Day: June 4, 2020

KHN’s ‘What The Health?’: Protests And The Pandemic

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Following the death of George Floyd while in custody in Minneapolis, protests have mushroomed around the U.S. to decry police violence, raising concerns among public health officials about the potential for further spread of the coronavirus.

Meanwhile, the economic toll of the continuing pandemic is prompting some states to cancel or scale back plans to expand health coverage to more of their residents.

And President Donald Trump said he will withdraw the United States from the World Health Organization. But it seems he lacks the legal authority to do that on his own.

This week’s panelists are Julie Rovner of KHN, Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Mary Agnes Carey of KHN and Joanne Kenen of Politico.

Among the takeaways from this week’s podcast:

  • Although public health officials are warning about the dangers of a resurgence of COVID-19 caused
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Efforts To Curb Congenital Syphilis Falter In COVID’s Shadow

U.S. public health officials are closer to identifying a road map for curbing the rising rates of syphilis infections in newborn babies, but with so many resources diverted to stopping the spread of COVID-19, many fear the rate of deadly infections will only get worse.

Congenital syphilis — the term used when a mother passes the infection to her baby during pregnancy — is often a devastating legacy, potentially leaving babies blind or in excruciating pain or with bone deformities, blood abnormalities or organ damage. It’s one of the most preventable infectious diseases, experts say. Prevention, which means treating Mom so she doesn’t pass it on to her baby, requires just a few shots of penicillin.

Yet rates of infection and death from congenital syphilis have been on the rise for years. In 2018, 1,306 babies acquired syphilis from

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In Hard-Hit Areas, COVID’s Ripple Effects Strain Mental Health Care Systems

In late March, Marcell’s girlfriend took him to the emergency room at Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital, about 11 miles south of Detroit.

“I had [acute] paranoia and depression off the roof,” said Marcell, 46, who asked to be identified only by his first name because he wanted to maintain confidentiality about some aspects of his illness.

Marcell’s depression was so profound, he said, he didn’t want to move and was considering suicide.

“Things were getting overwhelming and really rough. I wanted to end it,” he said.

Marcell, diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder seven years ago, had been this route before but never during a pandemic. The Detroit area was a coronavirus hot spot, slamming hospitals, attracting concerns from federal public health officials and recording more than 1,000 deaths in Wayne County as of May 28. Michigan ranks fourth among states for deaths from COVID-19.

The crisis enveloping the hospitals had a

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Newsom Likes To ‘Go Big’ But Doesn’t Always Deliver

Gavin Newsom knew it was a political gamble when, as the newly elected mayor of San Francisco, he promised to eradicate chronic homelessness.

“I recognize that I’m setting myself up. I’m not naive to that,” he told his hometown newspaper in 2003 as he embarked on a campaign to sell his controversial plan. It hinged on slashing welfare payments for homeless people and redirecting those funds to acquire single-room occupancy hotels, converting them into long-term housing with health and social services.

“I don’t want to over-promise, but I also don’t want to under-deliver,” he said.

Over-promise he did, and the venture ultimately failed. But that pledge by Newsom — who at the time was a young, politically connected wine shop owner relatively new to public office — previewed a brand of political leadership on full display today as the first-term governor confronts an unprecedented public health emergency that

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