CDC Vice President Ann Schuchat admitted in an interview Friday that the United States was not adequately prepared for the COVID-19 pandemic. She warned that without a drastic increase in investment in public health, a similar scenario could occur again in the future.
In an interview with The Hill, Schuchat, who has been at the CDC for 33 years, said the COVID-19 pandemic has taught the country a “hard lesson” and exposed years of neglect when it comes to public health financing or strategic material reserves, including That’s medical equipment.
“I think the main conclusion for the future is that we need huge investments in public health, and we (we) cannot be content with crisis response,” the official said. She warned that massive increases in funding after the pandemic eventually helped, but that if this extraordinary level of spending is not maintained, the United States will not be prepared for another devastating pandemic. “We will be in the same place we were last year” – she indicated.
Schuchat stressed that the fight against the epidemic has become more difficult due to political pressures from the previous administration. She acknowledged that politics has always affected the activities of a government institution such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but in this case she faced a “totally different level” of pressure from the government. As Hill points out, at the start of the pandemic, the CDC was criticized by President Donald Trump for the warnings it issued about the threat of the new virus.
In Schuchat’s view, it was exacerbated by the politicization of the topic of the pandemic and the fact that it had become the subject of a culture war in American society. She admitted that she was “extremely frustrated” by the situation.
Despite this, she believes that the United States is currently in a good position to control the epidemic, as evidenced by the decline in infection numbers and hospitalizations over the past months. Schuchat stressed at the same time that the country must remain vigilant, including due to the spread of new viral variants.
She admitted that the authorities were facing the most difficult stage in the vaccination campaign, which is immunizing those who are still reluctant to apply for the vaccine. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data shows that 64% of patients have received at least one dose of COVID-19 so far as US adults. Although the problems with the availability of vaccines are long gone – injections are available “on-the-go” in many pharmacies or even supermarkets – the pace of vaccination has slowed significantly recently. According to Schuchat, the authorities expected such a turn of events, but they must step up efforts to persuade people to take advantage of vaccines.
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