Future Health - 6/2/21

Delivering care in the new virtual world… 

The Disproportionate Impact of Covid-19 on Women – The pandemic has hit every nation, in every sector and in every economic status. BUT, the impact has been disproportionately weathered by women – across the board. From sub-Saharan Africa to Wall Street, women have been the first line of fire for the virus. The United Nations recently released a report outlining the major impact on women. And, the disruption extends to corporate America as well in ways that have never been seen before – especially for senior-level women, mothers, and Black women. They have all been challenged by the pandemic. In addition to the UN Report, the recently released Women in the Workforce Report has also highlighted the massive impact of the pandemic on women with 1 in 4 women are considering a downshift in their career or simply leaving the workforce due to Covid-19. In fact, 4x as many women left the workforce in 2020 compared to men. This is a setback for gender equity which had been on the rise over the last decade. Health care is even further behind where 76% of all health care jobs are held by women. Yet, only about 15% of all leadership roles are held by women. With one in four of all women considering a departure from the workforce – something needs to be done. What can you do to help solve the problem?

The AI Debate on the State of ChipsThe technology world is a dither on the looming crisis related to the global semiconductor or chip shortage. Asia is the premier location at the moment for the rapidly evolving market with Taiwan serving as the dominant player by far in the chip business. However, South Korea is making a play in an effort to rival Taiwan’s lead position with plans to spend $450 billion to “build the world’s biggest chipmaking base over the next decade”. But, to frame the challenge, note that one of the leading chipmakers in Taiwan – TSMC – will spend about $400 billion over the next decade as a single company in a country that hosts most of the major players in the field. And, the Taiwan-South Korea race feeds directly into the UA-China race for dominance in artificial intelligence. There is lots of debate on the implications of the ongoing AI race between these two countries – which is a worthy read on its own! For health care, it will be important to keep tabs on the discussion as artificial intelligence and machine learning become integral components of the care delivery process or – as I refer to it – “augmented clinical intelligence”. We – the people providers – are not going away but we will definitely be “augmented”.

The Misleading – NPR notes in a recently reported study that just 12 people are responsible for 65% of false and misleading anti-vaccine posts on social media. The claims were made through multiple posts on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram according to the Center for Countering Digital Hate. For the month of March 25 – April 24, the “Disinformation Dozen” hit about 29 million posts of incorrect or downright lies on the various sites. This is a problem…and, needs attention!

And, the Health of Mother Earth – Let the data speak. As of May 11, 2021 the atmospheric COwas 418.41 ppm. In April 2020, it was 418.32 or, a substantial flattening in the overall rate of increase in CO2 accumulation in the atmosphere. Why? Hmmm? It seems our human activity (driving automobiles, creating industrial exhaust and a host of other related activities – all caused by humans) was dramatically reduced during the pandemic. But, the pre-pandemic level of activity is resuming. In fact, the projection is that in the next 9 years, the CO2 level will reach 450 ppm. To put those levels in context, 25 years ago the level was 360 ppm and in the late 1700s it was estimated at 250 ppm.

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