Coronavirus Update: Biden administration to elevate HHS division to handle pandemic response, and New York Gov. Hochul maintains public-transit mask mandate for now

by | Jul 22, 2022 | Stock Market

Even as the president himself was revealed early Thursday to have tested positive for COVID-19, the administration of President Joe Biden is planning to overhaul the federal health department and create a new independent division to lead the nation’s pandemic response, the Washington Post reported, citing seven people briefed on the plan. The move, which comes amid frustration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, would elevate a 1,000-person team known as the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, or ASPR, to an Operating Division from its current status as Staff Division, according to a memo from ASPR head Dawn O’Connell.

“This change allows ASPR to mobilize a coordinated national response more quickly and stably during future disasters and emergencies while equipping us with greater hiring and contracting capabilities,” O’Connell wrote in the memo which the Washington Post obtained. The idea is to phase in the new division over two years to bolster federal government’s response to medical emergencies, whether a pandemic or the recent monkeypox outbreak. The World Health Organization’s emergency committee is meeting Thursday to consider for the second time within weeks whether to declare monkeypox a global crisis, as the Associated Press reported. The ASPR has played a role in handling the pandemic but has been caught up in turf wars with other agencies, such as the CDC with which it clashed over evacuating coronavirus-infected Ameri …

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