Friday, January 22, 2021

Biden's Team Inherits A COVID Program "So Much Worse Than We Could Have Imagined"

The coronavirus has been devastating and traumatizing the United States for nearly a full year, bringing death and ruin to every corner of every state.

During this unprecedented national emergency, the President planned and implemented: 

no plan for national testing

no plan to address the lack of essential medical supplies 

no plan for federal public health measures

no plan to help the 45 million people who were suddenly unemployed

no plan for distributing vaccines

no plan to slow the skyrocketing death toll, which will soon top 500,000 corpses


Not a goddamn fucking thing.

The former president touted the imminent arrival of a vaccine for months, because he knew those words would improve his chances at re-election, but it was obvious he didn't care. He could not have cared any less about anyone's health but his own. He didn't even bother to go through the motions to throw together a last-minute, poorly-designed, underfunded, ineffective, dumpster fire of a shitty plan.

'Worse Than We Imagined': Team Trump Left Biden A COVID Nightmare
The systems to manufacture, distribute, and track vaccine doses set up by the Trump administration are even more broken than Biden's COVID team feared.
Erin Banco, Scott Bixby, Sam Brodey, The Daily Beast, January 21, 2021

The Biden administration came into power with purpose and an extensive agenda to combat the coronavirus pandemic, but purpose and planning only gets you so far—particularly when the president's team is only just now getting a clear picture of how badly the previous administration had managed the crisis.

"What we're inheriting from the Trump administration is so much worse than we could have imagined," Jeff Zients, the Biden administration's COVID-19 czar, said in a call with reporters Wednesday. "We don't have the visibility that we would hope to have into supply and allocations." . . .

The new administration is already behind, in part because the Trump administration was unprecedentedly hostile during the transition. . . .

The task at hand is enormous. More than 400,000 Americans have died of COVID-19. Every state, territory and the District of Columbia is in a state of emergency. The number of people infected with the virus who are now hospitalized is more than double the number reached during the spring and summer peaks.

It's not just the spread of the virus that the Biden team needs to tackle. Officials will also have to confront the disinformation and misinformation about the virus that has permeated all four corners of the country—where people still believe the virus is a hoax and that public health guidelines are too great of an imposition on their personal freedom to follow. . . .

"At least we won't have a president that's actively fighting those rules on national television," one official working with the new Biden COVID-19 team said.

More urgently, Biden and his team will have to handle the growing frustration among states over the lack of a comprehensive vaccine-distribution program . . . They will have to find a way to get states more vaccines needed to meet Americans' growing demand for the shot.

Biden's COVID-19 team says the president will use the Defense Production Act (DPA) to ensure that health-care facilities have what they need for personal protective equipment and to continue to scale testing across the country. . . . It's still unclear exactly when the president will invoke the DPA, and if the administration will lean on the legal authority for the production of supplies other than vaccine syringes. . . .

Biden enters office as states across the country are grappling with massive vaccine shortages. Hospitals and pharmacies have begun to run out, forcing them to cancel first and second dose appointments. Officials in states such as California, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, New York, New Jersey, and Arizona this week called on the federal government to not only help facilitate the shipment of additional vaccines but to clearly communicate how many doses they should expect to receive in the coming days. They've received no answers, according to six state health officials, all of whom requested to remain anonymous to speak more freely about the issue.

Those officials said the Biden team has for weeks reached out to states to assuage their concerns about the lack of a cohesive and functioning vaccination distribution system. The Biden message to frustrated governors was simple: help is on the way. . . .

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