Letter to the editor: COVID-19 is a global crisis
As deaths from COVID-19 continue to climb and many states backtrack on efforts to reopen their economies, the Trump administration has motioned toward developing a vaccine at “warp speed.” To date, the federal government has funneled over $10 billion into Operation Warp Speed with the goal of 300 million doses of a vaccine by January. However, diseases do not respect borders. Generating and administering a vaccine with speed rather than effectiveness in mind could, best-case-scenario, leave one in ten American residents unvaccinated and vulnerable to a deadly virus that is not going away anytime soon.
In his July 21 floor statement, Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy made clear that global crises require global solutions: “We … need to be aware of what the virus is doing in other parts of the world, because that will determine how long it will take to defeat this pandemic.” He calls for greater funding in the next emergency supplemental in Congress to help fight COVID-19 internationally. This could eventually lead to concrete global health legislation, such as the Global Health Security Act, investing in the future of global health by preparing for future pandemic/epidemic illness and appointing a global health coordinator as part of the U.S. bureaucracy.
Senator Leahy believes that investing in global health security is an investment in U.S. national security as well. Meanwhile, investing in a speedy, domestic solution may place Trump in a feedback loop in which he will always need new treatments and more vaccine doses.
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