Former White House aide who wrote report on Ebola outbreak says U.S. 'didn't follow through' on pandemic preparation investments

Tim O'Donnell

Christopher Kirchhoff, a former Obama administration aide who wrote a report in 2016 on the lessons learned from the 2014 Ebola outbreak, told Stat News that the United States was on the path to preparedness for a pandemic like the current novel coronavirus situation after Ebola, but never finished the job.

In his report, Kirchhoff wrote that it wasn't acceptable for the U.S. to "merely" maintain "the current scale of response activities." He told Stat that Congress, during the Ebola outbreak, passed a $5.4 billion supplemental package with a down payment to strengthen the country's pathogen surveillance and detection operations, as well as the preparedness of the health care system for an outbreak.

In terms of the latter, Kirchhoff said there were some initial investments to grow the system's capacity, but now as the coronavirus threatens to overwhelm U.S. hospitals, he said "it's pretty clear" that "we didn't follow through on more investments that were needed." Because of that, he doesn't believe the country is in an ideal position to respond to the current crisis. Read more at Stat News.

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