More pandemics are coming—soon. Some will be more infectious. Some will be more deadly.
Some will be both.
As a result of globalization and climate change, new outbreaks are almost exponentially accelerating. With six times more animal-to-human outbreaks in 2010 than 1980, we stand to repeat this deadly cycle within the decade.
The time is short to apply the lessons of COVID-19 and enact the policies needed to prevent this nightmare from happening again. America needs the People's Pandemic Prevention Plan.
1. PUBLIC HEALTH AND CLIMATE JOBS CORP
FIGHTING RACIAL HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL DISPARITIES
Restore decades of disinvestment in public health and environmental well-being impoverished communities by creating hundreds of thousands of permanent union jobs in community-based social change organizations, preferentially hiring from vulnerable communities impacted by systemic racism and the policies that push pandemic diseases onto the already poor and sick.
Public Health Corps should tackle a broader range of health disparities, such as opioid addiction, homelessness, environmental racism, natural resources restoration and conservation, clean energy, and even rural broadband.
The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials estimate that at least 300,000 public health jobs are needed, and this number is supported by Obama/Biden CDC Director Tom Frieden’s estimate. They should be paid a living wage (similar to Census Workers) and belong to a union.
Rather than being low-level health service providers for government agencies, the Public Health Corps should be organizers, working at community-based advocacy organizations. These jobs should be purpose-built to organize for social change and mobilize to correct systemic and structural problems that have contributed to communities of color being disproportionately poor and sick long before COVID.
We must take additional action to repair and heal the country with new protections for essential workers, COVID survivors, and families, including: (1) compensation for victims and survivors of COVID-19, modeled after the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund covering out-of-pocket medical costs, mental health counseling, funerals/burials, pain and suffering, and loss of earnings, while also providing GI-bill style educational benefits; (2) Implement an NIH research agenda for the "25-35% or more" of COVID-19 patients Dr. Anthony Fauci reports having long-term symptoms; (3) There are millions of Americans who are or will be temporarily or permanently disabled by coronavirus. These people need hassle-free disability benefits and other social supports; (4) Pass the Essential Workers Bill of Rights.
R2H Action supports passage of S. 32/H.R. 460: the Health Force, Resilience Force, and Jobs To Fight COVID–19 Act of 2021
3. A GLOBAL FUND TO PANDEMIC-PROOF THE PLANET
FUNDING BOTTOM-UP, COUNTRY-OWNED, COMMUNITY-LED PANDEMIC PREVENTION PLANS
R2H Action supports President Biden's call for a multilateral catalytic financing mechanism, and joins scores of coalition partners and 120 House Members to urge the President and Congress to leverage other donors by putting at least $2 billion on the table in 2021 as seed funding for multilateral action to prevent pandemics at the source. Account after expert account demonstrate that as little as $20 billion annually, from all donor sources, would avert $20-$30 TRILLION in economic losses to a future pandemic—as well as save millions of lives.
The United States should use this new global fund to:
Fund country-owned, community-driven "National Pandemic Prevention Plans" in every low-income country and every middle-income country that is a zoonotic transmission hotspot. These plans should accomplish at least complementary, interlinked goals: post-spillover pandemic containment, and pre-spillover pandemic prevention.
Fully implement WHO’s International Health Regulations and updated Global Health Security Agenda priority actions within five years. Make direct investments in public-sector health systems, including labs, surveillance networks, equipment, supplies, and health workforce to detect, manage, and mitigate outbreaks where they start, before they spread.
Finance regional, national, Indigenous and community-led action plans to prevent disease spillovers from animals to humans, focused on the primary upstream drivers of zoonotic transmission: deforestation, climate change, and wildlife trade. Prevent outbreaks at the source by funding community-based economic alternatives to climate change and deforestation in the top 500 zoonotic transmission hotspots, providing health care, jobs training and support for economic development activities less dangerous than palm oil plantations, strip mining, burning the Amazon, illegal logging, and wildlife trade. Supporting country incentives for conservation and reductions in forest degradation, protection of wildlife, and regulation of commercial live-animal markets, husbandry and trade.
Increase funds for other global health programs already addressing COVID and other critical pandemics on the ground, and meet Joe Biden’s commitment to “ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic by 2025”, with increases for PEPFAR’s annual budget (flat-funded for years), and sustaining the U.S. contribution to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria to make up for ground lost due to COVID-19.
2. END VACCINE APARTHEID
AFFORDABLE AND ACCESSIBLE MEDICINES AND VACCINES WORLDWIDE—including the USA
Drug companies want to keep medicines and vaccines developed with taxpayer-funded R&D ($30 billion so far for COVID-19) under lock and key, hidden behind costly patent monopoly barriers. Pharmaceutical corporation patents on the public's research prop up high prices that leave billions behind, create multi-year manufacturing bottlenecks, and grant privileged access to whiter, wealthier nations. This must change—for all medicines and vaccines, not just those invented during this pandemic. Domestically, exorbitant drug prices are an enormous problem that must be addressed beyond this current crisis.
If a prescription drug corporation refuses to license a product or support transfer of technology and know-how internationally, or if the company refuses to agree to a fair price domestically, President Biden should make use of his existing powers to, at the stroke of a pen, license a generic producer. This is the only tactic to ensure prices always come down and that patients always get the medicines they need. The Biden Administration should also include global access and domestic fair pricing clauses in new taxpayer-funded R&D grants.
Now that the United States has rejoined the WHO and made a contribution to COVAX, it's time to scale up support for manufacturing, technology, and know-how transfer. Until we help finance vaccine manufacturing hubs and distribution systems strong enough to reach billions more people, COVID-19 will continue to mutate and spread, possibly outrunning the vaccines we have at hand. Smart investments are urgently needed and will last long after the current crisis, once we've built up the industrial capacity already existing in numerous countries across Africa, Asia, and South America.
4. PROHIBIT SALES BY CORPORATIONS THAT PUT THE WORLD'S HEALTH AT RISK
Phase-in prohibitions against U.S. product sales by corporations with irresponsible deforestation or illegal/unsafe wildlife trade anywhere in their supply chains.
HIV, SARS, H1N1, Ebola, Zika, MERS, and COVID-19 are all zoonotic diseases. Diseases are jumping from animals to humans at a steeply accelerating rate, primarily due to extractive industries that destroy tropical forests and Indigenous communities—in order to sell products to wealthier people elsewhere. Zoonotic disease hotspots have already been mapped out, and climate change-inducing corporate encroachment into wildlife habitats is putting the world at risk. We know where the problems are and what's causing them. All that is missing is action.
Support similar initiatives in the EU, UK, and at the G20 level.
Prohibit U.S. Government purchases of products with unsafe forest or wildlife supply chains as soon as possible.
Support U.S. and international enforcement of regulations for trade in forest and wildlife products, lending support to communities and national authorities, stepped up safety and sanitation for markets, and support for One Health and Planetary Health initiatives.
R2H Action, joined by more than 125,000 thousand activist leaders, health workers, scientists, and families impacted by COVID, is fighting for a People’s Pandemic Prevention Plan. This call to action is backed by 1,500 front-line health workers, 450+ organizations (including NAACP, SEIU, Greenpeace USA, Religious Action Center, Families USA, #VOTEPROCHOICE, People’s Action, ACT UP, Friends of the Earth Action, People for the American Way, Global Exchange, Center for Popular Democracy, Public Citizen, Social Security Works, Mighty Earth, Indivisible, Rainforest Alliance and many more). Renowned experts like Professor Jeff Sachs, Professor Ruha Benjamin, Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, Dr. Nahid Bhadelia and Dr. Paul Farmer have joined the call, and are speaking up in town halls, online forums, and op-eds advocating for this plan.
In Autumn 2020, R2H Action joined with Senator Elizabeth Warren and Representative Ro Khanna to advance the Pandemic Prevention Plan in Congress as a Congressional sign-on letter. After more than 300 grassroots meetings with Members of Congress and tens of thousands of emails and phone calls, 141 Members of Congress endorsed the plan
Since then, we've helped draft a dozen bills, joined eight coalitions, enlisted another 120 MOCs on a new letter to President Biden, and are well on our way towards turning this plan into law in 2021.
These four priority areas are not all that is needed—but we will not succeed unless we tackle these issues.
ORGANIZATIONS ENDORSING THE PEOPLE'S PANDEMIC PREVENTION PLAN :
As of 11 October 2020: NAACP • SEIU • Greenpeace USA • United We Dream • Families USA • Religious Action Center • ACT UP • NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice • Indivisible USA • R2H Action [Right to Health] • Friends of the Earth Action • Center for Popular Democracy • Women’s March Action • Marked by COVID • Public Citizen • Union for Reform Judaism (RAC, Religious Action Center) • Rainforest Alliance • Community Catalyst • CAEAR Coalition • Oxfam • Our Revolution • Natural Resources Defense Council • The AIDS Institute • Human Impact Partners • Mighty Earth • NASTAD (National Association of State and Territorial AIDS Directors) • National Employment Law Project • #VOTEPROCHOICE • Positive Women’s Network USA • Association of Nurses in AIDS Care • AVAC - Global Advocacy for HIV Prevention • Partners In Health • People for the American Way • People's Action • Students for a National Health Program • Global Exchange • Torah Trumps Hate • Dogwood Alliance • Physicians for a National Health Program • Treatment Action Group • Social Security Works • Universal Health Care Action Network • Common Defense • National Women’s Health Network • Coalition on Human Needs • Southern AIDS Coalition • AIDS Alliance for Women, Infants, Children, Youth & Families • Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice • National Coalition of STD Directors • African Services Committee • National Partnership for Women & Families • Grey Panthers • Drug Prices are Too High • Clinicians for Progressive Care • End AIDS Now • Community Health Acceleration Partnership • CODEPINK • ADAP Advocacy Association • Center for Biological Diversity • Housing Works Inc. • Iowa CCI (Citizens for Community Improvement) • Physicians Action Network • Progressive Doctors • Community Access National Network (CANN) • Progressive Reform Network • Latino Commission on AIDS • Organizing for Action USA • The Juggernaut Project • Thermo Fisher Scientific • Witness at the Border • Mainers for Accountable Leadership • National Equal Rights Amendment Alliance • Justice is Global • Antibalas! • Southpaw Michigan • San Francisco AIDS Foundation • Casa de Esperanza: National Latin@ Network for Healthy Families and Communities • American Muslim Health Professionals • The Center for HIV Law and Policy • AIDS Foundation Chicago • Fenway Health Right Care Alliance - MA • Tennessee Anti-Racist Network • Berks Stands Up • 3rd World Matrix • A Space for Healing • A. Philip Randolph Square Neighborhood Alliance • ACT UP Philadelphia • Action Together Bay Area • Action Together Florida • Courage California • Action Together Suncoast • Action Together Walpole • Affordable Homeownership Foundation Inc • Akron Local DSA Akron • Alameda County Health Consortium • Alexander Tenants Association Inc. • Always Looking Up • Amazon Productions • American Security Educators, Inc. • American Voices Abroad Berlin • Amnesty International. Group 213 • Arc Health PBC • Arkansas WAND • Asian Americans for Community Involvement • Banned Books, LLC • Without Walls / Baun Associates • Benedictine Sisters of Baltimore • Benedictine Sisters, Clyde, MO • Berryville Organics • Big Picture Productions • BioMediCon, Inc. • Bolder Benefits, Inc. • Bristlecone Alliance • Broadway Community • Build A Movement 2020 • Butler County Democratic Executive Committee • Calling for Change • Cancer Prevention Daily • Carolina Jews for Justice • Casa de Salud • CDI / Choices for Children • Center for Indian Law • Center For Inquiry • Central Valley Journey 4 Justice • Centre for Environment Human Rights & Development Forum- CEHRDF • Physicians for Social Responsibility - Chicago • Christian Council of Delmarva • Christus Trinity Clinic • Circle of Hope • 7 Toes Productions • Cleveland Power of Wind Action Team • Climate Health Now, California • CO Foundation for Universal Health Care - Candidate Liaison Project for IMFA • Coai, Inc. • Collier Congressional Watchdogs • Colorado Foundation for Universal Health Care • Communities of Shalom, Inc. • Communities Without Borders • Community Food and Justice Coalition • Community Health Partnership • Community of St. Francis, San Francisco • Compassionate Toledo • Congregation of St. Joseph • Ka Ipu Ha'a Mentoring Program • Daughters of Charity • Dearborn Art Group • Deep Water Care • Desert Progressives • Dialogue Institute • District 6 Community Planners • Diversity Directions • DSA Health Workers Collective • Earth Evolution • Ecological Rights Foundation • Economic Inequity Health Task Force of Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility • ECOregon: The Environmental Concert of Oregon • Educultural Foundation • El Sol Neighborhood Educational Center • EMPOWER India • Empowered Connections • Indivisible Englewood • Eno River Unitarian Universalist Earth Justice Team • Environment and Climate Change Canada • Eons Learning • Extinction Rebellion - UW Chapter (XRUW) • Family Council • Farwell Foundation • First Congregational Church - Littleton United Church of Christ NH • Food for the Cure • Fortunate Farm LLC • Foundation for Integrative AIDS Research (FIAR) • Free the Caged Children • Fresh Anointing Ministries • Friends of Earth-San Antonio Chapter • Fund Our Future International • FVM Global Magazine • GaiaYana • Garvin County Environmental Group • Gender Action • Georgetown Medical AIDS Advocacy Network (GMAAN) • Global Green Publication and Productions • Global United Voices Network • GlobeMed at Northwestern, Evanston, IL, US • Gloucester Coalition for the Prevention of Domestic Abuse • Good Neighbor Food Pantry of Woodstock NY • Grandmother's Healing Wisdom • Green Earth Goods • Green Party of the Mid-Columbia, WA • H-Peace • Hadassah, Orlando Chapter • Harvard Asian Pacific American Medical Student Association • Hawaii Institute for Human Rights • Health Care For All MA • Health Care New Zealand • Healthcare for All California/PNHP • Heart's Path Healing • Hershey's Mill Nature Group • Hip Kids Pediatrics • Hoboken RESIST • House of Grace • HTLV/XMRV National Registry • Human Ecology Center • id22: Institute for Creative Sustainability • Idaho Veterans Indivisible • iHealth • Immigrant Service Providers Group, Somerville CDC • IMPACT (Illinois Medical Professionals Action Collaborative Team) • Indian Health Clinics • Indigenous Circle of Flagstaff • Indivisible - Sacramento • Indivisible 49 • Indivisible Acadiana • Indivisible Action Group Upper West Side • Indivisible Anchorage • Indivisible Columbus District 3 • Indivisible District 31 • Indivisible Irvington • Indivisible Lowville • Indivisible San Francisco • Indivisible Sedona • Indivisible South Suburban Communities, Illinois • Indivisible Wooster • Indivisible-Canton MA • Indivisible, Lewisburg, WV • Injoy Pastoral Care • Institute for Creative Living • International Association of Providers of AIDS Care (IAPAC), Fast-Track Cities Institute • International Student Carbon Footprint Challenge • Irish Doctors for Environment • Joining Forces for Education • JP Progressives • Just Faith • Justice For All (JFA) • Ka Ipu Ha'a (The Humble Vessel) • Kamukunji Paralegal Trust (KAPLET) • Kentuckians for Single Payer Healthcare • Kids First • Kids Talk Climate • Kids That Care Pediatric & Cancer Fund • King-Snohomish Progressive Organization • LA Forward • La Huerta, LLC USA • Las Ventanas • Latinos Salud • League of Women Voters of Greater Cleveland • League of Women Voters of New Rochelle • Leonard Peltier Defense Committee • Let’s Kick ASS NY (AIDS Survivor Syndrome) • Liberal Women of Chesterfield County Healthcare Advocacy Committee • Living Beatitudes Community • Longview United Methodist Church • Lumiere Foundation • Lycoming County Progressives • Madoo Ministry • Mariposa Habitat Nursery • Mass ACT • Mass Peace Action • MDavis Consulting LLC • Medafore.com • Medical IMPACT • Medical Whistleblower Advocacy Network • Michigan Coalition for Human Rights • Michigan Teamsters Black Caucus • MillerMedia7 • Minnesota River Valley Audubon Chapter (MRVAC) • Minority Health International Research Training Program at Rhodes College • MIT Global Health Alliance, Planetary Health Alliance • Monastery of St. Gertrude • Morris Action Coalition • Mothers Out Front-Tompkins • Moving Forward Towards Independence • National Equality Action Team (NEAT) • Nebraskans for Peace • Nelson Mandela TB HIV Community Information and Resource Center • Neponset Health Center • NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice • Nevada County Sunrise • New York Doctors • Nia Impact Capital • NJ Peace Action • Nonviolent Austin • North American Climate Conservation and Environment (NACCE) • Northeast Ohio’s Peoples Leadership Group • Nu Rho Foundation Inc. • NYC Coalition to Dismantle Racism in the Health System • NYS Democratic Committee - Town of Fabius • NYS for Elizabeth Warren • Ocean Conservation Society • One Human Family QCA • Organizing for Action Blue West Valley • Organizing for Action, Tacoma • Our Revolution Long Beach • OWL SF • Pacifica Environmental Family • Panhandle Democrats • Parallax Perspectives • Partners in Health Engage - Harvard Chapter • Partners in Health Engage - Pitt Chapter • Partners in Health Engage Miami • Partners in Health-Engage - UNC Chapter • Pax Christi, Long Island • Peeling Back The Onions Layers Community Education Project • PEER: Progressive East End Reformers • People's Lobby • Persist Chicago • Physicians for a National Health Plan of Western PA • Physicians for a National Health Program - Ventura Chapter • Bar Hostess Empowerment and Support Programme • Physicians for a National Health Program of Western PA • Physicians for a National Health Program-NY Metro Chapter • Physicians for Progress - Ventura County • Physicians for Social Responsibility - AZ Chapter • Planning Alternatives for Change, NYC • Plowshare Peace and Justice Center • Power Together Women’s March • Preserve Giles County • Prevention Access Campaign • Progressive Democrats of America - Orange CA Chapter • Progressive Democrats of America-Tucson AZ Chapter • Progressive Women of Pelham • Project Blueprint • Q Clinic, NYC • Ranck Consulting • RATT Pack (Resistance Action Tuesdays and Thursdays) • Reclaim Augusta • Reedsburg Area Concerned Citizens • Rethink Captivity • Revolution Strategy • Right Care Alliance - FL • Rivers Project • ROC Action • Sands Jr Community Development Corp • Sequoia Forest Keeper • Sero Project • Sisters of Mercy, Omaha • Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur • Sisters of Social Service • Sisters of St. Dominic of Blauvelt New York • Sisters of St. Dominic or Racine Dominicans • Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia • Sisters of St. Joseph, Boston • SKS - Strategic Knowledge Sciences • Sound Solutions • South Florida Audubon Society • Body Politic COVID-19 Virtual Support Group • South Puget Sound Action Network • South Siders for Peace • South End Neighbors for Peace and Justice • Southern DE Alliance for Racial Justice • St. John CME Church • Stand Earth • Strong Heart School • Students for a National Health Program—Weill Cornell Medicine Chapter • Students for a National Health Program, UC Berkeley Chapter • Sustainable Arizona • Sustainable Mill Valley • Swing Left Peninsula • Terra Advocati • The Arc SF • The Cranky Queer Guide to Chronic illness • The Ecotopian Society • The Father Walter Outreach Inc. • The Institute for Creative Living • The Queenie Foundation, Inc. • SAMOCRI • Centia Health • The Talented Ten, Inc • The Tree of Life Clinic LLC • The Tucker Schoeman Venture • The Whaleman Foundation • The Writers Workshop of Asheville, NC • Tidewaters Gateway Partnership • Twin Cities Nonviolent • Upper Valley Community Nursing Project • Upper West Side MoveOn • Uptown Progressive Action (NYPAN chapter) • Ibn Sina Academy of Medieval Medicine and Sciences • Veterans For Peace, Chapter 161 • Vivent Health • Ward 8 Woods Conservancy • Water Protectors of Milwaukee • Westchester Disability Advocacy Partnership (WDAP) • Westland Ecumenical Community Food Pantry • White Rabbit Grove RDNA • Win-Win Resolutions • WolfPAC Tennessee • Women Together Global Inc • Women's Health Institute • Worcester NOW • Wyoming Interfaith Network • Xun Biosphere Project • Youth and Women for Opportunities in Uganda • Americas TB Coalition • Care. Test. Protect. • Centre for Health and Development Initiative Africa • National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd • Action Together Stark • DEMSW • Alliance for Development and Population Services • Indivisible St Johns Florida • Global Justice Institute • Good Health Community Programmes • Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (COLOR) • The Womxn Project • SisterSong: National Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective • National Working Positive Coalition • Broward for Progress • Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum • Human Rights Research Documentation Center (HURIC) • LightHouse of Grace • Gaia: The Earth Force United Coalition • Poligon Education Fund • UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose • Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, U.S. Provinces • Massachusetts ME/CFS & FM Association • Unitarian Universalist Justice Florida • Cascade AIDS Project • GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBTQ Equality