Dems final report on Covid exposes government failures. Congress can repeat them.


The committee makes 30 recommendations to protect the country in future pandemics, ranging from replenishing the strategic national stockpile to passing legislation to improve research and treatment for long Covid to enacting universal paid sick and family leave. for American workers.

Yet the report comes as Congress is poised to repeat some of the very mistakes the committee is highlighting. Partisan fights seems doomed the Biden administration’s request for $10 billion to fight the Covid-19 pandemic – the funding the administration says is needed to keep vaccines, tests and therapies free to the public and continue to develop better treatments for the virus.

And a bipartisan pandemic preparedness bill that would bolster public health personnel, data infrastructure and long-running Covid research is in danger of being kicked out of a year-end package.

“The coronavirus crisis will not be the last public health emergency or economic crisis we face,” the committee chair warned. Jim Clyburn (DS.C.), who described the report as “a guide for future legislators as well as for the American people.”

What it says: In addition to summarizing the committee’s 37 previous reports — which accuse the Trump administration of manipulating health data, Emergent BioSolution’s vaccine manufacturing issues and owner eviction practices, among other topics — the final report includes new information from the final investigative committee that Democrats launched this fall into spreading disinformation about coronaviruses and Covid deaths at chains of for-profit retirement homes.

The report examines how doctors and conspiracy theorists affiliated with the SpeakWithAnMD.com site profited from promoting pandemic misinformation and prescribing off-label drugs like hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin.

From April 2021 to September 2021, they found “over 480,000 potential patients registered for accounts on SpeakWithAnMD.com’s telemedicine platform seeking consultations.” From July 2021 to September 2021, potential patients appear to have paid more than $6.7 million for consultations, according to the report.

About 72,000 people paid $90 for initial phone consultations, and many had follow-up consultations that cost $60, according to the report. An investigation revealed that some people had been billed for consultations that never took place.

The committee’s recommendation to combat such operations in the future is vague: “Explore possibilities to limit the spread of harmful misinformation.

The report further recommends that the federal government “increase resources and technical assistance to state and local public health agencies to help better address misinformation, increase investments in misinformation research, and expand efforts to educate the public on how to recognize misinformation as well as how it spreads.”

Top Republican on the Committee, Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), lambasted the report Friday for not focusing on the Biden administration’s pandemic response, promising the GOP will make it a priority in 2023.

“When Republicans win a majority in the next Congress, we will hold the Biden administration and other government officials accountable for their devastating actions,” he wrote in a statement.

And after: The committee is due to hold its last hearing of the year on Wednesday, where members will debate and vote on the report’s recommendations.

The hearing will also include testimony from: Rick Bright, former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at HHS; Kizzmekia Corbett, assistant professor of immunology and infectious diseases at Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health and former NIH vaccine researcher; Rebecca Dixon, executive director of the National Employment Law Project; and Ngozi Ezike, CEO of Sinai Chicago and former director of the Illinois Department of Public Health.



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