“I am very concerned that if we don’t deploy the resources now, it will only get more difficult and less likely in the coming years,” Mr Daschle wrote in an email. “Now is the time to apply lessons learned.”
Some Democrats have repeatedly called for the first $30 billion in the budget package. Among them are Senator Patty Murray, Democrat of Washington and the chair of the Senate Health Committee, and Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts. Ms. Warren and six of her Democratic colleagues recently wrote to House and Senate leaders of both parties, calling on them to include $30 billion in the budget package “to prevent and prepare for future pandemics.”
Understanding Vaccine and Mask Mandates in the US
- Vaccine Rules. On August 23, the Food and Drug Administration gave full approval to Pfizer-BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine for people 16 and older, paving the way for an increase in mandates in both the public and private sectors. Private companies are increasingly mandating vaccines for employees. Such mandates are permitted by law and have been confirmed in court proceedings.
- Mask Rules. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended in July that all Americans, regardless of vaccination status, wear masks in indoor public places in areas with outbreaks, a reversal of the guidance it offered in May. Find out where CDC guidelines apply and where states have their own masking policies. The battle over masks has become controversial in some states, with some local leaders defying state bans.
- College and universities. More than 400 colleges and universities are demanding that students be vaccinated against Covid-19. Nearly all of them are in states that voted for President Biden.
- schools. Both California and New York City have introduced vaccine mandates for educators. A survey published in August found that many U.S. parents of school-aged children are opposed to mandatory vaccines for students, but were more in favor of mask mandates for students, teachers and staff who have not received their injections.
- Hospitals and Medical Centers. Many hospitals and major health systems require workers to receive a Covid-19 vaccine, citing the increasing caseload fueled by the Delta variant and persistently low vaccination coverage in their communities, even within their workforce.
- New York City. Evidence of vaccination is required from employees and customers for indoor meals, gyms, performances and other indoor situations, although enforcement will not begin until September 13. Teachers and other education workers in the city’s vast school system must have at least one vaccine dose by Sept. 27, without the option of weekly testing. City hospital employees should also receive a vaccine or be tested weekly. Similar rules apply to employees in New York State.
- At the federal level. The Pentagon announced it would aim to make coronavirus vaccinations mandatory for the country’s 1.3 million active-duty troops “by mid-September.” President Biden announced that all civilian federal employees would be required to be vaccinated against the coronavirus or undergo regular testing, social distancing, mask requirements and restrictions on most travel.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has made it clear that underinvestment in our public health infrastructure, our biomedical research pipeline and our medical supply chain is having disastrous consequences,” the senators wrote.
The committees are still negotiating the details of the budget package, and several people familiar with the plan said Friday’s White House announcement could be an attempt to pressure leaders on Capitol Hill — especially Senator Chuck. Schumer, New York Democrat and Majority Leader — to stand behind the government’s full $65.3 billion plan and commit to at least $15 billion in the budget move.
Mr Schumer has so far been non-committal. “I have worked and will continue to work to make the investments necessary to ensure that we are fully prepared for future pandemics,” he said. wrote on Twitter last month.
dr. Lander was joined Friday by Elizabeth Cameron, the senior director for global health security and biodefense on the National Security Council — a job she also held at the Obama White House, where she drafted a preparedness document known as the pandemic playbook. She said the Biden plan is “largely based on those efforts,” as well as “on lessons learned from this pandemic.”
According to documents released by the White House, the plan has five central goals: to improve and expand the country’s arsenal of vaccines, therapies and diagnostics; improving surveillance of infectious disease threats; strengthening the public health system, with a “special focus on reducing inequality”; building the supply chain and inventory for personal protective equipment and other items; and “managing the mission,” by creating a new Mission Control office – a task Dr. Lander compared to the Apollo missions to send astronauts to the moon in the 1960s.
“If you go to the moon and you have a great booster rocket, but you don’t have a capsule that can land or computers that can steer, it’s not going to work,” he said.