Coronavirus summary: Watchdogs find challenges with COVID data system and PPE distribution at start of pandemic

As the Biden administration nears the 200-day mark on Saturday, the non-profit civil service partnership applauded its early actions in federal management. This includes “posting advice on the future of work in federal agencies after the pandemic, including hybrid and remote work options,” the Partnership said in a press release on Friday.

He called on the administration and the Senate to work together to fill key leadership positions still open, such as Director of the Bureau of Management and Budget, Controller of OMB and Administrator of the Bureau of Information and Affairs. regulatory. Here are some of the other recent titles that you might have missed.

Eric Lander, science adviser to the president and director of the White House Office for Science and Technology Policy, wrote in The Washington Post earlier this week on how the country should prepare for any future pandemic. Some goals are: The ability to develop vaccines within 100 days of detecting a pandemic threat, developing early warning systems, and “we desperately need to strengthen our public health system, increased workforce to modernize laboratories and data systems, especially to ensure that vulnerable populations are protected. Lander added that later this month the White House will release a preparedness plan for future outbreaks.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki told Thursday’s briefing that the White House expects an upcoming ruling from the Secretary of Defense on mandatory vaccines for the military. Psaki said Biden would “certainly” follow Lloyd Austin III’s recommendation.

Psaki was asked for an estimate of the costs of coronavirus testing for federal employees who do not get vaccinated and whether the White House would commit to making those costs public. Psaki said: “different agencies will take this into account [in] different ways, ”which she said will come from existing funds and“ not from a single federal pot. ”When pressed again, she said she could look into cost accounting.

Psaki said the White House supports “efforts to get the workforce “to get vaccinated and any means of providing information should be done in a” transparent “and” fair “manner. “So there are basic guidelines, in this sense, that we have passed on, and we will continue to pass on as people have questions,” she said. “And we understand that different locations and communities will apply the verification measures in different ways. “

Michael Knowles, spokesman for the American Federation of Government Employees Local 1924, which represents asylum officers from the Department of Homeland Security, said the public health policy (Title 42) that has prevented migrants and asylum seekers to enter the country during the pandemic “is an aggravating violation of our obligations under the Refugee Convention and federal immigration law”, Buzzfeed reported Thursday. “We find it appalling that after campaign rhetoric on restoring America’s soul and securing our values ​​as an immigrant nation, the Biden administration has pursued one of the most xenophobic policies draconian and indefensible of its predecessor. “

The Government Accountability Office has published a report Thursday about challenges associated with the privately-run coronavirus data system that the Trump administration’s health and human services department implemented last year, which hijacked the role of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Representatives from the five hospital associations we spoke with told us that reporting entities encountered logistical challenges in adapting staff resources or data systems to comply with reporting requirements,” the report said. Stakeholders also told us that reporting entities were sometimes not sure what information the HHS was looking for or why the information was being collected. ”

A soon to be released Department of Homeland Security Inspector General report will show how data management issues hampered the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s ability to distribute personal protective equipment at the onset of the pandemic , NBC News reported Thursday. Senior officials of the Coronavirus Task Force, often working under the direction of then White House Senior Advisor Jared Kushner and then Vice President Mike Pence routinely bypassed the decision-making process of FEMA to award ventilators, PPE and government contracts to favored states and companies, ”the report said. “The Inspector General has jurisdiction over FEMA but not over the White House. Yet the report alludes to the difficulty of career agency managers in explaining the decisions made by those appointed by the political president … These officials worked through a unified coordination group that could upset the recommendations of the ‘agency.

The Food and Drug Administration is expected to have a strategy by early next month on who needs a coronavirus booster and when, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Intelligence agencies are examining DNA data treasures from the Wuhan lab in China that some believe to be the source of the coronavirus outbreak as part of Biden’s 90-day review, CNN reported. One of the challenges is “a manpower problem,” the report says. “Not only do intelligence agencies need government scientists who are qualified enough to interpret complex genetic sequencing data and have the proper security clearances, but they also need to speak Mandarin, because the information is written in Chinese with a vocabulary. specialized. ”

The Pandemic Accountability Committee organizes a Event on August 12 to discuss the impact of pandemic-related spending and programming on underserved communities. Michael Horowitz, Chairman of the Committee and Inspector General of the Department of Justice, will deliver the opening speech.

To come up: White House press secretary Jen Psaki to brief at 1 p.m.

Help us better understand the situation. Are you a federal employee, contractor, or military person with information, concerns, etc. on how your agency is handling the coronavirus? Email us at [email protected]



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