WASHINGTON — President-elect Biden’s selection on Wednesday of Ron Klain, the former federal “Ebola czar,” as White House chief of staff immediately put a pandemic-response veteran at the highest levels of government.
The choice of Klain, a longtime Biden confidant who served as chief of staff to then-Vice President Biden during the Obama administration, is the latest signal that the president-elect is treating the pandemic as his top priority. Klain has sharply criticized President Trump’s response to Covid-19, and he warned early in 2020 — weeks before the coronavirus upended life in the U.S. — that the escalating outbreak would require an aggressive federal response.
It amazes me that no one has considered the approach advocated by Dr. Michael Mina of Harvard. If the government would fund the development of his inexpensive rapid testing, done in the home like an in-home pregnancy test, people would be able to test in minutes to see if they have COVID-19 at an infectious level. This testing does not at all require full sensitivity because the viral load of an infectious person can easily be detected by this type of test. This rapid antigen test could help change the course of the virus while saving the economy and more importantly, saving lives. It is inexpensive to produce and distribute and could be used by people in their homes, by schools, at airports and other travel sites, by employers, etc. See Dr. Michael Mina’s discussion with the panel of This Week in Virology from July 2020.
Schools are becoming dangerous hotspots and teachers feel vulnerable. It is demoralizing and frustrating when school administrators will not be open and honest. Students are being quarantined by the droves, but teachers are the last to know who was ill and exposed others. There is no conversation about how many cases will lead to virtual classes or any other information about what the plan is. I don’t trust that anyone is looking out for teachers’ best interest. Teachers want more transparency and choice. Thank you.
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