The New England Journal of Medicine Avoided Politics for 208 Years. Now it’s Urging Voters to Oust TrumpBreaking News
tags: public health, medicine, Donald Trump, 2020 Election, COVID-19, New England Journal of Medicine
In more than two centuries of publishing, the New England Journal of Medicine has never weighed in on a U.S. presidential election. That changed this week.
On Wednesday, alongside its usual peer-reviewed scientific studies and analysis, the journal published a blistering editorial taking President Trump and his administration to task over their handling of the coronavirus pandemic. The respected journal broke the nonpartisan position it has held since 1812 with an editorial titled, “Dying in a Leadership Vacuum,” which urged voters to oust Trump over his administration’s failures.
“Our leaders have largely claimed immunity for their actions,” said the piece, which was signed by 34 of the journal’s editors. “But this election gives us the power to render judgment.”
The journal has published only four other editorials signed by all the editors, including an obituary for longtime editor in chief Arnold S. Relman, who died in 2014. The three others, published in 2014 and 2019, tackled contraception access, abortion policy and draft guidance from the federal government on informed consent requirements in standard-of-care research. Never before have the journal’s editors collectively weighed in on an election, let alone a presidential race.
The coronavirus, which has now killed at least 211,000 Americans, changed that. Wednesday’s editorial argued national leaders had the opportunity to limit the virus’s spread and prevent widespread illness, deaths and lasting economic turmoil.
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