I’ve noticed that we’re being warned from all sides — left and right — that climate change, increased international travel, and nature in general are combining to increase the likelihood of new viral mutations causing novel and potentially deadly pandemics. 

At the same time, we’re being warned that our primary weapon against pandemics, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, needs a major overhaul in order to protect us. Ironically, all the experts and politicians seem to agree on what’s wrong with the CDC.  

Most of the problems, such as inadequate staffing, garbled reporting and inherent structural weakness, can be fixed with bipartisan legislation. And that needs to happen soon. But the most glaring obstacle to our safety is beyond Congress’ control. It depends on our actions on one specific day next year.

According to The New York Times, the bipartisan experts polled on the subject concluded that among other things, “The takeaway is that the decline in the C.D.C.’s performance and public trust stemmed from ... attacks from a hostile White House during the first year of the pandemic.”

We can eliminate that obstacle on Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2024, if we have the necessary resolve. The big question is, do we?

Mike Barrett

Ashburn, Virginia