2019 Report: U.S. Ranked Number 1 Best-Prepared Country to Handle Pandemic

STAMFORD, CT - MARCH 23: Medical personnel dressed in personal protective equipment (PPE) prepare to give a coronavirus swab test at a drive-thru testing station at Cummings Park on March 23, 2020 in Stamford, Connecticut. Availability of protective clothing for medical workers has become a major issue as COVID-19 cases …
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A report from the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) and the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security (JHCHS) in a late 2019 ranked the United States at the best-prepared country to handle a pandemic.

This news surfaces as Democrats and never Trumpers are criticizing the Trump administration for its handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

The report, the Global Health Security Index, was “developed with guidance from an international panel of experts from 13 countries, with research by the Economist Intelligence Unit” from 2018 to 2019, the Washington Post reported.

“More than 100 researchers spent a year collecting and validating publicly available data,” the Post reported.

The report also noted the flaws in U.S. preparedness, including factors like social unrest, terrorism, and low public trust in the federal government.

Fox News reported how this analysis clashes with Trump’s critics view of the government’s response to the coronavirus:

President Trump’s campaign has argued in recent days that misinformation may be one of the leading causes of that lack of confidence. For example, Trump’s team has pointed to claims by presidential contender Joe Biden that “no one on the National Security Council staff was put in charge” of pandemic preparedness, based on a report that in May 2018, then-National Security Adviser John Bolton eliminated the NSC’s Office of Global Health Security and Biodefense in a reorganization effort.

Rear Adm. R. Timothy Ziemer reportedly was ousted as senior director, and no replacement was named. But, FactCheck.org has determined that the matter amounted to a reorganization, and that “some team members [of the NSC pandemic office] were shifted to other groups, and others took over some of [the top official’s] duties.”

The White House says the NSC remains involved in responding to the coronavirus pandemic. A senior administration official said earlier this month that the NSC’s global health security directorate was absorbed into another division where similar responsibilities still exist, but under different titles. The work of coordinating policy and making sure that decisions made by Trump’s coronavirus task force are implemented is still the job of the NSC.

Some of that misinformation comes from former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign, including Biden’s claim that Trump once called the virus a “hoax,” which was debunked by numerous fact-checkers, Fox News reported, “which found that Trump was clearly referring to Democrats’ efforts to blame him for the pandemic, not the virus itself.”

Democrats and Biden have also claimed that the Trump administration cut funding to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), but the Associated Press “has noted that those claims ‘distort’ the facts.”

“The CDC’s response has been excellent, as it has been in the past,” John Auerbach, president of the nonpartisan Trust for America’s Health, which works with the federal government to improve response to public health threats, said in the Fox News report.

“Democrats have charged that Trump decimated the nation’s public health leadership, but Auerbach said CDC’s top scientific ranks have remained stable during the past three years,” Fox News reported.

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