Tags: Ebola Outbreak | Pandemic | Ebola | Obama | Bush

America Isn't Prepared for a Pandemic

By
Wednesday, 15 Oct 2014 11:07 AM Current | Bio | Archive

President Obama has a long history of blaming Bush for all that ails us but, with regard to national preparedness for pandemics, the Bush administration was way ahead of where the CDC and HHS finds us today as we struggle to deal with just a few domestic cases of the highly infectious Ebola virus.
 
Flashback to 2008 — the Center for Disease Control awarded $24 million for pandemic influenza preparedness projects.
 
According to the CDC, this was the plan:
 
The CDC would spend $24 million to fund 55 projects in 29 state and local public health departments that could serve as innovative approaches for influenza pandemic preparedness.
 
This is what Dr. Richard Besser, the Director of CDC’s Coordinating Office of Terrorism and Preparedness and Emergency Response, said about the program: “What is learned from these projects can benefit everyone because it could improve national, regional, and local public health detection and response to a pandemic involving influenza.”
 
CDC intends for the recipients to implement promising practices or to develop effective approaches and models that can be replicated nationally, Dr. Besser said.
 
State and local health departments in a competitive application process submitted a total of 184 funding applications. Eligible applicants for the awards were limited to the 62 state, local, and territorial public health departments that currently receive federal funding through CDC agreement.
 
The 29 award recipients had one year to complete the projects, which began on September 30, 2008. The projects focus on seven key areas and include:
 
1. Use of public engagement as part of the public health decision-making process

2.
Electronic laboratory data exchange to support influenza pandemic monitoring

3.
Integration of state-based immunization information systems to track distribution of influenza pandemic countermeasures

4.
Development of statewide electronic death reporting systems compliant with Public Health Information Network (PHIN) requirements

5.
Collaborative planning among healthcare providers to ensure the delivery of essential services during an influenza pandemic

6.
Development of interventions that promote preparedness for pandemic disease among identified vulnerable populations

7.
Distribution and dispensing of antiviral drugs to self-isolated or self-quarantined persons in an influenza pandemic event
 
The $24 million for the new projects were part of $600 million in CDC’s Public Health Emergency Preparedness supplemental funding appropriated by Congress to accelerate state and local influenza pandemic planning efforts. The focus of the funding, which was distributed in three phases beginning in 2006, was on practical, community-based procedures that could prevent or delay the spread of influenza pandemic.
 
Complimenting what CDC was doing, Bush’s Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Levitt made the preparation for a pandemic a national priority and embarked on a national tour of state’s to raise awareness and set forth protocols for federal, state and local officials.
 
As part of President Bush’s plan to mobilize the nation to prepare for an influenza pandemic, Secretary Leavitt in 2005 announced $100 million in funding for state and local preparedness. In December of 2005, the secretary hosted a national summit on pandemic in Washington, D.C., and thereafter took his pandemic planning summits to all 50 states. 
 
This is what Secretary Levitt said at the time:
 
“A pandemic is a global disease outbreak. Influenza pandemic occurs when a new flu virus emerges for which people have little or no immunity. The disease spreads easily from person to person, causes serious illness, and can sweep across the country and around the world in a very short time. 
 
Currently, much attention is focused on avian, or ‘bird’ flu, as the possible cause of a pandemic. However, it is important to note that avian flu is not easily transmitted from human to human, and no human cases have been reported in the United States.”
 
Ebola is a virus and so is influenza. This is how the CDC defines influenza:
 
“Seasonal influenza, commonly called “the flu,” is caused by influenza viruses, which infect the respiratory tract, i.e., the nose, throat, lungs. Unlike many other viral respiratory infections, such as the common cold, the flu can cause severe illness and life-threatening complications in many people. It is estimated that in the United States, each year on average 5 percent to 20 percent of the population gets the flu and more than 200,000 people are hospitalized from seasonal flu-related complications. Flu seasons are unpredictable and can be severe. Over a period of 30 years, between 1976 and 2006, estimates of flu-associated deaths in the United States range from a low of about 3,000 to a high of about 49,000 people.”
 
HHS at the time said this about pandemic influenza:
 
“A pandemic is a global disease outbreak. Influenza pandemic occurs when a new flu virus emerges for which people have little or no immunity. The disease spreads easily from person to person, causes serious illness, and can sweep across the country and around the world in a very short time.”
 
I attended many of Secretary Levitt’s Pandemic Summits and they were effective in preparing federal, state, and local health, community, and first responder leadership in ways to address how hospitals, schools, businesses, public agencies, faith-based organizations, and others participate in pandemic preparedness. With these meetings, officials were able to identify needs specific to the communities they serve and begin crucial coordination to assure readiness if a pandemic outbreak strikes.
 
The Bush administration was on the forefront of national infectious disease preparedness in 2005-2008.
 
The Obama administration has been caught flatfooted in 2014.
 
What happened in the last 6 years? Why has the Obama administration dropped the ball in pandemic preparedness?
 
Leaders are supposed to prevent bad things from happening and not merely respond to it when it does.
 
The incompetent national response to Ebola today shows that our nation has lost its edge in preparedness and proves that we are vulnerable to a massive and deadly infectious disease outbreak in the U.S.
 
Bradley A. Blakeman served as deputy assistant to President George W. Bush from 2001-04. He is currently a professor of politics and public policy at Georgetown University and a frequent contributor to Fox News Opinion. Read more reports from Bradley Blakeman — Click Here Now.
 
 

© 2017 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

 
1Like our page
2Share
BradleyBlakeman
President Obama has a long history of blaming Bush for all that ails us but, with regard to national preparedness for pandemics, the Bush administration was way ahead of where the CDC and HHS finds us today . . .
Pandemic, Ebola, Obama, Bush
1018
2014-07-15
Wednesday, 15 Oct 2014 11:07 AM
Newsmax Inc.
 

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved