5 public health experts told us what the US needs to do right now to get COVID-19 under control

COVID-19 vaccination, NY

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America is getting a new president and a shot in the arm by way of the coronavirus vaccine, but a return to some semblance of normality is far off since the US still lacks an effective strategy for handling a runaway pandemic that it was woefully unprepared for.

The country now faces a grim winter season. Healthcare workers are burned out, drug overdoses have increased, businesses are shuttered, millions are jobless and hungry, and children are struggling with virtual learning. Grimmest of all: 320,000 people and counting are dead. People of color and older adults have been hit hardest. 

“These are the ramifications of all of the unpreparedness and poor decisions to this day, which continue,” Richard Carmona, who was the surgeon general in the George W. Bush administration, told Insider.

Once Joe Biden becomes president on January 20, he’ll inherit the Trump administration’s disjointed approach and have to figure out a new strategy to get the pandemic under control. The president-elect is set to update the nation on his plan Thursday evening.

So far, Biden’s team has released a plan for his first 100 days in office that includes signing a mask mandate and vowing 100 million shots will be distributed, enough for 50 million people.

“My first 100 days won’t end the COVID-19 virus — I can’t promise that,” Biden said at a December 11 event in Delaware. “But we did not get in this mess quickly, we’re not going to get out of it quickly. It’s going to take some time.”

Five public-health experts told Insider it would take an aggressive all-hands-on-deck strategy to pull the US out of the mess it’s in.

  Melania Trump didn't know whether she'd be attending Biden's inauguration until the president tweeted that he'd be skipping it

It would have to include a massive vaccination effort, fireside chats, public-service announcements featuring trusted leaders, and even scaring people with real-life anecdotes that shock them into taking the virus seriously.

Read more: Young, healthy people have figured out a loophole to get a COVID-19 vaccine without skipping the line

Keep doing what’s working

The experts Insider interviewed said the Trump administration overall did a poor job addressing the pandemic but credited the president for pushing government agencies to move quickly on a vaccine. The Food and Drug Administration has approved two coronavirus vaccines and will probably give the green light to more.

But the experts also acknowledged that the public pressure Trump put on scientists damaged his efforts because it made people distrust the vaccine, with many polled saying they consider it unsafe and rushed for political reasons.

As he received his first shot on December 21, Biden said the Trump administration deserved “some credit” for fast-tracking the vaccine.

Soon, Biden’s team will be in charge of finishing the job Trump started, and a lot can go wrong from the time a vaccine is manufactured to when a shot makes it into people’s arms. Already, the rollout of the vaccine has been slow and messy. 

“In our lifetimes, we’ve never faced a pandemic of this severity,” Rear Adm. Boris Lushniak, the former deputy surgeon general during the Obama administration, told Insider. …read more

Source:: Businessinsider – Politics

      

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