Dr. Marc Siegel: High takeaways from Biden’s COVID battle plan
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President Joe Biden ended his six half COVID battle plan speech Thursday night within the reverse method from how he started it, speaking about unity, about People coming collectively to defeat a standard enemy, the coronavirus. Sadly, the majority of his speech took the alternative tone.
He started by touting his accomplishments in combating the coronavirus pandemic since taking workplace. It was an angle that appeared ill-timed given the present delta variant scourge which has crammed our hospitals within the South and West and has been infecting our youngsters at an unprecedented fee.
And, although the president acknowledged this, he was arguably divisive moderately than inclusive by persevering with his finger pointing, whereas issuing new vaccine mandates, aimed on the 80 million eligible People who’re nonetheless unvaccinated.
One vaccine mandate extends to companies of greater than 100 workers, one other to all federal staff, a 3rd to all hospital staff.
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As a doctor, I can definitely relate most to the latter and firmly consider all reluctant well being care staff have to be vaccinated instantly to guard our sufferers.
However when the president reached out to all main care physicians and urged us to speak to our sufferers one-on-one and to persuade them to get instantly vaccinated, he fully misplaced me. I assumed, who’s he truly talking to right here? After all, I and each different doctor I do know, have already been doing simply this for a lot of months.
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All we ask is to have the vaccine in hand to manage it ourselves, and that impediment nonetheless hasn’t been overcome. President Biden definitely doesn’t must remind us, among the many strongest supporters of the vaccine that there’s, to have that dialog with our sufferers.
Higher, I believe, was the best way Surgeon Common Dr. Vivek Murthy put it throughout his interview with Bret Baier on “Particular Report” on Thursday evening, simply an hour later when, talking as a training internist, he mentioned what I’ve mentioned, too, that that you must meet folks the place they’re by discussing their issues concerning the vaccine.
President Biden did his finest to restore the wound he created by lately stepping forward of the FDA (main to 2 resignations) by calling for vaccine boosters for all by later this month.
On Thursday evening he clarified that the FDA and the CDC can be wanting on the rising science to determine who ought to qualify for boosters and who shouldn’t. That’s appropriately.
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The president uncared for to say, as I identified in an op-ed for the Wall Road Journal earlier this week, that the necessity for Pfizer/BioNTech boosters could also be higher and before for Moderna.
I agree with President Biden when he mentioned that each one airplane vacationers ought to put on masks proper now, and that the TSA ought to implement it.
I’m glad for the federal surge response group to assist with coronavirus hotspots.
Relating to colleges, I additionally agree with full vaccination for academics and employees whereas encouraging extra vaccination within the weak 12- to 17- year-old group.
A current research within the New England Journal of Medication from Israel and Harvard demonstrates that the chance of COVID issues in our teenagers is much higher than the chance of the vaccine.
I additionally help the notion that one of the simplest ways to guard those that are nonetheless too younger to get vaccinated is to vaccinate everybody round them.
The perfect a part of the president’s speech on Thursday utilized to testing, the fourth a part of his plan, although he didn’t go almost far sufficient with this. He mentioned he’s going to increase the Protection Manufacturing Act and work with Walmart, Amazon, and Kroger, to supply fast check kits at price, spending $2 billion to supply free testing at 10,000 pharmacies, and 300 million checks for group well being facilities, meals banks, and colleges.
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That is clearly a step in the fitting path, as Dr. Michael Mina at Harvard, who has been on the forefront of testing advocacy, acknowledged in a tweet after the speech, although he went on to jot down,
“Testing for SARS-CoV-2 throughout this pandemic is for *Public Well being* A check earlier than work just isn’t for the tester however for the strangers on the bus to work **No American ought to need to pay to maintain their neighbors secure** That is Public Well being, Not Medication.”
I agree with Dr. Mina. Testing must be free. The easiest way to forestall outbreaks at colleges is for each little one to check at house earlier than they go to highschool.
We’re at a really troublesome time for COVID because the pandemic has now stretched on far longer than anybody has imagined.
Right here’s what I wish to inform the president at this juncture: If we’ve realized something, President Biden, it’s that shaming doesn’t work, options should be versatile and natural, not superimposed as judgmental dictums.
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It definitely is smart in our battle in opposition to delta for everybody eligible to be vaccinated, for testing to be widespread and free, for correct masks to be worn in shut quarters, and for nobody to condescend to the so-called 80 million. — A few of them have have already got had COVID and will not be but able to take a shot to cement their immunity. Others are from minority teams who don’t belief both the medical institution or the federal government.
They don’t seem to be all Republicans, or anti-vaxxers or basing their choices merely on politics.
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