According to a report from the Nuclear Threat Initiative and the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, no country on the planet was better prepared to handle a pandemic than the United States. The report, which came out late last year in the era before the Democrats found an easy scapegoat for the coronavirus in President Donald Trump, involved more than 100 researchers spending a year collecting and analyzing public data about pandemic preparedness.
Using this data, the researchers developed the Global Health Security Index. And while the paper acknowledged that the United States had room for improvement on this front, our country’s overall score of 83 put us far ahead of the rest of the world.
The Washington Post covered the story in October:
The report, released Thursday, is the first comprehensive assessment of global health capabilities, giving countries an overall score based on several measures. Unlike other ratings, the Global Health Security Index benchmarks health security in the context of tools critical to fighting outbreaks, such as robust health systems, adherence to global norms, and political and security risks, including public confidence in government.
The United States does well in five of six preparedness categories but ranks 19th — after Australia, Canada, Singapore and more than a half-dozen European countries — in an assessment of overall risk and vulnerability to biological threats. The factors driving down the U.S. score include the risks of social unrest and terrorism, and low public confidence in government. Liechtenstein ranked No. 1 on this measure.
Well, there’s been no social unrest and there’s been no terrorism, and, let’s face it, low public confidence in the government is practically baked into the American consciousness. Suffice to say, though, we’re doing pretty well. Could we have been more prepared for the coming of the coronavirus? We don’t doubt it. But then, you can’t prepare for every possible eventuality, can you? You’ll run the country into bankruptcy preparing for everything from an EMP attack to a Mega Volcano. No one can predict the future.
But this report is a fairly decisive clapback to all the media reports that Trump somehow decimated America’s biodefense programs in some vague vendetta against President Obama. That story was nonsense from the start, and it ignored the fact that our nation’s primary pandemic response systems are headquartered at the Department of Health and Human Services, not the White House.
Perhaps all that fake news is part of the reason Americans have such low confidence in their government.