April 28, Kim Bellard
COVID-19 has shined a harsh spotlight on the country’s lack of preparedness for dealing with threats to Americans’ well-being. Years of cutting funding for public health and emergency preparedness programs has left the nation with a smaller-than-necessary public health workforce, limited testing capacity, an insufficient national stockpile, and archaic disease tracking systems – in summary, twentieth-century tools for dealing with twenty-first-century challenges. We may never be fully prepared for when emergencies do hit, but we certainly can do better than we’ve done so far with this one.
April 27, Michael Millenson
Paul O’Neill, who died from lung cancer earlier this month at age 84, was one of Michael’s personal heroes—but not because of anything he accomplished as Alcoa’s Chief Executive Officer or as Secretary of the Treasury. It was because he saved patients’ lives. Two decades ago, when few dared speak openly about medical error, this titan of industry put his considerable clout behind a radical idea: not a single patient should be injured or killed by their medical care. And in pursuit of that goal, hospitals had to continually make care measurably safer.
April 24, Christos Argyropoulos
A recent bombshell preprint described the results of a cross-sectional examination of the residents in the county in Santa Clara testing for the presence of antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The authors found that the population prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in Santa Clara County implies that the infection is much more widespread than indicated by the number of confirmed cases. However, in this reanalysis of the summary data reported, Christos shows the authors are wrong: while there are asymptomatic COVID-19 presentations, their number is no where close to being 50-80 fold higher than the symptomatic ones as the authors claim.