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NTI’s Beth Cameron on U.S. and Global Response to COVID-19

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NTI’s Vice President for
Global Biological Policy and Programs
Beth Cameron, a top expert in the field of
global health security, is leading NTI’s work related
to COVID-19, offering recommendations on how to best address the crisis around
the world and calling for a more efficient, whole-of-government response in the
United States.

Prior to joining NTI, Cameron
served at the White House as the senior director for global health security and
biodefense on the National Security Council. That office was
dissolved in May 2018,
leaving the United States less prepared to face pandemic threats like COVID-19.
The decision, Cameron
writes in The Washington
Post
, has clearly contributed to the
U.S. government’s “sluggish domestic response” to the outbreak.

Speaking with CNN’s Jake
Tapper, Cameron
agreed that having a
team in the White House to address biological threats “absolutely” would
have made a difference in the initial response stages of the outbreak. A big
concern, she said, has been an unwillingness by the U.S. to work with global
partners.

It is not too late for strong
and efficient federal action.

In The Washington
Post
, Cameron presses for speed and
cooperation in the U.S. federal response: “Pandemics, like weapons of mass
destruction and climate change, are transnational threats with potentially
existential consequences. No single department or agency can be responsible for
handling them.”

Cameron also touched on the Global Health
Security Index
while speaking on Bloomberg TV,
noting that the average score for epidemic and pandemic preparedness for
countries was just 40.2 out of a possible 100 points. These findings underscore
the need for a global challenge fund to fill the critical
gaps in pandemic preparedness, a new concept note from NTI, CSIS, the Center
for Global Development, and the Georgetown University Medical Center’s Center
for Global Health Science and Security argues.

Cameron has also
discussed COVID-19 with MSNBC and CNN.
She has also appeared several times on NPR’s
All Things Considered
, where she reviewed U.S. federal funding efforts, assessed the role of public trust amid an
outbreak, and offered her thoughts on the role of U.S.
agencies in addressing the pandemic
alongside NTI Board member Dr.
Peggy Hamburg
.

For more information on global
health prevention, preparedness, and response, see the inaugural
Global Health
Security Index
, produced by NTI in
partnership with the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and the Economist
Intelligence Unit. Released in October, 2019 the GHS Index found that no
country is fully prepared to face an epidemic or pandemic
.

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