(Sept. 2) The coronavirus pandemic is raging again at horrific levels, but the Biden administration is asleep on the job. It has focused plenty of attention, with diminishing returns, on prevention but far too little on treatment.

Fortunately, treatments are available and could become more widespread if only policymakers made them a priority.

This is not an assessment based on some special claim of expertise on coronaviruses or medicine. It is instead the mere application of straightforward logic to well-known facts about this virus and to simple observations about the public’s response to it.

The statistics right now are numbing — and worthy of substantive review before analyzing new policy approaches. In the 31 days prior to this column, 30,064 Americans died from COVID-19. And the pace is picking up: More than 18,000 died in the past two weeks. The seven-day average of hospitalizations is above 96,000, and of intensive-care hospitalizations is more than 25,000. The ICU numbers are at about 90% of the all-time, pre-vaccine peak. Worldwide deaths are averaging more than 10,000 daily. More than 4.5 million people on the globe have died from this thing. In the United States, it has killed almost one of every 500 people….

All of which leads — where, exactly? Well, it means this is still a major pandemic, with no obvious end in sight. Meanwhile, with some 90 million U.S. adults having made the choice, as free people, to remain unvaccinated despite months of entreaties to do so , it is obvious that the possibility of rapid, further U.S. spread continues unabated. And as resistant as people are to voluntary vaccinations, they are even more hostile to government mandates . Prevention is tremendously important and officials should continue exhorting us to take precautions, but unless we are to become a police state, which would be anathema, the efficacy of prevention efforts is significantly waning.

This is why officials should put as much energy into making treatments available as they did in making vaccines readily accessible….Fortunately, we already know not just of one treatment, remdesivir , that can be effective in improving a semi-significant number of patients, but of another, called monoclonal antibodies, that by almost universal medical agreement can reduce the chances of hospitalization and death from COVID-19. They tend to have very few serious side effects…. [The full column is at this link.]



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