U.S. Must Better Prepare For Next Pandemic, Experts, Lawmakers Say In Senate Hearings

Bloomberg: U.S. Must Prepare Now for Next Pandemic, Senators Are Told
“The U.S. was unprepared for the coronavirus pandemic and needs to invest more in the tools needed to monitor outbreaks and respond rapidly to the next health crises, witnesses told a Senate panel Tuesday. ‘Health security is national security, so let’s treat it as such,’ Bill Frist, a surgeon and former Republican Senate majority leader, told the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. He and the other witnesses on lessons learned so far in the pandemic — which has caused more than 120,000 deaths in the U.S., with rates of infection still increasing across the South and West — said the national government must take the lead role in dealing with an outbreak. The U.S. also needs to spend more on public health at all levels, they said…” (Woodhouse, 6/23).

Homeland Preparedness News: Pandemic proves Strategic National Stockpile needs a revamp, say lawmakers, experts
“The Strategic National Stockpile (SNS), which is tasked with supplementing state and local supplies of antibiotics, vaccines and other critical drugs and medical products, woefully needs a revamp to help the nation better prepare and respond to public health emergencies like the current COVID-19 pandemic, according to lawmakers and experts [who spoke Wednesday during a virtual hearing of the U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee]…” (Riley, 6/24).

Homeland Preparedness News: Public health experts urge lawmakers to focus on future pandemics
“A panel of public health experts called on Congress to focus on creating a mechanism that would help create vaccines for future pandemics, even as the world is working to cope with the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. ‘This pandemic is a harbinger of things to come,’ Julie Gerberding, former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and now executive vice president at pharma giant Merck & Co., told members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, during a hearing Tuesday on ‘COVID-19: Lessons Learned to Prepare for the Next Pandemic’…” (Roberts, 6/23).