GOP senator introduces plan to combat future pandemics
WASHINGTON – Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., on Tuesday introduced a plan that he said will help make sure the U.S., is better prepared for future pandemics as COVID-19 continues to devastate communities across the nation.
With over 100,000 deaths and two million cases over the course of three months in the United States alone, leading health experts and officials have acknowledged they were not prepared to handle the scope of the coronavirus pandemic.
“In the midst of responding to COVID-19, the United States Congress should take stock now of what parts of the local, state, and federal response worked, what could work better and how, and be prepared to pass legislation this year to better prepare for the next pandemic, which will surely come,” said Alexander, who is the chairman of the Senate Health Committee.
The plan states that Congress should work with federal agencies as well as the private sector to address “specific issues and newly identified gaps” to get ready for future pandemics, including improving tests, treatments, vaccine development, disease surveillance and stockpiles. The plan also stresses the need to improve coordination between federal agencies, which is something Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer routinely criticized the Trump administration on in the last few months.
“Even with an event as significant as COVID19, memories fade and attention moves quickly to the next crisis,” Alexander said. “That makes it imperative that Congress act on needed changes this year in order to better prepare for the next pandemic.”