aThe third US COVID winter is at hand. In the coming months — as students return to school, temperatures drop, social life moves indoors, and holiday travel begins — not to mention the The emergence of new and increasingly elusive variants of immunity— We can count on it Another seasonal increase of infections and deaths.
With the experience of last year Record-breaking Omicron waveUS leaders should now – at least, in theory – be well equipped to handle what lies ahead. Health agencies must prepare clear and actionable messages on COVID measures for the holiday season. Masks, COVID tests, and treatments should be plentiful and available to all Americans. Indoor air quality must also be improved by improving ventilation in schools, workplaces and other public places.
However, these basic steps are not in place. The CDC has not released any updated guidance to the public. Although new bivalent enhancers are available, the uptake so far has been shocking a little. And the most serious, the last federal Financing cuts It ended programs that provide free COVID tests, vaccines, and treatments — all essential to protecting American communities, especially vulnerable groups. Because of these cuts, COVID testing labs and their manufacturers reduce their operations. In mid-October, with a bit of a warning, it appeared CDC announced the end It is its program to provide free N95 masks to the public. As the year comes to an end, it’s very likely that Americans are about to be shocked by another wave. Without renewed funding to cover these basic necessities, the United States could face another very dark pandemic winter.
More from TIME
At the same time, many of our political leaders – have give up For their sense that the epidemic is a lost cause – and they fall behind on toothless and self-defeating messages. In May 2022, the CDC introduced its new “community levels” scale in an imprecise effort Underestimate the reality On the ongoing high national levels of COVID transmission, creating reassuring maps mostly colored in mint green. Where July 2021Biden repeatedly advertiser That “COVID no longer controls our lives” – at this point, a claim that is almost kafka Our massive national death toll and high reporting rates of prolonged COVID. In September, New York State produced a file public service announcement to the Metropolitan Transit Authority displaying improperly worn face masks, accompanied by the message “You do you.”
The administration has had many opportunities to improve its COVID messaging over the past two years, but there are few signs that they have learned anything. Last December, the Biden administration repeatedly warned the unvaccinated of a “Winter of severe illness and death”—A message that overlooked the importance of testing and concealment, and also, inadvertently, addressed a threat to children under five and those who were immunocompromised. But this talk at least conveyed some sense of urgency. Recently, Biden’s comments in the coming months have been very tepid, like the president comment Simply in September “winter is not far away.”
In other words, winter is coming. Earlier this year, Biden officials warned of an increase in the spread of the Corona virus in the winter, and predicted that this could happen 100 million injuries, or approximately one third of the population. But with funding held back by Republican obstruction in Congress since the summer, Democrats seem to be trying to withdraw – retreat. The management has put a lot of effort into putting it in the best possible way Public relations Confronting the Pandemic – Downplaying our ongoing plight and presenting bad news as if it were good. By doing so, Democrats settled their case over Congressional funding to tackle pandemics.
In particular, the administration has had less and less to say about COVID deaths Hundreds of people still die from COVID every day. Last July, Ashish Jha advertiser That “we are now at a point, I think, where we can prevent almost every COVID death in America” — an arrogant assumption that will be seriously tested this winter. Indeed, with the deaths continuing, it may seem that leaders are betting that the public will simply get used to the continuing losses. Rochelle Wallinsky, the head of the CDC, suggested a lot in March when, at the bitter end of an omicron increase, expect That Americans will eventually get “the coronavirus that leads to death every season, which we will somehow endure.”
Recently, the administration touted annual COVID boosters as a panacea, Comparing the COVID Vaccine to the Flu Vaccine. Sure everyone should get a boost if they can — but doubling down on a vaccine-focused strategy is a wrong move, especially given the approaching national vaccine uptake rates. All-time lows in the past two yearsThis is probably due at least in part to the rhetoric of “returning to normal” and insufficient funding for vaccine deployment and booster.
Moreover, treating pandemic management as essentially a matter of vaccination is being embraced in the room for management Blame the unvaccinated for future death– To whom the administration has repeatedly attributed their results to less than optimal. In addition, excessive reliance on vaccination without adequate use of other mitigation measures may accelerate the emergence of Variables which is less responsive Treatments And the vaccination. In other words, our approach to fighting the pandemic It must be better diversified in order to be effective.
when is He called the epidemic ‘over’In the past month, Biden has tempted fate, risked political humiliation, and misled the public about how safe we are. Even worse, his administration’s failure to push for better measures for the pandemic will cost the lives and health of many Americans. It’s never too late to undo these decisions and turn to the many good ideas in his own country Campaign promises To manage the pandemic: Expand access to testing and personal protective equipment, mandates for masks, and hire thousands of community health workers to support vaccination and testing programs. There will never be a time like now to reset our national public health goals and start putting these measures into practice. The administration and its allies must fight hard for the funding that will make them possible — not hide the reality of what lies ahead.
More must-read stories from TIME