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Blaming China won't solve America's problems

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2020-09-24 09:47

Reduced preparedness

Lack of attention to federal preparedness and coordination also helps explain why the Trump administration has consistently botched its response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Fortune Magazine reports that over the past two years, the Trump administration has systematically been dismantling government agencies specifically designed to protect against pandemics like COVID-19. They have eliminated funding for an Obama-era disease security program. In 2018, Rear Adm. Timothy Ziemer, whose responsibility was to lead a US response to a pandemic such as COVID-19, left the administration as his global health team was disbanded.

According to Dr Peter Mjos, retired after over four decades in general medicine and public health in Anchorage, Donald Trump called for an overall $18 billion reduction in health care spending in 2018, including slashing the global disease fighting budgets of CDC, the National Security Council (NSC) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). He eliminated global health security teams at NSC and DHS. These cuts have crippled the production and availability of COVID-19 test kits. In 2019, he eliminated the Predict Program of the USAID, an institution established in 2009 to improve the "detection and discovery of zoonotic viruses (such as COVID-19) with pandemic potential", a program credited with identifying nearly 1000 new zoonotic viruses. Right before the onset of the COVID 19 pandemic, the White House released its budget request for fiscal 2021, Trump proposed further cuts in scientific and medical research.

All in all, the cuts, coupled with the administration's repeated calls to cut the budget for the CDC and other public health agencies, made it clear that the Trump administration wasn't prioritizing the federal government's ability to respond to disease outbreaks.

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