The coronavirus pandemic has tested the government’s ability to respond to a global health crisis while continuing to uphold the transparency, accountability and oversight principles at the heart of our democracy. The response to the pandemic—which evidence shows has been driven repeatedly by political considerations rather than the best interest of the country—has been plagued by misinformation and spin, while the devastating health and economic impact has been borne disproportionately by people of color, low-wage workers and other vulnerable populations.
To begin to restore trust in the government’s response, measures already taken by government actors as well as the extraordinary recovery effort that will be needed going forward will need to be transparent, fact-based and equitable. Crucial interventions from vaccine creation to disease surveillance mechanisms must be informed by medical, scientific and health experts within the government. Those experts should have the right to communicate research findings and expert opinions directly to the public. In addition, mechanisms should be in place that limit waste and ensure resources, from stimulus funds to protective equipment, are properly and fairly disseminated. Policy makers and the public must have access to information that contributes to understanding how and why the pandemic had the impact it had on the country as a whole, and to specific populations, in order to recover from the current crisis and to ensure we are better prepared for a future catastrophic event.