You would think that after the death, illness, and devastating disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic, creating a government agency focused on preventing such horrors from recurring would be a no-brainer. However, even this is proving to be a partisan issue, with the Democrats consistently on the side of reason, prioritizing the health and safety of all Americans.
In 2016, President Barack Obama created the Pandemic Preparedness Office at the National Security Council following the Ebola epidemic of the prior two years. Before leaving office, Obama established this unit to identify potential outbreaks and coordinate efforts to stop them from growing into full-blown pandemic.
Donald Trump, who began his failed term obsessed with trying to erase or undo anything that Obama accomplished, recklessly disbanded the office as part of a National Security Council restructuring in May 2018. In less than two years, the COVID-19 pandemic took over our lives.
Now that President Biden is in charge, he is returning sanity to the nation’s arsenal for preventing the next pandemic. The White House announced that the Biden administration is establishing the Office of Pandemic Preparedness and Response Policy (OPPR). The OPPR will be a permanent office in the Executive Office of the President that will coordinate the government’s response to public health threats that have pandemic potential, drive science and technology efforts, and issue periodic reports to Congress, according to the release.
Following a long search, the administration has tapped Dr. Paul Friedrichs, who brings “unparalleled experience” to the role, having served as Joint Staff Surgeon at the Pentagon and advised the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Defense Department’s COVID-19 Task Force. According to a report from the New York Times, Friedrichs’s appointment is significant because it “signals a more permanent and coordinated effort… that will last beyond the Biden administration.”
The Times also points out a sobering truth, which is that experts believe that given the way people now interact with animal life and due to changed migration patterns, the “worst public health crisis in a century” could be on our doorstep within a decade. Biden and the Democrats are trying to protect all Americans—regardless of political affiliation—from illness, death, and economic disaster. This is how you govern.