Another week has passed, and the infection curve in the United States continues to increase. How we can even be in this situation is baffling, given the massive investment and research on emerging infectious diseases and other biological threats that preceded this pandemic. Equally baffling is the narrative -- founded in misinformation, disinformation, and agenda -- perpetrated on the American people. The charade is exemplified over and over. Today's act unfolded in a Senate hearing on hydroxychloroquine, a drug demonstrated to be contraindicated for COVID treatment. And yet, the exponential increase continues.
States are showing the strain. In Ohio, for example, the state's disease reporting and information system has buckled. Citizens cannot now be confident, at least at the moment, in the data published on disease incidence.
The Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act (2006) was to, among other things, “Establish a near real-time electronic nationwide public health situational awareness capability through an interoperable network of systems to share data and information to enhance early detection of, rapid response to, and management of, potentially catastrophic infectious disease outbreaks and other public health emergencies that originate domestically or abroad.” Little if any progress has been made toward that goal. Too many health departments still receive information by fax and enter data by hand. This is madness.
We're beginning to learn about vaccine candidates that hold promise. Additional candidate vaccines will undoubtedly emerge, and hopefully in 2021 one or more approved vaccines will become widely available. Hopefully people will receive them. When the pandemic finally does abate -- which is not likely for months -- we must objectively and without delusion identify what broke in our public health and related systems and fix them.