During last year’s election campaign, Joe Biden promised that if he is elected president, he will control covid-19. Since taking office in January, Biden has promised that his government will do its utmost to get Americans vaccinated against the new coronavirus to restore normal life.
Along the way, signs of progress and setbacks appeared.
Initially, as the Covid vaccine became available at the beginning of this year, the supply was in short supply, which made many people frustrated. In the end, everyone who wants to be vaccinated can be fully vaccinated.
In May and June, the number of new Covid cases, hospitalizations and deaths dropped sharply, prompting the Biden government to relax mask requirements and guidance for fully vaccinated people. However, many states and localities responded by completely abolishing the requirement to wear masks, even for people who have not been vaccinated.
Summer also ushered in the highly contagious delta variant, triggering another wave of pandemics. To labor day, Daily cases in the U.S. It was the highest point since last winter. The death toll is also rising.
September 9th, Biden announces six-part plan Fight against delta variants and step up efforts to control covid. The plan includes vaccine requirements for federal workers, government contractors, and those working in private companies with 100 or more employees; requirements for employers to provide paid time off for those who get opportunities; increase transmission and reduce Covid testing Costs, including rapid home testing; and the establishment of stricter Covid safety protocols in schools and interstate transportation.
Vaccination requirements for private employers include weekly testing of workers instead of vaccinations. Federal workers will not have this option.
KHN and our partners in Political facts Analyze Biden’s promises during the 2020 presidential campaign.We asked the experts whether this list of action items is helpful in formulating This promise-Defeat the virus-become a reality.
Limitations and benefits of the Biden plan
Although the plan is “a big step in the right direction”, according to Dr. Leana WenVisiting Professor of Health Policy and Management at George Washington University, it should be released two months ago.This will slow the delta variant from gaining such a strong foothold in the US
“If they act earlier, we will be in a different position,” she said.
Wen said that the current plan is far from enough. He urged the Biden administration to encourage companies and jurisdictions to require vaccination certificates to enter restaurants and other businesses, as New York City and San Francisco have done.
Wen said: “This will send a message: “Unless you get vaccinated, you will not be able to enjoy the pre-pandemic life privileges.” A breakthrough infection is occurring, and people who have not been vaccinated are endangering people who cannot be vaccinated, such as children.”
Dr. Marcus PlesiaThe chief medical officer of the Association of State and Territory Health Officials is optimistic that Biden’s plan will make a difference, “but it’s hard to know how big it is.”
He said that, for example, employers’ vaccination requirements will certainly help states that have already begun to take similar measures (such as requiring state workers to be vaccinated or regularly tested). It “will strengthen what the country is trying to do.”
But it is not clear what will happen to states that strongly oppose authorization politically. “There will be partisan differences,” Plesia predicted.
Biden’s proposal aroused widespread opposition from many Republican governors, and some vowed to oppose it. Others made more moderate statements. Ohio Governor Mike DeWine is a Republican, Tell Cincinnati Radio The plan may hinder efforts to educate people about the importance of vaccines because “we will now talk about a federal authorization that nobody likes, not about’Look, this is science.'”
But Plescia is pleased that the vaccination requirements have broadly expanded the vaccination requirements of health care workers. Now, it goes beyond previous announcements that only affected nursing home staff, including those of almost all medical institutions that receive federal funding, such as Medicare or Medicaid.
An August announcement mainly directed at nursing home staff raised concerns that some employees would simply quit their jobs and find jobs in health care institutions that do not require vaccines, which further exacerbated the shortage of nursing home staff.
Plescia said that with the president’s new move, “this makes the competition fairer.” The same goes for other industries.
And for some unvaccinated adults, this authorization may not be so offensive, saying Dr. George Benjamin, The executive director of the American Public Health Association, because the employer becomes the executive.
“The person who tells them what to do is their boss at work,” he said. “This is a different leverage point from the government.”
However, Jane KatesThe head of KFF’s global health and HIV policy stated that testing options for companies with 100 or more employees may slow down any positive impact of the vaccine push.
It will take time to understand the enforcement of authorizations and requirements. Possible legal challenges may delay results, just like the regulatory steps involved in implementing employer vaccination requirements, which will depend on the implementation of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Plescia said the goal of providing more test kits to medical centers and passing major retailers to provide home test kits at lower prices may also help.
Benjamin gave a “healthy B+” to Biden’s progress in controlling the new crown virus and cited more than 200 million Americans who had received at least one injection, although he admitted, “As a country, we have not made critical progress. . Enough vaccination levels in the country.” Currently, 63% of the U.S. population Fully vaccinated for 12 years and older.
However, in many parts of the country, less than half of the population is vaccinated, far below the level that many public health experts believe is necessary to contain the virus.
“Obviously, carrots are useless,” Benjamin said, referring to Carrot and stick analogy“We have strong forces to fight back, including the usual anti-vaccine community and the highest level of politicization.”
Compared with whites, there is still a gap in vaccination rates for people of color, although this gap has recently been narrowing.Nevertheless, the dose share Blacks and Hispanics have received In most states, it is much smaller than their share of new coronavirus cases.
Continued exposure to these populations will be an important tool to increase vaccination rates in the United States and slow the surge in delta mutations.
When will we (if any) control Covid?
despite this, Dr. William SchaffnerThe professor of medicine in the Department of Infectious Diseases at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee is hopeful.
He said that if things move forward quickly, “by some time this winter, we will be able to contain the epidemic.” In that case, he does not mean that the virus will be conquered. Instead, Schaffner said, “We will enter the new normal on the same orbit as before the Delta.”
Keites envisions that if the United States can achieve higher vaccination coverage, the epidemic will become controllable. But she also believes that the virus is likely to continue to spread, and the new crown virus will become an endemic disease.
“Because of the low coverage of vaccines in other countries, the possibility that it is not a problem is diminishing. Containing Covid also depends on what we do globally,” Kates said. “The possibility in the United States is that we will endure for a period of time, and containment will depend on vaccination rates.” We continue to rate this commitment as “under construction.”