On Tuesday, a Yale University professor published an op-ed with The Washington Post about how President Biden’s leadership during the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic is “failing.”
Gregg Gonsalves, who is an associate professor of epidemiology at Yale School of Public Health and associate professor at Yale Law School, wrote that Biden’s efforts to get Americans fully vaccinated against the virus, provide millions of Americans with rapid at-home tests, and provide masks during mask mandates have not lessened the severity of the pandemic and have not been effective.
“The president’s main call was for Americans to get vaccinated. That’s a fine refrain, except we still have millions without a single jab,” Gonsalves wrote. “The president was eager to point out that under his watch, 200 million people were fully vaccinated — except we know now that we require boosters to protect against omicron and only about 60 million Americans have had that additional jab.”
Additionally, Gonsalves notes that Biden told those spreading vaccine “misinformation” to “stop it,” which he calls “far from the campaign we need to address the anti-vaccine propaganda circulating widely in the United States.” But, Gonsalves added that efforts to get people vaccinated should not have been the Biden administration’s sole focus when it comes to handling the pandemic.
“We already know vaccines alone will not solve this problem. The president made a bet in March that vaccination could return the country to some semblance of normalcy, promising a ‘summer of freedom.’ But as the delta variant emerged, the highly transmissible strain tore through the country, outpacing the speech of our vaccination efforts,” he wrote.
In the op-ed, Gonsalves gave examples of public health experts and others who gave the White House suggestions on handling the pandemic, such as making rapid tests more widely available and upgrading the ventilation systems in buildings across the country. He wrote that these suggestions were “scorned” by members of the Biden administration.
“To its credit, the administration has since announced it would begin to send 500 million rapid tests to Americans in January, although it’s not clear whether the administration has put in an order for such tests. And at the scale promised, every American would receive a one-time delivery of no more than a single test at some point this winter. The president also claimed that schools need to be open and they are safer than ever, pointing out that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has now endorsed a “test and stay” strategy to make this possible. Except, the infrastructure and resources to carry out that strategy are simply not there for many school districts,” Gonsalves wrote.
“On masks, the president suggested we should wear them even if we’re fully vaccinated. But again, he made no offer to make it easier for Americans to get high-quality N95 masks, which are far better at protecting people from infection than blue surgical masks or cloth masks in the age of omicron,” he added.
Gonsalves wrapped up by writing that Biden “didn’t say a word” on ventilation and environmental controls to combat COVID-19. Overall, he claims the White House is “still unable to fully commit to a national mobilization to put this pandemic behind us.”