The White House shared details of its new “National Biodefense Strategy” this week, aimed at protecting the country from future pandemics and biological threats.
The plan also addresses the question of whether or not the country is prepared to respond to a bio-terrorist attack.
To date, more than a million Americans have died from COVID-19. With experts saying the pandemic is winding down, leaders in Washington are looking to the next pandemic.
That includes former U.S. Senator and one-time Vice-Presidential nominee Joe Lieberman, and Margaret Hamburg, former Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration.
They’re part of a group tasked with examining the country’s biodefense.
“Of course, it’s the most profound wake-up call we have had in our lifetimes,” Hamburg said of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lieberman says it’s important to be prepared.
“One thing is to be ready,” Lieberman added. “We didn’t have any of the materials and diagnostic testing to see whether people could find out quickly whether they had COVID.”
In the case of a future pandemic, the Biden Administration’s plan calls for enough vaccines for all Americans within 130 days of an outbreak.
While lessons learned from COVID-19 make up an important part of how the nation prepares for the next pandemic, the commission says COVID has potentially opened up the United States to a vulnerability to other countries looking to cause harm by using biological agents.
“Honestly, we’re not ready really to detect and respond to a bioterrorist attack on American soil as well as we should be,” Lieberman said.
President Biden’s plan still needs support from Congress, which could be more of a challenge depending on the outcome of the midterm elections