The American Rescue Plan (ARP), passed by Congress last month, will be sending about $100 billion into the U.S. public health system — money which is badly needed. But it isn’t enough for the long-term to prepare for the next pandemic.
The pandemic laid bare what had long been known — the nation’s federal, state, local, tribal and territorial public health agencies have been underfunded for decades. When SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, began spreading, public health departments were so understaffed and working with such antiquated information systems that they could not respond to the fast-spreading pathogen quickly. Continue reading
With public trust at an all-time low in government scientists and public health agencies, what can be done to repair confidence in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with an eye toward preparing for the next pandemic?
Though it may seem too early to be thinking about another pandemic, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), a New York-based non-partisan think tank is doing just that. On Oct. 8, the CFR issued a report – “Improving Pandemic Preparedness: Lessons from COVID-19” – to provide a roadmap for getting the U.S. out of the pandemic and respond to the next one. Continue reading
Photo: Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf via FlickrMicrobiologist Kerry Pollard performs a manual extraction of the coronavirus at the Pennsylvania Department of Health Bureau of Laboratories.
Getting accurate data and information from local and state public officials is central to all journalists covering the COVID-19 pandemic, but what can reporters do when it’s hard to get local public health departments even to answer the phone or emails?
Local, state and federal budget constraints, over the past decade, have meant a loss of 56,000 jobs in the public health sector, including many public information officer and other communications positions. When the pandemic emerged in March, public health departments had few people with science backgrounds to communicate with the public. Continue reading