POST 61. November 7, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. “Joe Biden’s top priority entering the White House is fighting both the immediate coronavirus crisis and its complex long-term aftermath…” “Here are the key ways he plans to get US coronavirus cases under control.”

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“Joe Biden’s top priority entering the White House is fighting both the immediate coronavirus crisis and its complex long-term aftermath by embracing science, pushing mask-wearing as a patriotic act and leaning on Congress to pass a massive stimulus package.

It’s a strategy that would toss out the Trump administration’s patchwork response that put the burden on states and install a top-down national framework for testing, contact tracing and targeted business closures. Biden’s also promised a national mask mandate, calling it “a patriotic duty.” And public health experts rather than politicians will update the public once Biden is sworn in — meaning sober assessments and realistic timelines will replace Trump’s declarations that the pandemic is all but over and the virus will “disappear” with or without a vaccine.

“You’ll immediately see a change of tone, a change in communication,” said Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, a health policy and bioethics expert advising Biden. “People can roll their eyes at that, but this is the stuff of real leadership: telling the truth, modeling the right behaviors like wearing a mask, only having small crowds, putting the scientists out there.”

The shift, however, won’t be immediate. A defeated Trump stays in office until Jan. 20, and public health experts expect the coronavirus to keep spreading throughout the country during the transition, adding thousands to a death toll that’s already crossed 230,000. In addition, even the most thoughtful Biden plans won’t be able to wipe out much of the country’s deep cultural divide and skepticism about the virus and antagonism toward the public health steps needed to combat it. Red states and MAGA world will strongly resist Biden’s approach, having embraced Trump’s rosy assessments and his portrayals of masks and business closures as a form of tyranny. New restrictions could also rattle millions of less partisan but crisis-weary Americans who face looming evictions or the expiration of unemployment benefits. For those reasons, the makeup of the next Congress will play a big part determining if Biden can make his plan stick, or whether it will get mired in more rancor.

One of Biden’s first actions, his campaign told POLITICO, would be to press Congress to get a sweeping stimulus bill to his desk by late January that guarantees paid sick leave to all workers, covers the cost of Covid-19 testing and treatment for the uninsured and under-insured and gives states and public health workers the resources they need to slow the spread of the virus and distribute a vaccine if and when one is approved…

Biden will have to do it all while recruiting people to fill out a hollowed out federal workforce that’s been a frequent target of Trump attacks — and restore morale at federal health agencies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention where career scientists were repeatedly undercut by the White House.” (A)

“With President Donald Trump’s coronavirus task force sidelined, Joe Biden is planning to create his own task force to help grapple with the country’s surge in cases should he win tonight’s election, according to plans obtained by POLITICO.

The task force would include former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner David Kessler, New York University’s Dr. Celine Gounder, Yale’s Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, former Obama White House aide Dr. Zeke Emanuel and former Chicago Health Commissioner Dr. Julie Morita, who is now an executive vice president at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. In line with Biden’s repeated campaign pledges to “listen to the scientists” if elected, the team features well-respected, veteran public health experts, some of whom ran agencies under the Obama and Clinton administrations.

The team is expected to advise transition officials on managing the latest spike of Covid-19 cases, ensuring vaccines are safe, and protecting at risk populations, according to an official close to the Biden team with knowledge of the plans, which are still evolving

Many of the members have already been working with the Biden campaign and transition for months. Starting in the pandemic’s earliest days, Murthy and Kessler have led briefings for Biden as often as four times a week, pulling in other former officials and experts in public health, infectious diseases and epidemiology to update the former vice president on the virus’s spread and the ongoing development of a vaccine. Biden’s campaign has featured these briefings in its closing advertisements as part of his argument that he is better prepared than Trump to confront Covid-19…

The transition team has also discussed contingency plans for the possibility that the Trump administration would refuse to cooperate and share information during a transition, according to another source close to Biden…

Mr. Biden’s policy advisers have been developing plans that would go into effect as soon as he took office, including ramping up testing, ensuring a steady supply of protective equipment, distributing a vaccine and securing money from Congress for schools and hospitals….

Former Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in an interview that given the state of the pandemic, the task force’s creation is “good news.”

“We are still 11 weeks away from the inauguration — that’s a potentially dangerous and damaging time for the American public with the virus still raging,” she said. “So hopefully this can give the American public some confidence that they’re not on their own, that the pandemic isn’t a Democratic plot, that the numbers are very real and that we have choices.” (B)

“President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. plans to announce a Covid-19 task force as early as Monday, a source familiar with the plans of the Biden transition team said Saturday.

Mr. Biden, who made President Trump’s mishandling of the pandemic a centerpiece of his campaign, is expected to name three co-chairs of the 12-member panel: Vivek Murthy, a former surgeon general; David Kessler, the former commissioner of the F.D.A.; and Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, a Yale University professor.

The announcement of the task force is part of a weeklong focus that Mr. Biden intends to place on health care and the pandemic as he begins the process of building his administration, a person close to the transition said.

“We’re not waiting to get the work done,” Mr. Biden said in a speech on Friday night.

During the campaign, Mr. Biden repeatedly assailed Mr. Trump for mishandling the virus, refusing to wear a mask and playing down the threat from the pandemic, which has spread across the country.

In the last several days, the number of new cases of the virus has soared to record levels, with more than 130,000 new cases reported in a single day on Friday. So far, nearly 250,000 people have died since the pandemic arrived in the United States.

Mr. Murthy has been a key adviser to Mr. Biden and his campaign for months and aides to the president-elect say they expect him to serve as the public face of the new, Democratic administration when it comes to public health issues and the virus.

Mr. Biden’s aides have assembled an internal group of roughly two dozen health policy and technology experts to look at the development and delivery of a vaccine, improving health data and securing supply chains, among other issues.

Mr. Trump will keep control of the nation’s health apparatus and the bully pulpit that comes with the Oval Office until Jan. 20 — a crucial period for the country’s outbreak, given that infections already have hit new highs and colder weather is driving more interactions indoors.

The president has largely shuttered the White House Coronavirus Task Force and doubled down on anti-science language, insisting that the country must fully reopen and repeatedly telling voters that the country is “rounding the corner” in the fight against the virus, which has claimed nearly a quarter of a million lives in the country…

Mr. Biden, who made President Trump’s mishandling of the pandemic a centerpiece of his campaign, is expected to name three co-chairs of the 12-member panel: Vivek Murthy, a former surgeon general; David Kessler, the former commissioner of the F.D.A.; and Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, a Yale University professor.

The announcement of the task force is part of a weeklong focus that Mr. Biden intends to place on health care and the pandemic as he begins the process of building his administration, a person close to the transition said.

“We’re not waiting to get the work done,” Mr. Biden said in a speech on Friday night.

During the campaign, Mr. Biden repeatedly assailed Mr. Trump for mishandling the virus, refusing to wear a mask and playing down the threat from the pandemic, which has spread across the country.

In the last several days, the number of new cases of the virus has soared to record levels, with more than 130,000 new cases reported in a single day on Friday. So far, nearly 250,000 people have died since the pandemic arrived in the United States.

Mr. Murthy has been a key adviser to Mr. Biden and his campaign for months and aides to the president-elect say they expect him to serve as the public face of the new, Democratic administration when it comes to public health issues and the virus.

Mr. Biden’s aides have assembled an internal group of roughly two dozen health policy and technology experts to look at the development and delivery of a vaccine, improving health data and securing supply chains, among other issues.

Mr. Trump will keep control of the nation’s health apparatus and the bully pulpit that comes with the Oval Office until Jan. 20 — a crucial period for the country’s outbreak, given that infections already have hit new highs and colder weather is driving more interactions indoors.

The president has largely shuttered the White House Coronavirus Task Force and doubled down on anti-science language, insisting that the country must fully reopen and repeatedly telling voters that the country is “rounding the corner” in the fight against the virus, which has claimed nearly a quarter of a million lives in the country.

Mr. Biden’s policy advisers have been developing plans that would go into effect as soon as he took office, including ramping up testing, ensuring a steady supply of protective equipment, distributing a vaccine and securing money from Congress for schools and hospitals.” (C)

“Here are the key ways he plans to get US coronavirus cases under control.

Make tests widely available…

Biden has pledged to make testing more widely available through a government-backed test-development program. He also intends to increase the production of rapid, at-home diagnostic tests and establish at least 10 drive-through testing sites per state…

Expand mask requirements

Biden has said he would consider a national mask mandate, though legal experts say he may only have the authority to enforce mask-wearing on federal property or in federal facilities.

At the very least, Biden plans to work with governors to implement mask requirements…

Tailor lockdowns to local hotspots

It seems unlikely that Biden would impose a nationwide shutdown, based on his comments leading up to Election Day. But the president-elect has repeatedly said he would follow the recommendations of scientific officials…

Restore the CDC’s authority

The Trump administration’s approach has come into conflict with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) several times. CDC scientists have said some of their advice about lockdowns and testing was ignored by the federal administration….

Rejoin the World Health Organization

Trump halted all funding to the WHO, which is helping coordinate the global response to the pandemic, in April. Then in July, the US officially withdrew from the WHO, though the decision wouldn’t be finalized until July 2021.

Biden has said he will rejoin the WHO on his first day in office….

Enlist at least 100,000 contact tracers

As of October, the US had 50,000 contact tracers, according to a joint survey from NPR and the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. That means the vast majority of states don’t have enough contact tracers to investigate their coronavirus cases, according to NPR’s analysis.

Distribute more ventilators and PPE to hospitals

Biden has promised to lean more heavily on the Defense Production Act, which allows the president to require businesses to prioritize the federal government’s supply-chain needs. Trump has invoked the act, too, but Biden hopes to using it more aggressively to alleviate supply-chain issues with PPE, ventilators, and other resources needed by hospitals.

Ensure free COVID-19 treatment for all Americans

At the moment, COVID-19 treatments — of which there are still very few — may be free depending on the state you live in, your insurer, or your employer. Biden has promised to eliminate co-pays, deductibles, and surprise bills for insured Americans who receive these therapies. He has also pledged to reimburse healthcare providers for COVID-19 treatments for uninsured patients.

Ensure a vaccine is safe and free

The Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed program is currently manufacturing vaccine doses in large quantities while clinical trials are ongoing. It’s also funding the research and development of promising candidates. Congress has directed nearly $10 billion in CARES Act funding to Operation Warp Speed.” (D)

“Much of the work has already begun. In interviews with STAT, several Biden health advisers described a forthcoming effort to court skeptical mayors and governors, select and vet leaders for key public health agencies, and set a new tone for the nation’s pandemic response, even in the 10 weeks before he takes office. Many in the president-elect’s brain trust spoke on the condition that the conversations remain private until Biden was declared the winner.

“There are some things he’s going to do right off the bat,” said Nicole Lurie, a Biden campaign adviser who served as the Obama administration’s top pandemic-preparedness official. “He will reach out to Tony Fauci. He will declare his intent to be an active participant in the WHO and in the world. And I believe that in very short order, he’ll be in touch with governors and mayors around the country, listening to what it is that they’ll need to pivot this response.”” (E)

“President-elect Joe Biden’s victory signals a turning point in the U.S. response to the coronavirus pandemic, as he promises a newly aggressive federal effort to contain a virus that is spiking nationwide in contrast to a president who has consistently downplayed the outbreak’s dangers and promised it would disappear….

Biden released a plan to combat the coronavirus that says its aim is to restore trust, create a cohesive national strategy, make treatments affordable, provide economic relief to those impacted by the virus and work with other countries to combat the spread.

Biden said he would restore the White House National Security Council Directorate for Global Health Security and Biodefense, which the Trump administration had folded into another office at the NSC.

He also plans to provide a daily public White House report on how many tests have been conducted, expand surveillance programs by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, instruct federal agencies to take action to expand America’s hospital capacity and expand tele-health capabilities across the country.

The plan also says federal health agencies will collaborate on vaccine development, establish a public health corps to assist with testing and contract tracing, and fully fund and expand authority for the National Disaster Medical System to reimburse providers for Covid-19 treatment costs that are not directly covered by health insurance.” (F)

“Biden gave a speech on his COVID-19 plan on Oct. 23, and he and running mate Senator Kamala Harris have circulated a seven-point plan for “beat[ing] COVID-19 and get[ting] our country back on track.” It is, experts say, what they’ve asked for since the pandemic began—but “the real devil’s in the details,” says Eric Toner, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. Everything comes down to execution and specifics. And on that front, it’s too early to say how things would go if Biden is elected.” (G)

(A)Joe Biden will inherit a raging pandemic. Here’s what he plans to do next., By ALICE MIRANDA OLLSTEIN and DAN GOLDBERG,  https://www.politico.com/news/2020/11/07/biden-pandemic-response-434701

(B)Biden plans for Covid task force during transition, By ALICE MIRANDA OLLSTEIN, THEODORIC MEYER and ALEX THOMPSON, https://www.politico.com/news/2020/11/03/biden-plans-for-covid-transition-task-force-433955

(C)As the virus rages, President-elect Biden could announce his Covid-19 task force on Monday., https://www.nytimes.com/live/2020/11/07/world/covid-19-coronavirus-updates?referringSource=articleShare&referringSource=articleShare

(D)9 actions Joe Biden plans to take to get the US coronavirus outbreak under control, by Aria Bendix,

https://www.businessinsider.com/biden-coroanvirus-pandemic-plan-vaccine-testing-masks-2020-11

(E)Biden’s ready to start his pandemic response immediately, By LEV FACHER, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-11-07/biden-win-signals-a-turning-point-in-u-s-coronavirus-response

(F)Biden Win Signals a Turning Point in U.S. Coronavirus Response Tyler Pager John Tozzi, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-11-07/biden-win-signals-a-turning-point-in-u-s-coronavirus-response

(G) Here’s What We Know About Joe Biden’s COVID-19 Plan, BY JAMIE DUCHARME, https://time.com/5905502/biden-covid-19-plan/

Doctor, Did You Wash Your Hands? ®  at  http://doctordidyouwashyourhands.com/

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    Democrat Joe Biden has defeated President Donald Trump to become the h president of the United States. He won Pennsylvania on Saturday to exceed the 270 electoral votes needed to win the White House. Biden also carried Nevada, Arizona, Wisconsin and Michigan on his path to making Trump the first incumbent since George H.W. Bush to lose his bid for a second term. Joe Biden will unveil a group of scientists and experts to help him craft a plan to tackle the coronavirus pandemic on Monday.

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