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Remarks by Vice President Mike Pence

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PRESS BRIEFINGS from the White House
February 26, 2020 6:37 P.M. EST

https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/remarks-president-trump-vice-president-pence-members-coronavirus-task-force-press-conference/
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Mr. President. President Trump has made clear from the first days of this administration: We have no higher priority than the safety, security, health, and wellbeing of the American people.
And from the first word of an outbreak of the coronavirus, the President took unprecedented steps to protect the American people from the spread of this disease. He recounted those briefly, but the establishment of travel restrictions, aggressive quarantine effort of Americans that are returning, the declaration of a public health emergency, and establishing the White House Corona[virus] Task Force are all reflective of the urgency that the President has brought to a whole-of-government approach.
As a former governor from the state where the first MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) case emerged in 2014, I know full well the importance of presidential leadership, the importance of administration leadership, and the vital role of partnerships of state and local governments and health authorities in responding to the potential threat of dangerous infectious diseases.
And I look forward, Mr. President, to serving in this role. I’m bringing together all the members of the Corona Task Force that you’ve established: HHS, CDC, DHS, the Department of Transportation, and State. This team has been, at your direction, Mr. President, meeting every day since it was established.
My role will be to continue to bring that team together, to bring to the President the best options for action, to see to the safety and wellbeing and health of the American people.
We’ll also be continuing to reach out to governors, state and local officials. In fact, in recent days, the White House met with over 40 state, county, and city health officials from over 30 states and territories to discuss how to respond to the potential threat of the coronavirus. We’ll be working with them in renewed ways to make sure they have the resources to be able to respond.
And as the President said, we’ll be adding additional personnel here at the White House to support our efforts on the President’s behalf.
We’ll also be working with members of Congress to ensure that the resources are available for this whole-of-government response, and we’ll be working very closely with Secretary Azar and his team that have done an outstanding job communicating to the public to ensure the American people have the best information on ways to protect themselves and their families, and also that the public has the most timely information on the potential threat to the American people.
Mr. President, as we’ve been briefed, while the threat to the American public remains low of a spread of the coronavirus, you have directed this team to take all steps necessary to continue to ensure the health and wellbeing of the American people.
And the people of this country can be confident that, under your leadership, we will continue to bring the full resources of the federal government, in coordination with our state and local partners, to see to the health and wellbeing and to the effective response to the coronavirus here in the United States of America.
The next pandemic is coming. We’re not prepared for it.

By Tom Frieden
Jan. 30, 2020 at 5:31 a.m. PST
Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/01/30/next-pandemic-is-coming-were-not-prepared-it/

Tom Frieden is former director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and former commissioner of the New York City Health Department.

As the coronavirus spreads beyond China, the world is asking, “Are we on the verge of our next global pandemic?” We can be sure the virus will continue to spread, but we can’t predict how far or for how long or how bad the impact will be.

Here’s what we know for certain: We are living the consequences of being underprepared for the next big global epidemic. If we act now, we can prevent or blunt future epidemics and save millions of lives. The question isn’t if another pandemic will emerge, but when.

We have successfully addressed serious public-health challenges. After the United States realized it was falling behind in biomedical research in 1998, we doubled the budget of the National Institutes of Health. When the world faced the unprecedented devastation of HIV, we created the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and helped turn the tide on the disease, building bridges with governments and communities around the world.

But when it comes to avoidable health crises such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), Ebola and drug-resistant organisms, the U.S. and global response has been slow, haphazard and far too limited.

This coronavirus outbreak reminds us that humanity shares a common enemy: dangerous microbes. When Ebola struck between 2014 and 2016, Congress ultimately allocated $5.4 billion to control an epidemic — but the epidemic could have been nipped in the bud at almost no cost had basic systems been in place.

The world needs a massive investment to protect against the next health threat. Where billions of dollars are needed to protect against future health threats, just a small fraction has been provided. Where thousands of staff are needed, far too few are deployed. And where long-term investments in new tools to diagnose, treat and prevent diseases are called for, investments are short-term and too small.

Investing in outbreak preparedness should be a no-brainer. China’s economy has already taken a big hit, with global ramifications, and its government has already committed billions of dollars to fight the outbreak. A global influenza pandemic could kill tens of millions of people and devastate the global economy.

Countries with the least resources are most at risk. Places without systems to detect and respond to outbreaks are like rooms that lack smoke alarms and sprinkler systems. We’re all connected by the air we breathe, the food we eat and the planes we fly in. When other countries are stronger, we’ll be safer.

After I stepped down as CDC director in 2017, I helped launch Resolve to Save Lives, which has a core goal of helping make the world safer from epidemics. The good news is that the world is making some progress. More than 110 countries have rigorously and independently assessed their epidemic preparedness. However, of the nearly 10,000 life-threatening gaps these assessments have identified, few have been closed.

Stepping up capacity will not be quick or easy. But a bipartisan coalition should invest for the long term in making the United States and the world much safer from epidemic threats. We’re nickel-and-diming a problem with solutions that could save tens of billions of dollars. It costs approximately an additional $1 a year per person to step up core preparedness in lower-income countries — or about ¬¬$3 billion to $4 billion globally.

Focused research also needs to be funded, and U.S. preparedness needs to be strengthened, bringing the total need to approximately $5 billion to $10 billion a year, including funds from the World Bank, other multilateral organizations, bilateral donors and the United States. That may seem like a lot of money, but it could save many lives and many times that amount of money in years to come. The United States and other countries are more prepared today than in the past, but we’re not where we should be. Globally, we need accurate, timely and far-reaching laboratory networks, skilled epidemiologists who track and control diseases, early warning systems and rapid-response teams. And we need research to develop more rapid diagnostics, new treatments and vaccines, and improved health-care delivery.

We need to further support the World Health Organization for its work on the global response to pandemics. But we also need to hold it accountable for technical rigor, operational speed and excellence. We need to increase funding going to preparedness, including World Bank-funded projects. And we need all governments — donor countries and low- and middle-income countries — to invest in public-health systems that can save lives today and prevent a disaster tomorrow.

We don’t know at this moment how severe the coronavirus outbreak will be and whether it could have been prevented. But we do know that we are not doing what’s needed to prevent the next health disaster. Outbreaks are inevitable. If we don’t prepare for them, shame on us.

We critically evaluated the messages, after going through the Vice President’s press briefing on Covid-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019) dated February 26, 2020 and the opinion piece by Tom Friedon titled “The next pandemic is coming. We’re not prepared for it.” published in the Washington Post. We also discussed the similarities and differences in the way they inform us about the United States’ preparedness to combat the pandemic. To shed more light on the issue, we researched and found timely and accurate information.

Based on our discussions, readings, research, and your own critical take on the above-mentioned sources, what, in your opinion, is the reality of the situation? Who’s speaking the truth?

Arrive at an analysis and formulate it as your thesis statement. Then, support your thesis and claims with evidence such as quotes from the articles and your own findings and explanations.
Using the comparison-contrast method, develop an analytical or persuasive essay with a strong, clear thesis and solid supporting arguments. Logically organize the claims (points that you are comparing/contrasting) by either the Block Pattern OR Alternating Pattern.

Criteria for success
• Support your analysis with quotes from the readings, findings gathered through comparing and contrasting the articles, class discussions, and your own critical take on the two news outlets.
• Organize your response as an academic essay with an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion.
• Limit the word count to 850-900.
• Have an attention grabber opening and a thought-provoking ending.
• Develop a thesis and points.
• Develop each supporting argument.
• Logically organize the points that you are comparing/contrasting.
• Supply the reader with clear transitions.
• Include at least 3 quotes from the handout
• Effectively introduce quotations using the “quote sandwich.”
• Cite your sources in text and in the work cited section using the MLA format.
• Proofread to check facts, spelling, punctuation, and grammar.
• Double space.
Introduction
• Word count is at least 150 words.
• Should provide context.
• Have an attention grabber opener that piques the interest of the reader.
• Have a clear focused thesis that guides the reader through your essay.
Body Paragraphs
• Have topic sentences that introduce your paragraphs and are opinions not facts.
• Use quotes, narratives and other details from the readings to illustrate your points.
• Effectively introduce quotations using the “quote sandwich.”
• Use quote sandwiches in at least 2 body paragraphs.
• Thoroughly explain your examples with analysis that connects back to your thesis and supports your argument.
Conclusion
• Add a conclusion that sums up your essay without being too repetitive or boring
• End in an interesting note
• Word count is at least 130 words.
Your essay should include the following:
• A title, a clear thesis that follows the Topic/Comment Model (Subjects that are compared/contrasted and the analysis that you have arrived at).
• Be organized with an introduction, body, and conclusion to structure the essay.
• Incorporate specific narratives (stories) or other pieces of evidence that reinforce your points.
• Integrate specific quotes that support your claims and thesis.
• Be comprised of at least 850 words.
• Demonstrate your ability to use grammar, punctuation, and formatting suitable for college.
• Cite your sources in text and in the work cited section using the MLA format.

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