TechNet’s members have powered America during COVID-19 by producing personal protective equipment and ventilators, helping scientists to discover drug treatments and research vaccines, reducing barriers to telework options, connecting students and teachers, delivering food, providing emergency transportation, and facilitating contact tracing. TechNet believes:
· The top priority of the Administration and the Congress must be getting the pandemic quickly under control by establishing a national, comprehensive plan to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus, stabilize the public health system, and safely reopen the economy.
· Nationwide testing and contact tracing, coupled with mask wearing and social distancing, are critical steps to safely reopening the economy.
· Long-standing systemic health inequities have disproportionately placed certain racial and ethnic minority groups at increased risk of getting sick and dying from COVID-19.
· The federal government should identify and work to remove these barriers so that all Americans have access to both vaccinations and treatment for COVID-19 exposure. TechNet believes these health disparities are directly tied to other social and economic inequities which should be addressed by lawmakers. TechNet’s principles on diversity, inclusion, and racial justice can be found here.
· The consistent, reliable, and transparent release of data is key to reopening economies safely. Data communicated from and to public health officials should factor in both leading data, such as early warning data, to identify areas of outbreak and potential spread, and lagging data, such as hospitalization rates and ICU capacity, so that health officials and policymakers can focus on preparedness, containment, targeted responses, and mitigation.
· Given the technology industry’s experience using innovation to address health challenges, sustain business operations, and protect jobs during the pandemic, the Administration should convene top experts from the private sector on how to operate more safely.
· Additional economic stimulus measures should include: extended unemployment benefits that apply to all workers in the economy, including independent contractors and gig workers; federal aid to state and local governments to protect public health, strengthen critical infrastructure, and stabilize local and regional economies; modernization of federal information technology systems; and targeted liability protections for companies operating responsibly during COVID-19.
· COVID-19 has laid bare the digital divide and the barriers faced by too many Americans who have had to transition every aspect of life online. The economic recession has highlighted the critical need for a massive federal investment designed to catalyze U.S. innovation. Federal investments in broadband, 5G, and other emerging technologies, as well as job training for the installation of these technologies, are critical to supporting the American recovery by connecting Americans to work, learning, and healthcare and to cementing our global competitiveness for the future.
· Supporting innovation and growth of third-party delivery services is critical to providing increased earning opportunities for drivers and delivery workers, supporting restaurants, retail stores, and small businesses, and ensuring the equitable delivery of goods and services during the pandemic and throughout the economic recovery.
· Federal regulations should encourage the expansion of virtual care and ensure access to safe and secure telehealth and digital health technologies, especially in areas with limited access to health care providers.