Many of the same interventions that help to end a pandemic are also intended to defend us against a biological attack.

By politicizing these interventions during COVID19, we are also dismantling decades of accomplishments in bioterrorism preparedness.

The Nunn-Lugar-Domenici Defense Against Weapons of Mass Destruction Act of 1996 provided key congressional findings regarding threats, risks, and shortfalls in response capabilities related to chemical, biological, and radiological weapons. The act warned of the potential for the national security of the United States to be threatened by these agents.

Within ten years, pandemic preparedness had also become a cornerstone of US disaster policy with Congress’s passing of the first Pandemic and All Hazards Preparedness Act in 2006.

And yet, as the events of 2020 unfolded, it left many seasoned professionals scratching their heads.

During the past year, there have significant challenges reported regarding nearly all aspects of the COVID19 response. Many of these appear related to the most basic elements of emergency response to pandemics, regardless of the virus origin.

Remarkable contradictions and controversies have occurred during the event regarding fundamental response issues like: risk assessment; risk communication; shelter-in-place; personal protective equipment; worker safety; infection control; social distancing; test availability; drug safety; vaccine development; environmental health, food security, the role of state and federal governments; and even the national incident management system, itself.

After watching this YouTube video, “How to Lose a BioWar”, viewers will be able to:

  • recall a brief history of America’s capacity-building for managing epidemic and pandemic disasters,
  • compare and contrast the response capabilities required during intentional versus unintentional pandemics,
  • describe how many of the actions taken for surviving a pandemic are the same as for surviving a biological war or terrorist attack, and
  • recognize pandemic response as a critical asset for national security.

Please share your comments below and check out our related blog, “Emergency managers make evidence-based decisions”

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