Covid-19 has led to a global recession, millions of lives lost, social changes, and more. The pandemic has not only disrupted the lives of Americans but also created an economic and public health crisis. The pandemic has also had detrimental effects on various ethnic and racial groups. The inequalities in income, access to health care, education, housing, and discrimination expose some ethnic and racial groups to a higher risk of contracting and succumbing to COVID-19 (Smith & Fraser, 2020). There has been a paradigm change in U.S policy from isolation to containment and response measures by both Trump and Biden administrations.
As part of containment measures, massive vaccination is critical. While testing provides an estimate of the population level of exposure, massive vaccination minimizes the risk of contracting the Covid-19 virus (Knoll & Wonodi, 2021). Although health experts continue to learn about the virus, there are numerous benefits of being vaccinated. Besides reducing the risk of infection, getting vaccinated helps people to reconnect with their friends and family members. Knoll & Wonodi (2021) note that getting vaccinated is also considered the first step to normalcy. Although face masks, hand-washing, and physical distancing are still recommended, getting vaccinated is the long-term solution to combating the deadly virus. According to Shrotri et al. (2021), as of the end of September 2021, over 75% of the people aged 75 years and above had been vaccinated, while on average, over 50% of the people aged between 12 and 75 had received at least one dose of the dose.
Attending to Vulnerable Populations
Like many other pandemics that the U.S has faced before, COVID-19 has turned into a burden to vulnerable populations (Wheaton et al., 2021). For example, low-income earners who rely on casual jobs to feed their families are likely to avoid getting tested for fear of being forced into isolation. Consequently, effective response strategies are needed to address the societal crises. The Pandemic has highlighted the social disparities that must be addressed first before normalcy can be achieved. According to Zachary (2021), the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 was enacted in February 2021 to provide direct relief payments to vulnerable families over the next six months.
Investment in Public Health
Estimates show that the growth rate of the United States GDP will decline by at least 5% during every month of the economic shutdown (Duggan, 2020). The economic cost of the shutdown has been estimated to be in excess of $2trillion and is likely to rise with the continued shutdown. The necessary investment in public health, including setting up strong public health infrastructure and having in place coordinated plans to achieve effective response are needed (DeSalvo et al., 2021). Among other investments, Joe Biden’s administration recently announced a 2.1 billion dollars investment to boost infection prevention and improve public health activities.
Overall, there have been significant efforts to combat the Covid-19 virus by both Trump and Biden administrations. The recent initiatives show a paradigm change in U.S policy from isolation to containment and response measures. Besides massive vaccinations, there have been huge investments in public health to improve infection prevention. In addition, direct relief plans to rescue the vulnerable groups have been implemented.
DeSalvo, K., Hughes, B., Bassett, M., Benjamin, G., Fraser, M., Galea, S., & Gracia, J. N. (2021). Public health COVID-19 impact assessment: lessons learned and compelling needs. NAM perspectives, 2021.
In this article, the authors agree that the increased life expectancy and the quality of life of Americans can be associated with huge investments in public health. As such, they recommend strategies to promote healthy environments such as free access to healthcare, improved prevention, and management of pandemics.
Duggan, M. (2020). Economic policy in a Biden administration. Policy.
In this article, the author is pessimistic about the impacts of covid-19 on the US economy, unless Biden’s administration puts in place the necessary measures to control the spread of the virus.
Keith, K. (2021). Biden and New Congress Tackle COVID-19, ACA: The Biden administration and the new Congress tackle COVID-19, and the ACA. Health Affairs, 40(3), 376-377.
In this article, the author recognized the efforts of Biden’s administration, especially the congress in tackling Covid-19. However, he admits that Biden will have to find a compromise to navigate through a congress that is narrowly controlled by Republicans.
Knoll, M. D., & Wonodi, C. (2021). Oxford–AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine efficacy. The Lancet, 397(10269), 72-74.
In this article, the authors express their confidence in the efficacy of vaccines, in various parts of the world. They agree that vaccines are the only way through which normalcy can be restored in America.
Shrotri, M., Swinnen, T., Kampmann, B., & Parker, E. P. (2021). An interactive website tracking COVID-19 vaccine development. The Lancet Global Health, 9(5), e590-e592.
This platform tracks the Covid-19 vaccination information, including the percentage of the population that has been vaccinated as well as their locations. Regular updates about vaccinations are crucial as far as providing the necessary information for opening up the economy is concerned.
Smith, N., & Fraser, M. (2020). Straining the system: novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and preparedness for concomitant disasters.
In this article, the authors demonstrate the important role of government agencies such as the CDC in issuing disaster alerts and preparedness to the nation. They argue that prior to the announcement of the first case of Covid-19 in the U.S, CDC had issued an alert, but the government was slow in implementing the necessary measures to stop the spread of the virus.
Wheaton, L., Minton, S., Giannarelli, L., & Dwyer, K. (2021). 2021 Poverty Projections: Assessing Four American Rescue Plan Policies. Washington, DC: Urban Institute, 500.
The authors of this article have attempted to assess the impacts of the four American Rescue Plan policies implemented recently. They argue that the policies have not fully addressed the concerns of the vulnerable groups, so much needs to be done in terms of the policy framework.
Zachary, C. (2021). The American Rescue Plan Act: protecting and supporting frontline workers. North Carolina Medical Journal, 82(5), 345-349.
In this article, the author recognizes the role of frontline workers in the control and prevention of the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The author contends that the enactment of the American Rescue Plan Act is a great milestone in providing funds protecting the population as well as frontline health workers.