The United States ranked #1 in terms of readiness to combat pandemics in the world in a late 2019 study by the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) and the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.
Most Prepared for a Pandemic
The Global Health Security Index was “developed with guidance from an international panel of experts from 13 countries, with research by the Economist Intelligence Unit,” from 2018 to 2019, The Washington Post reported last year, with more than 100 researchers collecting and validating available data. Although the US score was not perfect – it did come in at number one in terms of preparedness for handling a pandemic, with some of the factors that bring the overall score down being “risks of social unrest and terrorism, and low public confidence in government.”
Many, including Democrats, have been accusing the Trump administration and the president himself of failing to respond to the Coronavirus threat fast enough, although President Trump recently noted that misinformation may be the leading cause for the lack of confidence. Trump gave the example of 2020 rival Joe Biden saying that “no one on the National Security Council staff was put in charge” of pandemic preparedness, despite that being wrong information.
Separately, Biden’s team has also claimed that the president once called the novel virus a “hoax,” although fact-checkers refuted the argument, showing that Trump actually called Democrats’ efforts to blame him for the ongoing pandemic a “hoax,” and not the disease itself.
Despite misleading reports and misinformation being spread all over, some lawmakers are calling for more actions, as a precaution in case the scenario repeats again in the future. Rep. Gerald Connolly, D-Va., and Rep. Steve Chabot, R-Ohio, introduced a new bill that would see to it that any future administrations have experts in place to prepare in the case of future pandemic outbreaks.
Connolly said that the legislation isn’t meant as a criticism of Trump or his administration, but as a recognition of the fact that the president had to name a responder to the virus, just like Obama had to previously in 2014 during the Ebola outbreak. The measure was passed by the House Foreign Affairs Committee on March 4, with the co-sponsorship of 37 Democrats and 5 Republicans.