A National Strategy for the “New Normal” of Life With COVID

Editor’s Note:
We recognize that the collection of JAMA Viewpoints below are largely focused on U.S. pandemic response policy, programs and imperatives.

 

JAMA
Online January 6, 2022
Viewpoint
A National Strategy for the “New Normal” of Life With COVID
Ezekiel J. Emanuel, MD, PhD; Michael Osterholm, PhD, MPH; Celine R. Gounder, MD, ScM
free access
JAMA. Published online January 6, 2022. doi:10.1001/jama.2021.24282
This Viewpoint discusses how US policy makers should address how the nation can move forward as the pandemic persists.
…Conclusions
After previous infectious disease threats, the US quickly forgot and failed to institute necessary reforms. That pattern must change with the COVID-19 pandemic. Without a strategic plan for the “new normal” with endemic COVID-19, more people in the US will unnecessarily experience morbidity and mortality, health inequities will widen, and trillions will be lost from the US economy. This time, the nation must learn and prepare effectively for the future.
The resources necessary to build and sustain an effective public health infrastructure will be substantial. Policy makers should weigh not only the costs but also the benefits, including fewer deaths and lost productivity from COVID-19 and all viral respiratory illnesses. Indeed, after more than 800 000 deaths from COVID-19, and a projected loss of $8 trillion in gross domestic product through 2030,8 these interventions will be immensely valuable.

Viewpoint
A National Strategy for COVID-19Testing, Surveillance, and Mitigation Strategies
David Michaels, PhD, MPH; Ezekiel J. Emanuel, MD, PhD; Rick A. Bright, PhD
free access
JAMA. Published online January 6, 2022. doi:10.1001/jama.2021.24168
This Viewpoint discusses the areas on which the US needs to improve its public health infrastructure in order to reduce COVID-19 transmission and achieve a “new normal”: testing, surveillance, masking, and ventilation.
… Conclusions
To reduce COVID-19 transmission, achieve and sustain a “new normal,” and preempt future emergencies, the nation needs to build and sustain a greatly improved public health infrastructure, including a comprehensive, permanently funded system for testing, surveillance, and mitigation measures that does not currently exist.

Viewpoint
A National Strategy for COVID-19 Medical Countermeasures: Vaccines and Therapeutics
Luciana L. Borio, MD; Rick A. Bright, PhD; Ezekiel J. Emanuel, MD, PhD
free access
JAMA. Published online January 6, 2022. doi:10.1001/jama.2021.24165
This Viewpoint proposes a multistep plan that US can implement to achieve a “new normal” of living, in which the combined risk of all viral respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19, does not exceed the risk during prepandemic years.
…Conclusions
There has been tremendous progress in rapidly creating novel COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics. Nevertheless, these efforts have been insufficient to achieve a “new normal,” in which the combined risk of all viral respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19, does not exceed the risk during pre–COVID-19 years. The US needs investment in variant-specific vaccines, alternative vaccine administration mechanisms, and research into the optimal vaccination strategies. Having effective vaccines are of real value in reducing the spread of COVID-19 and serious illness, but their benefits will be limited without near universal coverage. This coverage can be augmented through additional vaccination requirements. Finally, research needs to be expedited to develop and use effective COVID-19 oral therapeutics. The short window for administration requires a much closer linkage between COVID-19 testing and treatment.

Viewpoint
The First 2 Years of COVID-19 – Lessons to Improve Preparedness for the Next Pandemic
Jennifer B. Nuzzo, DrPH, SM; Lawrence O. Gostin, JD
free access
JAMA. Published online January 6, 2022. doi:10.1001/jama.2021.24394
This Viewpoint examines the lessons that the COVID-19 pandemic can provide public health institutions and health care personnel to advance preparedness, detection, and response regarding future pandemics.

Viewpoint
The Pandemic Preparedness Program – Reimagining Public Health
Eli Y. Adashi, MD, MS; I. Glenn Cohen, JD
free access
JAMA. Published online January 6, 2022. doi:10.1001/jama.2021.23656
This Viewpoint reviews the leading objectives of the pandemic preparedness proposal, discusses the outcome of comparable past federal efforts, and emphasizes the imperative of intragovernmental coordination.