White House Selects Retired General to Lead New Pandemic Response Office
The President-elect’s selection to lead his new office illustrates his dedication to an aggressive military foreign policy as well as social reaction and repression at home.
Urban, who led Trump’s Pennsylvania election victory campaign, had been pushing him to replace Marine General Joseph Dunford with someone more compatible.
The Pandemic Response Office will assist the United States when faced with public health threats that threaten population, such as pandemic flu or pneumonia. It will coordinate technology efforts and work closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on vaccines and treatments; additionally it will oversee strategic national stockpile management while strengthening international biosurveillance capabilities – the White House also states this office will ensure Congress receives an updated preparedness report every five years.
Experts have expressed alarm that the country is unprepared to deal with an imminent health crisis, yet this announcement comes amid increasing worries of its unpreparedness. The new office will assume tasks previously managed by Covid-19’s response team and address threats such as polio, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection and diseases capable of leading to pandemic outbreaks. Furthermore, its focus will include developing reusable respirators while making sure key generic drugs are stored in national stockpiles.
Paul Friedrichs, retired Air Force Major General Paul Friedrichs is an eminent military combat surgeon and currently serves as senior director at the National Security Council focusing on global health security and biodefense issues.
Friedrichs is expected to lead the office of the president’s principal adviser on pandemic response, set to launch August 7. Since it was created by congressional legislation last year, its beginnings have been delayed by staffing issues and leadership uncertainty; several public health experts have declined White House overtures to take part.
Friedrichs warned in an interview with the Center for Strategic and International Studies last year that America was unprepared to deal with an outbreak of contagious disease. He called for the creation of a chief executive officer to coordinate all federal efforts should disaster strike; and criticised President Trump for dismantling a National Security Council directorate at White House that had been charged with planning for when not if pandemic strikes.
Federal Inspectors General have long issued reports raising serious doubts about the efficacy of pandemic preparedness programs, with some reports detailing more than $57.1 billion wasted by taxpayer dollars on ineffective or questionable initiatives.
Dr. Rochelle Walensky
The White House is set to nominate retired General Paul Friedrichs as director of its new pandemic response office. Friedrichs, who served as joint staff surgeon at the Pentagon before later joining the National Security Council to work on global health security and biodefense matters, could become director of this office established by Congress last year. His nomination comes amid increasing concerns that efforts are faltering when it comes to preparing for global health crises.
Rochelle Walensky makes her presence felt when leading the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by providing numbers. She speaks them with clarity and often with emotion; often using language laced with fear as she lists off recent coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths figures – emphasizing her focus on controlling coronavirus outbreaks through vaccination efforts rather than engaging in political theater as in previous administration.
If she takes over as director, she will inherit an agency embroiled in controversy. Republican members of the House health committee have accused it of silencing dissenting opinions on social media platforms like Facebook or suppressing reports of vaccine adverse events altogether, providing misleading political guidance, releasing information without proper review processes, refusing requests for documents or interviews without meeting them and more.
Walensky has consistently supported the actions of her agency when faced with such cases, while also criticizing President Trump and his administration for failing to take the threat of another global health crisis seriously enough. Walensky was among those who protested President Trump’s move to dismantle the National Security Council directorate for global health and security; she suggested it lacked a plan for when — not if — another pandemic might hit America.
She has also taken issue with “herd immunity,” an approach relying on infecting healthier members of society to develop natural immunity; an approach often considered by infectious disease specialists as potentially risky and ineffective. In an interview, she claimed the administration had spread “medical misinformation” such as using quack medications like hydroxychloroquine or injecting yourself with bleach for political gain – something the White House was doing out of sheer self-interest.|white house
Dr. Vivek Murthy
White House officials have appointed retired general Paul Friedrichs as head of its new pandemic response office amid growing worries that efforts are falling short of protecting against global health crises. Friedrichs, who retired earlier this summer and joined National Security Council’s biodefense and global health security staff before being selected as head of Office of Pandemic Preparedness and Response Policy by those familiar with its operation, was chosen for this job.
Dr. Rochelle Walensky will serve as director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Dr. Vivek Hallegere Murthy was appointed 19th and 21st surgeon general respectively, forming part of a task force charged with helping address coronavirus outbreaks across state borders as soon as they happen.
President Joe Biden plans to bolster federal preparedness by allocating it more resources and authorities, with an emphasis placed on national standards and coordination to better handle health crises in the future. By doing this, President Joe Biden hopes that America can better withstand future health crises that might become widespread and severe.
But these plans have encountered opposition from Republican lawmakers, particularly Republicans in Congress who have criticized the administration for its slow response and coordination with other countries during a coronavirus outbreak. Furthermore, Republican lawmakers opposed several emergency spending bills intended to combat it while The White House has announced its intent to leave World Health Organization altogether.
Under previous administrations, when there was a public health emergency, officials from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and other federal agencies held press conferences to inform the public. Under President Trump, however, such officials rarely make public appearances and provide clear information to media. Furthermore, their statements concerning his claims about viruses were often under attack from him; furthermore he demanded they approve unproven treatments by rubber stamping them at the CDC.
Murthy has distinguished himself both within the military and public health fields, as well as being an entrepreneur and healthcare philanthropist. He founded several organizations such as VISIONS – an HIV/AIDS education program in India; Swasthya – a community partnership in rural India training women as healthcare workers and educators; TrialNetworks software which improves clinical trial quality globally – in addition to being an advocate for mental health and strong supporter of Affordable Care Act.
The White House plans to select Maj. Gen. Paul Friedrichs, who recently retired from military health service and joined the National Security Council’s global health security and biodefense division, to lead its newly established pandemic response office. According to three people familiar with this decision, Friedrichs is expected to assume control of its Office of Pandemic Preparedness and Response Policy as director.
This office will coordinate federal efforts to respond to biological threats and pathogens capable of causing pandemics, enhance preparedness through technology development, and report back to Congress every five years on progress made towards its goal, according to the White House.
Uncertain of how this new office will operate, it likely would fall under Raj Panjabi’s NSC Directorate for Global Health Security and Biodefense. Biden’s team began winding down their response when officials declared an end to Covid-19’s public health emergency in May and Ashish Jha retired last month as coordinator.
Critics have expressed displeasure with the administration’s overall response to the outbreak, notably its failure to implement travel or business restrictions and slow pace of distributing masks and supplies. Biden has pledged long-term investments in pandemic readiness.
Zients was reported as Ron Klain’s choice to replace him at the National Security Council, having worked both sides of the aisle. He held senior-level roles during both Obama and Biden administrations as well as having management experience from Pentagon to Wall Street.
Obama led efforts to reorganize the National Security Council following its response to Ebola, including creating the Directorate for Global Health Security and Biodefense, according to USA TODAY. However, critics criticized this move due to an exponential rise in staff size from 400 under Bush to nearly 800 during Obama’s time in office.
John Bolton has publicly supported his decision to dismantle the National Security Council (NSC) Unit by explaining it had become too politicized, with partisan politics hindering coordination among federal agencies during a crisis. Furthermore, this change would reduce bureaucratic inefficiencies while giving President Trump greater decision-making authority. Read More>>