Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff suggested the creation of a commission to examine the federal government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic that has sickened thousands of U.S. citizens.
“We will need to delay the work of the commission until the crisis has abated to ensure that it does not interfere with the agencies that are leading the response,” Schiff said in an email to the Washington Post. “But that should not prevent us from beginning to identify where we got it wrong and how we can be prepared for the next pandemic.”
The California congressman said the commission would draw members from both parties to get a solid sense of how the virus arrived in the United States and what measures the federal government can take to prepare itself if such a health crisis should happen again.
“After Pearl Harbor and 9/11, we looked at what went wrong to learn from our mistakes,” Schiff said. “Once we’ve recovered, we need a nonpartisan commission to review our response and how we can better prepare for the next pandemic.”
Some prominent figures in business and media pundits have criticized the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention and other federal agencies for the way they handled the virus’s outbreak.
“They knew back in November [and] December that a bad thing was coming our way and they responded like a bureaucracy more interested in bureaucratic rules rather than mobilizing the private sector,” media mogul Steve Forbes said two weeks ago.
President Trump has said he saved lives by acting “early” and restricting travel to the U.S. from China by foreign nationals.
On Tuesday, Trump warned the public to be prepared for a ” very, very painful two weeks” ahead as the number of confirmed cases and deaths as a result of the virus increases.
Leading U.S. health officials say as many as 240,000 U.S. citizens could die before the pandemic is over.