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COVID ACTION GROUP: The People’s COVID Task Force

Who Are We?

We are a multidisciplinary network of experts. Our mission is to end the spread of COVID-19 by mobilizing science and compassion into action, advising policymakers and communities about practical strategies to eliminate COVID-19.

The world is in crisis with the exponential spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus and its variants. Defeating the complex problem of COVID-19 requires a coordinated, multifaceted approach. The COVID Action Group has been created as a people’s task force, to offer support to the Biden Administration’s national task force and to communities, and to help guide the country forward. Our group unites experts in pandemics, infectious disease, virology, aerosol and environmental science, health care, mental health, risk communications, science education, business, and law, along with mathematicians, physicists, researchers, communications strategists, and community organizers. We are dedicated to ending the spread of COVID-19 by advising policy makers, educating and empowering communities, protecting the health and wellbeing of the public, and protecting and restoring the economy.

We are a citizens task force with the objective of providing access to scientists. We are YOUR Experts! We are here to reinforce and augment the Biden Administration’s plans, and to share the science with you. To debunk disinformation and to arm you with the information and the tools that you need to make the best choices to keep you, your family and community safe.

What Do We Believe?

We believe we can shut down the virus and build back better. We believe in a safer, healthier world that can stop the virus from controlling us by taking control of the virus.  In order to create that world we must take the necessary actions: up-to-date scientific measures to effectively prevent and stop the spread, as well as community care and support.

An all-hands-on-deck approach is needed to control COVID-19. Here is what we do, and how you can get involved and help spread the message (not the virus). 

Our Plan

  • Provide practical, science-based, data-driven best practice guidance to leaders and to the public. 
  • Disseminate key messaging and combat disinformation through the most effective channels

We inform the public on:

  • How to keep safe.
  • How individuals communities and governments can play a role in stopping the spread
  • How community members can take care of each other
  • Where to turn for help

What WE Do:

  • Regular Briefings 
  • Panel discussions/Town halls
  • Workshops/Q&A Sessions
  • Consultations

What YOU can do:

  • Join  our affiliate, endcoronavirus.org, for community action opportunities, guidance, and support
  • Share our social media posts
  • Schedule an expert to work with you and your community

Our Programs

  • COVID Action Series – Townhall Series on different topics
  • COVID Action News – 
    • Weekly Information Dissemination video (Tips on preventive measures, Covid Care)
    • Monthly Media Roundtable – Inviting the media to a private meeting to hear who we are and what are are doing (Mercury can help with this)
  • COVID Action Consulting – Set up discussions with an expert (aerosol, virologist, pandemic expert, risk communicators, public health officials)
  • COVID Action Guidance – Have a press conference or op-ed each time we release a white paper.
  • COVID Action Socials – Promote and connect the best national agencies and organizations on the frontlines against this pandemic
  • COVID Action Science – staying on the leading edge of science and discoveries, and asking the challenging questions

Our Story

We were inspired by then President-Elect Biden’s words, “I’m going to shut down the virus” and so we formed The Covid Action Group. We are a multidisciplinary network of experts with a mission to advise policymakers and communities about practical strategies to eliminate COVID-19. In December 2020, we wrote an op-ed in USA Today outlining 7 actions that the Biden Administration can take to stop the spread of the virus and 7 benefits if we take those actions.

As scientists, community leaders and strategists, we believe our primary role is to identify what we must do to “shut down the virus.”

As a science-based effort, we must also debunk falsehoods, from the downplaying of the pandemic to the undermining of the role of masks, which have hindered a robust public health response.

Here are 7 actions the Biden administration can implement to foster communication, community and collaboration:

  1. Conduct daily national briefings with clear messaging about how citizens can stop transmission and be safe from disease and death. 
  2. Galvanize governors and mayors and encourage them to support individuals, communities and businesses logistically and financially, so they can sustain and protect themselves while acting to stop transmission. Encourage them to communicate with their congressional representatives and push for a stimulus package that will be needed for success. 
  3. Urge healthcare and public health leaders to adopt established best practices and rapidly identify new cases. Encourage a shift from reactive responses to proactive community-based rapid case identification, from isolation to “supported isolation,” with services for those in need, improving help for so-called “long haulers” suffering from long-term detrimental health effects from the virus. 
  4. Engage business, labor and workers. Foster constructive public communication, volunteer community efforts and philanthropic efforts to give back to their communities during a time of need. Engage their participation in COVID safety in the workplace. Promote workplace COVID safety transparency, standards and implementation for employees and customers.  Promote their participation as organizations in community volunteer efforts to stop transmission. Promote their engagement in opening up safely where there is no community transmission. Promote corporate mutual support of businesses and their workers through the short-term pain there will be for long-term gain. 
  5. Build caring communities. Engage grassroots community leaders to address health beliefs that impact COVID elimination strategies and develop targeted public service announcements that communicate several elements to the public: the benefits of eliminating the virus and returning to normal social and economic life as soon as possible, not waiting for a vaccine; the recognition that asymptomatic and presymptomatic airborne spread of the virus is a major driver of the pandemic; the ability and responsibility of all citizens to protect themselves and each other from COVID-19 and to stop transmission across communities, beliefs and political affiliation. Build collaborations with community leaders and religious groups that represent marginalized communities and minority groups who are dying from the virus at rates three times higher than other groups.
  6. Disrupt disinformation. Build teams to counter disinformation including collaborations of scientists, experts in disinformation, public relations and behavioral science, the press and social media platforms. These teams should be empowered to rapidly respond to disinformation and curtail its wider communication through careful but rapid surveillance and review.
  7. Find legislative solutions. Work to educate congressional leaders to craft legislation that will allow the nation to take the measures necessary now to realize a rapid path toward normal.

7 Benefits to the 7 Steps for Action Now

Reaching zero COVID cases is the fastest route back to normal — and it takes only four to six weeks of strong measures. COVID transmits through two dominant routes: airborne aerosols and direct, close contact. Transmission occurs through symptomatic, pre-symptomatic, and asymptomatic carriers.  People without symptoms who don’t know they are infected are transmitting the virus to others through airborne aerosols or direct and close contact.

Disrupting transmission will minimize fatalities, morbidities, long term disability and economic damages. Our communities can reach zero COVID by breaking the chain of transmission of the virus. Communities that first get to zero COVID will be the first that will be able to realize many benefits, most significantly saving lives.

Benefits Communities Will Get

  1. Get jobs back.
  2. Reopen businesses and operate at full capacity.
  3. Send children back to school for in-person education.
  4. Enjoy dining at restaurants and going to bars.
  5. Have gatherings with families and friends.
  6. Play team sports and attend sports events.
  7. Attend religious services and ceremonies.

Since it will take a long time to vaccinate the majority of the population, the alternative to zero COVID would be to continue this difficult and painful state of repeated emergency lockdowns with no gatherings, no schools, no restaurants and bars and an explosive increase in sickness, death and social and economic suffering.

The sooner we adopt stricter mitigation measures the faster we will reach zero COVID. We have the choice to adopt these measures now and return to a healthy society and prosperous economy quickly — or wait for the virus to enforce these measures upon us, leading to much higher health and economic damages.