American Oversight’s Covid-19 Oversight Hub provides news and policy resources to help you keep track of investigations into the government’s pandemic response. The project brings together a public documents database, an oversight tracker of important ongoing investigations and litigation, regular news updates, and deeper dives into key issues.
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The Pandemic’s Long-Term Impacts
One year after Covid-19 shut down the country, reshaping how many Americans went to work and school, we are still learning more about how the pandemic has impacted society. We remain unaware of the extent of Covid-19’s toll on people who are homeless, or of what the future looks like for “long-haulers” — people whose symptoms persist months after initial infection. The pandemic may also shift existing norms, especially around education, as schools embrace remote learning and seek to make learning more accessible and equitable.
Vaccine Supply Boosts
Last week, President Joe Biden announced that on May 1, he will order states to make Covid-19 vaccines available for all adults. The announcement came as the administration has made major strides in vaccine distribution, continued to boost vaccine supply, and is considering using the Defense Production Act to assist vaccine developers with manufacturing. Biden also signed the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, which allocated nearly $20 billion to vaccinations. The relief package also includes direct stimulus payments, extended unemployment insurance, and rental assistance.
HHS Moves to Investigate CDC Data Collection
Politico reported that the HHS Office of the Inspector General plans to investigate what actions the CDC can take to get more complete Covid-19 data. Due to its reliance on state and local data collection systems, it has been difficult for the CDC to quantify Covid-19’s disproportionate impact on racial minorities. This information is critical to determine which communities need targeted interventions. The Government Accountability Office is also studying federal data collection methods during the pandemic, and GAO officials told Politico that the agency will likely recommend that the CDC and HHS condense their data work on the pandemic.
Report: The Fed’s Lending Programs
Public Citizen analyzed the Federal Reserve’s Main Street Lending Program and found that the program facilitated more than $1.8 billion in loans to companies that laid off workers during the pandemic, and extended support to wealthy companies that also received many of the first Paycheck Protection Program loans. The program was also underutilized, with only 3 percent of allocated funds being used.
GAO Report: The Efficacy of the CDC’s Eviction Moratorium
The GAO analyzed the impact of eviction moratoriums during the pandemic, finding that during the one ordered by the CDC in September 2020, jurisdictions without state or local moratoriums experienced increases in eviction filings relative to the earlier months of 2020, suggesting that renters may not have understood the protections offered by the CDC moratorium. The CDC extended this moratorium through March 31, and the GAO recommended that the agency implement an outreach plan to promote it.
Veterans’ Health Care During the Pandemic
The Veterans Affairs Inspector General reviewed the Veterans Health Administration virtual primary care response to the Covid-19 pandemic. While face-to-face primary care appointments decreased by 75 percent during the pandemic, virtual care increased. But primary care providers reported that many patients had difficulty navigating the virtual platform, lacked necessary technology and good internet connectivity, and experienced technological issues with scheduling virtual appointments.
Family Planning Policies: A group of Democrats wrote to Acting HHS Secretary Norris Cochran urging HHS to rescind the Trump administration’s Title X Family Planning Program policies that severely curtailed access to family planning and sexual health services. The members argued that the pandemic necessitates an immediate rescission of the rule, and referenced a 2020 study which found that the pandemic has led many women of color and low-income women to attempt to delay or prevent pregnancies, measures made more difficult by this rule.
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