Wednesday, February 17, 2021 | Kaiser Health News

Viewpoints: Where Is Next Round Of CDC Guidance?; Pros, Cons Of This Feel-Good Moment

Editorial pages focus on these pandemic topics and others.

The Washington Post:
The Vaccinated Need To Know: What’s Safe For Them To Do?

More than one in 10 Americans have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine, but they are still awaiting a clear answer to a key question: What can they do once they are fully vaccinated? The current response is far from satisfying. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s official guidance is that vaccinated people need to keep masking, physical distancing and basically following all pre-vaccine precautions. (Leana S. Wen, 2/16)

The New York Times:
A Dismal Spring Awaits Unless We Slow The Spread Of Covid-19

The Covid-19 omens are not good. Yes, over the past two weeks ending Monday, Covid-19 cases were down by 41 percent and deaths by 22 percent. Yes, people are wearing masks. In a recent national survey, 80 percent of the respondents said they “very closely” followed public health recommendations to don a mask outside the home. And yes, since the fall, fewer Americans are attending in-person gatherings with family and friends. This is all good. Americans confronted the realities of a dark winter and stepped up. But this feel-good moment is obscuring what could be a dismal spring and the potential of further lockdowns unless we can continue to slow the spread of this virus. (Ezekiel J. Emanuel, Rick Bright and Céline Gounder, 2/17)

What Cancer Survivorship Can Teach Us About Covid-19

Take it from this cancer survivor: We need to start focusing on Covid-19 survivorship now. I’ll never forget the first time I realized that a cancer diagnosis — regardless of treatment outcomes — was a lifelong companion. I was early in my chemotherapy regimen, having been diagnosed with breast cancer only weeks before at the age of 28. I mentioned to a fellow patient that I was eager for this first part, the hardest part, to be over. She turned to me and said, firmly but compassionately, “I have to be honest with you: It’s never really over.” (Hil Moss, 2/17)

The Washington Post:
Covid-19 Could Have A Long-Term Impact On The Brain. We Need More Research. 

It is understandable that the world has focused so much attention on the high mortality of covid-19 in older populations. This has led to a more sanguine approach to precautions such as mask-wearing and social distancing among many who don’t consider themselves at high risk from the virus. Thankfully, most people who contract covid-19 do survive the acute illness. But there might be consequences of infection that we did not originally predict. Many patients in our clinics complain months after recovering from the disease of difficulty with concentration, finding words and completing complicated tasks. Given that more than one hundred million people worldwide have been infected by the novel coronavirus, how the disease affects the brain might be the neurologic research question of our time. (Serena S. Spudich and David A. Hafler, 2/16)

New York Post:
Team Biden Is Still Pushing Blatant Lies About The Trump Vaccine Plan

Trump’s plan left control to the states, but that’s a reasonable choice, not a lack of a strategy. The feds partnered with and delivered doses to chain pharmacies, set aside billions for vaccine distribution, set up programs for nursing-home residents and hospital workers and provided a playbook from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to guide state plans. Under Trump, the US gave shots to millions, enrolled tens of thousands of private providers in the vax program and organized a data-collection system that includes all 50 states. To reduce all these efforts to a “dismal failure,” as Biden did, or absolutely “no national strategy or plan,” as Harris just put it, did, is flat-out wrong. (2/17)

The Hill:
States Should Look To Other States For Successful Vaccine Rollout 

Now that the COVID-19 vaccine is here, the distribution process has proven to be full of new complexities — many of which would remind you of Goldilocks. The first approach was so slow that many people wouldn’t receive the vaccine for a decade. And then, in January, it was announced that the vials previously held back are to be deployed as soon as possible. While this is good news to many of our at-risk or essential personnel, the quick and drastic change left health and hospital officials who were already under pressure exposed to more insurmountable pressure. (Lisa B. Nelson, 2/16)

Los Angeles Times:
How L.A. County Should Rethink COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution

While Los Angeles may be breathing easier with the arrival of COVID-19 vaccines, many of us have been dismayed by what can be a confusing distribution process. That goes for the health officials and vaccinators, as well as those who want to get the elusive vaccine. The way in which the federal, state and local health officials have allocated the vaccine has changed multiple times, making it near-impossible to predict how much supply will be on hand and hindering planning efforts at the local level. And although Blue Shield of California has been contracted to take over vaccine distribution, little is known about what we can expect. But welcome changes have been promised, including more accurate data-driven decisions, a renewed focus on equity and an attempt to greatly scale up daily doses. (Felipe Osorno, 2/17)

Chicago Tribune:
Column: Sure, I’d Walk 6 Miles To Get That COVID-19 Vaccine

My car was smothered in snow when I woke up Tuesday, the streets were drowning in slush, and when I glanced out my living room window, I instantly knew that my little Prius may as well have been stuck in cement. “Why, oh why,” I cried to the weather gods, “would you make this happen on this day, of all days?” (Mary Schmich, 2/16)

Los Angeles Times:
LAUSD Out Of Excuses For Keeping Elementary Schools Closed

Schools have been reopening across the country for months now, illustrating that students can return to classrooms with little risk if the proper precautions have been taken. This is especially true of elementary schools, as younger children have been far less likely to be sickened with COVID-19 or to infect others. Reopened schools have not caused infections to surge in outlying communities. Yet Los Angeles Unified schools — along with many other public schools statewide — have remained closed. Supt. Austin Beutner, who has been struggling with a teachers union unwilling to send educators back into classrooms, couldn’t have opened the schools anyway because the county’s infection rate was too high to meet the state’s stringent standards. But this week, that rate fell to the point where it is officially safe for all elementary schools in the county to open. (2/17)

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