#5SmartReads - September 21, 2022
Hitha on what the CDC is doing right, why everything is awful, and two women fighting to make things better
I know I say that the state of the electrical grid is what keeps me up at night. And it does! But here’s another terrifying truth that triggers my doom amnesia.
The rise of antibiotic resistant infections.
From the pharmaceutical industry side, I see how the focus on what is profitable vs. what is necessary (except in a defensive measure) is going to kill us. Antibiotics are not as profitable as biological drugs or immunotherapies or cancer therapeutics. And yet, the lack of investment and research in developing new antibiotics, coupled with the rise of antibiotic resistant bacterial infections, is killing us right now, and will become a leading cause of death (10 million deaths by 2050) if we don’t take action.
One place where we can act? Reducing antibiotic use in our livestock and animals raised for food at a policy level, and eating less meat on a personal level.
Too often, the FDA is far more focused on drug side of the agency instead of the food division (also, because PDUFA user fees generate the bulk of the funds that help fund said agency). But we need them to step up on regulating how the animals intended for food are themselves fed and treated, for all our health’s sake.
The CDC has rung this warning bell frequently and loudly in policy circles - but the FDA and USDA fail to act beyond platitudes that are weak and ineffective.
Bad Bunny is one of the most incredible artists performing right now. He grabs your attention with his incredible music, but pairs the lyrics and melody with delivering the news we need to know.
El Apagón is the latest example of that, and it’s brought Bianca Graulau’s reporting to the mainstream - where it frankly belongs.
If you haven’t watched the music video (and Graulau’s documentary!), you can watch it below:
And be sure you follow Bianca on Instagram to stay informed about what’s happening in Puerto Rico.
As much as I’ve been frustrated about the CDC’s confusing messaging and rush-to-normalcy policies on COVID, they are ringing the alarm bells on some serious public health issues.
I’ve already horrified you with their warnings of the rise of antibiotic resistant infections. Here’s another doom amnesia trigger - we could prevent 4 out of 5 pregnancy-related deaths that happen in this country.
“Cardiac conditions were the leading underlying cause of pregnancy-related deaths for non-Hispanic Black people; mental health conditions were the leading cause for Hispanic and non-Hispanic whites and hemorrhages were the leading cause for Asian people.”
If you want to understand how we got here, Angela Garbes’ phenomenal book Like A Mother unpacks the history and science of reproductive healthcare for pregnant people. This is not a provider issue (truly, OB-GYNs, midwives, and L&D and postpartum nurses are doing incredible work every day). It’s a system issue, and a financial issue. You’ve heard me say it before, but we a disease management system in this country, not a healthcare system. And unless we stop focusing on the bottom line and start focusing on lives saved (and the quality of life!), people will die when they don’t have to.
Also, abortion is healthcare. Period.
Paging Mindy Kaling, because this should absolutely be the plot for Legally Blonde 3.
The good news is that this is real life - and the impact Kathleen Martinez is making in the lives of so many immigrants is immense.
Yes, Kathleen bucked the expectations of the pale, male, and stale culture in law to start her own practice. But to focus on immigration law - and to do build a practice that can provide immigration services in all 50 states - while bucking the sartorial expectations of law is just amazing.
I’ve also learn a TON about different visas and paths to a green card by following her, and her vlogs are equal parts entertaining and motivating. This is the one that got me following her:
Enable 3rd party cookies or use another browser
UN chief: World is ‘paralyzed’ and equity is slipping away (Associated Press)
“The divergence between developed and developing countries, between North and South, between the privileged and the rest, is becoming more dangerous by the day,” the secretary-general said. “It is at the root of the geopolitical tensions and lack of trust that poison every area of global cooperation, from vaccines to sanctions to trade.”
So yeah. Things are…not great. On a global level.
And while Secretary-General Antonio Guterres made an effort to point out moments of optimism, it doesn’t stop the fact that things are pretty dire, and only pose to get worse.
“So what can I do, if things are just this bad?” you may ask. I’m glad you did.
If you’re a citizen of your nation, you can VOTE. Check your voter registration status, the date and location of your polling place for your next election, and make your voting plan (text VOTER to 26797 in the United States).
You can shop as much as possible from your local, independently owned businesses or other small businesses (stay tuned this weekend for a list of my current favorites, all from small businesses).
You can practice activism daily by calling your representatives (federal and state) to voice your support or opposition on bills coming to a vote, and subscribe to your local newspaper to stay on top of what’s happening at home.
And you can share #5SmartReads with a friend - I read all the news so you don’t have to!
We didn’t get here overnight. We won’t get out of this overnight. So let’s fuel up, rest, and get ready for the long fight for a better world.