Media Outlets Examine U.S. Preparedness For Disease Outbreaks Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

Fox News: U.S. was more prepared for pandemic than any other country, Johns Hopkins study found
“The United States was ranked the best-prepared country in the world to handle a pandemic in late 2019 by the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) and the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security (JHCHS) — an assessment seemingly at odds with claims by Democrats that the Trump administration left the country vulnerable to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak…” (Re, 3/24).

POLITICO: DHS wound down pandemic models before coronavirus struck
“…From at least 2005 to 2017, an office inside [the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in tandem with analysts and supercomputers at several national laboratories, produced detailed analyses of what would happen to everything from transportation systems to hospitals if a pandemic hit the United States. But the work abruptly stopped in 2017 amid a bureaucratic dispute over its value, two of the former officials said, leaving the department flat-footed as it seeks to stay ahead of the impacts the COVID-19 outbreak is having on vast swathes of the U.S. economy…” (Lippman, 3/24).

STAT: ‘We didn’t follow through’: He wrote the Ebola ‘lessons learned’ report for Obama. Now he weighs in on coronavirus response
“Christopher Kirchhoff knows how to assess the U.S. government’s response to a public health crisis. Kirchhoff, an aide at the Pentagon who moved to the White House during the height of the West African Ebola outbreak, was tapped to write a 2016 report about the lessons the U.S. could learn from the epidemic — and the steps it could take to prepare for the next outbreak of an emerging infection. … STAT on Monday spoke with Kirchhoff, a political scientist by training, about what he learned from compiling the Ebola report and what he thought of the U.S. response to Covid-19. Kirchhoff — now a senior fellow at Schmidt Futures, a philanthropic organization — spoke carefully, often pausing for several seconds before answering and continuing on haltingly and sometimes obliquely. He seemed uneager to unabashedly criticize the Trump administration’s response and particularly hesitant to target specific decisions or people, but his overall assessment was not positive…” (Joseph, 3/24).

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