Home Health COVID 19: Executive Orders, Relief Packaging, Department Regulations and Legislative Mandates in USA

COVID 19: Executive Orders, Relief Packaging, Department Regulations and Legislative Mandates in USA

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Table of Contents

 Introduction

In Wuhan , China, in December 2019, the novel coronavirus was first reported. Since then, the extremely infectious infection has spread to other areas of the globe, rendering it a global pandemic. Countries have put in place various steps to prevent the virus from spreading and to contain it. There is still no cure, and governments and the World Health Organization are trying to find a vaccine against it all over the clock (Colaneri, 2020). For instance, more than a third of the world’s total cases of infection have been reported by the USA. The USA has 1, 909, 779 CoronaVirus infections and 109 409 deaths as of June 14, 2020, according to the CDC. With over 1.4 million illnesses and 75,000 deaths due to the pandemic, the number of illnesses exceeds Brazil’s second most hard-hit country.

The surge in new American infections and deaths prompted President Trump and his federal government to develop ways of curbing the spread of the disease. In response to the pandemic, however, the US government was slow to respond when inaction resulted in damage to the country’s public health and economic losses. President Trump and some of the inaccurate details disseminated by his senior officials left the public defenceless because they were not aware of the real severity of the situation. The US government was gravely under-prepared when the time came to mitigate the loss of life due to the pandemic and the eventual economic crisis. By enacting favourable responses that contravene those proposed by healthcare experts, it loses precious time. As the seriousness of the crisis eventually dawned on the public, which would otherwise have been needless, these acts forced the USA to make drastic economic sacrifices. This paper would concentrate on the Federal Government’s executive orders, relief packaging, department regulations, and legislative mandates placed in place and their effect on the lives of Americans. The pros and cons of these steps will also be discussed.

COVID 19 Executive Orders, Relief Packaging, Department Regulations and Legislative Mandates in USA

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Executive Orders

  • Introduction

The president gives executive orders to the public members that will provide a guideline on how to deal with specific situations. On May 19, 2020, President Donald Trump issued an executive order in response to the Covid19 pandemic. He made a speech that detailed how the government intends to take care of its citizens during these trying times and regulations to prevent the disease’s spread.

  • Effects of the Executive Orders

The president suspended the entry of individuals from hotspot areas such as China and Italy. He claimed that people’s movements from such places would put the American citizens at risk of being infected. Therefore, flights from such regions were put on hold until it was safe to travel into the United States. Another order was to speed up the search for treatment and vaccines against infectious diseases. Pharmaceutical companies and research institutes were asked to work hard to find a solution to the virus. Possible vaccines have emerged, and trials are still underway with the hope of getting a cure to the virus. Americans have given a positive response to the problems by volunteering to be used for the experiments. In his speech, he ordered personal protective gear for the healthcare providers and those working on the front line. With an increased number of infections, a shortage of masks, face shields, overalls, and other protective equipment was expected, thus needing more. Diagnosis and mass testing were to be increased and taken to various government labs for conclusive results.

Trump also promised relief to small businesses. The comfort would aid in cushioning such enterprises from making losses and collapse for small and medium enterprises. The president also mentioned that the police officer and other administrative persons should respond promptly to citizens fairly. The government’s executive arm is expected to provide clear and convincing evidence against a person in the event of prosecution. The government will also be tasked with delivering prosecution for those who violate the law. State governments in red zones also enforced laws to control the spread of the virus. Some schools have been closed, and online learning is practiced. Gavin Newsom, the Governor of California, imposed a lockdown on the state. Californians are to stay indoors and avoid social gatherings at all costs. People were encouraged to work from home to minimize interactions. He also waived penalties on property taxes to favor people who had mortgages.

Additionally, Newsom and his team launched a site that would connect individuals and test centers. This will increase the number of people turning up for testing of the virus. The governor also spearheaded marriage certificates through video chatting on sites like zoom and Skype (CDC COVID-19 Response Team, 2020).

These orders are not permanent, and the economy is expected to reopen once the infection curve has stabilized gradually. Such charges have, however, come with some advantages and disadvantages since they impacted people’s lives. One advantage was safeguarding the health and interests of Americans. The government could prevent infected or asymptomatic people from entering the country by banning travel from highly infected areas. This effectively reduced the spread of the disease.

Similarly, avoiding social gatherings and interactions aids in preventing the spread of the disease. Pharmaceuticals that sell drugs used to cure the symptoms of Covid-19 have made huge profits from the sale of medicines (Docherty, 2020). Companies that sell sanitizers and disinfectants have also benefitted from selling their products as they are in high demand. Fumigation of cities in the country has seen an increase in the items. Some companies have also improved their working schedules and promoted online platforms to hold meetings and submit assignments.

Such executive orders put in place affected the citizens and the economy at large. For example, people’s social lives have been interrupted. Individuals can no longer travel and interact like before. Social events like burials, weddings, graduations, and birthday parties are now attended by a few people or carried out online to avoid interactions. Sports arenas have closed, and people no longer participate in such functions. A high number of patients has increased the strain on hospitals and nurses. This has ultimately increased government spending on research and procurement of the personal protective equipment and allowances given to healthcare providers. Closure of borders and restrictions on movements into the country has slowed down the tourism sector and investments. Foreign exchange has since reduced with a decrease in the number of travelers from restricted areas. Investors from the restricted areas have also shied from investing in the country since they cannot travel. Most casual laborer’s and others who work on a daily wage have since lost their jobs. This has put a strain on the living standards of such individuals who have to find alternative ways of making money. Those who have suffered from pay cuts have the same date. The president has also been accused of making racist comments, such as calling the virus the “Kung Fu virus” or the “Chinese virus.” Such statements made by a head of state threaten diplomatic relations between the two countries. The police have been accused of violating human rights in the process of law enforcement.

  •  Conclusion

The directives given by the government are essential and should be observed to prevent the spread of the disease. The public has its eyes on the government and is keen to see that the orders are followed. Banning of flights from red zones was a good step in preventing the mass spread of the virus. Government labs testing the swabs, companies manufacturing the protective gear, and front-line workers are being celebrated in their continuous quest to bring the virus under control.

Relief Packaging

  • Introduction

This is money injected into the economy by the government to cushion its members during tough economic times. President Trump presented a proposed bill to the Congress who reviewed and approved it. The bill was later forwarded to the Senate who approved the expenditure. It was then that the money was released to different sectors of the economy like individuals, airlines, insurance companies, and food stamps. Relief funds have gone a long way in ensuring the continuous provision of goods and services and preventing considerable economic losses. People who have lost their livelihoods can still live decent lives during this pandemic. Businesses have also been saved from the harsh effects of the epidemic. Such aid from the government shows that American citizens come first in calamity (National Institutes of Health, 2020).

  • Effects of Relief Packaging

Restrictions of movements have seen a drop-in flight being taken in and out of the country. This has had adverse effects on salaries, wages, and other benefits enjoyed by this sector’s stakeholders. Thus, the government gave 25 billion dollars to passenger flights to pay salaries and other expenses. Four and three billion dollars was given to cargo flights and airline contractors, respectively. Part of the relief package included 15.5billion dollars that were used to supplement the Nutrition Assistance Program. This program offers food supplies to vulnerable members of society. The number of people benefiting from this program is expected to increase due to the pandemic. Another 450million dollars was given to food banks among the states to cater to the anticipated increase in beneficiaries. The government is thus able to prevent the spread of the virus and feed affected members in the society (CDC COVID-19 Response Team, 2020).

The government gives direct deposits to low-income earners in society. People earning less than 75,000 dollars have gotten a one-time relief of 1200 dollars to boost their income. Families with children also get 500 dollars per child every month for upkeep. Such money will see to it that children do not lack basic needs such as food and clothing. The move also seeks to prevent child labor. Quarantine and self-isolation could be a big blow to individuals.

For this reason, the government ordered that companies give their sick employees 80 hours of fully paid leave allowances (National Institutes of Health, 2020). With the closure of schools, most parents have taken leaves to take care of their young ones. Directives given to employers sought to provide partially paid leaves to such parents. Caregivers of patients recovering from Covid-19 will also benefit from the same. Insurance companies like Medicare, Children’s Health Insurance Program, and Medicare were asked to revise their policies like removing cost-sharing on expenses incurred during testing for the Coronavirus. This move will increase the turnout numbers for mass testing and tracking of those infected.

  • Pros and Cons

The program has inducted a substantial amount of money to the aviation industry. This has helped the companies stay afloat despite the reduced number of airline travelers around and out of the country. Cargo plans have profited from aid given and continue to operate despite reduced cargo packages. Food stamps given to the unemployed and homeless has helped prevent starvation. Crime rates have declined because people don’t have to loot to get basic amenities like food. Beneficiaries of the direct deposits can pay bills and other expenses despite having low incomes or being unemployed. The children’s allowance can cater to children’s needs, such as paying for online classes and the purchase of essentials used by the children. Another benefit of the relief program is job security for patients or caregivers to infected persons. Insurance has also helped in Massachusetts testing as it covers for testing of the disease.

There can never be pros without cons. One of the disadvantages of relief policies is the increased burden on the government. A lot of money was injected into the economy. This means that government spending will increase by more than three percent. Increased government expenditure eventually reflects on the taxes imposed on members of the public. With time, value-added tax, income tax, and import duty will rise to finance government expenditure. Therefore, the prices of goods and services will increase as a result—another downside to this increased corruption. Malicious people may steal food meant for the vulnerable and sell or use them for their personal needs. Cases of fraud may increase as the money involved to procure relief food may be squandered or stolen.

Similarly, other food stamps may use fraud and false ways to acquire than the specified amount per individual. Increased dependency by members may pose a threat. People may deliberately choose to be lazy, knowing the government will provide food and other essential services at no cost. Overdependency will cause a strain on the program. The government may also feel pressured to provide for the increasing number of dependents of the relief program. People may even take to the streets if the government is late in distributing relief money or food. People coming out in numbers to receive food and other relief benefits may fail to observe government directives of social distancing. Thus this could be a way in which the virus is passed from one person to another.

  • Conclusion

It may take time for a long-lasting solution on the Coronavirus to be found. The government will suffer the burden of cushion in different economic sectors with less money circulating. The economy is likely to suffer from increased spreading and fewer savings as well as over dependency. However, it is commendable that the government has not forgotten its people during this challenging time of uncertainty. The provision of relief aids gives hope to citizens as well as restores faith in the government. A solution should, however, be presented soon to avoid overburdening the government.

Department Policies

  • Introduction

The nation has various departments across the states that work together for the entire country ‘s benefit. Every department has policies and initiatives during this pandemic to curb the spread of the disease, take care of its employees, and give the government full cooperation.

  • Impact of Department Policies

The labour department also helped to put policies in place at workplaces that prohibit social gatherings. The workplace desks were moved to a distance of at least one and a half metres. Employers have also been providing flexible working hours to hold staff meetings and to use online channels. Most people have switched to working from home, and this has physical encounters. The labour laws were also changed during this period to appeal to patients and caregivers of the disease. People suffering from addiction have been encouraged by the National Institute of Substance Abuse to reach out for support via a toll-free number and online channels. In some cases, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has increased its oversight to curb crime and to speed up investigations. In addition, the Bureau also took a keen interest in domestic and child abuse , particularly during these unprecedented COVID-19 times.

As they aim to create a vaccine for the Corona Virus, the medical industry and FDA have doubled their research and development activities. They have also worked with other organisations in order to increase research and increase the development of PPE. The department of Health and Human Services is responsible for regular COVID-19 reports such as new outbreaks, deaths, and recoveries. The Defense Department has also placed limits on staff movement, which have greatly contributed to curbing the virus’s spread. In fighting the spread of the virus, the National Guard has also supported the States (CDC COVID-19 Response Team, 2020).

  • Pros and Cons

The benefits of different departments joining the government in the fight against Covid-19 may include implementing policies enacted by both the state and the federal government. For example, the laws on payable leave. Drug abusers have continued to receive healthcare and professional counseling during this pandemic. This has ensured that drug and alcohol abuse among teenagers and members of the public. Research by food and drug administration has restored hope in Americans that the government is doing all it can to develop treatment and a vaccine for the novel disease. A ban on traveling by military government is a step in protecting the country’s security and preventing future attacks. Military camps may be a hotspot for the disease should they record infections.

One problem that may arise due to different departments coming up with their policies is a conflict in bureaucracy. Duplication of policies and roles has made it challenging to develop similar regulations and coordinate their implementation. Departments such as the police in different states may not have the same policies or approaches to the same matter, and a communication breakdown may occur. Some systems may be unfavorable to the citizens, leading to revolting and rioting to protest the rules. In the event of riots occurring, the number of new and reoccurring infections will increase due to a lack of social distancing (National Institutes of Health, 2020).

  • Conclusion

Departments from different states should work as a team to ensure the smooth flow of communication. The fight is against the virus and not against departments, and this transparency and accountability should be the essential virtues. Laws and regulations enacted should not violate human rights to avoid incidents of protest and rebellion. Complaints are the fuel to spread the virus as little or no social distancing is practiced.

 Legislatures

  • Introduction 

Outgoing President Obama gave the Trump administration a series of Pandemic scenarios developed by Politico on January 17, 2017. The purpose of the exercise was to familiarize the incoming administration with the domestic incident management policy and practices in the face of a pandemic scenario. The activity showed that a collective understanding of the disease and science in a pandemic scenario should drive every state’s decision. It showed days and hours were paramount in getting as much lead time on the illness as possible and that a coordinated effort would be critical in containing the crisis. The team was also introduced to the ‘playbook,’ which was designed to assist the government in combating time-sensitive and high-intensity pandemic outbreaks. Later on, the Trump administration stated that the playbook was outdated and didn’t match the strategic and biodefense policies to contain modern pandemics. It executed a new plan, which is believed to be a better fit based on the recent Ebola outbreaks in Africa and more capable of combating modern-day pandemics (National Institutes of Health, 2020). 

In the same year, the Trump administration cut $277 million from the office of public preparedness and response, the national center for emerging and zoonotic infections diseases, and the CDC. These three branches were responsible for tracking disease outbreaks and fighting them. The Trump administration continued to cut down costs by hiring a company to create re-usable N-95 masks. It repelled sections of the Affordable care act, leaving millions of America without medical insurance. The move also resisted the prevention and Public Health Fund, cutting $1.35 billion in funding to the CDC. On May 7, 2018, Congress approved budget cuts amounting to $252 million set aside for the health security preparedness team and disbanded the group the next day. In July 2019, the CDC removed a key American health official in Beijing, China, following its recent budget cuts. Later the same year, the DHS published an internal draft report concluding the Crimson Contagion, which cited the United States, lacked appropriate funding, coordination, and preparedness to face an influenza epidemic (Dong, 2020). 

  • Effects of Legislations 

The main effect of the Trump administration’s legislation was that it left America underprepared, under coordinated, and underfunded to fight the Coronavirus outbreak. Within two years, the Trump administration had effectively crippled the Affordable Care Act, leaving millions of Americans without medical insurance, limiting their healthcare access. It has reduced funding to the relevant agencies charged with fighting new infections by more than $ 2 billion. These underfunded agencies such as the CDC had to withdraw health officials worldwide to cover their vast overheads leading to the virus remaining undetected for over a month in China. Had the CDC had their health officials in Beijing, the massive infections and deaths of Covid-19 would have been averted. The lack of funding also affected the CDC’s ability to develop appropriate diagnostic tests for the new virus. Appropriate diagnostic tests for the latest virus were unavailable until January 16, nearly a month after the virus emerged. The lack of diagnostic tests allowed the virus to continue spreading worldwide undetected for over a month; thus, the number of infections. The playbook also contained pandemic scenarios, including those of influenzas pandemics. By changing it, the Trump administration was underprepared for the epidemic and could not launch a coordinated assault against it (CDC COVID-19 Response Team, 2020). 

  • Pros and Cons 

The major pro of the Trump administration’s new legislation was the vast budget cuts on government spending. The new legislation allowed the government to reduce its annual expenditure by $2 billion, allowing it to be redirected towards developing other economic sectors. However, the ruling made the government agencies underprepared, underfunded, and lacking coordination for any pandemic; thus, the high deaths and infections witnessed in the USA. 

  • Conclusion 

The Trump administration continually ignored the measures that were put in place in case of an emergency. It refused to apply the playbook’s scenarios, which ensured the government got a lead on the virus before it spread to the public. The government also underfunded the agencies in charge of detecting and fighting the virus by repealing the ACA’s essential sections, leaving them unable to see the virus until it was too late. Also, repealing the ACA made it more difficult for Americans to access healthcare, leading to many deaths. 

Changes 

Once the current pandemic ends, I see the government taking a more cautious stance on healthcare issues. They will need to create a new playbook that prepares them for any pandemic scenarios and enhances coordination between national and state agencies. Funding to relevant agencies will need to be increased to improve worldwide surveillance of new diseases. Also, I see the government creating new healthcare legislation that increases access to average Americans. 

References;
  • Colaneri M, Sacchi P, & Zuccaro V. (2020) Clinical characteristics of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) early findings from a teaching hospital in Pavia, North Italy, 21 to February 28 2020. Euro Surveill. 2020 Apr;25(16).
  • Docherty AB, Harrison EM, & Green CA. (2020). Features of 20 133 USA patients in hospital with covid-19 using the ISARIC WHO clinical characterisation protocol: prospective observational cohort study. BMJ. 2020 May 22;369:m1985.
  • Dong Y, Mo X, Hu Y, et al. (2020). Epidemiological characteristics of 2143 pediatric patients with 2019 coronavirus disease in China. Pediatrics.
  • CDC COVID-19 Response Team. (2020). Severe outcomes among patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19): United States, February 12 – March 16, 2020. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2020 March 27;69(12):343-6.
  • National Institutes of Health. (2020). Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) treatment guidelines.

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