Tags: Coronavirus | Homeland Security | Trump Administration | dhs | homeland security | pandemic | models

DHS Stopped Pandemic Modeling Efforts in 2017

a homeland security field office in tukwila, washington
A Homeland Security field office in Tukwila, Washington. (JASON REDMOND/AFP via Getty Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 25 March 2020 11:04 AM

The Department of Homeland Security began downsizing its pandemic modeling efforts just after President Donald Trump took office and not long before the coronavirus outbreak, Politico reports.

The National Infrastructure Simulation and Analysis Center (NISAC) within the DHS worked with analysts and supercomputers from laboratories across the country from 2005 to 2017 to predict how a pandemic would affect the United States, from transportation to healthcare, but this work abruptly ceased after department leaders disagreed over the program's value, two unnamed former officials told Politico.

"Nobody even knew where any of the documents were anymore," one of these former officials said. "It's really just a source of frustration."

Another said, "A lot of what we're doing now is shooting in the dark, and there's going to be secondary impacts to infrastructure that are going to be felt in part because we didn't maintain these models. Our ability to potentially foresee where the impacts are or may manifest is a result of the fact that we don't have the capabilities anymore."

A 2015 report from the department based on data from NISAC said that in the event of a pandemic, the U.S. could "experience significant shortages in vaccines, antivirals, pharmaceuticals needed to treat secondary infections and complications, personal protective equipment (PPE), and medical equipment, including ventilators."

Former senior DHS official Juliette Kayyem told Politico, "We should not be surprised that a department that has for the last three and a half years viewed itself solely as a border enforcement agency seems ill-equipped to address a much greater threat to the homeland."

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Politics
The Department of Homeland Security began downsizing its pandemic modeling efforts just after President Donald Trump took office and not long before the coronavirus outbreak, Politico reports.
dhs, homeland security, pandemic, models, virus
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2020-04-25
Wednesday, 25 March 2020 11:04 AM
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