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Different Takes: Hospitals Are Taking A Financial Hit In More Ways Than One; Time To Shut Down Misinformation On Wellness Cures

Editorial pages focus on these pandemic topics and others.


The Wall Street Journal:
Sending Hospitals Into Bankruptcy


Public-health officials have directed Americans to stay home to slow the coronavirus spread and ease the burden on health-care providers. Most areas of the country are succeeding—so much so that hospitals and physicians are hemorrhaging cash due to declining demand for care. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last month recommended that health-care providers postpone “elective” procedures to free up capacity and conserve protective equipment for treating coronavirus patients. Governors have likewise ordered providers and citizens to reschedule “non-essential” appointments. For better or worse, these directions are being stringently observed. (4/19)


The Washington Post:
How Not To Say The Wrong Thing To Health-Care Workers 


One of my friends grew so concerned about my safety during the novel coronavirus outbreak that she began sending articles. First, about why health-care providers get sicker than others. Then about how the virus might penetrate my mask. Then a map of the United States, with my city enveloped in a giant red circle. These are things I have read before. I spend most days calming my nerves in the face of them, so I can be a guiding force for my patients. I know my friend sends these articles because she’s worried and wants me to stay safe. But with each one, a freezing chill seeps in through my pores and I am shaking again. (Dorothy R. Novick, 4/17)


NBC News:
Timothy Caulfield: Dr. Oz’s Hydroxychloroquine Advocacy Seduces Trump As Coronavirus Wellness Woo Surges


Over the past decade, celebrity wellness brands have helped to frame how we talk and think about health. But now that we are in the grip of a deadly pandemic, their shameless marketing of healing crystals, supplements and cleanses (aka unhealthy crash diets) comes across as especially ludicrous and exploitative. Now more than ever, the public wants and needs good science from trusted sources. (Timothy Caulfield, 4/19)


The New York Times:
Government Jobs Could Help Fight The Unemployment Surge


Years of bashing by anti-government ideologues have gutted the capacity of vital agencies like the I.R.S., the Small Business Administration and state unemployment offices. In the economic calamity brought on by the pandemic, in the past month alone, over 22 million jobless Americans have filed for relief. The government agencies are woefully ill-equipped to process the millions of claims authorized under the $2.2 trillion CARES Act. As Congress considers a second package, another surge of applications will soon increase demand. (Robert Kuttner, 4/20)


The Washington Post:
How Data Can Aid The Fight Against Covid-19


As the world fights covid-19 and countries develop plans to reopen their societies, it’s critical to have a clear understanding of how the disease is spreading. Better data can help governments determine where to send resources such as ventilators and personal protective equipment — and eventually which areas are safe to start opening up again. Getting accurate county-by-county data from across the United States is challenging, and obtaining such focused data from across the whole world is even harder. But with a community of billions of people globally, Facebook can uniquely help researchers and health authorities get the information they need to respond to the outbreak and start planning for the recovery. (Mark Zuckerberg, 4/20)


Modern Healthcare:
COVID-19 Offers Opportunity For More Equality In Healthcare


The impact on women is equally distressing, as we see domestic violence rates soar, disproportionate pressure on women to juggle childcare and work, and a greater toll on women-majority workforces like nursing. However, the pandemic may also have a positive effect among our nation’s historically stratified healthcare workforce. In medicine, where divisions along lines of gender, specialty and race are routinely pronounced, this crisis seems to be closing some of those gaps. Health system leaders should take note of this development—and nurture it. (Sheila Dugan, 4/18)


Stat:
Pharma Management During A Crisis: Lessons Learned For Covid-19 


When I started working in the biopharma industry 20 or so years ago, I didn’t think I would need to become an expert in crisis management. Yet during the past decade, I have found myself leading the corporate response to three very different existential crises in three different regions. (Mahesh Karande, 4/20)


Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
Black Mothers Expected To Fare Worse In Pandemic


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Black mothers are three to four times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications than White women. Currently, we are seeing similar trends with the effects of COVID-19 on the Black community. Compared to majority White counties, Black counties have infection rates nearly three times higher and death rates that are about six times higher. Data also shows that Black people are overrepresented and, in some cases, make up most of COVID-19 deaths within certain states. For example, in Louisiana, where Black people make up 32% of the population, about 60% of people that have died from COVID-19 across the state are Black. (Natalie Hernandez and Amber Mack, 4/17)


The Hill:
Providing Safe Child Care During COVID-19 — A Life And Death Issue 


Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Tina Smith (D-Minn.) recently introduced a $50 billion child care bailout to “stabilize the child care system, keep providers in business, and ensure parents are able to go back to work when it is safe to do so.” The bailout would provide funding to allow programs to close while continuing to pay staff wages. These are critical resources, as the alternatives have encouraged programs to remain open and staff to keep working, or else risk losing their livelihoods. (Lea Austin and Marcy Whitebook, 4/19)


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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