Some Thoughts on Biden’s New COVID Plan

Yesterday, the Biden adminstration released a “National COVID-⁠19 Preparedness Plan.” There is some very good stuff in it, but I do have several concerns. First, and the most fundamental, is: will the Biden administration actually implement any of it? There was a lot of good stuff in the 2021 plan–masks to every household!–that didn’t happen. So this time, the executive branch needs to execute.

Second, many of the programs seem to be dumped onto pharmacies, and I don’t think that’s the best way to do things (to start with, for people without insurance, that makes them very inaccessible). We’ve already asked pharmacies to do a lot, and now we’re asking even more. There are some community center types of facilities, but in non-urban areas, I’m not certain how accessible those will be.

There’s also considerable vagueness, which to say, no details whatsoever about what information will be provided to people to determine the prevalence (and therefore risk) of COVID:

Launch a one-stop-shop website [“one-stop” shows up a ridiculous number of times in the document] that allows Americans to easily find public health guidance based on the COVID-19 risk in their local area and easily access tools to protect themselves. The Administration will launch a website where Americans can find the level of COVID-19 risk in their community and specific guidance based on that risk. The site will also point people to the tools we now have to fight COVID-19, such as locating a vaccination site in their neighborhood or finding a free high-quality mask at a local grocery store, pharmacy, or community health center.

The reason I didn’t boldface anything is because there’s no important information. What data will be made available to people? Will it be asymptomatic hospital patient intake, which is the closest thing the U.S. has to a random, community-level sample? If we’re going to make COVID an individual problem, then, at the very least, people need good information–we can’t stick our arm out the window to see how much COVID there is.

Finally, it’s worth noting that, while there’s some funding for long COVID research, there is no discussion about the frequency of long COVID, which once again is ignored.

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