Positioning America's Public Health System for the Next Pandemic   [open pdf - 0B]

From the Executive Summary: "The COVID-19 [coronavirus disease 2019] pandemic has made clear that the nation's safety, health, and economic prosperity are dependent on a robust public health system. Federal public health agencies and state and local public health departments have long been severely underfunded. They have lacked the workforce and modern data systems to support surveillance, contact tracing, testing, guidance on mitigation measures, administration of vaccines, and clear communication that is needed to stop infectious diseases from spreading across the country. In the beginning of the current pandemic, the federal government did not provide effective testing kits or clear and timely guidance to states, localities, tribes, and territories on COVID-19 mitigation measures, resulting in a delayed and fragmented national response. In addition, many Americans have chronic underlying health conditions such as obesity and heart disease, leaving them more likely to develop severe illness from the virus that causes COVID-19. Public health agencies and departments lack the resources to support prevention programs that might have reduced the prevalence of these conditions. Further, there are long-standing racial and socioeconomic inequities with respect to health and health care access. [...] Our recommendations focus on three areas: 1) creating clarity and accountability in federal leadership and operations during a pandemic; 2) improving public health information technology and data systems; and 3) committing the United States to more and consistent funding of public health to prepare for inevitable public health crises."

Bipartisan Policy Center
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