Massachusetts Medical Society: Massachusetts Medical Society on ending the national Public Health Emergency on May 11, 2023

Massachusetts Medical Society on ending the national Public Health Emergency on May 11, 2023

The physicians of the Massachusetts Medical Society support the evidence-based and data-driven decision to lift the national Public Health Emergency declared in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are encouraged by the improving metrics around the virus.

The disease will not be eradicated, but we are in a markedly better position to prevent and control outbreaks. We have the knowledge and capability to quickly deploy mitigation strategies - testing, therapeutics and vaccines - should data derived from relevant metrics indicate an increased risk of community transmission and widespread illness.

In spite of our improved circumstance, we must remember that COVID-19 is still here, and infections can still lead to serious illness and death. We urge all people in the Commonwealth to stay current on vaccinations and to consult with their health care clinician with questions about vaccines.

We must never relent in our pursuit to eliminate inequities that were amplified by the pandemic, and which led to disproportionate and tragic illness and death from COVID-19 in underserved communities and populations. We must advocate for strong policies that increase access to physical and mental health care and preventive health services for all of our patients and that address the staffing crisis across the health care spectrum. It is imperative that we continue to use and improve upon all modalities and strategies that are proven to reduce barriers to health care, including telemedicine.

In addition, we must invest resources into caring for the millions of people in the United States who are dealing with the effects of long COVID.

We recommend thorough analysis of the lessons learned from the public health response to COVID-19 and investing accordingly in resources that will enable an appropriate response from local, state, and federal agencies in future emergencies. Stakeholders must also work in concert to combat unfounded mistrust of science and the dangerous proliferation of health-related misinformation that caused unnecessary harm.

-Theodore A. Calianos, II, MD, FACS, President, Massachusetts Medical Society

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