Six public health advisers who advised President Biden during his presidential transition published three opinion articles in the Journal of the American Medical Association urging Biden to change his strategy in responding to COVID-19 to one aimed at learning how to live with the virus.
“The authors are all big names in American medicine; several, including Dr. Luciana Borio, a former acting chief scientist at the Food and Drug Administration, and Dr. David Michaels, a former head of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, have held high-ranking government positions,” The New York Times reported. “The driving force behind the articles is Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, an oncologist, medical ethicist and University of Pennsylvania professor who advised former President Barack Obama.”
“They say the first thing the administration needs to do is take a broader vision, by recognizing that Covid-19 is here to stay. In one article, Dr. Emanuel and two co-authors — Michael T. Osterholm, an epidemiologist at the University of Minnesota, and Dr. Celine Gounder, an infectious disease expert at New York University — pointedly note that in July, Mr. Biden proclaimed that ‘we’ve gained the upper hand against this virus,’ which in retrospect was clearly not the case,” the outlet added.
The call for a new strategy comes after the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened to reaching over 1 million new daily cases despite Biden’s promise to “shut down the virus” during his 2020 presidential campaign.
“To be better prepared for inevitable outbreaks, they suggest that the administration lay out goals and specific benchmarks, including what number of hospitalizations and deaths from respiratory viruses, including the coronavirus, that should trigger emergency measures,” The New York Times added. “The authors say the administration needs to acknowledge that Omicron may not mark the end of the pandemic — and to plan for a future that they concede is unknowable. They also make clear that the current rate of Covid hospitalizations and deaths is unacceptably high.”