Capitol Correspondence - 06.30.20

Senate Issues White Paper on Preparing for Future Pandemics

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The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions issued a report examining lessons learned from COVID-19 and policy gaps uncovered by the pandemic. As written in the executive summary of the report, titled Preparing for the Next Pandemic:

“Looking at lessons learned from the COVID-19 crisis, many of the challenges Congress has worked to address during the last 20 years still remain. Additionally, COVID-19 has exposed some gaps that had not been previously identified. These include unanticipated shortages of testing supplies and sedative drugs, which are necessary to use ventilators for COVID-19 patients.

RECOMMENDATIONS: Congress should work with federal departments and agencies, states, and the private sector to address these specific issues and newly identified gaps:

  1. Tests, Treatments, and Vaccines – Accelerate Research and Development
  2. Disease Surveillance – Expand Ability to Detect, Identify, Model, and Track Emerging Infectious Diseases
  3. Stockpiles, Distribution, and Surges – Rebuild and Maintain Federal and State Stockpiles and Improve Medical Supply Surge Capacity and Distribution
  4. Public Health Capabilities – Improve State and Local Capacity to Respond
  5. Who Is on the Flagpole? – Improve Coordination of Federal Agencies During a Public Health Emergency”