Trump eliminated position in 2018 after Obama administration created it in response to Ebola crisis


Washington (January 27, 2020) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) today called on the President Donald Trump to reestablish the position of White House global health security and biothreats directorate within the National Security Council and immediately appoint a qualified individual to prepare for and respond to the rapidly evolving public health crisis being caused by the 2019 novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed five cases in the United States, and despite containment efforts and international warnings, the virus has already been found on four continents. At least 80 people have died in China, and 2,800 are infected with the Coronavirus. Because the early symptoms of the coronavirus mimic the flu or common cold, it is expected that many may wait to seek medical care and unintentionally expose others to this dangerous virus.


After the Ebola virus emerged as a global health threat in 2016, the Obama administration created the global health and biothreats “czar” position as acknowledgement that tackling global pandemics necessitates a bigger U.S. policy authority and presence within the administration’s security policymaking apparatus.  Trump eliminated the position in 2018 and has drastically cut resources put toward global health preparedness.


“The 2019 coronavirus is not the first, and will not be the last, biothreat the U.S. faces,” writes Senator Markey. “The outcome will be inevitably better both for this outbreak and the next if we have in place a single qualified individual to help lead our global health efforts at the highest levels of our federal government. In the U.S., the response to a public health threat is spread across multiple agencies and to be effective requires far tighter coordination and unity of effort, both at home and abroad.”


A copy of the letter can be found HERE