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In this recent report, recommendations for ways to safeguard the U.S. from future pandemics are included.
The United States continues to address and recover from the year-old COVID-19 pandemic, which has resulted in more than 500,000 deaths so far and a historic economic recession. Fifty top legal experts convene to offer a new assessment of the U.S. policy response to the crisis, COVID-19 Policy Playbook: Legal Recommendations for a Safer, More Equitable Future, and recommend policy solutions at all levels of government, as the nation works to quell the current crisis and carry out plans to rebuild.
According to a release, this report updates and expands the initial rapid COVID-19 legal assessment the experts published in August 2020. The assessment details how policymakers can best respond to and recover from the current pandemic, and reimagine the nation’s health care and public health systems to better prepare the nation for future infectious disease outbreaks.
In the report, the authors include proposals on how to strengthen executive leadership for a stronger emergency response, expand access to public health, health care and telehealth; fortify protections for workers; and implement a fair and humane immigration policy. Throughout, the authors explore what legal frameworks could help dismantle the structures of racism and inequality that produce unjust health outcomes now, and may prevent the nation from successfully navigating similar crises in the future.
Key findings include:
Some recommendations in this policy report included:
According to a joint statement by the report editorial committee:
“With the end of the pandemic in sight, it may be tempting to dismiss its continued danger, and our collective agency to address it. We cannot afford to do that. Instead, now is the time for policymakers to undertake the legislative and regulatory initiatives that are needed to ensure that the nation is better able to withstand the next pandemic, as well as the everyday health threats that made Americans more susceptible to the worst effects of this virus. This means we need to address the many ways in which our laws have perpetuated the longstanding inequities that left our population so uniquely exposed, and so unequally vulnerable, to COVID-19.
“It’s time for the nation to get out of the cycle of responding to public health emergencies with fleeting attention and urgency that wanes after case numbers subside. We need a sustained course correction that builds our resilience to handle current and future public health emergencies.
“We have a historic opportunity to take the lessons offered to us by the COVID-19 crisis, mount a recovery that protects and benefits everyone, and rebuild our public health system.Our approach must be rooted in advancing equity and it should be designed to create durable, meaningful change. In order to end this pandemic and better prepare for the next one, leaders need to ensure they are focused on building up the nation’s public health systems through law and policy based on evidence of what worked and what failed in the fight against COVID-19.”
The editorial committee of COVID-19 Policy Playbook: Legal Recommendations for a Safer, More Equitable Future includes: