Archive for the ‘Health Policy’ Category

Bringing Health Disparities into Plain View

April 9, 2020 — Health disparities are an ever-present feature of American healthcare. Money, race, and ethnicity have long been deciding factors in who lives and who dies. Chronic diseases have their greatest impact on black, Hispanic, and economically disadvantaged communities. Prevalence is higher. But access to treatment is lower. It’s equally true for diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. […]

Why Obesity Matters for COVID-19 Outcomes

April 6, 2020 — It’s an understandable reaction. In various ways, a few people tell us that we should not discuss the risk of bad outcomes in people with obesity and a coronavirus infection. “It can contribute to anti-fat attitudes at a time when many marginalised groups of people are already being thrown under the bus in discussions around […]

COVID-19, Obesity, Disparities, and Denial Meet in New Orleans

April 3, 2020 — New Orleans is in a world of hurt right now. That’s because COVID-19, obesity, disparities, and denial have come together and contributed to a grotesque catastrophe. The city leads all other cities in the U.S. on deaths per capita from COVID-19. Obesity and the complications of untreated obesity are important factors. As of yesterday, out […]

Humor Banned to Fight COVID-19 Misinformation

April 1, 2020 — Budding pranksters, you’re on notice. Humor is verboten today. The world is on lockdown, fighting a global pandemic. Late night comedies are off the air. Nothing is funny. You, over there, wipe that smirk off your face. In Thailand, an April Fool’s joke could get you five years in jail. “Don’t lie,” wrote The Nation […]

Will PTSD Be a Legacy of COVID-19?

March 31, 2020 — The obvious legacy of the COVID-19 pandemic will be millions of lost lives around the world. In the U.S., we’re now hearing that “only” 100,000 lives lost will amount to a big success. But beyond the acute trauma of lives lost, we must consider the possibility of post traumatic stress for all of us dealing […]

A Damned Lie: COVID-19 Impact Is Like the Flu

March 30, 2020 — This one falls into the category of a damned lie. We occasionally hear from people that COVID-19 doesn’t seem so bad if you consider that the seasonal flu kills tens of thousands of people every year. This lie is also a go-to strategy for politicians who want to deny the seriousness of the problem we […]

Truth, Power, and Misinformation in a Health Crisis

March 27, 2020 — Knowledge is power, said Sir Francis Bacon in the 16th century. But today, that aphorism has morphed. Now it seems that misinformation is quite powerful. Governments and politicians have learned that they can censor information simply by overwhelming truth with noise. However, misinformation in a health crisis can be deadly. Truth and public trust are […]

Bright Red Lines: Fact, Speculation, and Misinformation

March 27, 2020 — There’s nothing like the high stakes of a pandemic to remind us of danger from blurring the bright red lines separating fact, speculation, and misinformation. This is because an emerging pandemic presents us with ambiguity. But our human nature detests ambiguity. We crave certainty. Without facts to lean upon, we speculate about what might be […]

Rising Conflict: Reason and Emotion in Health Policy

March 25, 2020 — We’re witnessing some intense interchanges on health policy right now. Reason and emotion are in vivid conflict. Jolting comments collide with disturbing facts. The new coronavirus “will disappear like a miracle,” says one policymaker. In addition, we hear promises of “packed churches all over our country” in just a couple of weeks. But then, a […]

Not Me! What’s the Point of Knowing Our Risks?

March 24, 2020 — Risk is an abstraction. It’s invisible. So people have a tough time wrapping their heads around questions of risk. How immediate is the risk? Is it big? Does it affect me? Am I putting others in danger? These are just a few of the questions that shape how we think about knowing our risks. As […]