Statement from the Executive Director of the National Coalition of STD Directors, David C. Harvey
Washington, DC – As President Trump’s administration unveiled their strategy to reopen the country following the outbreak of COVID-19, David Harvey, Executive Director of the National Coalition of STD Directors (NCSD), released the following statement in response to a lack of federal coordination to implement effective contact tracing that will safe guard all residents, including Black and Latino communities most impacted by COVID-19. Harvey is calling on the federal government to leverage their existing STD contact tracing army, Disease Intervention Specialists, that have helped with nearly every public health outbreak for more than half a century including HIV and STDs, Ebola, and Zika.
“Once again, President Trump and his administration declined to offer any substantive or unified guidance about how the United States should tackle contact tracing. While technological solutions are being floated by the private sector, and physicians are suggesting that graduating medical students act as contact tracers, the existing workforce who has been doing STD contact tracing since World War II is once again being overlooked,” said David C. Harvey, Executive Director of NCSD. “In yesterday’s briefing President Trump said we were at war, and we are. Those dying are disproportionately people of color and those living in low-income communities. Disease Intervention Specialists (DIS) are a 2000- person army at the ready who know how to fight for and defend those communities. DIS needs more troops and more funding to implement a mass scale contact tracing strategy now and against future waves of the virus.”
NCSD is calling on the CDC to allocate at least $200-million to hire, train and shore up the DIS workforce not only to fight back against COVID-19, but to adequately prepare for future health threats and the STD pandemic our country is facing.
“An expansion of DIS is an investment in our nation’s health, a critical tool to bend the COVID curve, and a necessity to prevent the pandemics of the future. We urge the CDC, and the federal government to alter course and make the right decision,” says Harvey.
Contact: Steph Reichin, SReichin@SKDKnick.com, 617.549.3745
The National Coalition of STD Directors is a national public health membership organization representing health department STD directors, their support staff, and community-based partners across 50 states, seven large cities, and eight US territories. Our mission is to advance effective STD prevention programs and services across the country. NCSD does this as the voice of our membership. We provide leadership, build capacity, convene partners, and advocate. Go to ncsddc.org for more information.