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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Trying to Find the Vaccination Balance
As a new administration enters its first full week, the coronavirus pandemic still looms large. Dr. Anthony Fauci has indicated that the country could “be approaching a degree of normalcy” by this fall — but only if at least 70 percent of Americans are vaccinated by the middle of summer. Last week, federal health officials told the New York Times that expanding the immediate vaccine supply may be impossible in the short run, as lack of manufacturing capacity will limit vaccine supply until April. In contrast, public health experts have said that President Joe Biden’s goal of 1 million shots a day over the next three months was too low, running the risk of millions of doses going to waste thanks to recent production increases.
No Longer Biden His Time
In his first days in office, Biden signed multiple executive actions to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic, including imposing mask-wearing and physical distancing requirements on federal property, mandating mask-wearing during interstate travel, and creating the position of a Covid-19 response coordinator who will report directly to the president. Biden is also invoking the Defense Production Act to speed up vaccination efforts and plans to use the Federal Emergency Management Administration to create up to 100 federally run sites for vaccinations across the country.
The Trump White House
With Donald Trump no longer president, former White House coronavirus task force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx shared her experience with CBS. Birx said that there were individuals in the Trump administration who believed Covid-19 was a “hoax” and that Trump had publicly presented data she had not compiled. Fauci has also spoken candidly about the previous administration, recently telling the New York Times that Trump pressed him to be more “positive” about the pandemic and that senior White House officials reprimanded him for publicly correcting Trump’s misinformation. Fauci also said that Trump was easily swayed by the opinions of private individuals with whom he had business ties, resulting in his endorsement of dubious treatments.
Vaccination Confusion Persists
States are still struggling to allocate vaccine doses, with state health officials saying they typically learn how many doses they will receive less than a week before shipments, making it difficult to plan inoculations. The confusion of state officials is matched by that of the public — according to a poll conducted by the KFF Covid-19 Vaccine Monitor project, the majority of unvaccinated adults say they don’t have enough information about when and where people like them will be able to get the vaccine.
At the same time, states must combat rising demand. As Americans travel to Florida, Colorado, and New York City in search of the vaccine, this “vaccine tourism” cuts into local supply. Following news that more than 37,000 non-residents received vaccinations in Florida, state officials announced last week that vaccine doses will only be available to residents, a rule that may shut migrant and undocumented workers out of the vaccine distribution. And amid the demand, vaccine wastage remains a problem that multiple states are not tracking. Both Pfizer and Moderna’s shot must be used within six hours of leaving cold storage, a short window that can result in wasted doses if people miss appointments. Without data on wastage, it’s difficult to spot problems in distribution and to disincentivize wasting doses.
Jared Kushner’s Company Preparing to Evict Tenants During Pandemic
Watchdog group Accountable.US published an analysis showing that residential real estate companies owned by Jared Kushner, including Westminster Management, plan to evict at least 56 New Jersey tenants when the federal eviction moratorium expires. Of these eviction cases, 21 were initiated after Trump’s August executive order, which merely told administration officials to consider ways to limit evictions.
New Analysis Reveals Drug Executives Made Millions During Pandemic
Accountable.US released a report finding that executives and directors at five major drug companies who signed contracts with Operation Warp Speed to develop or distribute vaccines made more than $250 million in profit from insider stock sales between May and November 2020, including $105 million in new profits from those sales between September and November.
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