Opinion | ‘I Do Fear for My Staff,’ a Doctor Said. He Lost His Job. – By Nicholas Kristof – The New York Times

By 

Opinion Columnist

Credit…Damon Winter/The New York Times

“Doctors and nurses responding to the Covid-19 pandemic are the superheroes of our age, putting themselves at risk to save the lives of others.

At least 61 doctors and nurses have died from the coronavirus in Italy so far. Already, in New York City alone, two nurses have died and more than 200 health workers are reported sick at a single major hospital.

These superheroes are at risk partly because we sometimes send them into battle without adequate personal protective equipment, or P.P.E. This should be a national scandal, and now hospitals are compounding the outrage by punishing staff members who speak up or simply try to keep themselves safe.

In Bellingham, Wash., an E.R. doctor, Ming Lin, pleaded on social media for better protections for patients and the staff at PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center, where he had worked for 17 years.

“I do fear for my staff,” Dr. Lin warned. “Morally, I think when you see something wrong, you have to speak out.”

The hospital responded by terminating Dr. Lin.

Dr. Lin told me that he had no regrets, but he asked supporters not to circulate petitions on his behalf for fear that such an effort would distract from managing the pandemic.

Charles Prosper, the C.E.O. of the hospital network, wouldn’t take my call, although he said in a statement that he regretted losing “such a longstanding and talented member of our medical staff.” The PeaceHealth board should recognize that its hospital has more need for an experienced E.R. doctor than for a bungling C.E.O.”

Opinion | Trump Wants to ‘Reopen America.’ Here’s What Happens if We Do. – The New York Times

“President Trump says he wants the United States “raring to go” in two and a half weeks, on Easter, with “packed churches all over our country.” He and many other political conservatives suggest that we are responding to something like the flu with remedies that may be more devastating than the disease.

We created this interactive model with epidemiologists to show why quickly returning to normal could be a historic mistake that would lead to an explosion of infections, hospitalizations and deaths.

Instead, health experts advise giving current business closures and social distancing a month to slow the pandemic, buying time to roll out mass testing and equip doctors with protective equipment. Then, depending on where we are, we can think about easing up — while prepared for a new burst of infections that will then require a new clampdown.

Play with this model below by moving the slider to change the length of time that controls are in effect, and you’ll see the impact on lives lost.”

Opinion | How Much Worse the Coronavirus Could Get, in Charts – by Nicholas Kristof and Stuart A. Thompson – The New York Times

What’s at stake in this coronavirus pandemic? How many Americans can become infected? How many might die?

The answers depend on the actions we take — and, crucially, on when we take them. Working with infectious disease epidemiologists, we developed this interactive tool that lets you see what may lie ahead in the United States and how much of a difference it could make if officials act quickly. (The figures are for America, but the lessons are broadly applicable to any country.)

Opinion | 12 Steps to Tackle the Coronavirus – By Nicholas Kristof – The New York Times

By 

Opinion Columnist

Credit…Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

“At least Emperor Nero supposedly only fiddled while Rome burned; he didn’t tell the Romans that the fire was no big deal.

President Trump squandered two precious months trying to downplay the new coronavirus while attempting to talk up the stock market. We still have no idea how many Americans are infected, because the administration bungled diagnostics. As of a few days ago, South Korea had conducted up to 700 times more tests per capita than the United States.

Trump’s passivity will cost lives, but we can still make preparations before hospitals risk becoming overwhelmed by a pandemic that is both more contagious than the seasonal flu and apparently many times more lethal. Dr. Tom Frieden, a former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, warns that in a plausible worst-case scenario, this virus could kill more than one million Americans.

After speaking to epidemiologists and public health specialists, I have a list of a dozen practical steps that the president and other officials should take immediately, while there is time.”

Opinion | Trump Uses Kids Sold Into Sex Slavery to Score Political Points – By Nicholas Kristof – The New York Times

By 

Opinion Columnist

Credit…T.J. Kirkpatrick for The New York Times

“Few people on earth are so exploited as children trafficked into the sex trade. And now they are being exploited again, by President Trump.

“My administration is putting unprecedented pressure on traffickers at home and abroad,” Trump declared at a White House meeting on trafficking last month. “My administration is fighting these monsters, persecuting and prosecuting them, and locking them away for a very, very long time. We’ve had a tremendous track record — the best track record in a long time.”

I’ve been reporting about human trafficking all over the world since the 1990s, so part of me is thrilled that a president is highlighting this issue. Ivanka Trump has made it a signature issue, and she organized the White House event. The president used the occasion to announce a new White House position to oversee antitrafficking efforts, and all this high-level attention could be very helpful.

Yet it’s increasingly clear that this is less about protecting children and more about exalting Trump, whose administration is actually prosecuting fewer traffickers and making it harder for some trafficking survivors to get help. As a result, major antitrafficking organizations boycotted the White House session.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT Comment:
Thank you Nicholas Kristof, and god bless you. You keep talking about topics that are unpopular. You continue to bring untouchables into the light.

 

 

Opinion | She Helped a Customer in Need. Then U.S. Bank Fired Her. – By Nicholas Kristof – The New York Times

This from a company that says employees should “do the right thing.”

By 

Opinion Columnist

Credit…Alisha Jucevic for The New York Times

“To understand how some companies have lost their souls, consider what happened after U.S. Bank stiffed a customer before Christmas.

Marc Eugenio had deposited a $1,080 paycheck into his account at U.S. Bank. The bank put a hold on most of the sum, and he spent many hours in a branch office over two days, trying to get access to the money so he could buy presents for his 9-year-old daughter and 13-year-old son.

On Christmas Eve, Eugenio found himself parked at a gas station in Clackamas, Ore., a Portland suburb, both his fuel gauge and his bank balance on empty. A bank employee had told him that money would soon show up in his account — perhaps a ruse to get him out of the branch office. For hours Eugenio then tried his debit card at the gas pump, so he could buy a few gallons and get home to his wife and children.

“I was stranded,” he told me. “I could have walked home, but it would have been five miles in the cold.” “

Opinion | The Hidden Depression Trump Isn’t Helping – by Nicholas Kristof – The New York Times

The economy may get the president re-elected, but not everyone is sharing in its strength.

By 

Opinion Columnist

Credit…Evelyn Hockstein for The Washington Post, via Getty Images

“President Trump declared in his State of the Union address that “our economy is the best it has ever been.”

Put aside the Trumpian hyperbole, and it’s true that the economy is strong — and that this is critical to Trump’s chances for re-election. The Obama recovery has continued under Trump, with the stock market surging and corporate profits swelling. Just last month, employers added 225,000 jobs.

Private wealth owned by American households and nonprofits has soared just since 2000 by the equivalent of more than $800,000 per household, according to Federal Reserve data. Wow! I feel richer already.

Yet we live in two Americas, and there’s another side of the country that Trump didn’t mention — one that helped elect him but that he has neglected since. In the other America, suicide rates are at a record high in the post-World War II era, and more Americans die every two weeks from drugs, alcohol and suicide — “deaths of despair” — than died in 18 years of war in Afghanistan and Iraq.”

Opinion | Who Killed the Knapp Family? – by Nicholas Kristof – The New York Times

“Yet it’s not hopeless. America is polarized with ferocious arguments about social issues, but we should be able to agree on what doesn’t work: neglect and underinvestment in children. Here’s what does work.

Job training and retraining give people dignity as well as an economic lifeline. Such jobs programs are common in other countries.

For instance, autoworkers were laid off during the 2008-9 economic crisis both in Detroit and across the Canadian border in nearby Windsor, Ontario. As the scholar Victor Tan Chen has showed, the two countries responded differently. The United States focused on money, providing extended unemployment benefits. Canada emphasized job retraining, rapidly steering workers into new jobs in fields like health care, and Canadian workers also did not have to worry about losing health insurance.

Canada’s approach succeeded. The focus on job placement meant that Canadian workers were ushered more quickly back into workaday society and thus today seem less entangled in drugs and family breakdown.”

Opinion | The Four Secrets of Success – The New York Times

By 

Opinion Columnist

The Op-Ed columnist Nicholas Kristof invites students to enter a contest for an international reporting trip in 2018.

“Whenever I visit a university, students ask for Big Advice. I protest that I don’t have great secrets for life and that my own path has been serendipitous, but they suspect me of holding out.

So as we approach the holidays — a time for reflection and New Year’s resolutions — let me reveal everything. I hereby share with young people the Four Secrets of Success:

1. Take a class in economics and in statistics. I majored in political science and later studied law, but in retrospect I would have focused on economics. Likewise, if you have to choose, skip calculus and focus on statistics.

Education isn’t about filling a bucket but about gaining a tool belt — and economics and statistics offer terrific tools that for the rest of your life will help you analyze problems in more rigorous ways. I champion the humanities for the wisdom they offer, but I do believe that philosophers and playwrights should have present value and standard deviations in their citizen tool belts.”

Opinion | Forget the Scarf. These Gifts Change Lives. – By Nicholas Kristof – The New York Times

By 

Opinion Columnist

Credit…Lynsey Addario/Getty Images

” ’Tis the season for giving, when those of us in the rich world hand each other overpriced scarves that no one much wants.

So every fall I offer an alternative holiday gift guide with suggestions for “gifts with meaning” that save or change lives. This year’s recommendations come with something extra: A reader has pledged $1 million so that for each of the next 10 years, a charity I find most worthy will receive $100,000. In addition, $50,000 will be split among three runners-up, thanks to a few other large donations. And judging from the past, readers will send in many more donations to these groups. We’ve made that easier through a new website.

This year’s top prize goes to support the lifesaving hospital of Edna Adan, a Somali midwife who fights for women’s health, trains doctors and empowers women in her native Somaliland. I’ve seen her work on the ground in two visits to Somaliland, and I’m awed by what she does.