How Has the U.S. Federal Government Impact an Individual’s COVID-19 Healthcare?

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Valliei Chandrakumar, Contributing Writer, Carmel IN

In response to the recent spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) the U.S. federal government to use its emergency powers during the pandemic in an attempt to promote sanitary lifestyles for the American public. Two major instituitons of the federal government, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), provide a communication pathway for Americans to make the best decision for the health of themselves and their peers with up-to-date recommendations and statistics. In addition, to help deal with the crisis, the U.S Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) provided financial relief for hospitals nationwide to issue best condition of care, partnered with pharmaceutical companies to develop efficient COVID-19 testing sites, and devised long-term vaccine plan Operation Warp Speed for January 2021.

Federal agencies and administrations took to websites and online media to share up-to-date, specialized responses and resources for individuals to educate themselves on precautionary measures. The CDC website, which is considered the main source of COVID-19 information fron the federal government for the general public, includes information on whether or not one should get tested, where one can get tested, what the test experience will look like, different types of tests, what the test results mean, and how to further protect yourself and others.

Additionally, for healthcare workers, the CDC has provided tools, also available to the general public, to adapt a healthcare framework to the new climate. The CDC recently created the COVID-19 Surge, a specialized spreadsheet for public health officials to prepare and accommodate for hospital service shortages. It has also provided multiple webpages for healthcare frameworks to look to for guidance on how to care for COVID-19 and non COVID-19 patients during the pandemic.

The federal government has also assisted in the development of vaccines through Operation Warp Speed. AstraZeneca and Moderna, financially supported by the HHS, have already started Phase 1 trials for candidate COVID-19 vaccines. The HHS has announced collaborative plans with AstraZeneca, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, and Emergent BioSolutions for efficient manufacturing capabilities when a vaccine is found. The HHS’s agreement with AstraZeneca calls for 300 million doses of vaccines for the U.S. and may start dosing as early as October 2020 with Phase 3 trials underway. In addition, the HHS and the Department of Defense (DoD) announced joint efforts with Corning and SiO2 Materials Science to distribute and manufacture vials and syringes for healthcare facilities, estimating official processing by late 2020.

While a lot of the measures taken by the national government, the local government, and the civilian seem high-tech only, the HHS and the DoD are also working collaboratively to provide manpower via U.S. army members to help communities run smoothly. Many in the military have assisted with testing sites, food distribution, medical supply administration, and the assembly of test kits.

Though the federal government is making strides restoring itself and gradually moving forward, it is important to remember to reach out to healthcare professionals if you feel the need to do so.