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Must-Reads Of The Week | Kaiser Health News

The Friday Breeze

Want to learn the most effective and most provocative tales from the week? Welcome to the Friday Breeze, the place we compile all of them — so that you’re set together with your weekend studying.

Well, there may be nothing like a militarily enforced curfew, full with hovering choppers and redundant fencing, to ensure some high quality studying time.

Two massive tales of the second — racial justice and the pandemic — sadly converged within the autopsy of George Floyd, which discovered he had survived the coronavirus earlier than being killed within the custody of the Minneapolis police.

The persevering with protests over police brutality heightened concerns that the demonstrations may hasten the viral unfold simply as many areas of the nation are reopening. It’s not merely being jammed collectively, singing and chanting: tear gas may also unfold the virus, and mass arrests present fertile ground for brand new circumstances. Atlanta’s mayor and the CDC director are amongst these encouraging protesters to get a COVID take a look at. Unfortunately, many testing sites were closed due to the demonstrations.

At the New Yorker, Dhruv Khullar notes that, paradoxically, a spike in contaminated demonstrators could additional exacerbate the present racial disparity in COVID sickness. “If the protests do cause a surge in infections, it will likely be centered in the very communities that are now demanding that their lives be valued equally by the state,” he writes.

In Politico, Dan Diamond dissects the turnaround by public well being consultants who insisted on excessive precautions in opposition to COVID infections because the financial system collapsed however now are sanctioning mass protests that threat contagion. “I think what’s lost on people is that there have been real sacrifices made during lockdown,” a former GOP Hill staffer informed Diamond. “People who couldn’t bury loved ones. Small businesses destroyed. How can a health expert look those people in the eye and say it was worth it now?”

The Friday Breeze

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Masked Bandits

ProfessionalPublica had an absolutely bonkers story about coronavirus masks merchants and different underground middlemen out there for private protecting gear. Highlights embody a comedy author and a former juicer salesman turned would-be entrepreneurs, a briefcase with $Eight,000 in money and “proof of life” movies to show brokers even have PPE to promote. “There are scandalous brokers out there,” one dealer informed J. David McSwane. “There are people who simply make me need to take a Silkwood shower on the finish of the day.”

Even the most effective mask shouldn’t be worn in case you’ve been tear-gassed, writes Julia Scott at KQED. “In general we think that when masks become wet, that they are not as good at preventing the spread of virus,” a UC-Berkeley epidemiology professor says. (Another well being threat of modern-day protests: rubber bullets.)

Meanwhile, marring what’s an in any other case constantly nice expertise, some dentists are charging $10 or $20 “infection control fees” to cowl the prices of masks, robes and different PPE, stories KHN’s Phil Galewitz. Will this be the oral model of the facility fee?

One underappreciated draw back of mandated mask-wearing, according to Brian Brooks, the brand new performing head of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency: Masks “create the very real risk of increases in bank robberies.” Hopefully, aspiring felons is not going to be monopolizing N95 and respirator masks when there are such a lot of other options.

Running On Empty

On Thursday, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services launched a long-awaited dataset containing the variety of coronavirus circumstances and deaths at more than 12,000 skilled nursing amenities. The deaths reached almost 32,000, and greater than 2,000 nursing houses reported a shortage of nurses or aides and hundreds of others are on the point of operating out of robes, masks and different protecting gear. The knowledge was greater than a bit messy, with some amenities listed as having extra COVID deaths than COVID circumstances. Some homes disputed the death totals for his or her amenities, though the federal government mentioned the knowledge was reported immediately by the houses. The Wall Street Journal calculated a 10% drop in nursing residence occupancy for the reason that finish of final yr.

Testing, 1, 2, three …

Over at NPR, Sasha Pfeiffer and Tim Mak checked the status of the president’s promise that massive retailers can be offering ubiquitous COVID testing and located a dearth that brings again reminiscences of the worst of the Days of No Toilet Paper. Walgreens, Kroger, Rite Aid, Walmart and CVS mixed have simply 1,300 testing websites at 32,000 shops, about Four%. Most testing websites have been at CVS, which is nice information as you possibly can concurrently seize certainly one of their notoriously long receipts to substitute for sure hard-to-find paper merchandise.

In the What Else Are Law Enforcement Officers Up to These Days? Department, The Wall Street Journal follows a sergeant within the Broward County Sheriff’s Office who hunts iguanas in his free time. (Yes, after all that is Florida, and no, The Breeze doesn’t normally cowl reptilian well being, however in the present day we make an exception.) Joe Harris began looking iguanas with a slingshot, then upgraded to pellet weapons and now makes use of a Four-foot blowgun with a 6-inch dart hooked up to a rod and reel, presumably bought individually. “It requires more skill and gives the animal more of a chance,” Harris tells John Clarke. One such fortunate iguana was become hors d’oeuvres for Harris’ colleagues.

‘Watched With Glee’

Finally, in spite of everything this downbeat information, we finish on an up observe: the self-explanatory #docswhorock performances on Twitter that started manner again once we have been all staying at residence. This week’s covers are from the ’60s, whereas earlier weeks’ themes included soundtracks and the tacky ’80s. Highlights embody Dr. Parag Majmudar singing “Stand By Me,” a duet of “Homeward Bound” between Dr. Atul Grover and Dr. Maylyn Martinez, and Dr. Pete DeBalli working on “Sympathy for the Devil.” Next week is the ’00s. Now, if physicians may simply present some tolerable ready room music with out including an “ambiance control fee,” we’d fortunately deploy our “well-learned politesse” when they’re operating behind.

Have a great weekend — and with many eating places providing out of doors service, we encourage you to attempt the iguana.

Jordan Rau: jrau@kff.org”>jrau@kff.org, @JordanRau

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