A revelation that President George W. Bush warned of the risks posed by pandemics in 2005 and took steps to prepare for it has shed more light on the federal government's disaster preparedness since then, Fox News reported on Sunday.
Then Homeland security adviser Fran Townsend told ABC News that Bush put together a comprehensive pandemic plan in an intense effort over three years, although it was not fully realized as other priorities and crises occurred.
A USA Today fact-check showed that the Obama administration allowed the N95 mask stockpile to deplete following a series of crises, instead using limited resources to focus on buying lifesaving drugs.
Others have noted that President Donald Trump has blamed his predecessor for the shortage, but apparently took no efforts himself to replenish it in the three years he was in office before the coronavirus crisis erupted.
Former top Bush adviser Karl Rove lamented to Fox News on Sunday that, while Bush implemented a plan, it wasn't properly maintained.
He explained that "there's a different durability to each item in the stockpile. If you've got yourself a ventilator ... it may be made obsolete by changes in technology, but it's got a relatively long shelf life. But, masks do have a shelf life. You can't make a mask and have it have the same impact in 10 years that it might have in two years. So, this means budgetary questions, because you're gonna have to replenish parts of the stockpile periodically."
But Rove stressed that a stockpile "is the kind of thing that once you're committed to it, you hope that the only reasons you change the commitment to it is because there's a change in technology, not a change in finances."
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