Time

Sex In The Time Of COVID: Gay Men Begin To Embrace A ‘New Normal’

Dr. Jeffrey Klausner, a primary care physician in Los Angeles, has treated gay men for decades. Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, he said, many patients have so dramatically changed their sexual behavior that they shrug off the need for routine screenings for sexually transmitted diseases.

“They say, ‘I haven’t had any contact since I saw you last, so there’s no need to do any STD tests,’” said Klausner, an adjunct professor of epidemiology and infectious diseases at UCLA.

But attitudes among these patients are shifting, Klausner has noticed, now that California and other states are loosening policies on social distancing. “People are starting to think about a return to engaging [in sex],” he said, “and are asking me, are there ways they can remain safe” from COVID-19?

Concerns about sexual intimacy during an epidemic are universal and not limited to gay men, of course. Public health experts, including

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At A Time Of Great Need, Public Health Lacks ‘Lobbying Muscle’

SACRAMENTO — If there were ever a time for more public health funding, health experts say, it’s now.

Yet California Gov. Gavin Newsom and the state’s Democratic-controlled legislature are expected to reject a plea from local public health officials for an additional $150 million a year to battle the COVID-19 pandemic and protect against future public health threats.

“I’m not holding my breath,” said Riverside County Public Health Director Kim Saruwatari. “Right now, more than ever, the gaps that we have in our public health infrastructure have been exposed.”

Public health officials vow to continue making their case. But persuading lawmakers to increase spending in a time of cuts will be even more difficult because public health doesn’t carry the same political clout in the Capitol as other power players such as hospitals, doctors or public employee unions, which plow millions of dollars into lobbying each year.

“I’ve not met

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My Mother Died Of The Coronavirus. It’s Time She Was Counted.

We recently received the death certificate for my mother, who died May 4 in an assisted living facility near New York City. “Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome” was the primary cause. And the secondary — no surprise — was “suspected COVID-19.”

The White House, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the states are debating the proper theoretical (and politically beneficial) way to tally COVID-19 deaths. One group, led by President Donald Trump, feels the current tally is too high. The other, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, thinks it may be an underestimate.

Though my mother almost certainly died of COVID-19 (she met the clinical case definition), her death was, as far as I can tell, not counted — and certainly will not be counted if the White House gets its way. Unfortunately, counting COVID deaths and cases has been turned into a battle

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KHN’s ‘What The Health?’: All Coronavirus All The Time

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud.

The medical and economic needs laid bare by the coronavirus pandemic are forcing some immediate changes to the U.S. health system. Congress, in its latest relief bill, provided $100 billion in funding for the hospital industry alone. Meanwhile, the federal government has quickly removed previous barriers to telehealth and other sometimes controversial practices.

But big fights are still brewing, including whether the federal government will reopen the Affordable Care Act marketplaces it runs and whether states can use emergency powers to ban abortions as “elective medical procedures.”

This week’s panelists are Julie Rovner of Kaiser Health News, Joanne Kenen of Politico, Margot Sanger-Katz of The New York Times and Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico.

Among the takeaways from this week’s podcast:

  • The ACA was passed on the heels of the Great Recession. The coronavirus outbreak has produced the
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