Roadmap for Pandemic Resilience

By Shlomo Maital  

   Roadmap for Pandemic Resilience: Massive Scale Testing, Tracing, and Supported Isolation (TTSI) as the Path to Pandemic Resilience for a Free Society. Danielle Allen et al.  Harvard:  Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, April 20, 2020.

   As the world struggles with growing numbers of coronavirus cases, experts are putting their heads together, to try to figure out an effective strategy for pandemic resilience – living with this vicious virus, adapting to it, adjusting to it – and carrying on. This 56 page book provides ten measures for an effective strategy of pandemic resilience in the US. I believe it holds for other nations too. These steps are do-able!   It requires:

  • Innovation in testing methodologies.   (Speed, accuracy, cost are all vital. And scale!)
  • A Pandemic Testing Board established by the federal government with strong but narrow powers that has the job of securing the testing supply and the infrastructure necessary for deployment. One agency to do this – not 50 states competing!
  • Federal and/or state guidance for state testing programs that accord with due process, civil liberties, equal protection, non-discrimination, and privacy standards. (Let’s have uniform standards for Mississippi, Alabama and New York)
  • Readiness frameworks to support local health leaders, mayors, tribal leaders, and other public officials in setting up test administration processes and isolation support resources.
  • Organizational innovation at the local level linking cities, counties, and public health districts, with specifics varying from state to state. (Cities, counties and public health districts need to work together seamlessly).
  • Federal and state investment in contact tracing personnel, starting with an investment in 100,000 personnel (recommendation from JHU Center for Health Security). (The US has far far fewer such personnel today. Other countries have proved that contact tracing is vital).
  • Clear mechanisms and norms of governance and enforcement around the design and use of peer-to-peer warning apps, including maximal privacy protection, availability of open source code for independent and regulatory audit, and prohibitions on the use of any data from these apps for commercial purposes, ideally achieved through preemptive legislation.
  • Support for quarantine and isolation in the form of jobs protections and material support for time in quarantine and isolation as well as access to health care.
  • An expanded U.S. Public Health Service Corps and Medical (or Health) Reserves Corps (paid service roles), and addition of Health Reserves Corps to the National Guard units of each state. (Harvard’s School of Public Health is in a rundown antiquated building; ever seen the gleaming new business school? Can we get our priorities right here, rather than mopping up the money
  • * National Infectious Disease Forecasting Center to modernize disease tracking.

How many of these 10 commonsense ideas are now in place in the US? In your country? In my country. Very very few…..