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U.S. Must Continue To Invest In Global Health Security, Disease Preparedness To Prevent Overseas, Domestic Disease Threats

Washington Post: Are we ready for an epidemic this summer?
Ronald A. Klain, Washington Post contributing columnist and former White House Ebola response coordinator

“…Why the surge [in U.S. cases of infectious diseases spread by insects]? Global travel is a major cause … Scientists also identify more infections, thanks to new research tools. But there’s another factor slipped into [a recent] CDC report: Certain mosquitoes and ticks are ‘moving into new areas.’ … Thus, we face another risk posed by the threat that Trump administration officials dare not speak aloud: climate change. … But the biggest challenge is Trump himself. … Trump attacked science-based responses to [the West African Ebola outbreak] … has ‘energized’ the anti-vaccine movement … [and] has proposed … reduction[s] in programs designed to stop dangerous diseases overseas before they come to the United States. … The solutions are well known: Empowered leadership at the White House. A public health emergency fund that a president can quickly deploy before Congress acts. More investments in research, epidemic prevention, and well-equipped and trained teams at regional hospitals. Increased support for state and local public health departments, our front-line defense. More research on vaccines and therapeutics, and clearer policies on their rapid approval and deployment. And most important: robust investment in global health security to help other countries identify, isolate, and respond to outbreaks before they become global epidemics. These ideas all have bipartisan origins and have had (at least until recent years) bipartisan support. But they require investing more money overseas in the face of a powerful isolationist headwind…” (5/4).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.