First Edition: February 24, 2020
Health

Public Health Officials Warn About Upcoming Historic Wave Of Mental Health Problems

Advocates stress the mental health providers aren’t prepared for the number of people who will need help. Susan Borja of the National Institute of Mental Health told the Washington Post: “I worry about the suffering that’s going to go untreated on such a large scale.” Other public health news reports on work place screenings, lingering fevers, working in a nursing home while pregnant, health disparities, palliative care, end-of-life wishes, new flying attire, quieter ERs, and police challenges, as well.


The Washington Post:
Coronavirus Is Causing A Historic Rise In Mental Health Problems, Experts Warn


Three months into the coronavirus pandemic, America is on the verge of another health crisis, with daily doses of death, isolation and fear generating widespread psychological trauma. Federal agencies and experts warn that a historic wave of mental health problems is approaching: depression, substance abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder and suicide. Just as the initial coronavirus outbreak caught hospitals unprepared, the country’s mental health system — vastly underfunded, fragmented and difficult to access before the pandemic — is even less prepared to handle this coming surge. (Wan, 5/4)


The New York Times:
The Pandemic May Mean The End Of The Open-Floor Office


The modern corporate office is renowned for open, collaborative work spaces, in-house coffee bars and standing desks with room for two giant computer monitors. Soon, there may be a new must-have perk: the sneeze guard. This plexiglass barrier that can be mounted on a desk is one of many ideas being mulled by employers as they contemplate a return to the workplace after coronavirus lockdowns. (Richtel, 5/4)


ProPublica:
She Made Every Effort To Avoid COVID-19 While Pregnant. Not A Single Thing Went According To Plan.


Last September, over pancakes at a diner in central Massachusetts, Molly Baldwin told her husband, Jonathan, they were going to have a baby. He cried into his coffee mug, elated and a little surprised. They had only been trying for about a week, and they had yearned for a summer baby, ideally in June, which would enable their parents to spend more time with their first grandchild. “We thought we had the best timing,” she said. (Waldman, 5/5)


Modern Healthcare:
Pandemic Recovery Must Focus On Addressing Disparities, Experts Say


Marginalized and underserved communities throughout the country have been greatly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tracking COVID-19 activity in 14 states found African Americans made up 33% of hospitalized coronavirus cases despite accounting for only 18% of the total population in those areas. (Johnson, 5/4)


Kaiser Health News:
Palliative Care Helped Family Face ‘The Awful, Awful Truth’


Seattle mourned the news: Elizabeth and Robert Mar died of COVID-19 within a day of each other. They would have celebrated 50 years of marriage in August. But their deaths at the end of March were not the same. Liz, a vivacious matriarch at 72, died after two weeks sedated on a ventilator. Her analytical engineer husband, Robert, 78, chose no aggressive measures. He was able to communicate with their adult children until nearly the end. (Stone, 5/5)


Stat:
A Cancer Patient Reconsiders Her End-Of-Life Wishes Amid Covid-19 


Even before she knew what kind of cancer she had, Robin Hodges knew she didn’t want to be resuscitated. If her heart and lungs began sputtering out, doctors should let them. Back in 1999, she’d watched her older sister die agitated and muttering, trying to pull herself out of a tube-tangled hospital bed. Hodges didn’t want that for herself. (Boodman, 5/5)


ABC News:
With Face Coverings And Social Distancing, COVID-19 Ushers In New Age Of Air Travel 


As the aviation industry struggles to weather an unprecedented financial hit due to COVID-19, one thing is certain: Air travel will not look the same for the foreseeable future. Travelers boarding most U.S. planes must now wear a face covering, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers at some airports sit behind plexiglass, and more than 3,000 planes have been taken from the skies to storage. (Kaji and Maile, 5/4)


Detroit Free Press:
ER Visits Plummet Amid Pandemic: ‘We Know More People Are Dying At Home’


Now they’re saying come back because the original message, compounded with fears, came with a cost: Heart attack victims died at home. Stroke patients let symptoms go unchecked for too long. Fractures from falls were left untreated and worsened. This, doctors say, is fallout from COVID-19, a virus that has people so scared that they’re letting life-threatening ailments go unchecked. Though exact data is hard to come by, hospitals across metro Detroit say emergency room visits for non-coronavirus symptoms have dropped by 50% since the shelter-in-place order went into effect six weeks ago — a trend they are now desperate to reverse. (Baldas, 5/5)


Boston Globe:
Crime In The Time Of The Coronavirus 


No more roll calls, and no doubling up in cruisers. No questioning suspects without masks, and, at the prison, walking around anywhere without a mask. Arrests are down. Fewer guns and projectiles are being examined — the director of the state crime lab said he allows only priority cases now. The nature of the work is about human contact, and yet the only way to prevent the spread of the highly contagious disease is to do as much work apart as possible. (Milkovits, 5/5)


This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.

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