|WHAT WE’RE READING
Stuff we read this week that made us think.
Turning to Twitter for news and analysis
Not sure how you’re managing the overwhelming torrent of breaking news and analysis of the COVID-19 crisis, but we’re relying heavily on Twitter these days. Sure, there’s a lot of noise on the platform, but we’ve curated our own lists of key academics, policymakers, clinicians, and journalists over the years, and we’ve come to rely on a handful of their feeds to keep our thinking current. In case you’re not a veteran Twittizen, here are a few suggested “follows”:
Nicholas Bagley (@nicholas_bagley)—Professor of Law at University of Michigan. Analysis of legal issues surrounding health policy.
Dan Diamond (@ddiamond)—POLITICO health policy and politics reporter; former editor-in-chief of Advisory Board Daily Briefing. Investigative reporting and inside-the-Beltway insights on health policy.
Austin Frakt (@afrakt)—Health economist at the Dept. of Veterans Affairs and Boston University; frequent contributor to the New York Times Upshot blog. Microeconomic analysis of policy and public health issues.
Scott Gottlieb, MD (@ScottGottliebMD)—Resident Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, former Commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration. Insights on pharmaceutical business and policy; informal “coronavirus czar”.
Sachin Jain, MD (@sacjai)—CEO of CareMore Health. Insights on population health and care management from a leader in the field.
Ashish Jha, MD (@ashishkjha)—Faculty director at Harvard Global Health Institute; moving this fall to become Dean of Brown University’s School of Public Health. One of the nation’s leaders in public health, thoughtful analysis and guidance.
Farzad Mostashari, MD (@Farzad_MD)—Founder, Aledade; former National Coordinator for Health IT. Voice of independent physician practice, unique insights on population health and health IT issues.
Charles Ornstein (@charlesornstein)—Deputy managing editor at ProPublica; past president of the Assoc. of Health Care Journalists. In-depth, investigative reporting on the healthcare industry and related issues.
Eric Topol, MD (@erictopol)—Director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute; EVP of Scripps Research. Cutting-edge thinking on digital and personalized medicine, and implications for healthcare delivery.
Bob Wachter, MD (@bob_wachter)—Chair, UCSF Department of Medicine. View from the world of academic medicine from the “father” of the hospitalist movement.
In addition to these outstanding individual feeds, we also follow a number of organizational and news outlet feeds, and recommend that you do, too. Among them: Kaiser Health News (@KHNews); Health Affairs (@Health_Affairs); Kaiser Family Foundation (@KFF); New England Journal of Medicine (@NEJM); and New York Times Health (@NYTHealth).
Got your own favorite Twitter feeds? Let us know who we should be following. Happy tweeting!
The five best articles we read this week
It felt like there was an ocean of relevant information to absorb this week, and we’re guessing your reading list might be as long as ours. Amid all the studies and analyses that came across our screens this week, here are five that we think merit your attention.
- A study showing just how bad things could get. A paper published this week by the Imperial College of London COVID-19 Response Team left a number ringing in our ears: 2.2 million—the number of Americans who could die from coronavirus if no control measures were put in place. The data was also reportedly responsible for jarring members of the Trump administration and Boris Johnson’s team into a new level of action.
- A measured perspective on how we beat coronavirus. Global health expert Ashish Jha and physician Aaron Carroll remind us that the alternatives aren’t only an 18-month lockdown or unmitigated spread. Their proposal for decisive short-term social distancing, coupled with long-term extensive testing, provides a helpful counterpoint to the Imperial College doomsday scenario, and a practical vision for a sustainable path forward.
- The data showing young people will suffer too. Americans were conditioned by China’s experience into thinking that nearly all serious illness and deaths from COVID-19 occur in the elderly. A new CDC report shows that young people may be much more vulnerable than we thought, showing that nearly 40 percent of US adults hospitalized for the virus were aged 20 to 54. While a deeper look reveals inconsistencies and holes in the data—many driven by the distributed and inconsistent processes of our public health system—it’s increasingly clear that young people will not emerge unscathed. Hopefully the broad coverage of this news will spur “invincible” twenty-somethings off the beaches and into action.
- Something that explains all of the options. If your head is spinning trying to understand the difference between mitigation and suppression, discern which social distancing measures provide greatest benefits, or comprehend how virus mutation could affect spread, this piece is the best we’ve seen to provide context and answers to all of these questions. Supported by data and analysis, it’s written in a way that a non-scientist can easily understand. Yes, it’s long, but delivers a fantastic grounding in the science and policy around COVID-19. Well worth the read.
- A (cheesy) moment of coronavirus-related levity. We’re still chuckling over an article that first appeared in the Irish Post, recounting the story of a woman in Washington State who was trying really, really hard to follow those handwashing guidelines we’ve all heard about. For some reason, it just wasn’t working. Might want to check the label next time.