Different Takes: Can Someone Be Honest About Where All The Masks Are?; Nurses Are Underappreciated Heroes Of Pandemic

Editorial pages focus on these topics stemming from the pandemic and others.

Fox News:
We Understand There’s A Shortage Of Medical Masks. Stop Lying To Us And Tell The Truth 

In any crisis, trust is critical — and not just for moral reasons, for practical reasons. The government can’t coordinate a national response if the public doesn’t believe what it says, if it doesn’t believe the government is looking out for its best interest. That’s why honesty is essential at times like this. When the government lies, people know. They can tell, and then they stop listening. …Of course, masks work. Everyone knows that. Dozens of research papers have proved it. In South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, the rest of Asia — where coronavirus has been kept under control — masks were key. (Tucker Carlson, 3/31)

The New York Times:
It’s Time To Make Your Own Face Mask 

It shouldn’t have come to this, but here we are. The world is running out of face masks for health care workers, which is one reason American officials, including the surgeon general, have warned members of the public against buying their own masks for protection against the coronavirus. But that doesn’t mean face masks for the public are a bad idea, if we had enough masks. Contrary to what American officials told us, many studies show that widespread mask-wearing might be a very effective complement to hand-washing, social-distancing and other measures to mitigate the pandemic. Health officials in China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan suggest that people wear masks in certain situations — if they’re symptomatic, for instance, or if they’re in crowded, not-very-well-ventilated places, like airplanes. Studies have also shown that mask-wearing (in conjunction with hand-washing) reduces the spread of infection within households or other shared living spaces, like residence halls. But how to get your hands on a mask, when there are no masks? The internet has a plan: Make your own. (Farhad Manjoo, 3/31)

The Wall Street Journal:
Nurses Are The Coronavirus Heroes

I write this an hour after finishing my shift in the hospital emergency department. It’s 1 a.m. A nurse I have known for a long time said to me as she left the shift, “In 18 years, I never felt the need to take a shower in the staff locker room so I could feel safe to go home.” Earlier she was at the bedside in a negative pressure room, wearing a powered air-purifying respirator as she helped intubate a possible coronavirus patient who’d crashed. The precaution and gear make the work feel more dangerous. “Will that equipment be enough,” she asks, “to keep the virus out of my body?” (Paul Dohrenwend, 3/30)

Doctors Never Vow To Risk Their Lives. Why Do They Still Do It Anyway? 

Like many physicians, I find myself on the front lines of a fight that I did not realize I enlisted in. Amid a global pandemic, doctors far and wide are being called to the field to embrace roles they may feel completely inept in, oftentimes without adequate protection. When I spoke with my residency classmates this week — all healthy doctors in their 30s — I realized it was likely that many of us would be infected with the novel coronavirus. Given the mortality rates, it is possible one of us might not survive. (Trisah Pasricha, 3/30)

The Washington Post:
During The Flu Pandemic Of 1918, D.C.’s Girl Scouts Offered More Than Cookies 

As the flu pandemic worsened in Washington in October 1918, the Evening Star published the names of the pandemic’s local victims and urged readers to fashion masks at home for donation to the Red Cross. (Three thin layers of muslin or four layers of cheesecloth were recommended for these “simple but efficacious preventives.”) The paper noted something else, too: District Girl Scouts were spearheading a remarkable effort to feed those sickened by the flu. (Kelly, 3/30)

The Hill:
COVID-19 Causes More Harm To Seniors Than Just Death 

As a geriatric medicine physician specializing in care for older adults, I am witnessing the COVID-19 pandemic cause more problems for older adults than just sickness and death. The implications of widespread social distancing and cancellation of routine home-based medical care will be profound and potentially devastating for elders. (Dr. Alexander Sasha Rackman, 3/30)

Chicago Sun Times:
Mayor Lori Lightfoot On Lakefront Memes: ‘I Love ’Em’ 

It may not seem like it, judging from her stern face and angry, podium-pounding admonitions in recent days. But Mayor Lori Lightfoot knows the value of humor, especially in these extraordinarily troubled times. Lightfoot said Monday she’s getting a kick out of the memes that have emerged from her unprecedented decision to shut down Chicago’s most popular gathering spots—including the entire lakefront. Those memes, showing a stony-faced Lightfoot guarding the lakefront trail and other Chicago hotspots blew up the internet over the weekend. (Alice Bazerghi and Fran Spielman, 3/30)

Des Moines Register:
Coronavirus In Iowa: If You Have A Calculator, You Can Do COVID-19 Math

Nowadays it seems harder than ever to find reliable information, much less make sense of it. I think this is why a lot of Iowans are skeptical about whether strong preventive measures are really necessary to deal with this virus. But numbers have no agenda. And you can trust your own ability to do simple arithmetic. Put this together and you can see for yourself what we are facing. That’s why today I want to talk about math. OK, now, stick we me. I know math isn’t too popular, but the math will be minimal. All you will have to do in the end is push a button and count.  You can do that! According to the numbers, the first reported positive test in Iowa was on March 8.  Since then we have the following running total of reported positive tests: 3, 8, 13, 14, 16, 17, 18, 22, 23, 29, 38, 44, 45, 68, 90, 105, 124, 145, 179, 234, 298, 336, 424. (Rick Autry, 3/30)

Dallas Morning News:
Dallas Must Save Lives, Open Hospital Capacity And Preserve Our Economy

COVID-19 is the most complex challenge we’ve faced in this generation because it’s being fought on three fronts simultaneously: medically, economically and emotionally. The decisions we make today will impact what our world looks like once this crisis is behind us. Our political leaders must make tough decisions after hearing input from medical experts, business leaders and community leaders. Balancing health risks with the risks to jobs and our economy, while keeping citizens emotionally stable, is a tall order. These are tough calls. (John Olajide and Fred Perpall, 3/31)

Miami Herald:
Four Dead, Hundreds Of Passengers Exposed To Coronavirus 

South Florida faces a moral dilemma that will play out on the national stage, and soon, unless the White House steps in. And we believe that it should. Holland America wants permission for its Zaandam cruise ship to dock at Port Everglades on Wednesday, bringing with it four dead, likely of COVID-19, and almost 200 passengers and crew with flu-like symptoms. “Not in our backyard” has been the unwavering response from Gov. DeSantis and the mayors of Broward and Fort Lauderdale, Dale Holness and Dean Trantalis, respectively. (3/31)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.

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