The Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense today called for a renewed commitment to combating COVID-19 and urged Americans to keep protecting one another.
“We formed the Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense six years ago because we suspected and subsequently confirmed that our Nation was vulnerable to biological threats,” said former Senator and Co-Chair Joe Lieberman. “Despite continuous experiences with SARS, MERS, Ebola, Zika and H1N1 influenza, our Nation still found itself unprepared with the arrival of COVID-19. We jumped into the fight with what we had at hand – masks, soap, the ability to spread out and stay at home. Not the most efficient of weapons, but we are fighting with what we have until the world invents bigger guns – like vaccines, antivirals, and therapeutics. Until then, we are stuck in the trenches and relying on each other.
“We need to resist pandemic fatigue. People are tired and worried about their lives and their livelihoods. But now is not the time to relax. The virus continues to spread – significantly so in places like Alabama, Oregon and South Carolina – and we expect additional waves of COVID-19. Until preventive measures or medical treatments arrive, we must continue to do what we can to protect one another. We need to wear masks, maintain social distancing, and support science, public health, and medicine.”
“Our Nation’s experts believe that COVID-19 waves could continue for months,” said former Homeland Security Secretary and Co-Chair Tom Ridge. “Some say it could be years before we return to normal. Others believe that COVID-19 will become endemic – a permanent presence here in the United States and around the world.
“There are no scenarios in which COVID-19 disappears quickly. It certainly hasn’t disappeared yet from the United States. In fact, daily cases are growing again. This is why our leaders at every level of government and in every private sector institution need to dig deep, persevere, and keep up the fight against COVID-19 until the war against it is won. Our government leaders must continue to communicate with Americans so that we all can make informed decisions about our health and the safety of our families.
Yes, we all want to be back to work. We want things back to normal. This can only happen by remaining vigilant and not succumbing to pandemic fatigue.”
About the Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense
The Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense, formerly known as the Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense, was established in 2014 to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the state of U.S. biodefense efforts, and to issue recommendations to foster change. The Panel’s 2015 report, A National Blueprint for Biodefense: Leadership and Major Reform Needed to Optimize Efforts, identified capability gaps and recommended changes to U.S. policy and law to strengthen national biodefense while optimizing resource investments. Subsequent Commission publications have addressed critical needs for agrodefense, biodefense budgeting, and State, Local, Tribal and Territorial capabilities. In September 2018, the White House released the National Biodefense Strategy, a top recommendation from the Blueprint. The Commission continues to assess biodefense challenges and to urge reform. Former Senator Joe Lieberman and former Governor Tom Ridge co-chair the Commission, and are joined by former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, former Representative Jim Greenwood, former Homeland Security Advisor Ken Wainstein, and former Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Advisor Lisa Monaco. Hudson Institute is the Commission’s fiscal sponsor.