Members of Biden’s Transition Team Call for New COVID Plan

Thursday, January 6, 2022 — Former members of President Joe Biden’s transition team have called for a new long-term strategy that envisions a world in which humans learn to live with the novel coronavirus.

Six former consultants published three opinion pieces Thursday in Journal of the American Medical Association In detail what needs to be done now to achieve this.

Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, an oncologist, medical ethicist and professor at the University of Pennsylvania who advised former President Barack Obama, is the driving force behind this effort.

Experts note that the Biden administration is taking a broader view of the epidemic and acknowledging that the virus will not go away. They expressed concern about a “permanent emergency” in response to new mutations, such as the highly contagious Omicron variant.

One of the authors, Dr. Luciana Borio, told New York times. She was previously the Acting Chief Scientist at the US Food and Drug Administration.

The authors called for a “new normal” to live with the virus indefinitely. They suggested preparing for future outbreaks by setting goals and benchmarks for metrics that would put emergency measures into practice. These may include specific numbers for hospitalizations and deaths from respiratory viruses.

One passage called for a new national plan. The other two suggest improvements in testing, monitoring, vaccines, and treatments.

They also called for broader mandates for vaccines, including for children, and recommended that oral treatments and N95 masks be free and readily available.

They added that everyone in the United States should have access to a low-cost test. Plans to purchase 500 million rapid tests for “comprehensive, digitized, real-time” data collection by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are not enough. They also suggested that the vaccines could be given through nasal sprays or skin patches.

Borio expressed frustration that there is no federal system linking testing to treatments, so that people at high risk can get prescriptions for new antiviral drugs right away.

The authors said the Biden team had never heard of them.

“We understand that they have their hands full and are working to try and do everything right to get through this increase,” said Rick Bright, CEO of the Rockefeller Foundation’s Institute for Epidemic Prevention. He led a federal biomedical agency during the Trump administration and wrote two pieces.

“But at the same time, we think there’s still a lot of work to do to see this smoke to see how this will turn out, and to start putting steps into how we can live a normal life” with the virus, Bright told times.

Biden had a pandemic strategy when he was inaugurated and recently released his winter strategy, The times mentioned.

Experts suggested the first step would be to retire from the old, tired public health classifications and focus on the overall risk of all respiratory infections. They added that knowing the hospitalization and death rates that would paralyze hospitals could lead to a gauge of when emergency measures should be taken.

“The administration had a strategic plan a year ago and it was very well implemented through June, with a lot of people getting vaccinated, and it drove the number of cases down with great success,” Emmanuel told the newspaper. times. “As we transition to endemic COVID, we need to change our understanding of what it means to succeed and the goal we are aiming for.”

Resources

  • Journal of the American Medical AssociationJanuary 6, 2022
  • The New York Times

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