York County Medicine Winter 2020 - 15

YO R K C O M E D S O C . O R G

4. America's economic wounds will not heal soon. A public
health emergency often becomes a one-two punch for the general
population, with the medical concerns first and the economic
fallout close behind. This pandemic illustrated that in a devastating
way. And even today, the unemployment numbers show that the
nation has only recovered about half of the 22 million jobs shed
since spring. The disproportionate impact on people of color
and low-income Americans - both in health outcomes and
economic suffering - must drive any short- or long-term policy
considerations.
Neera Tanden: Like Trump, I know the pain of COVID, and
how challenging recovery can be.
The Cares Act signed in late March that provided everything
from food assistance to housing eviction moratoriums to
unemployment assistance is running on fiscal fumes, and many of
the supports have already expired or will expire by year's end. In
addition, the nation still needs support and funding for testing, for
personal protective equipment and for basic health care services
being taxed during a pandemic. The structural vulnerabilities that
plagued too many communities before the pandemic need our
attention during and after it. Every person in this country should
be able to follow basic CDC guidelines should they become
infected.
5. A vaccine for kids is at least a year away. As a parent and
pediatrician, I understand the importance of getting children back
into school. It's vital in so many ways. And though we've seen that
children fare much better with COVID-19 than adults, the threat
of hospitalization and unknown complications down the road is
real. Kids have also been shown to contribute to the spread of the
virus, yet a vaccine suitable for children might not be available
until fall of 2021, at the earliest.
With more than 70 million children in the U.S. who might not
be inoculated in the next year, we must resist the temptation to let
our guard down, whether in our schools, homes or communities.
We must ensure that all schools have the resources to reduce the
risk as much as possible for students, teachers and staff. Given

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that schools are largely funded by property taxes, we must allocate
federal dollars so that all children have the opportunity to learn in
a safe environment.
Editorial: On President Donald Trump and COVID-19, just
tell the truth to the American people
Can we get to a place of common humanity in how we view
one another and how we view all people's needs and concerns? Can
we use this defining moment of the pandemic to reset our thinking
and our priorities so that the most vulnerable communities -
Black, Latino and Native Americans, and low-income workers -
have the support they need to survive this pandemic and thrive in
its wake?
We should be grateful that we live in a country in which our
leaders at the highest levels of government can receive the best
care in times of crisis. And we should do all we can as a nation to
ensure that every person in this country has the support they need,
whether they live on Pennsylvania Avenue or Main Street, USA.
Dr. Richard E. Besser is president and CEO of the Robert Wood
Johnson Foundation in Princeton, N.J.

W I N T E R 2020/2021 | York County Medicine

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York County Medicine Winter 2020

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