeks. (Zachary B. Wolf, 12/11)
The New York Times:
Covid Meds Are Scarce, But Not For Trump Cronies
According to a document from the Department of Health and Human Services, a total of 108 doses of Regeneron’s monoclonal antibody cocktail have been allocated to Washington, which had 265 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday alone. Somehow Rudy Giuliani, Donald Trump’s lawyer, got one of those doses. In an interview with a New York radio station on Tuesday, Giuliani did us all the favor of explaining why he qualified for privileged treatment. “I had very mild symptoms,” he told the radio station, WABC. “I think if it wasn’t me, I wouldn’t have been put in the hospital. Sometimes when you’re a celebrity, they’re worried if something happens to you; they’re going to examine it more carefully and do everything right.” He said on another show on the same station that the president’s physician was involved in his care. (Michelle Goldberg, 12/10)
Rudy Giuliani's Pricey Covid 'Cocktail'
Rudy Giuliani, the former New York City mayor and current lawyer for President Donald Trump, was hospitalized over the weekend after testing positive for Covid-19. He was discharged Wednesday afternoon after four days in Georgetown University Hospital. During his illness, amid his attempts to overturn the certification of election results, Giuliani quickly made medical matters worse. (Kent Sepkowitz, 12/10)
Nine Months Into The Pandemic, Rethink Those Bad Habits — Again
The first Covid-19 lockdowns in March jolted a lot of us into new habits. Some of these changes were healthy; others, not so much. We started cooking more, which is generally healthier than eating in restaurants. We’re washing our hands a lot more. Some demographic groups, including older people, started exercising more. But we’re also drinking more alcohol, especially if we’re women. We spend eight hours more a week watching TV. Lots of us are exercising less and spending more time doomscrolling. Pandemic anxiety has disturbed our sleep. Boredom has encouraged some of us to do a little too much impulsive online shopping. Mental health has suffered during this pandemic, and habits like these don’t alleviate the suffering. Over time, too much of any of these activities will leave a person (or her bank account) depleted. (Sarah Green Carmichael, 12/10)
Los Angeles Times:
California Kids Need School To Reopen When COVID Rates Drop
This isn’t the moment for a massive reopening of schools in California. Not with COVID-19 levels as bad as they are and getting worse. But it is time to start planning for reopening classrooms as soon as hospitalization and infection rates drop again. President-elect Joe Biden wants to help most of the country’s schools reopen by April 30, but that’s not ambitious enough. By that point, nearly a whole academic year would be lost. (12/10)
Here's Proof That Promises For Health Care Are Fraudulent
Caveat lector: Two weeks ago, I discussed here the potential harm that the Democrats’ plans could do to U.S. health care and to “We the People.” Comments in response were primarily ad hominem attacks, without any evidence. This country was founded on respectful dialogue between persons with differing opinions. To those who disagree with what I write here, please limit your comments to evidence you believe refutes my conclusions. (Dr. Deane Waldman, 12/10)
Manage Regulatory Issues Early In Biopharma Mergers, Acquisitions
Mergers and acquisitions have long been a vehicle for growth in the pharmaceutical industry. They allow major companies to rapidly expand their research and development pipelines and grow their portfolios into new therapeutic areas while giving emerging biotech companies a quick and profitable exit or the opportunity to become part of a larger brand. (Cecile Riboud, 12/11)