‘Pandemic Is Far From Over’: People’s CDC Tells Congress to Fund Covid Response

Yves here. This is the first time I’ve come across the People’s CDC, and I like the cut of their jib. They have a series of demands for Covid action. And while continued “access” to vaccines is on the list, it’s their dead last action item, with N95 masks and ventilation and testing and improved sick leave coming before.

Since this group is pressing Congress to take action, please consider sending an e-mail to your Congresscritters with either a link to Common Dreams or the underlying letter. If they are Republican, you can stress that simple measures like improving ventilation will make American more competitive by keeping more in the workforce and lowering Medicare/Medicaid/VA treatment costs.

By Kenny Stancil. Originally published at Common Dreams

A progressive coalition called the People’s CDC on Tuesday criticized the federal government for releasing a “horrifying set” of relaxed public health guidelines earlier this month and urged lawmakers to allocate sufficient funding to ensure that everyone has free access to masks, tests, treatments, vaccines, and other resources needed to defeat Covid-19.

“The pandemic is far from over,” the People’s CDC said in a statement, pointing to hundreds of Covid deaths per day in the U.S. alone, rising child hospitalizations, and a report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showing that roughly 20% of adults develop longterm symptoms or complications after being infected, often called Long Covid.

“At the People’s CDC, we know that we can keep each other safe. We know that we can do better—and that together, we can fight for a just and equitable pandemic response,” the coalition added, urging people to sign a letter calling on President Joe Biden and members of Congress to “use all the tools available to keep us all safe.”

The letter denounces “the disgraceful new CDC Covid guidelines” published on August 11. “Four hundred people are dying daily in the U.S. alone. Thousands are becoming severely and chronically ill from a preventable disease. Due to the constant evolution of new Covid variants, the U.S. has been in a surge—currently seeing high or substantial transmission in 99% of U.S. counties—since early June.”

“The guidelines place the responsibility of public health onto individuals, without providing individuals [with] proper resources or support,” says the letter. “This is unacceptable. We need responsible, clear CDC guidelines that will keep our communities and our loved ones safe.”

The letter implores the White House and Congress “to act to stop the unchecked spread of Covid-19, immediately,” by providing:

  • Free access to N95-grade masks for all;
  • Free access to PCR and rapid testing;
  • Robust, universal, paid sick leave;
  • Mask mandates in public places, including schools, public transport and medical facilities;
  • Federal funding and guidance for ventilation and filtration updates, coupled with meaningful regulation;
  • Universal access to healthcare including continued Covid treatment and testing for uninsured people; and
  • Updated vaccines and universal access to them globally.

“You must choose a healthier, more equitable pandemic response,” the letter concludes. “We all deserve better.”

The letter comes just days after the Biden administration announced that it plans to suspend the distribution of free at-home diagnostic tools on Friday, September 2 “because Congress hasn’t provided additional funding to replenish the nation’s stockpile of tests.”

Just over a week ago, it was revealed that the Biden administration is taking steps to stop purchasing Covid-19 vaccines and treatments in the coming months.

Tahir Amin, an intellectual property lawyer and co-executive director of the Initiative for Medicines, Access, and Knowledge (I-MAK), called the plan a “recipe for disaster, unless you are a pharmaceutical company or other profit center in the healthcare market.”

Shifting the acquisition of Covid-19 jabs and therapeutics from the federal government to the commercial market is also the result of congressional inaction—specifically right-wing obstructionism.

Funding for the pandemic response is quickly disappearing. Although the White House in February asked Congress to provide $30 billion to fight the public health emergency at home and abroad, opposition from Republicans has prevented a much smaller package from moving forward.

GOP lawmakers want to repurpose aid allocated to states under the American Rescue Plan, insisting that no new relief money should be greenlit until existing finances are depleted, and they are opposed to any amount of new spending aimed at strengthening international efforts to defeat Covid-19—a disease that has been made far deadlier by global vaccine apartheid.

Republicans’ refusal to provide more funding has led to what Adam Gaffney, an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard University and a pulmonary and intensive care unit doctor, earlier this year characterized as “the rationing of Covid-care by ability to pay.”

Gaffney said that in March, after a federal health agency tasked with covering coronavirus testing and treatment for uninsured people in the U.S. ran out of funds and stopped accepting claims, a move that has led to patients being charged $125 for a single PCR test.

In May, the Biden administration announced that it is preparing to ration vaccines due to Senate Republicans’ persistent stonewalling of new pandemic spending.

In addition, the White House earlier this month stopped buying monoclonal antibody treatments, transferring that responsibility to states and hospitals.

Gaffney, the past president of Physicians for a National Health Program, called the proposal to commercialize the procurement and provision of Covid-19 vaccines and treatments a “terrible idea.”

“We must push back,” Gaffney wrote recently on social media. “Free provision of vaccinations, Paxlovid, and monoclonals has been critically important—even if disparities persisted.”

The ongoing pandemic has already caused more than one million deaths in the U.S. and 15 million globally.

Experts have warned that a coronavirus surge this fall and winter could infect up to 100 million people in the U.S. alone, leading to one million hospitalizations and almost 200,000 deaths in a worst-case scenario.

People in the U.S. have died from Covid-19 at a significantly higher rate than their counterparts in other wealthy nations—and poor counties in the U.S. have suffered twice as many deaths as rich ones.

The country’s pandemic death toll, progressives argue, reflects its deeply unequal socio-economic order, which lacks lifesaving rights like universal healthcare, paid sick leave, and other benefits enjoyed in places where union density is higher.

A single-payer healthcare system such as Medicare for All could have prevented more than 338,000 Covid-19 deaths nationwide, a recent analysis found.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. Petter

    The pandemic is not over but here in Norway officials and commentators talk about it being in the past. For all practical purposes over. There will be the occasional article from some health official warning about a possible surge in the fall (fast approaching) but no practical advice about masking, ventilation etc.
    I went for a lung X-ray at the local hospital on Monday (the same hospital where I was infected last November) and no one was masked, well not 100% no one, but almost no one – staff, patients, visitors. The one stand out exception was a woman wearing a mask and visor warning all and sundry that the pandemic is not over. She was ignored.

    1. jsn

      Different orders of magnitude.

      The range of seasonal flue mutation is reasonably well understood, that of COVID is not.

      We’re at best at the end of the beginning. The way COVID is interacting with the workforce and monetarist ideology suggests the Second Act will be bigger than the First.

    2. mrsyk

      (from above) “roughly 20% of adults develop longterm symptoms or complications after being infected…” There be the difference.

    3. david anthony

      Where i come from totalitarian urges are not just allowing the poor to get sick and die in overwhelming numbers, but also the driver of years of narration of books, film, and tv.

      Americans would set themselves on fire to avoid not being able to go to the beach and call it freedom.

  2. upstater

    But…but… David Leonhardt, in my free NYT morning newsletter (why would I pay for that digital rag?) tells us about his recent Covid poll:

    Americans are less worried about the virus today — and driving that decline is the receding level of anxiety among the very liberal, including many younger adults.

    A growing number of very liberal Americans have decided that it’s time to treat Covid as an unpleasant but manageable part of life, much as many other Americans — as well as people in other countries — decided months ago.

    So the DNC donor class has declared victory (again!) COVID is so 2020. Get with the program.

    1. jsn

      “You will participate in an experimental mRNA “vaccine” trial or lose your job” is how I read that, and I’m in agreement that’s not a good policy.

      Babies need to be distinguished from bathwater, even on a bad day.

      1. notabanker

        This is exactly the crux of it. The government won’t mandate it, the insurance companies will.

        1. Objective Ace

          What do any of the People’s CDC demands have to do with whether insurance companies will require you get vaccinated or not? You’re pulling ideas out of your [family blog] here.

          1. david anthony

            It’s the chosen response of the right to avoid the discussion of simple safety measures (which will cost money). Koch has been spending quite a bit to get this talking point to come up whenever needed.

        2. Thomas Schmidt

          If the stories about life insurance companies seeing accelerated rates of death amongst the vaccinated are to be believed, the insurance companies may soon slap life insurance (if not medical insurance) surcharges on the vaccinated for their “voluntary” actions (just like smoking) that have damaged their health.

          I shudder to think.

          1. TBellT

            If the stories about life insurance companies seeing accelerated rates of death amongst the vaccinated are to be believed,

            This is a mangled and inaccurate reading of what the life insurance data is actually saying.

      2. Objective Ace

        That’s how you read what? You and I must be reading different things. “Vaccine” trial or lose your job” is literally not one of their demands so you are at best projecting significantly.

        Granted, that was literally one of Biden’s actual policies. And the People’s CDC are calling him out for having a “horrifying set” of policy… so if anything, methinks you’re projecting in the wrong direction.

  3. Lupana

    I guess I focused on the masks, clean air, testing and other public health strategies mentioned. I agree with you regarding the vaccines – that’s a personal choice since they neither stop the individual from getting sick nor do they stop the spread.
    Can’t really compare COVID to flu though.

    1. jefemt

      Personal choice like terminating a pregnancy?

      I know my international travelling days are over– I am unvaxxed due to allergies, so now
      The Unwashed and Unwelcomed. Papers, Please!

      And yet, out and about, I am– I swear to gawd –one of the very few if any that still masks.
      Folks look at me like I am a 6′ 8″ tall 275 pound brown adolescent male! Becoming The Other, the first steps of compassion, due to a Burka? Whoda Thunk It . The Irony…
      Insanity… life as an Ewww-man in 2022

      1. Lupana

        Our family still masks and we are getting the “looks” as well. It reminds me of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”…

      2. Objective Ace

        Keep in mind what they are actually advocating is “Updated vaccines”. This could include totally different vaccine types like novamax or ones based on dead virus (like I believe China has) which may have different/less side effects.

        At any rate, advocating for access is totally different then forcing it upon you. Since you brought up abortion, its the difference between allowing you to get an abortion vs forcing an abortion on everyone. Obviously completely different and people are projecting their own beliefs onto that bullet point rather then taking it for what it is

  4. antidlc

    Thanks for this, Yves.

    I honestly think I would lose my mind if it weren’t for NC.

    Good to know I’m not the crazy one.

    1. Pelham

      Also many thanks to NC for the same reason.

      I don’t get around the internet much, but to the extent that I do I’m creeped out by the Covid-minimalism that prevails on sites that I otherwise respect. The attitude ranges from snark to subtly eugenicist (if that can ever be subtle). NC is an oasis.

  5. adam

    One individual data point on American beliefs regarding covid. I’m currently on trip in San Francisco where almost nobody is wearing masks, (I’m wearing a 3M N95) and I step into an elevator where a middle aged man was angrily telling his wife that a sign he just saw in a bus he was on that was asking patrons to wear masks was ridiculous, and he tore it up and yelled at the bus driver. We are all screwed.

    1. Jason Boxman

      This goes to Lambert’s assertion that a theory of transmission is a**holes spread COVID. As the US in a country of fanatical individualism, and a death cult besides, this makes sense.

    2. HotFlash

      Every day I look up on 91-divoc.com for the number of deaths in my province. I use the 7-day average since it seems daily reporting is too volatile. 10.9 deaths on average, just now, and I follow Lambert
      s example and annualize it. I will continue to wear a mask, to thank clerks, tellers, etc. who do, to refuse to check out with clerks who do not, and I always tell them The Number. Covid is SO not over.

  6. chris

    This all needs to point back to single payer healthcare too. I received news today that two of my dear friends who were in their 60s had sudden strokes due to massive blood clots. By some coincidence, both had just recovered from a bad case of symptomatic COVID a month ago. A man of a certain age having a stroke isn’t unusual, but the timing is making me suspicious that damnable virus contributed to their incidents. If we start to see a number of people dropping from various related complications over the next year our whole society will be overwhelmed.

    I think we’re in the “you’re going to need a bigger boat” phase of the pandemic.

  7. Arizona Slim

    The list of proposals includes this:

    “Universal access to healthcare including continued Covid treatment and testing for uninsured people.”

    And I have a question: What kind of “continued Covid treatment” are they talking about? Would it involve that drug whose name must never, ever be mentioned? Would it be one of the FLCCC protocols?

    Do tell, People’s CDC.

      1. Carla

        Huh? All I find for the People’s CDC is a substack with current and archived “weather reports” of current Covid stats. There is no way to look up possible treatments, let alone recommendations. If you know of a better source for People’s CDC info, please let us know.

  8. QR

    The data underlying the new booster up for consideration is shamelessly farcical: as if it weren’t bad enough that it’s murine instead of human trials, apparently the behemoth Pfizer only included 8–yes, EIGHT–mice in the trial group.

    “The company has tested the BA.5-specific vaccine only on mice, so far, and is relying on data from both the BA.1 human trials and the BA.5 mice trials for their submission for authorization.

    In the study, eight mice that were given the BA.5 booster dose about 100 days after receiving two doses of Pfizer’s original vaccine generated an immune response.

    “To rely only on mouse data (for authorization) would be unprecedented in my knowledge and would certainly raise eyebrows,” said John Moore, a vaccine and virology expert at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York. “It doesn’t mimic the human situation,” where many people were vaccinated more than a year ago and have since been boosted.”

    Yet the FDA not only considered EUA for this booster, but approved it today. https://www.msn.com/en-us/health/medical/fda-authorizes-covid-booster-shots-that-target-omicron-ba-5-variant/ar-AA11jCGY

Comments are closed.