May 25, 2017

Pandemics are as dangerous as war

Our Expert Voices conversation on pandemics.

When it comes to infectious disease outbreaks, the difference between a mild localized illness or a deadly worldwide plague may rest on the single protein of a microbe. And yet the U.S. is woefully unprepared for the next pandemic. We score only a 6.7 out of 10 on an independent assessment of our national preparedness.

Our nation's health security efforts are deeply fractured. Nobody has responsibility to design and implement a comprehensive national strategy, demand collaboration, align and scale agency-specific budgets to measurable outcomes, nor the authority to hold agencies accountable. Improving preparedness is not exclusively about increased resources. With the right leadership, existing resources could be better applied if redistributed in support of a national strategy.

The need to appoint an Ebola Czar during the response to 3 cases of Ebola in the U.S. was not an accident. It simply exposed the underlying lack of a senior national leader to provide oversight of our health security enterprise from prevention through response to recovery.

Bottom line: It's time for the White House to treat the threat of a global pandemic — which could kill hundreds of thousands of Americans and fundamentally disrupt our society — with the same respect as a foreign invasion, though microbe sized.

Other voices in the conversation:

Go deeper

Nikki Haley poaches top conservative from Heritage Action

Photo: John Lamparski/Getty Images

Nikki Haley has hired Tim Chapman, the head of Heritage Action, to run her conservative policy group Stand For America, according to two sources with direct knowledge of the hire. Haley and Chapman confirmed the hire, which was first reported by RealClearPolitics' Philip Wegmann.

Why it matters: Chapman is among the most influential conservative policy leaders in the country. His hire is Haley's highest-profile outside recruitment since leaving her job as UN ambassador under President Trump.

Situational awareness

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Catch up on today's biggest news:

  1. Warren supporters form super PAC
  2. We may be on "the brink" of coronavirus pandemic
  3. Pentagon policy chief resigns
  4. National polls show Bernie in control ahead of Nevada
  5. How a Chinese think tank rates all 50 U.S. governors
  6. Sanders and Bloomberg battle over heart health

Trump has declared war on sanctuary cities

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Armed with subpoenas, lawsuits and immigration SWAT teams, the Trump administration has declared war on sanctuary cities.

The big picture: President Trump and his administration have used every available tool to try to crack down on local governments that refuse to hold immigrants in criminal custody, block immigration agents from working in county jails or deny federal authorities access to immigrants' records.