Experts publish roadmap on next steps in COVID-19 pandemic

March 8, 2022

Leading scholars and experts — including six of President Biden’s sixteen-member COVID-19 Advisory Board — published a 13-chapter roadmap for how Americans can get to and sustain the “next normal” in COVID-19 and infectious disease preparedness, according to a news release from the Rockefeller Foundation.

The roadmap, Getting to and Sustaining the Next Normal: A Roadmap for Living With COVID, is authored by a team of experts in public health, epidemiology, pharmacology, virology, immunology, health policy, communications, and other relevant fields. This Roadmap Group was convened and led by Ezekiel Emanuel, MD, PhD. former Covid-19 Advisory Board member and Special Advisor for Health Policy in the Obama Administration.

“Americans are beyond tired of waking up to uncertainty about what the future holds thanks to a COVID pandemic that feels never-ending. As the threat of Omicron fades and Americans are looking for direction, it’s time the country maps out a way forward so that people can start to live their lives in a next normal,” said Emanuel who also is Vice Provost for Global Initiatives at the University of Pennsylvania. He coordinated and authored the report.

Key provisions of the new recommendations include:

  • Shift focus from COVID-19 to all respiratory viral illnesses (influenza, RSV) with the goal of not surpassing the worst flu season in annual deaths.
  • Expect fewer deaths from COVID-19 in 2022 than in each of the two previous years; even the pessimistic model projects about half as many deaths.
  • Create a public dashboard that shows all key metrics for local communities to guide lifting or imposing restrictions.
  • Start new initiatives to develop new, more effective therapeutics and vaccines.
  • Direct the EPA and OSHA to develop new standards to improve air quality; direct states and localities to use ARP funds on ventilation and air filtration at schools and public buildings.
  • End school-based quarantines; establish a policy that schools should be last to close and first to open.
  • Create a unified scientific and regulatory response to Long COVID, including funding a significant program of research and providing disability benefits to sufferers.
  • Codify new telemedicine regulations to maximize ease for health care providers to operate across the country; invest in the mental health of the health care workforce.
  • Invest in a massive upgrade of the public health surveillance and data and analytical infrastructure.
  • Fund research to better understand COVID-related health disparities and begin to address them by leveraging infrastructure of faith-based communities and creating a permanent cadre of embedded community public health workers.

Visit the Rockefeller Foundation for more news

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