By Jennifer S. Bard
The White House is preparing to shut down their COVID Task Force this May, in conjunction with ending the public health emergency — the latest in a series of astounding and shortsighted decisions that put individual Americans at as great a risk from serious harm as a result of catching COVID-19 as at any stage in the pandemic.
By declaring the pandemic over by fiat, the government is giving up the fight when they should be redoubling their efforts. Not only is COVID still very much with us, but all existing methods of preventing infection have either been severely weakened by the virus’ mutations, or simply abandoned. Additionally, more is known of the harm COVID causes past the initial infection.
There is nothing vague or subtle about the “end” of a disease outbreak. Either cases actually disappear, as with seasonal influenza, or they are dramatically reduced through a vaccine that prevents further transmission, as happened with measles and polio. Neither event has happened here. Instead, like HIV, which continues to be an ongoing public health emergency, the virus continues to infect and mutate.