Different Takes: Dysfunction Over Ventilators Is Totally Unnecessary; Several Governors Need To Wake Up About Social Distancing

Opinion writers weigh in on these pandemic topics and others.

The Washington Post:
We Face A Worldwide Ventilator Deficit. The Federal Government Is Flat-Footed.

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? In the United States, will it be the states, which have been thrust into what New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) called an eBay-style bidding war against one another? (4/2)

The New York Times:
Jared Kushner Is Going To Get Us All Killed 

Reporting on the White House’s herky-jerky coronavirus response, Vanity Fair’s Gabriel Sherman has a quotation from Jared Kushner that should make all Americans, and particularly all New Yorkers, dizzy with terror. According to Sherman, when New York’s governor, Andrew Cuomo, said that the state would need 30,000 ventilators at the apex of the coronavirus outbreak, Kushner decided that Cuomo was being alarmist. “I have all this data about I.C.U. capacity,” Kushner reportedly said. “I’m doing my own projections, and I’ve gotten a lot smarter about this. New York doesn’t need all the ventilators.” (Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s top expert on infectious diseases, has said he trusts Cuomo’s estimate.) (Michelle Goldberg, 4/2)

Los Angeles Times:
Coronavirus: What’s The Matter With Arkansas, Iowa, South Carolina?

I’ve got some words for the governors of Alabama, Arkansas, Missouri and the eight other states that have yet to adopt statewide stay-at-home orders to stop the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. And they’re not nice words.What the #@*& are you waiting for? As I was writing this, the confirmed cases of COVID-19 across the globe topped 1 million. Nearly a quarter of them in the United States. Every state has cases. Every. State. So far, 39 U.S. states have followed the recommendations of public health experts and told all their residents to stay at home and shut down nonessential businesses to make it harder for the virus to spread. (Mariel Garza, 4/2)

The Birmingham News:
Alabama Is Stuck On Autopilot 

We’re not New York and we’re not California, Gov. Kay Ivey said last week. As it turns out, we’re not Florida or Georgia. Nor was Alabama any of the 37 states with some version of shelter-in-place orders by this Wednesday night.We’re not even Mississippi, whose governor, after a week of defiance, finally caved. That’s right — we’re behind Mississippi. Again. “We dare defend our rights,” is what it says on Alabama’s business cards, and if the South had won the war, we’d print it on our currency. But everyone who has grown up here knows our state’s real motto: “We shall not be told.” By sheer stubbornness is how we live, and if Ivey doesn’t bend soon, stubbornness is how many of us might die. (Kyle Whitmire, 4/2)

The Washington Post:
Social Distancing Is Working. The Worst Thing To Do Now Is Stop.

When a group of public health experts sat down last year to imagine a pandemic caused by a highly transmissable respiratory virus, they foresaw much of what has occurred in the past few months. The experts, writing for the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, predicted health-care systems could be overwhelmed, medical supply chains stressed and the need for vaccines and drugs urgent. But in one area, they were uncertain — would social distancing work? (4/2)

The Wall Street Journal:
The States Of Covid-19 

This week President Trump and his coronavirus task force laid out their background data for deciding to keep the U.S. on de facto lockdown for another month. Dr. Deborah Birx, for example, explained how the models have gone from estimating as many as 2.2 million deaths—which assumed no mitigation—to between 100,000 and 240,000 now. Two days later New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, whose state is the epicenter for Covid-19, said during one of his own regular public updates that he expects the apex of the virus to hit his state at the end of April. By apex he means the moment New York’s health-care system is most vulnerable to be overwhelmed by the demand for hospital beds, ventilators and treatment. One challenge, Mr. Cuomo explained, is that different models give different estimates for when that will hit, ranging from a few days to six weeks. Their respective comments highlight how difficult it is for leaders to make decisions when they still lack answers to basic questions. (4/2)

The Hill:
Congress Needs To Step Up Fast To Protect Abused Children 

Congress deserves credit for expeditiously passing massive coronavirus relief assistance; there have been three measures, more are coming. The pandemic isn’t going away soon. Also, in passing the latest $2.2 trillion bill, there were inevitable errors of commission and omission. One illustration, comparatively small but critical and heart-wrenching: child abuse. (Albert Hunt, 4/2)

The Hill:
Celebrating 10 Years Of ACA — Helping Protect Women’s Reproductive Health 

Recently it was announced that 12 states have established a special enrollment period to help address the immediate challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Hopefully, other states will follow suit. This effort demonstrates the critical role that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) plays in meeting our community’s immediate health care needs. With regard to its long-term benefit, we need only look at the ACA’s critical role in helping to ensure access to key preventive services for women at no additional out-of-pocket cost, including the full contraceptive services and supplies. (Ginny Ehrlich, 4/2)

The New York Times:
The Coronavirus Test Is Too Hard For Trump

The list of presidential failures is long and varied. But when it comes to failure in the face of an external force — a natural disaster or an economic meltdown — it is difficult to find anything as catastrophic as President Trump’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak, even at this early stage of the crisis.There are moments that come close. There was President James Buchanan’s indifference to the secession crisis of 1860. (Jamelle Bouie, 4/3)

Idaho Statesman:
Increase Coronavirus Testing In Idaho To Flatten The Curve

Testing for coronavirus should be the highest priority for our public health officials right now. In Idaho, we have a local lab in Garden City that could be processing as many as 400 tests per day But, according to Idaho Statesman reporter Audrey Dutton, the machine at Cole Diagnostics’ lab is sitting idle. That’s because the company that provides Cole Diagnostics with the software and reagents necessary to test for coronavirus had to prioritize larger, regional labs in the face of heightened demand. …That means tests being done in Idaho are being sent out of state to those regional labs, leading to delays of 10 or more days. We have heard anecdotally of people waiting more than 14 days for test results. The delay in testing is happening even to health care workers, which could lead to the spread of the disease even faster. (3/2)

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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