Boston, MA — Today, gubernatorial candidate and pandemic response leader Danielle Allen called for new action amid the ongoing COVID-19 surge, filling a leadership vacuum that has left Massachusetts families to navigate the rapid spread of Omicron on their own.
Since early 2020, Allen has been a leading voice in Massachusetts and across the United States regarding best practices for pandemic response. Allen has built broad coalitions of community activists, medical experts, and government leaders in order to develop effective and proactive plans to respond to the public health threats faced by communities across Massachusetts. As families, schools, businesses, and communities across the Commonwealth grapple with the recent Omicron surge, Allen is offering practical solutions that would have mitigated the current situation and should be put in place to offer a path forward through future surges.
“I’m hearing from parents, families, and teachers across Massachusetts who are frustrated and exhausted — and I’m right there with them,” said gubernatorial candidate Danielle Allen. “The current situation with Omicron was predictable and preventable, and as the parent of an elementary schooler and a middle schooler, I see the impact that this is having on my kids. But the good news is, there’s a path forward. I’m calling on our decision-makers to act now and make sure that during the next surge, Massachusetts families, caretakers, health workers, educators and school staff have the support and protection they need to weather the storm.”
Allen is calling on the Baker administration to:
- Shift our COVID-19 reporting and analysis to focus on hospitalization rates — using hospital capacity as the key metric to evaluate COVID-risk levels and to make determinations about when protective measures should be put in place.
- Invest ARPA funds in fully building out school-based health teams linked to municipal offices of public health and the State Department of Public Health — to anchor ongoing work of community education, vaccine clinic provision, and testing and to improve the ability of state government to make decisions informed by educators with on-the-ground understanding of context.
- Significantly ramp up availability of COVID-19 rapid tests — to provide communities, schools, families, and caretakers with the information and reassurance they need to act safely and protect themselves and each other.
- Create an ongoing remote learning infrastructure to support students in need of remote learning — whether because of quarantine, or other health issues that may keep a student out of school even in times when they are available for learning.
“They say that if you want shade, the best time to plant a tree is thirty years ago, and that the second best time is today. That same principle applies to our pandemic response. I so wish our administration on Beacon Hill had put this strategy in place a year ago, but now is the time to act proactively, and make sure we’re in a different place the next time a new variant comes around,” said gubernatorial candidate Danielle Allen. “By ramping up access to rapid tests, getting schools the tools they need to stay open safely and keep all kids learning even during a surge, and shifting our key indicators to focus on how our hospitals are doing, we can get Massachusetts communities back on track — and flourishing.”