It is now becoming apparent that governments around the world have long had considerable knowledge about the risks of a coronavirus type pandemic and have had studies that accurately predicted the shortcomings in their health care systems that would hamper their ability to fight such a pandemic.
The tragedy is that many countries failed to act on this knowledge and make the changes needed in their pandemic preparedness to keep their poupulations healthy.
Earlier in the week, the New York Times reported on “Crimson Contagion” a simulation conducted by the US Department of Health and Human Services last year in Washington and 12 states including New York and Illinois.
“Crimson Contagion”, which imagined an influenza pandemic, was simulated by the US Department of Health and Human Services in a series of exercises that ran from last January to August.
The United States, the government organizers realized, did not have the means to quickly manufacture more essential medical equipment, supplies and medicines, from antiviral medications to needles, syringes, N95 respirators and ventilators.
Most importantly, there was no plan to ramp up testing quickly and no clear sense of which level of government would be in charge of the testing ramp-up.
The tragedy of “Crimson Contagion” was that the US government didn’t act on the recommendations of the simulation. The planning and thinking happened many layers down in the bureaucracy. The knowledge and sense of urgency about the peril appear never to have gotten sufficient attention at the highest level of the executive branch or from Congress. This, in turn, left the US with funding shortfalls, equipment shortages and disorganization within and among various branches and levels of government when it came to rollling out a testing program.