Dr Steven Hatfill, author of “Three Minutes to Midnight”, says with the population densities we have other more serious pandemics are in the offing. A preparedness plan was created during the Bush Administration, with recommendations that borders be immediately closed, hospitals store respirators, masks, hazmat type suits and the like, develop a plan and have beds available onsite or offsite. The government would provide stimulus to keep people going, expecting 40% would not report for work. $130 billion was spent. The Federal government would also stockpile medications as therapeutics and assist in creating a vaccine if possible. Plans were also created for an attack on a city.
It would be left to the states leaders to activate the plan throughout the country, to ensure beds were made available, and stores of needed equipment could be accessed. In this COVID-19 scenario the states fell apart. The governors did all kinds of things, and the hospitals (run by people with 4 yr degrees) did not have a plan they were aware of, or stored supplies. They no longer had people who had drilled in case of a disaster, and no one knew the protocols. Not only this, but … we had no ability to produce drugs or vaccines. P. Trump had started, a year ago, to revamp our ability to make our own pharmaceuticals for the sake of national security.
This situation is not as bad as pandemics can be, and it certainly serves as a wakeup call.
Trying to get people to care abt potential viral disasters is not easy. Here in WI it is mandatory that a plan be developed and accepted by the State Dept. of Health if people are to be playing with potentially dangerous pathogens. There is a person from Japan, Dr Kawaoka, at the UW-Madison who has recreated things like the plague, right next to the place where students get their ice cream in the Ag Dept. The UW hospital was not aware of a plan, and neither was the State Health Dept. aware of a plan. He has a level 4 lab, and in the final analysis, I guess they all decided Kawaoka’s lab could never leak a virus. So far it hasn’t. But, the lab in Wuhan is level 4, and they were afraid a dog may have escaped, smashing some vials on the way, and carrying off some viruses. Could something like that happen in Kawaoka’s lab? Perhaps. But there is no plan, even though it is mandated by law. There was a sense that Kawaoka was operating beyond state laws for some reason.
WE have seen that even with a plan, and money allocated, people were still unprepared. Apparently during the Obama administration they began to use the supplies, and forgot to save beds or facilities in case of pandemic, and they dropped all drilling.