A year in, how has Biden done on pandemic response?

  • Little funding (compared to the CARES Act) was made available to businesses through the Paycheck Protection Program. This made it difficult to close or restrict businesses, because it would not be sufficiently subsidized.
  • The Rockefeller Foundation estimated that widespread covid testing in schools would cost $8.5 billion per month. But the American Rescue Plan allocated $10 billion total, one time, for school testing.
  • Funding was not contingent on adopting particular public health policies or triggered by increases in viral transmission.
  • There were no occupational health regulations in the bill. While these could be issued without the support of Congress (more on that later), enshrining covid safety regulations into law would sidestep numerous obstacles.
  • There were no paid sick day requirements for employers (a requirement was passed in March of 2020 but expired on December 31 of that year, replaced with a much weaker voluntary tax credit).

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Justin Feldman

Justin Feldman

I’m a social epidemiologist and Health & Human Rights Fellow at the Harvard FXB Center.