The United States accounts for over 20% of global deaths related to COVID-19 despite only having 4% of the world’s population. This unacceptable reality is in part due to the tsunami of misinformation surrounding COVID-19 that has flooded our nation. Misinformation not only decreases current compliance with best practices for containing and mitigating the spread of COVID-19, but will also feed directly into resistance against future administration of a vaccine or additional public-health measures.
The next administration should establish an office at the Department of Health and Human Services dedicated to combating COVID-19 misinformation. This office should lead a coordinated effort that:
- Ensures that evidence-based findings are at the core of COVID-19 response strategies.
- Utilizes data science and behavioral analytics to detect and counter COVID-19 misinformation.
- Works with social-media companies to remove misinformation from online platforms.
- Partners with online influencers to promote credible information about COVID-19.
- Encourages two-way conversations between public-health officials and the general public.
- Ensures that public-health communications are supported by on-the-ground action.
While the U.S. government grapples with the definition of the bioeconomy and what sectors it does and does not contain, another definitional issue needs to be addressed: What does sustainability mean in a bioeconomy?
Federal clearinghouses should incorporate open science practices into their standards and procedures used to identify evidence-based social programs eligible for federal funding.
To better address security and sustainability of open source software, the United States should establish a Digital Technology Fund through multi-stakeholder participation.
Building on existing data and privacy efforts, the White House and federal science agencies should collaborate to develop and implement clear standards for research data privacy across the data management and sharing life cycle.