Editorials, Opinion Pieces Discuss Ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic

The Lancet: Redefining vulnerability in the era of COVID-19
Editorial Board

“What does it mean to be vulnerable? … Certainly, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, vulnerable groups are not only elderly people, those with ill health and comorbidities, or homeless or underhoused people, but also people from a gradient of socioeconomic groups that might struggle to cope financially, mentally, or physically with the crisis. … Under this unprecedented challenge, governments must be mindful that strategies to address the pandemic should not further marginalize or stigmatize affected communities. … While responding to COVID-19, policymakers should consider the risk of deepening health inequalities. If vulnerable groups are not properly identified, the consequences of this pandemic will be even more devastating. Although WHO guidance should be followed, a one-size-fits-all model will not be appropriate. Each country must continually assess which members of society are vulnerable to fairly support those at the highest risk” (4/4).

The Lancet: COVID-19 will not leave behind refugees and migrants
Editorial Board

“Never has the ‘leave no one behind’ pledge felt more urgent. As nations around the world implement measures to control the spread of SARS-CoV-2, including lockdowns and restrictions on individuals’ movements, they must heed their global commitments. … Chief among the world’s most vulnerable people are refugees and migrants. The COVID-19 crisis puts these groups at enormous risk. Yet global pandemic efforts have so far failed in their duty of care to refugees and migrants. … Resettlement procedures have been suspended by the U.N. UNHCR reports that 34 countries hosting substantial refugee populations have seen local transmission of SARS-CoV-2. The often appalling conditions of migrant camps are fertile for infectious disease outbreaks. … The worst might be yet to come. 80% of refugees live in low-income and middle-income countries, the sites of the expected fourth wave of COVID-19 behind China, Europe, and the USA. Already, these settings have weak health care systems, scarce protective equipment, and poor testing and treatment capacity. They need enormous global support to prepare for an impending crisis. This virus disregards all borders. COVID-19 responses must not overlook refugees and migrants” (4/4).

Wall Street Journal: The States of Covid-19
Editorial Board

“…[It is] difficult … for leaders to make decisions when they still lack answers to basic questions. One response might be for the federal government to develop a website where the states update their numbers, outline the policies they have put in place, and note the results. That would let people and public officials find out what’s happening in, say, Louisiana; where other states are on the infection curve; what is being done to flatten it — and give people a better sense of what their unmet needs are likely to be. Precision is inherently difficult, but a federal website could be a shared clearinghouse for shaping policies informing the public. … U.S. is a large country, with different states at different stages of the virus and responding in different ways. One key to maintaining public support for government policies that impose tremendous economic costs is public trust in government information. Let’s provide more of it” (4/2).

Washington Post: Why is the U.S. pushing regime change in Venezuela during a pandemic?
Editorial Board

“…Venezuela, which by Thursday had reported 144 coronavirus infections and three deaths, faces a catastrophic outcome if the disease spreads widely; 80 percent of its hospitals lack even basic supplies, including soap. The administration has come under some pressure, including from the United Nations, to ease sanctions on Venezuela so that it can more easily obtain medical supplies. … [T]he United States should be looking for innovative ways to get help to Venezuelans; one possibility is to channel now-frozen Venezuelan funds to humanitarian groups via [U.S.-backed opposition head Juan] Guaidó. If this already stricken country suffers a catastrophic attack by the coronavirus, neither ‘maximum pressure’ nor a maximalist political plan will be of much help” (4/2).

Washington Post: Social distancing is working. The worst thing to do now is stop.
Editorial Board

“…Social distancing has never been tried on such a scale as now, and there is evidence that it can work, in democracies and dictatorships. Where people have followed the guidance to stay home, close schools, refrain from going into restaurants and bars, shutter workplaces and businesses, they have begun to slow the growth in infections, hopefully averting hospital overload. … The strategy of ‘flattening the curve’ doesn’t work if people ignore the need to practice social distancing and thus allow the virus to spread. If politicians and people ignore the restrictions, or tire of them too soon, more cities will flare like New York. … [Social distancing] seems to be worth a try” (4/2).

Washington Post: We face a worldwide ventilator deficit. The federal government is flat-footed.
Editorial Board

“The United States needs tens of thousands more ventilators in the coming weeks to handle the expected wave of covid-19 patients, and the question of which states and hospitals receive them — and can therefore save lives — comes down to this: Who will play God? Will it be U.S. and foreign medical device-makers, whose overwhelmed order books position them to determine which hospitals, states, or nations will get the ventilators they need? … The best alternative would be the federal government, which could play a constructive role in equitably allocating a scarce, lifesaving commodity — but has so far abdicated that responsibility. … The worldwide ventilator deficit represents a failure of foresight and planning. Assigning blame for that failure is less important than addressing it in the present. In the United States, the urgent priority is to manage the shortfall as rationally as possible…” (4/2).

The Guardian: U.N. secretary general: recovery from the coronavirus crisis must lead to a better world
António Guterres, secretary general of the United Nations

“…We must prepare for the worst and do everything to avoid it. Here is a three-point call to action — based on science, solidarity, and smart policies — for doing just that. First, suppress transmission of the coronavirus. This requires aggressive and early testing and contact tracing, complemented by quarantines, treatment and measures to keep first responders safe, combined with measures to restrict movement and contact. Such steps, despite the disruptions they cause, must be sustained until therapies and a vaccine emerge. … Second, tackle the devastating social and economic dimensions of the crisis. … Clearly, we must fight the virus for all of humanity, with a focus on people, especially the most affected: women, older people, youth, low-wage workers, small and medium enterprises, the informal sector, and vulnerable groups. … Third, recover better. We simply cannot return to where we were before Covid-19 struck, with societies unnecessarily vulnerable to crisis. … Now is the time to redouble our efforts to build more inclusive and sustainable economies and societies that are more resilient in the face of pandemics, climate change, and other global challenges. … At this unusual moment, we cannot resort to the usual tools. Extraordinary times demand extraordinary measures. We face a colossal test which demands decisive, coordinated, and innovative action from all, for all” (4/2).

Americas Quarterly: How to Think About the Lockdown Decision in Latin America
Eduardo Levy Yeyati, economist, dean of the School of Government of Universidad Torcuato Di Tella, and nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, and Andrés Malamud, political scientist and senior research fellow at the Institute of Social Sciences of the University of Lisbon, Portugal (4/2).

CNN: What happened when a president ignored the science on an epidemic
Robyn Curnow, CNN anchor and host of CNN International’s ‘CNN Newsroom with Robyn Curnow’ (4/2).

Foreign Affairs: Sanctions Make the Coronavirus More Deadly
Hadi Kahalzadeh, Ph.D. fellow at the Crown Center for Middle East Studies and Ph.D. candidate in social policy at the Heller School at Brandeis University (4/2).

Foreign Policy: How WHO Became China’s Coronavirus Accomplice
Hinnerk Feldwisch-Drentrup, freelance journalist and co-founder of MedWatch (4/2).

Harvard Business Review: A Covid-19 Vaccine Will Need Equitable, Global Distribution
Rebecca Weintraub, member of the faculties of Harvard Medical School and Ariadne Labs and managing director of the Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation; Prashant Yadav, affiliate professor at INSEAD and fellow at the Center for Global Development; and Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance (4/2).

The Hill: Latin America — the next coronavirus hotspot?
Cristina Lopez-Gottardi, assistant professor and research director for public and policy program at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center, and Raul O. Chao, associate professor at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business (4/2).

IPS: COVID-19 requires gender-equal responses to save economies
Isabelle Durant, deputy secretary general of UNCTAD, and Pamela Coke-Hamilton, director of the Division on International Trade and Commodities at UNCTAD (4/2).

The Lancet: Offline: COVID-19 — what countries must do now
Richard Horton, editor-in-chief of the Lancet (4/4).

National Review: Is the World Health Organization Putting the World’s Health First?
Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), senior U.S. senator from Florida (4/1).

NEJM: Ten Weeks to Crush the Curve
Harvey V. Fineberg, president of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation (4/1).

New York Times: Echoes of AIDS Epidemic as South Africa Fights Coronavirus
Mark Gevisser, author (4/3).

New York Times: Jared Kushner Is Going to Get Us All Killed
Michelle Goldberg, opinion columnist at the New York Times and author (4/2).

New York Times: These Coronavirus Exposures Might Be the Most Dangerous
Joshua D. Rabinowitz, professor of chemistry and genomics, and Caroline R. Bartman, genomic researcher (4/1).

Project Syndicate: How Democracies Can Beat the Pandemic
Maciej Kisilowski, professor of law and public management at Central European University, and Anna Wojciuk, professor of politics at the University of Warsaw (4/2).

Project Syndicate: China and America Are Failing the Pandemic Test
Joseph S. Nye, Jr., professor at Harvard University and author (4/2).

Washington Post: One of the world’s most vulnerable groups now finds itself confronting covid-19
Christian Caryl, editor with the Washington Post’s opinions section (4/2).

Washington Post: The time for a commission to study the pandemic is now
Scott Deitchman, principal with Gordon & Rosenblatt, and Craig Fugate, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency from 2009 to 2017 (4/2).

Washington Post: After a disastrous summer, Australia braces for yet another plague
Nikki Stamp, heart and lung surgeon in Perth, Australia (4/3).

Washington Post: We need smart solutions to mitigate the coronavirus’s impact. Here are 16.
Multiple authors (4/2).

The KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report summarized news and information on global health policy from hundreds of sources, from May 2009 through December 2020. All summaries are archived and available via search.

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