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Daily News Blog

24
Jan

Ask that New Public Health Strategies for Endemic Covid Include Toxic Chemical Phaseouts

(Beyond Pesticides, January 24, 2022) The advisory board of health experts who counseled President Biden during his transition have now called for an entirely new domestic pandemic strategy geared to the “new normal” of living with the virus indefinitely. While this new strategy addresses important issues like “reimagining public health” and disparities in vulnerability to COVID, it misses out on an important one—reducing vulnerability to disease by eliminating exposure to toxic chemicals, especially those that threaten the immune, nervous, and respiratory systems.

Tell the President, EPA, and Congress to address the ongoing threat of Covid-19 by eliminating toxic pesticide use that elevates overall, and disproportionately for people of color, the public’s vulnerability to the virus.

The strategic initiative is organized by Ezekiel J. Emanuel, MD, PhD, an oncologist, medical ethicist, and University of Pennsylvania professor who advised former President Barack Obama. The group published a collection of opinion articles in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). In those articles, the group advises President Biden to give up on an eradication goal, accept that COVID-19 is here to stay—that is, that it is becoming endemic—and adopt a goal of living with it. These articles explore what that means.

The introductory article by Dr. Emanuel et al. says, “As the US moves from crisis to control, this national strategy needs to be updated. Policy makers need to specify the goals and strategies for the ‘new normal’ of life with COVID-19 and communicate them clearly to the public.” There are many unknowns concerning a future with COV-19, the authors say, including “[t]he precise duration of immunity to SARS-CoV-2 from vaccination or prior infection; . . . whether SARS-CoV-2 will become a seasonal infection; whether antiviral therapies will prevent long COVID; or whether even more transmissible, immune-evading, or virulent variants will arise after Omicron.”

In spite of the uncertainties, the authors believe, “The goal for the ‘new normal’ with COVID-19 does not include eradication or elimination, e.g., the ‘zero COVID’ strategy. Neither COVID-19 vaccination nor infection appear to confer lifelong immunity. Current vaccines do not offer sterilizing immunity against SARS-CoV-2 infection. Infectious diseases cannot be eradicated when there is limited long-term immunity following infection or vaccination or nonhuman reservoirs of infection. The majority of SARS-CoV-2 infections are asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic, and the SARS-CoV-2 incubation period is short, preventing the use of targeted strategies like ‘ring vaccination.’ Even ‘fully’ vaccinated individuals are at risk for breakthrough SARS-CoV-2 infection. Consequently, a ‘new normal with COVID’ in January 2022 is not living without COVID-19.”

The authors address the problems of developing a pandemic preparedness program encompassing a comprehensive approach to all respiratory viruses; a comprehensive, digital, real-time, integrated data infrastructure for public health; and advances in vaccines and therapeutics. It must also address “stark racial and ethnic disparities” and differences in vulnerability.

However, these medical professionals need to look beyond the world of medicine to the world where disparities and differences in vulnerabilities are created. We know that exposure to toxic chemicals like pesticides creates greater vulnerability to disease. The manufacture, use, and disposal of pesticides disproportionately affects farmworker and fenceline communities, where those “stark racial and ethnic disparities” must be addressed. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: “The COVID-19 pandemic has brought social and racial injustice and inequity to the forefront of public health. It has highlighted that health equity is still not a reality as COVID-19 has unequally affected many racial and ethnic minority groups, putting them more at risk of getting sick and dying from COVID-19.” The use of toxic pesticides is not necessary. Beyond health professionals, agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must be included in a pandemic preparedness program to eliminate exposure to toxic pesticides that increases vulnerability to disease.

Tell the President, EPA, and Congress to address the ongoing threat of Covid-19 by eliminating toxic pesticide use that elevates overall, and disproportionately for people of color, the public’s vulnerability to the virus.

Letter to President Biden

The advisory board of health experts who counseled you during your transition have now called for an entirely new domestic pandemic strategy geared to the “new normal” of living with the virus indefinitely. While this new strategy addresses important issues like “reimagining public health” and disparities in vulnerability to COVID, it misses out on an important one—reducing vulnerability to disease by eliminating exposure to toxic chemicals, especially those that threaten the immune, nervous, and respiratory systems. We must address the ongoing threat of Covid-19 by eliminating toxic pesticide use that elevates overall, and disproportionately for people of color, vulnerability to the virus.

The strategic initiative is organized by Ezekiel J. Emanuel, MD, PhD, an oncologist, medical ethicist, and University of Pennsylvania professor who advised former President Barack Obama. In a collection of articles in the Journal of the American Medical Association, they advise you to give up on an eradication goal, accept that COVID-19 is here to stay—that is, that it is becoming endemic—and adopt a goal of living with it.

Dr. Emanuel et al. says, “As the US moves from crisis to control, this national strategy needs to be updated. Policy makers need to specify the goals and strategies for the ‘new normal’ of life with COVID-19 and communicate them clearly to the public.” There are many unknowns concerning a future with COV-19, but the authors believe, “The goal for the ‘new normal’ with COVID-19 does not include eradication or elimination, e.g., the ‘zero COVID’ strategy. Neither COVID-19 vaccination nor infection appear to confer lifelong immunity. Current vaccines do not offer sterilizing immunity against SARS-CoV-2 infection. Infectious diseases cannot be eradicated when there is limited long-term immunity following infection or vaccination or nonhuman reservoirs of infection. The majority of SARS-CoV-2 infections are asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic, and the SARS-CoV-2 incubation period is short, preventing the use of targeted strategies like ‘ring vaccination.’ Even ‘fully’ vaccinated individuals are at risk for breakthrough SARS-CoV-2 infection. Consequently, a ‘new normal with COVID’ in January 2022 is not living without COVID-19.”

The authors address the problems of developing a pandemic preparedness program encompassing a comprehensive approach to all respiratory viruses; a comprehensive, digital, real-time, integrated data infrastructure for public health; and advances in vaccines and therapeutics. It must also address “stark racial and ethnic disparities” and differences in vulnerability.

However, there is more to disease prevention than medical advances. Exposure to toxic chemicals like pesticides creates greater vulnerability to disease. The manufacture, use, and disposal of pesticides disproportionately affects farmworker and fenceline communities, where those “stark racial and ethnic disparities” must be addressed. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: “The COVID-19 pandemic has brought social and racial injustice and inequity to the forefront of public health. It has highlighted that health equity is still not a reality as COVID-19 has unequally affected many racial and ethnic minority groups, putting them more at risk of getting sick and dying from COVID-19.” The use of toxic pesticides is not necessary. Agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must be included in a pandemic preparedness program to eliminate exposure to toxic pesticides that increases vulnerability to disease.

Please instruct EPA to cancel unnecessary pesticide registrations as part of a plan to limit the ongoing threat of Covid-19 to people generally and to people of color who disproportionately have higher rates of the virus.

Letter to EPA Administrator and Office of Pesticide Programs

The advisory board of health experts who counseled President Biden during his transition have now called for an entirely new domestic pandemic strategy geared to the “new normal” of living with the virus indefinitely. While this new strategy addresses important issues like “reimagining public health” and disparities in vulnerability to COVID, it misses out on an important one—reducing vulnerability to disease by eliminating exposure to toxic chemicals, especially those that threaten the immune, nervous, and respiratory systems. We must address the ongoing threat of Covid-19 by eliminating toxic pesticide use that elevates overall, and disproportionately for people of color, the public’s vulnerability to the virus.

The strategic initiative is organized by Ezekiel J. Emanuel, MD, PhD, an oncologist, medical ethicist, and University of Pennsylvania professor who advised former President Barack Obama. In a collection of opinion articles in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), they advise giving up on an eradication goal, accepting that COVID-19 is here to stay—that is, that it is becoming endemic—and adopting a goal of living with it.

Dr. Emanuel et al. says, “As the US moves from crisis to control, this national strategy needs to be updated. Policy makers need to specify the goals and strategies for the ‘new normal’ of life with COVID-19 and communicate them clearly to the public.” There are many unknowns concerning a future with COV-19, but the authors believe, “The goal for the ‘new normal’ with COVID-19 does not include eradication or elimination, e.g., the ‘zero COVID’ strategy. Neither COVID-19 vaccination nor infection appear to confer lifelong immunity. Current vaccines do not offer sterilizing immunity against SARS-CoV-2 infection. Infectious diseases cannot be eradicated when there is limited long-term immunity following infection or vaccination or nonhuman reservoirs of infection. The majority of SARS-CoV-2 infections are asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic, and the SARS-CoV-2 incubation period is short, preventing the use of targeted strategies like ‘ring vaccination.’ Even ‘fully’ vaccinated individuals are at risk for breakthrough SARS-CoV-2 infection. Consequently, a ‘new normal with COVID’ in January 2022 is not living without COVID-19.”

The authors address the problems of developing a pandemic preparedness program encompassing a comprehensive approach to all respiratory viruses; a comprehensive, digital, real-time, integrated data infrastructure for public health; and advances in vaccines and therapeutics. It must also address “stark racial and ethnic disparities” and differences in vulnerability.

However, there is more to disease prevention than medical advances. Exposure to toxic chemicals like pesticides creates greater vulnerability to disease. The manufacture, use, and disposal of pesticides disproportionately affects farmworker and fenceline communities, where those “stark racial and ethnic disparities” must be addressed. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: “The COVID-19 pandemic has brought social and racial injustice and inequity to the forefront of public health. It has highlighted that health equity is still not a reality as COVID-19 has unequally affected many racial and ethnic minority groups, putting them more at risk of getting sick and dying from COVID-19.” The use of toxic pesticides is not necessary. Agencies like EPA must be included in a pandemic preparedness program to eliminate exposure to toxic pesticides that increases vulnerability to disease.

Please eliminate the use of toxic pesticides as part of a plan to limit the ongoing threat of Covid-19 to people generally and to people of color who disproportionately have higher rates of the virus.

Letter to U.S. Senators and Representative:

The advisory board of health experts who counseled President Biden during his transition have now called for an entirely new domestic pandemic strategy geared to the “new normal” of living with the virus indefinitely. While this new strategy addresses important issues like “reimagining public health” and disparities in vulnerability to COVID, it misses out on an important one—reducing vulnerability to disease by eliminating exposure to toxic chemicals, especially those that threaten the immune, nervous, and respiratory systems. We must address the ongoing threat of Covid-19 by eliminating toxic pesticide use that elevates overall, and disproportionately for people of color, the public’s vulnerability to the virus.

The strategic initiative is organized by Ezekiel J. Emanuel, MD, PhD, an oncologist, medical ethicist, and University of Pennsylvania professor who advised former President Barack Obama. In a collection of opinion articles in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), they advise giving up on an eradication goal, accepting that COVID-19 is here to stay—that is, that it is becoming endemic—and adopting a goal of living with it.

Dr. Emanuel et al. says, “As the US moves from crisis to control, this national strategy needs to be updated. Policy makers need to specify the goals and strategies for the ‘new normal’ of life with COVID-19 and communicate them clearly to the public.” There are many unknowns concerning a future with COV-19, but authors believe, “The goal for the ‘new normal’ with COVID-19 does not include eradication or elimination, e.g., the ‘zero COVID’ strategy. Neither COVID-19 vaccination nor infection appear to confer lifelong immunity. Current vaccines do not offer sterilizing immunity against SARS-CoV-2 infection. Infectious diseases cannot be eradicated when there is limited long-term immunity following infection or vaccination or nonhuman reservoirs of infection. The majority of SARS-CoV-2 infections are asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic, and the SARS-CoV-2 incubation period is short, preventing the use of targeted strategies like ‘ring vaccination.’ Even ‘fully’ vaccinated individuals are at risk for breakthrough SARS-CoV-2 infection. Consequently, a ‘new normal with COVID’ in January 2022 is not living without COVID-19.”

The authors address the problems of developing a pandemic preparedness program encompassing a comprehensive approach to all respiratory viruses; a comprehensive, digital, real-time, integrated data infrastructure for public health; and advances in vaccines and therapeutics. It must also address “stark racial and ethnic disparities” and differences in vulnerability.

However, there is more to disease prevention than medical advances. Exposure to toxic chemicals like pesticides creates greater vulnerability to disease. The manufacture, use, and disposal of pesticides disproportionately affects farmworker and fenceline communities, where those “stark racial and ethnic disparities” must be addressed. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: “The COVID-19 pandemic has brought social and racial injustice and inequity to the forefront of public health. It has highlighted that health equity is still not a reality as COVID-19 has unequally affected many racial and ethnic minority groups, putting them more at risk of getting sick and dying from COVID-19.” The use of toxic pesticides is not necessary. Agencies like EPA must be included in a pandemic preparedness program to eliminate exposure to toxic pesticides that increases vulnerability to disease.

Your oversight is required to ensure that toxic pesticides do not intensify future pandemics.

 

 

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