Just a quick note about the current pandemic. The White House knew that these things could happen and how bad they could be. Don’t let others tell you otherwise…
From ABC News, 2016:
In the coming days, Trump, along with his top advisers, will begin much more in-depth daily intelligence briefings, along with regular meetings on major diplomatic and international issues. It’s also expected that the White House and Trump’s national security team will conduct a “black swan exercise” in the coming months to simulate what it would be like to manage a major crisis in real time.https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/donald-trumps-white-house-transition/story?id=43390484
From Foreign Policy Magazine, 2018:
In January 2017, while one of us was serving as a homeland security advisor to outgoing President Barack Obama, a deadly pandemic was among the scenarios that the outgoing and incoming U.S. Cabinet officials discussed in a daylong exercise that focused on honing interagency coordination and rapid federal response to potential crises. The exercise is an important element of the preparations during transitions between administrations, and it seemed things were off to a good start with a commitment to continuity and a focus on biodefense, preparedness, and the Global Health Security Agenda—an initiative begun by the Obama administration to help build health security capacity in the most critically at-risk countries around the world and to prevent the spread of infectious disease. But that commitment was short-lived.https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/09/28/the-next-pandemic-will-be-arriving-shortly-global-health-infectious-avian-flu-ebola-zoonotic-diseases-trump/
The prevailing laissez-faire attitude toward funding pandemic preparedness within President Donald Trump’s White House is creating new vulnerabilities in the health infrastructure of the United States and leaving the world with critical gaps to contend with when the next global outbreak of infectious disease hits.
The investments made after the 2014 Ebola crisis have been slashed in recent proposed federal budgets from the Centers for Disease Control, the agency that works to stop deadly diseases in their tracks, and the U.S. Agency for International Development, which responds to international disasters, including the Ebola outbreak. Moreover, Timothy Ziemer, the top White House official in charge of pandemic preparedness, has left his job, and the biosecurity office he ran was summarily disbanded.
From Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security, 2017:
To serve as baseline information for the incoming new Administration and Congress, the scholars at the Center for Health Security wrote a series of commentaries providing facts and assessments of what has been accomplished in key areas of health security and what needs to be done now. They highlighted some ambitious goals that could, if embraced by the new Administration, significantly advance our national ability to save lives, economies, and societies when faced with serious health security threats. Some of these goals have been aspired to for a long time, but there has not been the kind of national commitment to fully achieve them.http://www.centerforhealthsecurity.org/who-we-are/annual_report/pdfs/2017-CHS-annual-report.pdf
Those are all articles written before 2019. I wanted to find articles from then that should have warned us about today. And here we are. Stay safe.
René F. Najera, DrPH
I'm a Doctor of Public Health, having studied at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health.
All opinions are my own and in no way represent anyone else or any of the organizations for which I work.
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