Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Improving Pandemic Preparedness: Council on Foregin Relations Report

Environmental & Science Education, STEM, Health, Medicine, Government, Society

Ed Hessler

No matter many past warnings, the world's nations, including the U.S. were caught by surprise by the Covid-19 pandemic according to a blistering report from the bipartisan Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).

The report was compiled by a 22-person task force co-chaired by President Barack Obama's HHS secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell and President George H. Bush's Homeland Security Council chair Frances Fragos Townsend. Among the many reasons why things went bad so quickly: inadequate funding for preparedness programs, an uncoordinated patchwork of response measures from different countries, and the U. S. waste of  "precious weeks" instead of implementing public health interventions to slow new infections early on. The report includes this recommendation for the U. S.: stay on as a member of WHO and work with other nations to strengthen the capacity to respond to future pandemics. They are coming.

You may read the here, I copied the the headings from the What Went Wrong Domestically (there is a similar section on What Went Wrong Globally)from the major section of the report on findings. Each includes a short summary of what is discussed. The report includes descriptions of task force members and other relevant information.

Action came too late.The United States did not act early enough in mobilizing a federal response to COVID-19, and the delay increased both the human and economic toll of the disease.


Lessons were not learned.The United States has declared pandemics to be a national security threat but has not acted accordingly, failing to integrate the lessons of past epidemics, multiple crisis simulations, and blue-ribbon reports underscoring the need for pandemic response capabilities, or to organize itself effectively to coordinate such a response.  


Communications were unclear, inconsistent, and often politicized. Communicating clear, credible, and timely information is essential during pandemics. During the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. communication campaigns were scattered, inconsistent, and too often politicized rather than grounded in science and public health.


More testing and tracing were needed. The U.S. response to COVID-19 was undermined by the failure to rapidly stand up a reliable nationwide system of testing and tracing. Without a way to accurately identify infected people and those with whom they had been in recent contact, public health authorities were too often operating without crucial information. 


The federal government underinvested in local preparedness.Years of federal underinvestment in pandemic preparedness at the local and hospital level undercut the U.S. response to COVID-19.


The U.S. stockpile was not well stocked.The pandemic has exposed shortcomings in—and disagreements over the purposes of—the Strategic National Stockpile.


Lines of authority in the United States were unclear.Mounting an effective U.S. response to pandemics and other major crises requires clear delineation of authority and responsibility among local, state, and national officials and agencies, as well as strong coordination at the federal level. In the absence of such clarity, U.S. political authorities often worked at cross purposes, increasing the human and economic toll of the pandemic. 


These are followed by a section sub-headed The United States lacks adequate mechanisms to coordinate its domestic and international activities on supply chains, vaccine development, and disease surveillance. The United States cannot afford to develop and implement domestic preparedness policies and initiatives in isolation, without considering international factors that will help determine their success.











No comments:

Post a Comment