AUSTIN, Texas — On Thursday, President Joe Biden laid out his administration's plan to end the COVID-19 pandemic.
He listed seven overarching goals, including opening schools while protecting workers and "restoring trust with the American people." Some doctors in Texas say they're conditionally hopeful and looking forward to the actions following this plan.
"If they're able to execute on those changes, I think that those actions can make a big difference," Dr. John Abikhaled, the immediate past president of Travis County Medical Society, said. "As a physician, seeing the things that they're talking about doing, I'm optimistic that this will make a difference and that it will help us get a better handle on the pandemic than we could do."
Former President Donald Trump's administration received flak for how the pandemic was handled, from testing to vaccine distribution and allocation. However, at least one Texas doctor believes any American leader having to deal with the pandemic from the beginning would have stumbled.
"Everything is so peculiar on even how it presented," Dr. Diana Fite, who heads up the Texas Medical Association, said. "I don't see how anybody could anticipate or have done anything differently or in a way that would improve matters at all."
However, doctors understand that any of these plans laid out by President Biden must lead to action and, ultimately, results before getting too much praise.
"At the end of the day, these are plans," Dr. Natasha Kathuria, an emergency room doctor in Austin, said. "We don't know how this will play out ... These are all speculations at this point. We are hopeful, just like we were hopeful when the vaccine came out, but we really don't know."
President Biden has already signed executive orders and actions mandating masks on federal grounds and encouraging governors to follow suit within their states, among other things. Many doctors and medical leaders KVUE reached out to on Tuesday responded with similar messages of speculation and hesitancy to praise the plans outright until they're allowed to play out.
Kathuria estimates it could take weeks or months to see the results of the plans set on Thursday.
"Changing human behavior takes a very long time," Kathuria said. "To get people to suddenly start wearing masks and suddenly start following rules is not something that's going to change overnight. Best case scenario, people took wearing masks very seriously starting tomorrow, which is not likely to happen, that would take weeks for that outcome to be seen."
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