In the wake of the U.S. government’s failure to adequately respond to the coronavirus pandemic, health experts and legislators are now calling for a full investigation akin to the infamous 9/11 Commission report.
The underlying argument is that while the COVID-19 pandemic was and continues to be devastating, Wired reports, far more dangerous outbreaks could follow at any time. Should that come to pass, there’s no indication that the U.S. would be any more prepared than it was for the coronavirus.
“You think we weren’t prepared for this,” CDC director Robert Redfield told Congress earlier this month, “wait until we have a real global threat for our health security.”
A report like that produced by the 9/11 Commission would not only lay out what went wrong across the country’s fragmented response, but also identify important steps that could prepare for the next outbreak.
Most troubling about this is that these are not new warnings, Wired reports. In 2005, Michael Osterholm, director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, published an article in Foreign Affairs in which he argued that the U.S. was woefully unprepared for a viral outbreak.
Almost exactly 15 years later, Osterholm still argues that the U.S. government needs to be far more proactive.
“We have to take the information that we get from this pandemic — all aspects of it — and ask ourselves, much like the National Transportation Safety Board takes the black box from a crashed airplane: What can we do to make sure it doesn’t happen again?” he told Wired. “And part of this needs to occur throughout the duration of this, because we’ll need to pivot quickly based on whatever is going on.”
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