IDSA President Thomas M. File, Jr., M.D., FIDSA, MSc
HIVMA Chair Judith Feinberg, MD, FIDSA
March 17, 2020
IDSA and HIVMA Respond to Administration Guidelines to Control COVID-19 Spread
The Infectious Diseases Society of America and its HIV Medicine Association endorse the measures to control the spread of COVID-19 called for by the Trump administration Monday. An all-sector, all-society response will remain essential to reducing new infections, protecting those at greatest risk of serious illness and death, and preventing our health care system from becoming overwhelmed. Staying home and avoiding non-essential contact to prevent disease spread are important ways that we can turn the trajectory of this pandemic together.
At the same time, as infectious diseases physicians, scientists and other health professionals on the frontlines of responses to this public health crisis, we believe more stringent and specific measures are needed to contain and curtail the spread of disease. We urge the administration to back the new “15 Days to Slow the Spread” guidelines with the weight of public health regulations and with acknowledgement and support for the sacrifices that will be necessary.
We specifically urge the administration to deliver an immediate comprehensive strategy to enforce social distancing and to ensure a secure supply chain of diagnostic testing and personal protective equipment for health workers. Protocols to ensure the tests and equipment are used effectively and universally are also critical.
IDSA and HIVMA emphasize that all measures, and social distancing in particular, must be accompanied by commensurate actions to support individuals, families and small businesses that will be affected. The government (federal, state and local) and the private sector must provide necessary protections to those who are economically or socially impacted during this challenging time. Paid leave for employees; federal support for businesses; nutritional support; relief from mortgage, rent, utilities, evictions, and other regular payments; resources to address care for individuals who are homeless; and educational support for children (including access to devices and internet) will all be essential to mitigating the impact of our shared efforts. The bipartisan Families First Coronavirus Response Act will ensure some protections to individuals, families and communities, including through family and medical leave and nutritional assistance. But as this public health crisis continues, additional financial support will be needed to ensure all individuals can adhere to the measures required to protect themselves and their communities, with minimal harm or disruption to our shared societal and economic well-being.