The COVID-19 Infodemic: A Reminder of the Importance of Health Literacy

Mina Iskander

Abstract
In an era of widespread internet and social media usage, the COVID-19 pandemic has taken these outlets by storm. While there are obvious positive aspects of the wide availability of medical and public health information, it can be argued that an overabundance is burdensome. Although it may be attributable to the lack of knowledge surrounding a new pandemic, contradictory information being put forth by federal health agencies has also been worrisome and contributed to confusion. Delineating between fact and fiction during the pandemic has been a momentous task, even for those who are well-educated. It is of utmost importance for individuals to be able to understand, navigate, and make appropriate decisions as it relates to their health. Therefore, we must focus on improving health literacy on both an individual and societal level in order to provide an informed, unified front against the pandemic.

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Roundtable Journal on Health Policy  |  Volume 3  |  Issue 2
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The Complex Effects of COVID-19 on the Special Needs Community: Short- and Long- Term Implications for Medical Care Providers

Sarah Solomon

Abstract
The complex consequences for healthcare delivery prompted by the effects of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) on the general population are not yet fully understood. At the time of writing, there are only five meta-analyses and literature reviews, the most comprehensive of which includes a total of 32 papers. Of these five reviews, four focus on telehealth and only one on personal protective equipment (PPE) (Anthony Jnr, 2021; Chaudhry et al., 2021; Galanis et al., 2021; Gao et al., 2020; Monaghesh & Hajizadeh, 2020). There is furthermore a scarcity of research on the impact that these COVID-19 healthcare delivery changes may have on patients with physical and/or intellectual disabilities; no meta-analyses or related reviews on this matter have been published. This at-risk group has experienced adverse short-term effects, but potentially favorable long-term outcomes, due to four major pandemic-related healthcare delivery modifications: (1) the widespread proliferation of telemedicine, (2) increased use of personal protective equipment (PPE), (3) COVID-19 testing requirements and (4) patient-physician relationship (PPR) adjustments. All four of these modifications have complicated the ability of the special needs population to access medical care in the immediate term. However, some consequences of COVID-19 – especially the growth of telemedicine and the resultant transformations in PPR dynamics – may generate lasting beneficial changes in how the healthcare system interacts with the disabled community.

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Roundtable Journal on Health Policy  |  Volume 3  |  Issue 2
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The Risks and Benefits of Prehospital Use of Ketamine

Faris Katkhuda

Abstract
On August 24, 2019, Elijah McClain was unlawfully detained, and after two carotid holds by the police and a 500 mg injection of ketamine by Aurora Fire Rescue paramedics, he died in police custody. This literature review will discuss the benefits of prehospital use of ketamine, including short time to onset of effects and decreased risks of apnea and hypotension, as well as its risks, including hypersalivation, emergence reaction, laryngospasm, and high intubation rates.

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Roundtable Journal on Health Policy  |  Volume 3  |  Issue 2
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Vaccine Passports and COVID-19: Ethical, Scientific, and Practical Considerations

Shreya Nalubola

Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically limited international travel. Now that vaccines have been developed, many countries are considering ways to rework lockdown restrictions so that travel may resume. One proposed strategy involves the implementation of vaccine passports, which would allow those with digital or physical certification of COVID-19 vaccination to resume unrestricted travel. The introduction of such passports involves a number of important ethical, scientific, and legal considerations. This piece aims to elucidate some of the challenges and consequences regarding the use of vaccine passports, such as practical concerns about the length of vaccine immunity and post-vaccine viral transmissibility. Vaccine passports may also have damaging effects on those without adequate vaccine access, especially given the context of COVID-19 having already exacerbated harm towards disadvantaged and minority communities.

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Roundtable Journal on Health Policy  |  Volume 3  |  Issue 1
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To Tolerate No Harm: Medical Documentation of Excessive Use of Force by Police

Huzefa Diwan

Abstract
Over the past year, the death of George Floyd and the recent shooting of Jacob Blake, among countless others, by police have ignited massive protests against systemic racism and police brutality. Numerous instances of excessive use of force by law enforcement against protestors started conversations about the role of police in our communities. Police brutality, especially against minorities, is a well-discussed phenomenon and yet the medical documentation of such events is often rare or inaccurate. Hospital personnel, especially physicians, need to document these instances to help create a public record of excessive use of force by police. By crafting a framework in the medical ethics concept of justice, physicians can begin training to report police brutality when it appears in their emergency departments and help to eliminate one facet of systemic racism.

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Roundtable Journal on Health Policy  |  Volume 3  |  Issue 1
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The Impact of COVID-19 on Farmworkers: With Special Focus on the Black Dirt Region (Orange County, NY)

Brinda Raval

Abstract
This paper explores how COVID-19 has impacted farmworkers and demonstrates the way a community in the Mid-Hudson region of New York State, the Black Dirt area, has responded. It provides both a historical and sociological framing of the global systems of food production and a discussion of the vulnerabilities of H-2A workers. The main challenges seen in the Black Dirt region included crowded living conditions, fear of testing and/or sickness due to immigration status, financial instability, food insecurity, and transportation challenges.

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Roundtable Journal on Health Policy  |  Volume 3  |  Issue 1
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The Roots of the Pandemic: How Structural Racism Facilitated the Spread of COVID-19 in Marginalized Communities

Yazan Nagi

Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic dramatically reshaped the world we live in and how we interact with it, and although its disastrous impact may have been shocking and unexpected to some, its effects continue to operate along very distinct patterns that have existed for centuries. The pandemic exposed the deep-seated inequalities in wealth, health status and access that exist and define daily life in the United States especially to many of its most marginalized groups.

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Roundtable Journal on Health Policy  |  Volume 3  |  Issue 1
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Pharmaceutical Development and Importation during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Holly Grace

Abstract
The purpose of this paper is to draw attention to the United States’ policies on drug importation and to raise awareness of the current process for obtaining treatment and prevention pharmaceuticals from foreign countries. Pharmaceutical importation has been a subject of global health and economic concern for many years, but it has heightened in intensity with the COVID-19 pandemic. There are concerns regarding government approval, quality regulations, and scarcity. The need for rapid mass production in order to meet the global demand while balancing the risks associated with rushing medical advances are highlighted. Resource-scarce nations will require support to combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus, and companies will face pressure to rush safety procedures. This article explores some of the impending issues facing the importation of pharmaceuticals during the COVID-19 pandemic, and it aims to express the need for ethical and compassionate consideration when dealing with a response to a global health crisis.

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Roundtable Journal on Health Policy  |  Volume 3  |  Issue 1
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The Erosion of American Faith in Science: Implications for COVID-19 Vaccination Efforts

Elias H. Kahan

Abstract
As the prospect of a viable COVID-19 vaccine becomes imminent, many are concerned that large swaths of the American public will opt out of being vaccinated. Whether it be due to their anti-vaccination beliefs or their concern regarding the speed and efficacy of its development, steps must be taken to improve Americans’ confidence and likelihood to get vaccinated. If measures are not taken, and many Americans chose not to get vaccinated, the development of a vaccine may be moot.

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Roundtable Journal on Health Policy  |  Volume 3  |  Issue 1
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Combating Systemic Racism in Medicine Requires Systemic Change: Addressing Implicit Bias in Medical Schools

Alexandra Schulz

Abstract
Over this past year, systemic racism has proven to be a pertinent problem in our society, revealing itself in forms of police brutality and healthcare inequality in the COVID-19 pandemic. One important step in addressing these issues is confronting implicit racial biases, our unconscious attitudes and stereotypes that may further perpetuate systemic racism. This article underscores the need for strategic and impactful implicit bias training in medical education. Medical students must become aware of their own implicit racial biases, and learn about racial injustice in the medical system in pre-clinical training so that they are prepared to combat systemic racism throughout their careers.

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Roundtable Journal on Health Policy  |  Volume 3  |  Issue 1
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