As a result of the latest Presidential election, state legislatures are garnering a great deal of publicity about a host of new laws surrounding voter registration. More quietly, several states, in a reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic, are also seeking to restrain the activities of our public health officials.
A recent survey found that fewer than 40% of Americans trust their federal public health agencies. Could “mission creep” into issues such as climate change, gun violence, and racism rather than a focus on traditional public health issues be a cause? Did mission creep impact our response to the COVID-19 pandemic?
As COVID-19 cases drop and immunization rates rise, Americans are proving the media's glass-half-empty predictions about vaccine hesitancy mostly false. It turns out that people don't like getting sick, and they'll take steps to protect themselves when given the tools to do so.
On the heels of a new survey, public health experts say partisan politics crippled America's pandemic response. At the same time, they want federal agencies like the FDA and CDC to tackle incendiary political issues including racism, gun violence and climate change. Trying to solve these partisan problems won't improve the credibility of the public health establishment.
Shipping regulations passed in December 2020 and poised to take effect in the near future will greatly restrict access to electronic cigarettes. Since the law was enacted, additional research has shown that smokers who switch to vaping have a good shot at giving up cigarettes, and maybe even nicotine, forever. Congress is hindering this important public health victory.
Research shows that vaccine skepticism appeals to people who already distrust authority. Solutions proposed during the COVID-19 pandemic may be amplifying the problem rather than solving it.
To speed COVID vaccine uptake and bring the pandemic to an end, some commentators are calling on the government to mandate immunization as a condition for participating in society. This may seem like a reasonable policy, but there's compelling evidence that it could backfire.
Much of the concern regarding CDC guidelines for COVID-19 involves the perception that, at times, they are contradictory. And these perceived flip-flops can be used as political fodder. While some mix-messaging is due to our changing understanding of the deadly virus, it may often stem from the struggle between messages directed at overall public health, versus those for individuals.
The Lancet once published a controversial study claiming that any alcohol consumption is bad for your health. Now, the same family of journals is coming after you poker players.
The governor of Washington State has canceled Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's, and about 20% of Seattle's restaurants and bars have closed permanently. The governor's arbitrary policies, such as banning indoor dining while allowing customers to eat inside tents, deserve part of the blame. Photographs put the absurdity on stark display.
The first known death from a cyberattack raises the prospect that malware could be more than just a financial crime.
The proposal in the Declaration is certainly worth considering. If I was a policymaker, I would investigate how to implement it. As COVID cases spike in Europe, which once had the coronavirus under control, it's becoming clear that our current on-again, off-again approach to containment isn't working as intended. It may be time to try something new.