WASHINGTON, D.C. – The COVID-19 pandemic devastated communities. More than a million of Americans died, businesses closed their doors and we’re still recovering from the impact of the pandemic. A congressional investigation unveils a slew of issues with the federal response to the pandemic.
“We were not adequately prepared and there wasn’t a coordinated action with a speed necessary, basically lives were lost so this can’t happen again,” said Sen. Gary Peters (D- MI).
Peters, who chairs the Homeland Security and Government Affairs committee, investigated the federal response to the pandemic. In a massive 242-page report, it outlines a whole host of challenges:
In the early months of the pandemic, the CDC’s surveillance missed at least half of the cases that came into the country, which resulted in false assurances to the American people that there was no community spread in the U.S.
“Many of the organizations that were set up to help us get through a pandemic were simply not even funded, they didn’t have the resources that they needed,” said Sen. Peters.
“The CDC was relying on a test that was not up to the task and yet they continued to use that test and we weren’t able to get testing out into the failed as quickly as we needed to,” said Sen. Peters.
Communication was a problem. The report said contradictory and inadequate communication left people confused and unclear on what to do. he report said the White House required approval of all telebriefings, media requests and guidance documents, resulting in lengthy delays of critical health guidance and restricting the CDC’s ability to share info with the public.
The report also includes remedies to these issues.
“Another issue I will be particularly focused on is how do we ensure how we bring back critical manufacturing of critical medical supplies as well as other kinds of goods that are necessary to get through a crisis,” said Sen. Peters. “We have to make it in the United States, those jobs have to be in the United States.”
Peters said with the pandemic still fresh in our minds, the time is now to fix these issues.
“It would be absolutely irresponsible for us not to implement the lessons we learned in this pandemic to prevent the next one from being as catastrophic as the one we just went through,” said Sen. Peters.