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Leading Health Experts Offer Roadmap for How Americans Can Safely Resume Normal Activities As Covid Becomes Endemic

Six Former Biden Covid-19 Advisory Board Members; Advisors to Democratic and Republican Presidents, and Other Experts Propose Roadmap for a ‘Next Normal’

PHILADELPHIA, March 7, 2022 – 53 leading scholars and experts — including six of President Biden’s sixteen-member Covid-19 Advisory Board, advisors to Democratic and Republican presidents, and some of the world’s leading infectious disease researchers — today published a 13-chapter roadmap for how Americans can get to and sustain the “next normal.” This strategic roadmap will help the United States safely return to the pre-pandemic routines and even improve upon Americans’ lives before the virus emerged.

The roadmap, Getting to and Sustaining the Next Normal: A Roadmap for Living With Covid, is authored by a team of experts in public health, epidemiology, pharmacology, virology, immunology, health policy, communications, and other relevant fields. This Roadmap Group was convened and led by Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, former Covid-19 Advisory Board member and Special Advisor for Health Policy in the Obama Administration. Authors and contributors include Dr. Luciana Borio, director for medical and biodefense preparedness at the National Security Council under President Trump, as well as six members of the Biden Covid-19 Advisory Board: Rick A. Bright; Michael T. Osterholm; Jill Jim; David Michaels; Luciana Borio; and Ezekiel J. Emanuel.

The roadmap acknowledges that eliminating Covid is not a realistic goal. Instead, it argues that the nation must plan to mitigate the effects of Covid, prepare for variants and possible other novel viruses, and construct a new normal in which endemic Covid does not necessitate emergency measures and the massive societal disruptions endured these past two years.

“Americans are beyond tired of waking up to uncertainty about what the future holds thanks to a Covid pandemic that feels never-ending. As the threat of Omicron fades and Americans are looking for direction, it’s time the country maps out a way forward so that people can start to live their lives in a next normal, “said Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, Vice Provost for Global Initiatives at the University of Pennsylvania, who coordinated and authored the report.

The roadmap recognizes that the demands of Covid on the economy, the nation’s children, parents, and vulnerable members, and the challenges posed by a virus that constantly surprises the experts, are unprecedented. Consequently, it offers comprehensive but practical advice regarding masks, vaccines, testing, schools, public health communication, and returning to work. Key provisions of the new recommendations include:

  1. Shift focus from Covid to all respiratory viral illnesses(influenza, RSV) with the goal of not surpassing the worst flu season in annual deaths.
  2. Expect fewer deaths from Covid in 2022 than in each of the two previous years; even the pessimistic model projects about half as many deaths.
  3. Federal government must create a public dashboard that shows all key metrics for local communities to guide lifting or imposing restrictions.
  4. Start new initiatives to develop new, more effective therapeutics and vaccines.
  5. Direct the EPA and OSHA to develop new standards to improve air quality; direct states and localities to use ARP funds on ventilation and air filtration at schools and public buildings.
  6. End school-based quarantines; establish a policy that schools should be last to close and first to open.
  7. Create a unified scientific and regulatory response to Long Covid, including funding a significant program of research and providing disability benefits to sufferers.
  8. Codify new telemedicine regulations to maximize ease for health care providers to operate across the country; invest in the mental health of the health care workforce.
  9. Invest in a massive upgrade of the public health surveillance and data and analytical infrastructure.
  10. Fund research to better understand Covid-related health disparities and begin to address them by leveraging infrastructure of faith-based communities and creating a permanent cadre of embedded community public health workers.

“We can’t return to the world as it was before the pandemic, but there are concrete, measurable ways we can forge ahead and begin to understand this disease as just another seasonal virus. The recommendations in this report can help us achieve that future and if they are implemented, Americans can begin to go about their daily lives without Covid weighing heavily on their every thought and decision,” said Emanuel.

The full report is available here. The main authors are below, and a full list of contributors and reviewers can be found here. The effort received support from the Colton Foundation, the Covid Collaborative, and The Rockefeller Foundation’s Pandemic Prevention Institute.

Dolores Albarracín, PhD —Alexandra Heyman Nash University Professor at the University of Pennsylvania— is an expert in communication and behavioral change. A social psychologist, she has studied communication and intervention effects in a number of contexts, including HIV, Covid-19, and vaccination.

Trevor Bedford, PhD
Professor, Vaccine and Infectious Disease, Human Biology and Public Health Sciences Divisions
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator
Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Affiliate Associate Professor, Departments of Genome Sciences and Epidemiology
University of Washington

Thomas Bollyky, JD
Senior Fellow for Global Health, Economics, and Development
Director of the Global Health Program
Council on Foreign Relations

Luciana Borio, MD— Venture Partner at Arch Venture Partners and a Senior Fellow for Global Health, Council on Foreign Relations — is an infectious disease physician specializing in emerging infectious diseases, complex public health emergencies, and biodefense. She was a member of the Biden-Harris Transition Covid-19 Advisory Board. She previously served as the director for medical and biodefense preparedness policy at the National Security Council (2017-2019) and acting chief scientist, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (2015-2017).

Rick A. Bright, PhD — CEO, Pandemic Prevention Institute–is an immunologist and virologist who has led the development of multiple drugs, vaccines and diagnostics. He is the Chief Executive Officer of the Pandemic Prevention Institute and Senior Vice President of Pandemic Prevention and Response of The Rockefeller Foundation. He was the Director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) and the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response in the US Department of Health and Human Services. He was a member of the Biden-Harris Transition Covid-19 Advisory Board. He is a Senior Fellow of the Foreign Policy Association and serves on the Executive Board of the International Science Reserve.

Lisa M. Brosseau, ScD, CIH— Research Consultant, University of Minnesota, Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy— is an industrial hygienist with more than 25 years of research expertise in respiratory protection for infectious and other hazardous aerosol exposures in workplaces.

Kizzmekia S. Corbett, PhD— Assistant Professor of Immunology and Infectious Diseases at Harvard T. H. Chan School— is a former team lead at the NIH Vaccine Research Center where she led coronavirus research efforts. She is most known for developing the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine.

R.P. Eddy—CEO of Ergo— is a former Director at the White House National Security Council, senior U.S. and UN Diplomat and WHO / UNAIDS executive. An architect of the 1996 White House pandemic response plan NSTC-7 and the design of the Global Fund for HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Co-author of an award-winning book on decision making to forecast catastrophes (including pandemics) Warnings (2017).

Ezekiel J. Emanuel, MD, PhD — Vice Provost of Global Initiatives at the University of Pennsylvania, Diane v.S. Levy and Robert M. Levy University Professor— was a member of the Biden-Harris Transition Covid-19 Advisory Board, the founding chair of the Department of Bioethics at NIH, and a former White House health care advisor in the Obama Administration.

Howard Forman, MD, MBA – Professor of Public Health, Radiology, Management & Economics at Yale University. -has developed health and health care management and leadership programs at Yale and Yale New Haven Hospital. During the pandemic, he has been an advocate for data transparency and workforce wellness initiatives.

Akiko Iwasaki, PhD—Sterling Professor of Immunobiology, Professor of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, Professor of Epidemiology (Microbial Diseases), Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Yale School of Medicine —is an immunologist with expertise in immune protection and pathogenesis following viral infections at the mucosal surfaces. She leads multiple studies to interrogate the pathobiology of long Covid, both in patients and by developing animal models.

Jill Jim, PhD, MPH, MHA — Navajo Department of Health Executive Director— continues to address the ongoing Covid-19 public health emergency. She was also a member of the Biden Harris Covid-19 Advisory Board.

Terris King, ScD is the Principal of King Enterprise Group, transforming health care by lowering cost, increasing community engagement, promoting vaccine acceptance, and reducing inequities. Dr. King previously served as a Senior Executive for CMS where he established the Office of Minority Health as their first Director, Deputy Director of the Office of Clinical Standards and Quality, and retired as the Deputy CIO.

Harlan M. Krumholz, MD, SM
Harold H. Hines, Jr. Professor of Medicine (Cardiology)
Professor in the Institute for Social and Policy Studies
Director, Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation (CORE)
Yale School of Medicine

David Michaels, PhD, MPH— Professor of Environmental and Occupational Health, Milken Institute School of Public Health, The George Washington University— served as Assistant Secretary of Labor for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration 2009-2017, and was the longest serving administrator in the agency’s history. He also was a member of the Biden Harris Transition Advisory Board.

Michael J. Mina, MD, PhD— Chief Science Officer at eMed— is a former professor in Epidemiology, Immunology and Infectious Diseases at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and associate director of Molecular Virology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School. He has advised state, federal and international governments around Covid-19 testing strategies.

John P. Moore, PhD —Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at Weill Cornell Medicine— has conducted research on HIV vaccines and virology for over 30 years. During the pandemic, he became familiar with SARS-CoV-2 in the same subject areas. He also had decades of experience countering disinformation about HIV/AIDS and, more recently, Covid-19.

Jennifer Nuzzo, DrPH Associate Professor, John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Senior Fellow for Global Health, Council on Foreign Relations, is an epidemiologist by training who has worked on pandemic preparedness for 20 years. She is joining the Brown School of Public Health in April 2022, where she’ll be leading the school’s pandemic efforts.

Paul Offit, MD— Director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Maurice R. Hilleman Professor of Vaccinology —served as a member of the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice, is a current member of FDA’s Vaccine and Related Biological Products (VRBP) Advisory Committee, and is author of many books on vaccines including Bad Faith (2015).

Michael Osterholm PhD, MPH, — Regents Professor, McKnight Presidential Endowed Chair in Public Health, and Director, Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) at the University of Minnesota— has served numerous roles in the US Government, including Special Advisor to the Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services (2001-2003), Science Envoy, Department of State (2017-2018) and a member of the Biden-Harris Transition Covid Advisory Board (2020-2021.) He is coauthor of two New York Times best-sellers: Living Terrors: What America Needs to Know to Survive the Coming Bioterrorist Catastrophe (2001) and Deadliest Enemy: Our War Against Killer Germs (2017.)

David Putrino, PhD
Director of Rehabilitation Innovation, Mt. Sinai Health System
Assistant Professor of Rehabilitation Medicine
Icahn School of Medicine at Mt Sinai

Vivian Riefberg, MBA—Professor of Practice at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business— has held a variety of senior leadership positions at McKinsey & Company including leader of the Americas Public Sector Practice and co-leader of the U.S. Healthcare Practice.

E. John Wherry, PhD —Chair of the Department of Systems Pharmacology & Translational Therapeutics at the University of Pennsylvania, Richard and Barbara Schiffrin President’s Distinguished Professor— has25 years of experience studying viral immunology, most recently focusing on immunity to SARS-CoV-2 following infection or vaccination.

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