The Rockefeller Foundation Shares National COVID-19 Testing Action Plan
Covid-19 has infected hundreds of thousands of Americans and affected millions more around the world. Across America, shuttered schools have put 30 million children at risk of going hungry. Closed businesses have left more than 20 million workers without income. And while locking down our economy is crucial for saving lives now, it has tremendous consequences for the poorest among us – as people of color and low-income Americans are disproportionately losing livelihoods, and lives. In the face of an ineffective nationally-coordinated response, insufficient data, and inadequate amounts of protective gear and testing, we need an exit plan.
Testing is our way out of this crisis. Instead of ricocheting between an unsustainable shutdown and a dangerous, uncertain return to normalcy, the United States must mount a sustainable strategy with better tests and contact tracing, and stay the course for as long as it takes to develop a vaccine or cure. Any plan to do so must win the faith of private and public sector leaders across the country, and of individual Americans that they and their loved ones will be safer when we begin to return to daily life.
The Rockefeller Foundation exists to meet moments like this. In the past two weeks we have brought together experts and leaders from science, industry, academia, public policy, and government – across sectors and political ideologies – to create a clear, pragmatic, data-driven, actionable plan to beat back Covid-19 and get Americans back to work more safely.
Our National Covid-19 Testing Action Plan lays out the precise steps necessary to enact robust testing, tracing, and coordination to more safely reopen our economy – starting with a dramatic expansion of testing from 1 million tests per week to initially 3 million per week and then 30 million per week, backed by an Emergency Network for Covid-19 Testing to coordinate and underwrite the testing market, a public-private testing technology accelerator, and a national initiative to rapidly expand and optimize the use of U.S., university, and local lab capacity. The plan also includes: launching a Covid Community Healthcare Corps so every American can easily get tested with privacy-centric contact tracing; a testing data commons and digital platform to track Covid-19 statuses, resources, and effective treatment protocols across states and be a clearinghouse for data on new technologies; and a Pandemic Testing Board, in line with other recommendations, to bridge divides across governmental jurisdictions and professional fields.
Together, we can do this. This action plan benefits from and builds on prior proposals, current efforts, and the broad participation of experts from so many fields. Enacting it will require strong leadership and collaboration: across states, cities, and federal government, and from businesses, nonprofits, universities, community groups, and individuals.
Though our country’s needs are great, so is our ability to meet them. With urgency, action, and partnership, we can channel our energy to respond, recover, and eventually rebuild – together.