johnson138_Ben HastyMediaNews GroupReading Eagle via Getty Images_covidschooltesting Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images

Taking the Fight to the Pandemic

After the global financial crisis of 2008, considerable resources were devoted to making the world’s financial system safer. An analogous effort is needed now, both to help win the global war against COVID-19 and to ensure that nothing like this ever happens again.

WASHINGTON, DC – In March and April 2020, when COVID-19 first struck the United States, the virus that causes it, SARS-CoV-2, swept through US nursing homes. The second phase of the crisis, from summer 2020, was marked by a drawn-out struggle to open universities and schools to in-person instruction. In the third phase, from the end of 2020, the fight has focused on getting as many vaccine doses into as many arms as possible.

What have we learned from the battle so far, and how will that experience affect what comes next for the US and the world?

First, nursing homes and other congregate care settings need to remain defended at all costs. Older people are more vulnerable and cannot protect themselves in such environments by sheltering in place or staying away from other people. Effective defenses include rapid and accurate testing for COVID-19, which the government should ensure is always available and paid for. Running a nursing home without access to adequate testing is like flying an airplane without radar: you can do it, but it is much riskier.

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