Pandemic Testing Board
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The Pandemic Testing Board
Jobs, Testing, and Tracing.

What the Pandemic Testing Board is:

To recover from our current crisis and prevent repeating the devastation witnessed in the last months, we need a Pandemic Testing Board–a national effort across government, academia, business, and labor that would manage comprehensive COVID-19 testing, tracing, and isolation support. Initially proposed by a Harvard University study in April, a Pandemic Testing Board would provide the coordination needed to effectively mobilize all our country’s resources and test at full capacity. We at Isolating Together further emphasize that the Pandemic Testing Board must prioritize disproportionately impacted communities and include policies aligned with The Movement for Black Lives National Demands for COVID-19.

What it would accomplish:

The advantages of a Pandemic Testing Board are clear. It would

  • Allow us to increase testing from 5 million/week to 30 million/week
  • Provide more tests at lower costs and with faster result times (current multi-day lags in results render tests essentially useless in terms of managing the spread of the virus)
  • Reopen the economy without sacrificing lives
  • Create thousands of testing and tracing jobs
  • Ensure people who test positive receive living accommodations and financial assistance to cover lost wages.

How it would be formed:

(1)The president establishes the board through the Defense Powers Act and selects its members.
(2) Through the Compacts Clause of the U.S. constitution, Congress facilitates board formation by approval and funding of interstate compacts, agreements between states to take collective action procuring and distributing resources. Board advisors would be selected by lead states and additional funding would be supplied by congressional appropriation.

Contacting Your Representative:
Use the Resistbot chat embedded on this page to contact your representatives in under two minutes! Below is a sample script for what to say to your representatives. Text ‘resist’ to 50409 or via the Resistbot chat embedded on this page to personalize your letter (we recommend this!), or simply text the word "PTB" to send the pre-written script below as is. Resistbot will deliver your message to any elected official you'd like.
Hi there. I am reaching out to request that you declare support for the creation of a national Pandemic Testing Board, similar to what is presented in the Harvard Roadmap to Pandemic Resilience. The Pandemic Testing Board would create thousands of jobs in order to produce and carry out tests, contact trace individuals who test positive, and provide spaces for safe isolation.

This board must actively take into account and support marginalized communities, communities of color, and Indigenous communities who are disproportionately impacted by the virus. The Movement for Black Lives’ National Demands for COVID-19 illustrate the kinds of policies we must pursue, including, but not limited to: providing free COVID-19 testing, treatment, and services for ALL, regardless of immigration status; ensuring equal access to safe quarantine spaces, for non-disabled and disabled people alike; and redirecting federal policing and military dollars to agencies and groups providing medical and social support.

This is the best solution to save lives and restart the economy, sooner rather than later. As Nobel laureate economist Paul Romer describes, getting to 35 million tests per day would cost around $100 billion. It’s a steep price tag, but a fraction of the $350 billion or so in monthly economic losses due to the ongoing lockdowns and social distancing measures in the United States (notwithstanding the additional material human pain that will continue if we do not finally meet this virus head-on). With your support, we can save lives and livelihoods.

Take care!
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