Editorials, Opinion Pieces Discuss Various Aspects Of COVID-19 Pandemic, Including Pandemic Preparedness

The Lancet: COVID-19: protecting health care workers
Editorial Board

“Worldwide, as millions of people stay at home to minimize transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, health care workers prepare to do the exact opposite. They will go to clinics and hospitals, putting themselves at high risk from COVID-2019. … Health care systems globally could be operating at more than maximum capacity for many months. But health care workers, unlike ventilators or wards, cannot be urgently manufactured or run at 100% occupancy for long periods. It is vital that governments see workers not simply as pawns to be deployed, but as human individuals. In the global response, the safety of health care workers must be ensured. Adequate provision of [personal protective equipment (PPE)] is just the first step; other practical measures must be considered, including cancelling non-essential events to prioritize resources; provision of food, rest, and family support; and psychological support. Presently, health care workers are every country’s most valuable resource” (3/21).

New York Times: The Epic Failure of Coronavirus Testing in America
Editorial Board

“…Social distancing is crucial to stopping the spread of coronavirus, but it is only half of the equation. To suppress and control a pandemic of this magnitude, countries also must find and isolate every person infected with Covid-19 — including those with mild cases of the disease who don’t turn up in doctor’s offices or hospitals. For just as long, however, officials in the United States have said something very different: If you suspect you’re infected, stay home. … But there is no question that the WHO’s approach works better. Every region that has managed to get a coronavirus outbreak under control has succeeded thanks to a combination of social distancing and aggressive efforts to test as many people as possible. … Epidemiological testing … is the only way to fully break the chains of transmission, says Adhanom Ghebreyesus Tedros, head of the WHO. Without it, the virus will come roaring back as soon as social distancing guidelines are relaxed. … [L]eaders ought to dramatically increase the number of drive-through testing sites, which help minimize exposure to others. Epidemiologists also have suggested expediting contact tracing by redeploying health workers who have been screening passengers at airports to communities dealing with active outbreaks. Using cellphone tracking capabilities … could also help…” (3/19).

Washington Post: A failure of leadership in Latin America
Editorial Board

“If Latin America is hard hit by the coronavirus epidemic, as it now appears it will be, two of its political leaders will bear outsize responsibility. Presidents Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil and Andrés Manuel López Obrador of Mexico govern the region’s two most populous countries by far, with more than 325 million people between them. Yet both have minimized the risk of the novel coronavirus and resisted — or even flouted — measures to prevent its spread. … [Mexico’s lax policies around COVID-19] provided President Trump with some justification for his decision this week to curtail movement across the U.S.-Mexican border, including by asylum seekers. But Mr. Trump missed an opportunity to exert influence on Mr. Bolsonaro when he was asked Thursday about the latter’s dismissive approach to the epidemic. ‘I have no message for him’ other than ‘he’s doing a good job in Brazil,’ Mr. Trump said. In fact, Mr. Bolsonaro’s performance has been grossly irresponsible — and it soon may cost Brazil many lives” (3/19).

Washington Post: The danger of a second wave
Editorial Board

“How long will the coronavirus pandemic last? No one knows, but almost surely longer than a few weeks. Even if the initial response saves the health care system from disaster, there is a strong possibility of a second or third wave. Serious planning ought to be underway now about how to cope. … [T]he goal must be to ‘flatten the curve,’ or suppress the extent of infection enough to avoid massive overload on hospitals, as already happened in Italy. This might take two or three months, judging by China’s experience. … Is it realistic to keep in place all the strict regimens for a year or 18 months? In a second phase, the public will be fatigued and under severe economic stress. Many people may be tempted to break the routine or take risks. One of the trickiest aspects of the coronavirus is that people can be contagious when they are not yet showing symptoms. The pandemic could come roaring back. Now that China is starting to reopen somewhat, it will be instructive whether a second wave of infection shows up…” (3/19).

The Atlantic: This Is How We Can Beat the Coronavirus
Aaron E. Carroll, professor of pediatrics at Indiana University School of Medicine, and Ashish Jha, professor of global health at Harvard University (3/19).

The Atlantic: China is Avoiding Blame by Trolling the World
Shadi Hamid, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution (3/19).

Devex: Opinion: COVID-19 a collective failure, an unprecedented opportunity
Sue Coates, executive director ad interim of the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council, and Catarina de Albuquerque, CEO of Sanitation and Water for All (3/19).

Devex: Opinion: Support animal health systems to prevent the next pandemic
Klara Saville, head of global animal health, welfare, and community development at Brooke (3/19).

The Guardian: I have helped control health epidemics for 25 years. There is a way to stop coronavirus
Kamalini Lokuge, medical doctor and epidemiologist (3/19).

IPS: Plagues and People — The Coronavirus in a Historical Perspective
Jan Lundius, writer for IPS (3/19).

New York Times: A French Call to Arms Against the Virus
Sylvie Kauffmann, editorial director of Le Monde (3/19).

Science: Time to pull together
H. Holden Thorp, Science journals editor in chief

Wall Street Journal: Make America the Medicine Chest of the World
Arthur Herman, senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and author (3/19).

Washington Post: From Ebola to coronavirus, Trump always sees disease as a foreign enemy
Marc Fisher, senior editor at the Washington Post (3/20).

Washington Post: The coronavirus is a test of our national character
David Ignatius, columnist at the Washington Post (3/19).

Washington Post: Iran’s biggest holiday of the year is about to make its pandemic even worse
Jason Rezaian, Global Opinions writer at the Washington Post (3/19).

Washington Post: Don’t blame ‘China’ for the coronavirus — blame the Chinese Communist Party
Josh Rogin, columnist at the Washington Post (3/19).

Washington Post: The next two weeks will decide Africa’s fate on the coronavirus
Devi Sridhar, professor of global public health at Edinburgh Medical School (3/19).

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.

KFF Headquarters: 185 Berry St., Suite 2000, San Francisco, CA 94107 | Phone 650-854-9400
Washington Offices and Barbara Jordan Conference Center: 1330 G Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005 | Phone 202-347-5270

www.kff.org | Email Alerts: kff.org/email | facebook.com/KFF | twitter.com/kff

The independent source for health policy research, polling, and news, KFF is a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, California.