Coming up in my particular neighborhood in Little Rock, Ark., one of my dearest childhood friends was a boy we nicknamed something unflattering but — except for the meanest among us kids — treated with great kindness. He was “just slow,” we said, and left it at that.
The armchair analyst in me concluded, when we were teens, that my friend was mildly retarded (in the vernacular of that time). He also suffered sometimes-paralyzing bouts of depression. All these decades later, he remains a beloved treasure. I call him brother. He’s still a fixture in our hometown neighborhood, self-medicating with weed and, sometimes, crack. He’s snaggle-toothed, his skin an ashen gray. He looks way older than the rest of us. People with chronic, severe mental illness tend to die earlier than the rest of us. Continue reading
President-elect Joe Biden has an ambitious plan to build upon the Affordable Care Act, in effect evolving “Obamacare” into “Bidencare.”
But depending on the outcome of the two Georgia Senate run-offs, Biden either will face a Republican-controlled Senate or a tied Senate in which Vice President Kamala Harris can cast a tie-breaking vote. On some issues, the Democrats might pick up a few Republicans, and on others, they could lose a few votes from their side. Continue reading
Pfizer made waves Monday with its announcement that its COVID-19 vaccine, developed with partner BioNTech, is “strongly effective,” with a reported efficacy of over 90%. The news was so highly touted that I woke up to multiple texts from friends about it, and it definitely sounds exciting.
The problem? That 90% is almost the only number we know because the company didn’t release additional data for others to read and interpret. Once again, these “extraordinary” findings, as Pfizer’s senior vice president described them to Stat News, were shared as “data by press release,” a worrisome trend during a pandemic. Continue reading
On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on whether it should strike down the individual mandate and the entire Affordable Care Act.
As always, SCOTUSblog has all the details on the case, California v. Texas and Texas v. California (both of which have been consolidated for oral arguments on whether the ACA’s requirement that Americans get health insurance is constitutional and, if not, whether the rest of the ACA can survive). Continue reading
If you want to know how seriously President-elect Joe Biden is taking SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, look no further than the set of scientists, physicians and experienced global health specialists he has selected to be members of his coronavirus task force.
On Monday morning, the Washington Post reported the names of the task force members. Journalists will want to quickly get up to speed on who they are. Though Biden doesn’t take office until January 20, he is already moving to work with governors and members of Congress to shape communications and policy approaches that will influence the U.S. approach to COVID-19 in the near and long term. Continue reading
President-elect Biden reportedly plans to announce his COVID-19 task force on Monday, sending Americans a signal that getting the pandemic under control will be his top priority.
Three co-chairs will lead the task force: former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, former FDA Commissioner David Kessler and Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, a Yale physician-researcher, according to Axios. The group may also include Ezekiel Emanuel, provost for Global Initiatives at the University of Pennsylvania and a former health policy adviser to President Obama and Nicole Lurie, a health policy fellow at the University of Pennsylvania and former pandemic preparedness adviser to Obama. Continue reading