A focused and robust national response to the COVID-19 pandemic was a central promise of Joe Biden's campaign for the White House. As states prepare to certify election results that are expected to confirm Biden's successful presidential bid, the United States has seen 11 million coronavirus cases and which have cost over 245,000 lives. In mid-November, the daily case count exceeds 190,000 and the daily death count is around 1,000. This unprecedented, massive public health crisis will require extensive planning and resources to address, which Paubox can be a part of.
"Joe Biden has been laser-focused on the threat that COVID-19 has posed to our nation and the decisive public health and economic steps necessary to get the virus under control, deliver immediate relief to working families, and reopen our schools and businesses safely," notes the Biden campaign website, promising that the new Biden administration will:
- Listen to science
- Ensure public health decisions are informed by public health professionals
- Restore trust, transparency, common purpose, and accountability to our government
What are the components of Biden's COVID-19 plan?President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris have promoted a seven-point plan to "beat COVID-19 and get our country back on track," which means re-opening and jumpstarting the U.S. economy.
1. Ensure all Americans have access to regular, reliable, and free testing.
- Double the number of drive-through testing sites, and invest in next-generation testing (including at-home tests and instant tests).
- Stand up a Pandemic Testing Board like Roosevelt’s War Production Board.
- Establish a U.S. Public Health Jobs Corps to mobilize at least 100,000 Americans across the country to support the public health response.
2. Fix personal protective equipment (PPE) problems for good.
- Fully use the Defense Production Act to ramp up production of masks, face shields, and other personal protective equipment (PPE).
- Build a future aiming for flexible, American-sourced manufacturing.
3. Provide clear, consistent, evidence-based national guidance.
- Provide resources for schools, small businesses, and families.
- Provide specific evidence-based guidance for how to "turn the dial up or down" on social distancing.
- Establish a renewable fund for state and local governments to help prevent budget shortfalls.
4. Plan for the effective, equitable distribution of treatments and vaccines.
- Invest $25 billion in a vaccine manufacturing and distribution plan to reach every American, cost-free.
- Prevent consumers from being price gouged as new drugs and therapies come to market.
- Put scientists in charge of all decisions on safety and efficacy and publicly release clinical data for any vaccine the FDA approves.
5. Protect older Americans and others at high risk.
- Establish a COVID-19 Racial and Ethnic Disparities Task Force, to become a permanent Infectious Disease Racial Disparities Task Force.
- Create the Nationwide Pandemic Dashboard that Americans can check for local transmission statistics in real-time.
6. Rebuild and expand our defenses to predict, prevent, and mitigate pandemic threats.
- Restore the White House National Security Council Directorate for Global Health Security and Biodefense.
- Restore our relationship with the World Health Organization (WHO), which is essential to coordinating a global response during a pandemic.
- Re-launch and strengthen the U.S. Agency for International Development’s pathogen-tracking program called PREDICT.
7. Implement mask mandates nationwide.
- Every American should wear a mask when they are around people outside their household.
- Every Governor should make that mandatory in their state.
- Local authorities should also make it mandatory to buttress their state orders.
What about contact tracing?As we've previously written, contact tracing is an important disease control measure that the CDC considers a key strategy for preventing further spread of COVID-19. Insofar as contact tracing is done manually, the U.S. will require at least 30 contact tracers for every 100,000 people (meaning more than 98,000 people are needed nationwide) to keep COVID-19 at a manageable level. Biden's plan calls for a U.S. Public Health Jobs Corps to mobilize at least 100,000 Americans to "perform culturally competent approaches to contact tracing and protecting at-risk populations." Because the scale of the pandemic is so massive, however, technology must also be harnessed to track and notify Americans of potential COVID-19 exposure. Dubbed Digital Contact Tracing Technology (DCTT), the CDC has established criteria for evaluating DCTT for proximity tracing as well as case management. SEE ALSO: Best Practices for COVID-19 Digital Contact Tracing: Privacy, Ethics, and Cooperation
How can the Paubox Email API help?
The HIPAA compliant Paubox Email API can play a key role in implementing DCTT. One of the most important parts of contact tracing is providing secure, instant notification about potential COVID-19 exposure. Even with automation, public health organizations face an uphill battle in secure patient outreach. Americans receive an average of 2,000 robocalls per second, meaning many don’t answer the phone if they don’t recognize the number. When it comes to delivering important news to people, a private and secure transactional email message works best. Not only will HIPAA compliant email be more likely to be opened, but the recipient won't have to download an app or log into a website to review the message. The news simply arrives in their email inbox, no password or portal required. Our HIPAA compliant Paubox Email API can be used to reliably contact people who may have come into contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, as well as to send COVID-19 test results. In fact, it's already being used by apps like ZiphyCare to fight the pandemic.
At our recent virtual conference, Paubox SECURE @ Home, we explained how to leverage the Paubox Email API to build contact tracing applications and send test results at scale. You can watch a full recording of the session including a demo here.