Anne Schuchat, the principal deputy director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), recently warned that if the US fails to maintain its current investments in the public health system, it will more than likely be ill-prepared if and when the next pandemic arises.
The top CDC official underscored during a Wednesday interview with The Hill that the US failed to initially roll out an adequate response to the pandemic because the federal government had been sidestepping its investments in the public health infrastructure for multiple years.
"I think the critical learning about how to do better next time is the need to greatly invest in public health, and not just respond to emergencies," Schuchat said. "This is a big job, and it can't be like Ebola or H1N1 where there's emergency funding and then everything goes away.”
“This needs to be sustained, or we will be exactly where we were last year," the official added, highlighting that the US’ supply shortages, such as those regarding the ventilators at the onset of the pandemic, proved to be a much-needed “wakeup call” for authorities.
She further emphasized that “the more coordinated, science-based and learning or response you have, you know, a response that's committed to continual improvement, the more effective the prevention will be.”
Schuchat’s remarks largely echoed those she gave during an interview with NPR’s “Morning Edition” the week prior. At the time, she had also indicated that there is still “a lot of work to do” in order for the US to get back on track and prepared for any outbreaks that could emerge in the years to come.
Touching on the current state of the vaccination program within the US, Schuchat called on the American public to remain vigilant as many countries are dealing with different stages of their own COVID-19 outbreaks. “It’s really important that we remember the global situation,” she noted.
Latest figures provided by the CDC state that more than 64.1% of Americans have been partially vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus. US President Joe Biden has set a target of July 4 to get at least 70% of US adults partially vaccinated.