Some Ask a Taboo Question: Is America Overreacting to Coronavirus?

‘…(I)n recent days, a group of contrarian political leaders, ethicists and ordinary Americans have bridled at what they saw as a tendency to dismiss the complex trade-offs that the measures collectively known as “social distancing” entail.

Besides the financial ramifications of such policies, their concerns touch on how society’s most marginalized groups may fare and on the effect of government-enforced curfews on democratic ideals. Their questions about the current approach are distinct from those raised by some conservative activists who have suggested the virus is a politically inspired hoax, or no worse than the flu….’

Via New York Times

Four Ways Experts Say Coronavirus Nightmare Could End

E3dc1e1cb0b4ad633637b6f24a3a0916Olivia Messer writing in Yahoo! News:

‘William Haseltine, president of the global health think tank ACCESS Health International, who recently chaired the U.S.-China Health Summit in Wuhan, where the virus likely originated, has a theory.

“There are four ways,” the doctor told The Daily Beast. “One, it peters out with the weather. Two, everybody gets infected, so it’s got no new places to go… so it ends—but that’s a pretty horrible ending. Three is a vaccine, which is about a year away. Fourth way is the most likely: We’re going to have a few drugs, within a few weeks to a few months, that prevent people from getting infected—like PrEP for HIV—and for treatment.”…’

Trump’s rage at the media takes a dangerous new turn

Greg Sargent writing in The Washington Post:

  • relentlessly minimized the coronavirus threat for nakedly political reasons
  • disastrously hampering the federal government response to the crisis
  • telling millions of Americans to entirely shut out any and all correctives to his falsehoods
  • using his megaphone to tell the American people not to trust an institution they must rely on for information amid an ongoing public health emergency, all because that institution held him accountable for his own failures on this front
  • Unloaded in a fury at a PBS reporter (who asked) a perfectly reasonable question about whether he takes responsibility for the 2018 disbanding on his watch of the White House pandemic office
  • repeatedly lashed out at reporters for … trying to hold him accountable for his own words and deeds
  • relentless efforts to persuade the country that coronavirus is no big deal.

Trump has told the American people to dismiss what the media is telling them. First, Trump insisted initial reporting on the crisis was deliberately hyped to harm him. Now Trump is claiming efforts to hold him accountable for all the failings that flowed from that impulse are just more “fake news.”

The big story here is that we’re now seeing just how catastrophically unsuited Trump’s brand of autocracy truly is in the face of a crisis like this one. As Anne Applebaum details, Trump’s enforcement of a loyalty code against civil service professionals, and his retaliation against them for exposing inconvenient truths, paved the way for Trump’s pathologies to hamper the response, because “Trump has very few truth-tellers around him anymore.”

Make this simple change to free up hospital beds now

Jeremy Faust, an emergency physician at Brigham & Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, writing in The Washington Post:

‘There is something we can do immediately that will dramatically help hospitals free up beds and medical equipment to help those suffering from covid-19.

This proposal will save lives the minute that states and other authorities adopt it.
We are in urgent need of emergency laws, or executive orders, in every state that temporarily relax the legal standard of medical malpractice…

This is not an end-run to bring about tort reform. It is an emergency step, necessary in a national emergency, to save lives. Here’s why:…

This is not triage. It is a protection that doctors need to avoid exposing uninfected patients to the virus and for ensuring we will have capacity to treat those with advanced cases of covid-19
If we don’t act now, we will exceed our hospital capacity far sooner than we can afford as a society.
The change need not, and should not, be permanent. A three-month suspension would be enough. But we need to make this change immediately.
Changing the legal standard will make it possible for doctors to immediately treat more of the most critically ill patients, while legally protecting them in sending less sick patients home. It will determine how many patients we can treat before the system ceases to function…

I know doctors, and I know hospital administrators and lawyers. Removing these concerns will change physician behavior immediately…’