Viewpoints: FDA Guidance On Vaccine Brings Relief At Right Time; Lessons On Talking Public Health To Conservatives

Opinion writers weigh in on these pandemic topics and others as well.

FDA Is Right To Hold Covid-19 Vaccines To High Safety Standards 

The FDA’s rules will indeed make it hard for a vaccine to be approved before Nov. 3 — but they’re no political ploy. They’re essential to assure the country that any shot the FDA approves quickly will be safe and effective. It’s disgraceful that, to do its job, the agency was forced to make an end run around the president. That’s hardly the FDA’s fault. Faced with a boss who often belittles them and refuses their advice without understanding it, what are the experts to do? (10/12)

The Houston Chronicle:
FDA Shows President Trump Backbone On COVID Vaccine

The Food and Drug Administration guidance requiring two months of safety testing for the COVID-19 Emergency Use Authorization was just issued. This is important. Two months is not arbitrary. The vast majority of side effects occur within that period; at least one patient in COVID-19 testing developed a spinal cord condition (related to “transverse myelitis”) within less than two months. In transverse myelitis, 2/3 of people are left with some weakness, loss of bowel or bladder control or paralysis lasting up to several years. Importantly, this side effect has not been proven to be due to the vaccination, but the two-month waiting period is absolutely key to finding out how many people do develop serious problems. (Arthur Garson, Jr., 10/12)

The Placebo Response: A Hidden Risk To Covid-19 Trials

The response to the Covid-19 pandemic by drug and vaccine developers has been swift. BioCentury lists more than 400 unique compounds — small molecules, antibodies, and vaccines — that are currently in clinical development for Covid-19. Yet the success of this work is at risk due to an invisible threat: the placebo response. It could contribute to clinical trial failures and delay the delivery of medications and vaccines to mitigate this global public health disaster. (Erica Smith and Dominique Demolle, 10/13)

The New York Times:
With Russia’s Coronavirus Vaccine, Putin Jumps Ahead Of Trump

Before regulators held their ground earlier this month, there were good reasons to be concerned about President Trump’s push for a coronavirus vaccine. But he had already missed becoming the first world leader to get one approved. Vladimir Putin of Russia had already done it. And in stark contrast to Mr. Trump’s “America First” approach, Mr. Putin is using his under-tested vaccine as part of a global full-court press to win friends and enhance his country’s soft power. (Judyth Twigg, 10/13)

The Washington Post:
We’re Public Health Experts. We Need To Do A Better Job Of Talking To Conservatives.

A toxic “infodemic” rages alongside the coronavirus pandemic. And while false ideas about the nature and spread of covid-19 have come from many places — most prominently President Trump and his allies in the conservative media — we in the public health community bear some responsibility, too. We have failed to nurture and preserve our own standing as a trusted resource for much of America. We must do better. (Lindsey J. Leininger and Harold Pollack, 10/12)

The Wall Street Journal:
Why Trump Doesn’t Need To Wear A Mask

President Trump should have worn a mask before he got the coronavirus. You should wear a mask now, whether you’ve had it or not. But he no longer needs to. What about the millions of other Americans who have already recovered from the virus? They are likely to have better immunity than a vaccine will confer, and we’ll all stop wearing masks once the population is properly vaccinated. It might seem logical to spare from the mask requirement those who’ve already recovered. We don’t because of two problems: identification and verification. Neither applies to the president. (Michael Segal, 10/12)

Trump Mocks Virus As He Launches Potential Superspreader Sprint To Win Reelection 

Donald Trump on Monday launched a three-week quest to save his presidency, behaving as though the pandemic that has killed 215,000 Americans was already a memory in front of a packed-in crowd — even amid chilling new warnings about the resurgent virus. In his first rally since his own bout with Covid-19, Trump painted a deeply dishonest picture of the nation’s battle with the disease, mocked former Vice President Joe Biden over social distancing and vowed victory on November 3 as he began a frantic push to Election Day, marked by multiple rallies a day that could act as superspreader events. (Stephen Collinson, 10/13)

The Wall Street Journal:
Dr. Fauci Protests Too Much

Dr. Fauci nonetheless took umbrage at his appearance in the Trump ad. “In my nearly five decades of public service, I have never publicly endorsed any political candidate,” he told CNN. “The comments attributed to me without my permission in the GOP campaign ad were taken out of context from a broad statement I made months ago about the efforts of federal public health officials.” Campaigns aren’t required to get permission to use his public statements. A Democratic Super Pac has run ads using such Fauci statements as the testing “system is not really geared to what we need right now” and “You don’t make the timeline. The virus makes the timeline” spliced side-by-side with cheerier statements by Mr. Trump. (10/12)

The Washington Post:
America’s Children Are Suffering. Why Are They Still An Afterthought This Election?

American children are out of school, out of food and increasingly getting chucked off their health insurance. Yet somehow, they seem to be an afterthought in this election. Even before the coronavirus pandemic struck, the number of children without health coverage had been rising. Between 2016 and 2019, the number of uninsured kids rose by 726,000, according to recently released Census Bureau data. The tally has probably risen further this year, too, given job losses during the pandemic (and, with them, employer-provided health insurance). A new report from Georgetown University’s Center for Children and Families estimates that an additional 300,000 children have become uninsured in 2020. (Catherine Rampell, 10/12)

The Colorado Sun:
I’m A CU Boulder Resident Adviser. Administrators Have Grossly Mishandled COVID-19. 

As a University of Colorado Boulder Resident Adviser during this pandemic, I’m in a constant state of fear and disgust. RAs are required to live and work in an unsafe environment, one that constantly threatens their health and safety. As an RA, I’ve dealt with multiple cases where residents, whom I live only a few doors from, have tested positive for COVID-19. Not only was I uninformed of these positive cases, but those infected students were not moved to quarantine for days. (Vayle Lafehr, 10/11)

The Washington Post:
Trump Again Puts Politics Over Health — But You Shouldn’t. Wear A Mask On Mass Transit.

Enclose spaces, crowds, poor ventilation — these are the ingredients of coronavirus transmission. To block it, one of the most effective tools is to wear a face mask that prevents inhaling the virus particles or broadcasting them to others. Anyone who has ever ridden buses or trains will understand why it is a good idea to wear a face mask these days. So it is once again astounding that the White House has ordered the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to shut up on a key matter of public health. (10/12)

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

Source Article