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Rahm Emanuel. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Rahm Emanuel, the former mayor of Chicago and White House chief of staff for President Obama, called on the federal government in a Wall Street Journal op-ed to create a Cabinet-level executive department to coordinate the nation’s response to future pandemics.

Why it matters: Emanuel suggested that the agency, which he called the Department of Public Health and Emergency Care, should be modeled on the Department of Homeland Security created by President George W. Bush after 9/11.

What he's saying: Emanuel argued that because multiple "disconnected agencies" are responsible for the national response to a pandemic, none can be fully held accountable for government incompetence in the face of an outbreak.

  • "Even if the buck ultimately stops in the Oval Office, Americans should be able to hold a single official accountable for the nation’s anticipation, preparation and response to future pandemics," he writes.
  • "History will hold Mr. Trump responsible for the federal government’s lack of urgency in the early weeks, and the cavalier response that followed. He cannot claim he was insufficiently warned."

The big picture: Emanuel recommended that the agency build and maintain a strategic stockpile of medical equipment, set up a warning system for potential global viruses and develop a corps of health care professionals that would deploy to hotspots.

  • "One crucial lesson of the current catastrophe is that response speed plays an outsize role in determining the extent of devastation," he wrote. "But the diffusion of power slows us down."

Go deeper: 10 times Trump and his administration were warned about coronavirus

Go deeper

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

The winners and losers of the pandemic holiday season

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The pandemic has upended Thanksgiving and the shopping season that the holiday kicks off, creating a new crop of economic winners and losers.

The big picture: Just as it has exacerbated inequality in every other facet of American life, the coronavirus pandemic is deepening inequities in the business world, with the biggest and most powerful companies rapidly outpacing the smaller players.

Coronavirus cases rose 10% in the week before Thanksgiving

Expand chart
Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Map: Andrew Witherspoon, Sara Wise/Axios

The daily rate of new coronavirus infections rose by about 10 percent in the final week before Thanksgiving, continuing a dismal trend that may get even worse in the weeks to come.

Why it matters: Travel and large holiday celebrations are most dangerous in places where the virus is spreading widely — and right now, that includes the entire U.S.

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York coronavirus restrictions

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled late Wednesday that restrictions previously imposed on New York places of worship by Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) during the coronavirus pandemic violated the First Amendment.

Why it matters: The decision in a 5-4 vote heralds the first significant action by the new President Trump-appointed conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who cast the deciding vote in favor of the Catholic Church and Orthodox Jewish synagogues.