As a woman, the loss of Ruth Bader Ginsburg feels overwhelmingly profound. Living in the Pacific Northwest, I often find myself searching for a ray of sun breaking through the clouds. As sunlight hits the waters of the Puget Sound, it brings a sense of anticipation for the future. A ray of hope can be found in Federal Judge Diane Humetewa, the first Native American woman and enrolled tribal member to serve as a federal judge in history. And she was one of RBG’s picks for the next nominee of the U.S. Supreme Court.
The United States has one of the highest rates of obesity in the world. More than 40% of American adults are obese, which means they have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher. Almost 10% of American adults qualify as severely obese, defined as having a BMI of 40 or more. Of those with extreme obesity — defined as a BMI of 40 or more —the risk of death from COVID-19 is 17 times higher.
A great deal of medicine can be boiled down to basic pattern recognition. Advance knowledge enables one to be better prepared—forewarned is forearmed. Supportive interventions instituted at home, the hospital or even the intensive care unit, could improve patient survival. After learning more about this research, the fact I had “flu-like” symptoms without a fever, was oddly reassuring. Hopefully, readers will find this information as comforting as I did. Thankfully, my test came back negative. And I will never take smelling my gardenias for granted again.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed the face of education in America; however, we must minimize the profoundly adverse social, developmental, and health costs to our children. Research shows by implementing new protocols, schools can be re-opened safely and effectively.
Wearing a face mask to reduce spread of Covid-19 and touting condom use to diminish transmission of HIV and other STDs are essentially the same thing. Masking up should not be a question of politics, gender, or education. It is no more “negative” emotionally to cover our face and protect our neighbor than it is to wrap our naughty bits with latex and protect our sexual partner.
Teachers like Mrs. Hemmersbach impact children for a lifetime and are unlikely to be forgotten. Before signing off for the last time, Mrs. H told her students that she would miss them, had high expectations for them in the future, and would see them at their senior celebration. There is little doubt she has inspired countless numbers of students to reach for the stars and many of us lucky enough to have her teach our children wish her a happy and fulfilling retirement.
While most Americans believe that the little guys with the big hearts should win, our economy has veered off in a completely different direction: since the 1980s, the Potters have been crushing the Baileys of the world. The Covid-19 pandemic has exacted a heavy toll on the nation’s small businesses. What happens when “little guys,” like the Baileys, see no end in sight to an unrelenting viral assault?
As a pediatrician, I am even more concerned about those students who are homeless, food insecure, or being exposed to violence more regularly at home as a result of school closure. School is the one place where children can feel safe, fed, and supported. Children with disabilities—who receive speech, language, and other therapies—have been unable to continue their specialized services at school, which are essential to foster learning and development.
No one asks the soldier whether she is afraid to die. That is her job. Healthcare workers are not afraid of dying, but like all parents, they fear leaving their children without a mother or father. Last night, my son asked me the question I have been dreading. “What if you and daddy die of Covid-19?”
We already know it is the responsibility of every one of us in Kitsap County to slow the spread of Covid-19. In this second column on the subject, I want to focus on the next steps for our community. The most effective nonpharmacological intervention within our reach is to close schools proactively for a lengthy time period. And in the next 800 words, I hope to convince our educators and the public.