US Intelligence Community Warns About The Possibility Of A Pandemic Long Before The Current Pandemic

US Intelligence Community Warns About The Possibility Of A Pandemic Long Before The Current Pandemic

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US Intelligence Community Warns  About The Possibility Of A Pandemic Long Before The Current Pandemic

The intelligence community's 2019 Worldwide Threat Assessment, delivered last January, said the following in bold type: "We assess that the United States and the world will remain vulnerable to the next flu pandemic or large-scale outbreak of a contagious disease that could lead to massive rates of death and disability, severely affect the world economy, strain international resources, and increase calls on the United States for support."

The report said that there will be "more frequent outbreaks of infectious diseases" than in the past, for various reasons related to urbanization, globalization and climate change, and said that health security improvements by the international community "may be inadequate."

The intelligence community's 2018 threat assessment warned that a "novel strain of a virulent microbe that is easily transmissible between humans continues to be a major threat" -- specifically listing a coronavirus, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) Coronavirus, as one with "pandemic potential."

Harvard's Lipsitch noted that a 2015 study found a risk that a coronavirus circulating among bats in China, similar to the SARS coronavirus identified in 2003, would emerge in humans. (The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the current coronavirus, like the SARS of 2003 and the Middle East coronavirus, has its origin in bats.)

Bill Gates, the Microsoft co-founder whose philanthropic foundation is a major player in the global health world, said in a 2018 speech that "the next threat may not be a flu at all. More than likely, it will be an unknown pathogen that we see for the first time during an outbreak, as was the case with SARS, MERS, and other recently-discovered infectious diseases." Gates said that "even in the US," not only in low-income countries, "our response to a pandemic or widespread bioterror attack would be insufficient."

Jeremy Konyndyk, who served under former President Barack Obama as director of the US Agency for International Development's Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance, wrote on Twitter and in a Politico article during the first two months of Trump's presidency in 2017 about what he argued was Trump's unpreparedness for the pandemic he warned could be coming.

"A major new global health crisis is a question of when, not if," he wrote in Politico, noting that "every president dating back to at least Ronald Reagan has dealt with major and unexpected outbreaks -- HIV/AIDS, SARS, bird flu, Ebola, Zika."

                                     
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