A progressive coalition called the People\u0026#039;s CDC on Tuesday criticized the federal government for releasing a \u0022horrifying set\u0022 of relaxed public health guidelines earlier this month and urged lawmakers to allocate sufficient funding to ensure that everyone has free access to masks, tests, treatments, vaccines, and other resources needed to defeat Covid-19.\r\n\r\n\u0022The pandemic is far from over,\u0022 the People\u0026#039;s CDC said in a statement, pointing to hundreds of Covid deaths per day in the U.S. alone, rising child hospitalizations, and a report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showing that roughly 20% of adults develop longterm symptoms or complications after being infected, often called Long Covid.\r\n\r\n\u0022At the People\u0026#039;s CDC, we know that we can keep each other safe. We know that we can do better—and that together, we can fight for a just and equitable pandemic response,\u0022 the coalition added, urging people to sign a letter calling on President Joe Biden and members of Congress to \u0022use all the tools available to keep us all safe.\u0022\r\n\r\nThe letter denounces \u0022the disgraceful new CDC Covid guidelines\u0022 published on August 11. \u0022Four hundred people are dying daily in the U.S. alone. Thousands are becoming severely and chronically ill from a preventable disease. Due to the constant evolution of new Covid variants, the U.S. has been in a surge—currently seeing high or substantial transmission in 99% of U.S. counties—since early June.\u0022\r\n\r\n\u0022The guidelines place the responsibility of public health onto individuals, without providing individuals [with] proper resources or support,\u0022 says the letter. \u0022This is unacceptable. We need responsible, clear CDC guidelines that will keep our communities and our loved ones safe.\u0022\r\n\r\nThe letter implores the White House and Congress \u0022to act to stop the unchecked spread of Covid-19, immediately,\u0022 by providing:\r\n\r\n\r\n\tFree access to N95-grade masks for all;\r\n\tFree access to PCR and rapid testing;\r\n\tRobust, universal, paid sick leave;\r\n\tMask mandates in public places, including schools, public transport and medical facilities;\r\n\tFederal funding and guidance for ventilation and filtration updates, coupled with meaningful regulation;\r\n\tUniversal access to healthcare including continued Covid treatment and testing for uninsured people; and\r\n\tUpdated vaccines and universal access to them globally.\r\n\r\n\r\n\u0022You must choose a healthier, more equitable pandemic response,\u0022 the letter concludes. \u0022We all deserve better.\u0022\r\n\r\nThe letter comes just days after the Biden administration announced that it plans to suspend the distribution of free at-home diagnostic tools on Friday, September 2 \u0022because Congress hasn\u0026#039;t provided additional funding to replenish the nation\u0026#039;s stockpile of tests.\u0022\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nJust over a week ago, it was revealed that the Biden administration is taking steps to stop purchasing Covid-19 vaccines and treatments in the coming months.\r\n\r\nTahir Amin, an intellectual property lawyer and co-executive director of the Initiative for Medicines, Access, and Knowledge (I-MAK), called the plan a \u0022recipe for disaster, unless you are a pharmaceutical company or other profit center in the healthcare market.\u0022\r\n\r\nShifting the acquisition of Covid-19 jabs and therapeutics from the federal government to the commercial market is also the result of congressional inaction—specifically right-wing obstructionism.\r\n\r\nFunding for the pandemic response is quickly disappearing. Although the White House in February asked Congress to provide $30 billion to fight the public health emergency at home and abroad, opposition from Republicans has prevented a much smaller package from moving forward.\r\n\r\nGOP lawmakers want to repurpose aid allocated to states under the American Rescue Plan, insisting that no new relief money should be greenlit until existing finances are depleted, and they are opposed to any amount of new spending aimed at strengthening international efforts to defeat Covid-19—a disease that has been made far deadlier by global vaccine apartheid.\r\n\r\nRepublicans\u0026#039; refusal to provide more funding has led to what Adam Gaffney, an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard University and a pulmonary and intensive care unit doctor, earlier this year characterized as \u0022the rationing of Covid-care by ability to pay.\u0022\r\n\r\nGaffney said that in March, after a federal health agency tasked with covering coronavirus testing and treatment for uninsured people in the U.S. ran out of funds and stopped accepting claims, a move that has led to patients being charged $125 for a single PCR test.\r\n\r\nIn May, the Biden administration announced that it is preparing to ration vaccines due to Senate Republicans\u0026#039; persistent stonewalling of new pandemic spending.\r\n\r\nIn addition, the White House earlier this month stopped buying monoclonal antibody treatments, transferring that responsibility to states and hospitals.\r\n\r\nGaffney, the past president of Physicians for a National Health Program, called the proposal to commercialize the procurement and provision of Covid-19 vaccines and treatments a \u0022terrible idea.\u0022\r\n\r\n\u0022We must push back,\u0022 Gaffney wrote recently on social media. \u0022Free provision of vaccinations, Paxlovid, and monoclonals has been critically important—even if disparities persisted.\u0022\r\n\r\nThe ongoing pandemic has already caused more than one million deaths in the U.S. and 15 million globally.\r\n\r\nExperts have warned that a coronavirus surge this fall and winter could infect up to 100 million people in the U.S. alone, leading to one million hospitalizations and almost 200,000 deaths in a worst-case scenario.\r\n\r\nPeople in the U.S. have died from Covid-19 at a significantly higher rate than their counterparts in other wealthy nations—and poor counties in the U.S. have suffered twice as many deaths as rich ones.\r\n\r\nThe country\u0026#039;s pandemic death toll, progressives argue, reflects its deeply unequal socio-economic order, which lacks lifesaving rights like universal healthcare, paid sick leave, and other benefits enjoyed in places where union density is higher.\r\n\r\nA single-payer healthcare system such as Medicare for All could have prevented more than 338,000 Covid-19 deaths nationwide, a recent analysis found.