Biden Administration: Hope Or More Mobilization On Covid?
A surge in covid cases presents the Biden Administration with a policy dilemma: Emphasize how close nation is to ending the epidemic or stress the immediate dangers of the coronavirus and its variants.
Biden Wants To Give The Nation Hope. But A Jump In Covid Cases Is Complicating Things.
The Biden administration is struggling over how to portray a burst of new coronavirus cases, even taking pains to avoid saying publicly that the country is experiencing a “surge,” according to three senior administration officials. President Joe Biden's Covid-19 team is torn over how to convey two seemingly conflicting ideas: That the nation is closer than ever to ending the health crisis, and yet remains in imminent danger from the virus. (Banco and Owermohle, 3/31)
How The CDC Is Battling The Pandemic And Working To Regain Public Trust
It's been a long year for basically everyone — and especially for Dr. Henry Walke. For months on end, Walke has been pulling 13-hour work days as the COVID-19 incident response manager at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a job he took on last July. He never expected the job to last this long. "The scale of this pandemic is mind-boggling, and it's affected all of us — every facet of our work and home," he says. Walke is heading up the largest and most challenging outbreak response in the agency's history — an all-agency effort involving more than 8,000 employees, working to guide the U.S. out of a public health emergency that has claimed more than 550,000 lives. (Huang, 4/1)
CDC Provides Easter Coronavirus Guidance, Says Fully Vaccinated People Can Gather Without Masks
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has officially released its coronavirus guidance ahead of Easter Sunday, advising those who are taking part in the celebration to do so virtually and avoid travel, if possible. Those who are fully vaccinated against the novel disease, however, may gather together without face masks, the federal agency said. The CDC reiterated several pieces of guidance it has provided around holiday gatherings since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the use of face masks in certain instances, as well as socially distancing from those who do not live with you, washing your hands and avoiding crowded, poorly ventilated areas. (Farber, 3/31)
In other administration developments —
The New York Times:
Billions In New Obamacare Subsidies Are Now Available On Healthcare.Gov
The Biden administration has doubled Obamacare’s advertising budget to get the word out, and will now spend $100 million telling Americans about newly affordable options. Nearly everyone with an Affordable Care Act health plan can now qualify for increased financial help with premiums by going back to the website. Many Americans who buy their own insurance outside the A.C.A. marketplaces may also qualify for substantial help, and may benefit from reviewing options and switching to an eligible plan. Uninsured Americans also qualify. (Kliff and Sanger-Katz, 4/1)
For Many Liberals, COVID-19 Relief Law Is ‘Not Big Enough’
Democrats have touted the new $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief law as part of a broader effort to combat racial and economic inequity in the United States, starting with an expanded child tax credit that will go to Americans with little or no income, as well as middle-income taxpayers. The law also boosts subsidies for people buying health care on the individual market and includes new incentives to get more states to expand Medicaid, the federal-state health insurance program for the poor, so that it reaches lower-middle-class people. (Curtis, 3/31)
Report: Government Doesn't Hold Patent Rights To Gilead's Remdesivir
American taxpayers may have provided $162 million toward researching remdesivir, but the federal government does not have patent rights for the drug because the work contributed by U.S. scientists did not generate any inventive new uses, according to a government report. Moreover, Gilead Sciences, which discovered remdesivir, had already reached collaborative research deals with various federal agencies and universities to work on its existing portfolio of patents and patent applications, including for the remdesivir compound. And this “would have left little room for the agencies to generate their own patents, the Government Accountability Office found. (Silverman, 3/31)