The White House, which is stepping up its efforts to develop a new coronavirus strategy, is reviewing a blueprint from outside experts whose recommendations include stronger air filtration systems in public buildings, billions of dollars in research and a major upgrade of the country’s public health system.
The team of more than two dozen experts was led by Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, a University of Pennsylvania bioethicist who advised President Biden’s transition team. The group includes former federal officials who have served presidents of both parties. They have spent much of the week meeting behind closed doors this week with government scientists and top health officials.
DailyExpertNews got a draft copy of their 136-page plan from a person involved in the sessions, who said the White House has asked the Emanuel team for cost estimates for some of its recommendations.
Entitled “Getting to and sustaining the next normal: A Roadmap for Living With Covid,” the plan echoes the same “Things are getting better, but we’re not out of the woods yet” tone that the president himself has adopted in recent weeks. It provides a guide to getting the nation out of crisis mode at a time when, the authors write, the United States is still “far from normal.”
“The mood of the American public, the demands of the economy and society, and the challenges of a virus that continues to surprise experts pose new and unique challenges,” the authors wrote. “Trying to eradicate Covid is not realistic. Instead, the nation must plan to mitigate its effects, prepare for variants, and build the next normal.”
White House officials stressed that Mr. Biden’s coronavirus response team has been in talks with governors, business leaders and health experts for weeks about how to revise its strategy for the next phase of the pandemic.
The team of dr. Emanuel came up with 10 broad recommendations. The report assumes that there will be fewer deaths from Covid-19 in 2022 than in 2021 and calls on the federal government to develop key indicators that community health officials can use to decide when emergency measures such as masking and social distancing should be taken. should be imposed or relaxed.
“Economists determine the health of the economy using multiple indicators, mainly unemployment, inflation and GDP growth,” the authors write. “Similarly, a respiratory viral disease dashboard will consist of several critical metrics.”
The authors also call on the government to initiate a new research initiative, modeled on the Trump Administration’s Operation Warp Speed, to develop new and more effective therapies and vaccines that may work against all variants of the coronavirus.
They want the Environmental Protection Agency to develop new air quality standards to prevent indoor viral transmission, a stronger scientific response to “long-term Covid”, new regulations to make it easier for health care providers to make virtual visits, and initiatives to increase safety in schools. improve workplaces.
“From now on, the nation must do much more to prevent schools from closing,” the authors wrote.