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How COVID-19 Has Transformed Public Policy and Health Efforts

Health & Gender Policy Brief #150 | By: Katrenia Busch | March 27, 2022

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Photo taken from: Wuhan Virology Center

Policy Summary

The crisis surrounding the 2019 coronavirus pandemic has far from ended. Over the past several months, the virus has continued to spread and infect new countries at an alarming rate. The long-term effects of the outbreak are likely to manifest in a number of ways, from economic setbacks and incarceration rates to paradigmatic shifts in health care administration. The United States as well as other countries need to begin formulating strategies for dealing with these issues .

. The efforts  of medical professionals and public health experts, to understand and respond effectively to the contagious epidemic have not been entirely effective. We have seen that COVID-19 has a stronger impact on people’s health and well-being if they have symptoms like heart disease, diabetes, or pulmonary disease.

COVID-19 has also been linked to a greater risk of serious disease and death among racial and ethnic groups, according to new research. COVID-19’s detrimental impacts on patients with chronic illnesses are compounded by persistent socio-economic determinants.

Unstable housing, restricted access to nutritious food, insufficient transportation, and low socioeconomic position are examples of determinants of health that have brought these differences in clinical outcomes to light.

Policy Analysis

After the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. government’s response proved to have a scope and scale not seen since World War II. The 2.2 trillion COVID motivated Stimulus Bill—even with its last-minute haggling—showed that Congress and the White House could work together in a time of emergency. It remains to be seen how this largest federal spending measure in American history will actually address the massive economic downturn; only time will tell.

In the wake of the COVID-19 virus outbreak, U.S.-China relations are likely to become more strained. The American public is being forced to recognize how much the U.S. depends on China for producing certain products that could help the country during its healthcare crisis, from N-95 masks to pharmaceuticals.  In response, people are starting to ask for more oversight regarding where U.S. companies  produce their health care products.

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We can expect that the federal government will make policy and organizational  changes in response to COVID-19. A good example of this is its response to 9/11, when it created a new agency to coordinate the government’s anti-terrorism efforts. Post COVID  is likely that the government will increase its stockpiles of medical supplies and public health surveillance in anticipation of future pandemics..

 

COVID also is likely to have an impact on CDC and FDA regulations, including  topics such as research-sharing, emergency medical device-manufacturing, and drug-testing. 

The National Defense Production Act could be used to increase communication between government agencies and private sector companies in an effort to produce public health emergency supplies in a more timely manner (e.g., ventilators, masks, etc.) 

New organizations may spring from the COVID-19 crisis, like the United States Council for Recovery (USCR), which was created by the Department of Health and Human Services and private sector companies to increase communications between government agencies and the private sector.

Engagement Resources​

Click or tap on resource URL to visit links where available 

https://www.healthaffairs.org/do/10.1377/forefront.20201120.456386/ “Ten Urgent Reforms to Protect the CDC and FDA from Harmful Political Interference”, Health Affairs Blog, November 24, 2020.

https://www.zurich.com/en/knowledge/topics/global-risks/covid-19-the-interconnected-consequences  From John Scott, Head of Sustainability Risk, Zurich Insurance Group

World Economic Outlook Update, June 2020: A Crisis like No Other, An Uncertain Recovery June 24, 2020 https://www.imf.org/en/Publications/WEO/Issues/2020/06/24/WEOUpdateJune2020

BBC News 11th March “Coronavirus: Up to 70% of Germany could become infected – Merkel” https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-51835856

AGNA/CAF/CIVICUS (2020), Rebuilding for Good: Actions Needed from Government to Support and Sustain Civil Society, http://www.civicus.org/documents/Rebuilding4Good-FINAL2.0.pdf.

WHO (2020), “Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Situation Report – 13”, (accessed on 30 April 2020), https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/situation-reports/20200202-sitrep-13-ncov-v3.pdf.

World Health Organization: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) Situation Report – 191. Data as received by WHO from national authorities by 10AM CET, 29 July 2020

FT Article March 13th 2020 by Robin Wigglesworth “The week the World Changed: How a Markets Wobble Turned to Mayhem“ https://www.ft.com/content/86f7f914-6536-11ea-b3f3-fe4680ea68b5

FT Article March 13th 2020 by Ben Hall, Miles Johnson & Martin Arnold “Italy Wonders Where Europe’s Solidarity is as Coronavirus Strains Show”

https://www.ft.com/content/d3bc25ea-652c-11ea-b3f3-fe4680ea68b5

FT Article July 29th 2020 “Coronavirus tracked: the latest figures as countries reopen”

https://www.ft.com/content/a2901ce8-5eb7-4633-b89c-cbdf5b386938

FT Article July 19th by Jan-Werner Müller “The pandemic will strengthen smart populists”

https://www.ft.com/content/b9aca858-c17b-4c5f-8ce2-36b982489d95

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