The United States needs to prepare for the next pandemic, using the coronavirus pandemic as a lesson for whatever comes next, according to Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration.
Gottlieb — who recently released a book titled “Uncontrolled Spread: Why COVID-19 Crushed Us and How We Can Defeat the Next Pandemic” — recently spoke with NPR about the need for the U.S. to prepare for whatever pandemic might come next.
- “I think that there’s going to be a more fundamental debate that needs to precede the debate around how we prepare for the next pandemic, and that is the debate around what is the role of public health,” he said.
The best preparation requires empowering public health agencies, he said.
- “I think that in order to be properly prepared for the next pandemic, we’re going to need to empower public health agencies. We’re going to need to build new capacities at (Centers for the Disease Control) and empower them to act in a public health crisis of this magnitude in the future,” he said.
There have been some questions about whether or not society will see another pandemic down the road. In fact, in August, a statistical study reviewed the likeliness of another COVID-19-level pandemic happening in any given year, finding there’s a 2% chance.
Experts involved with the study found that there’s a 38% chance that people experience a massive pandemic at some point in their life, too.
- “The most important takeaway is that large pandemics like COVID-19 and the Spanish flu are relatively likely,” said William Pan, a Duke University global environmental health researcher, in a statement.
Scientists have already begun looking at what virus might cause the next pandemic. Researchers at the One Health Institute at the University of California, Davis, created a tool that ranks potential viruses by their risk levels to humans.
- “Coronavirus 229E (bat strain)” currently has the highest risk of causing another pandemic since it comes from “the same viral family as SARS-CoV-2 and infects bats in Africa,” according to Fox News.