Two top scientists at Texas A&M called for a bi-partisan, objective investigation into the United States' initial COVID-19 outbreak response in a discussion in the ongoing Texas A&M System series "COVID-19: The Texas A&M University System Responds."
Dr. Gerald Parker, director of the Pandemic and Biosecurity Policy Program at Texas A&M's Bush School of Government and Public Service, said the investigation is necessary for the future.
"We must prevent this from happening again," Parker said. "This is not going to be our last pandemic."
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Dr. Peter Hotez, a vaccine researcher at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, also echoed that sentiment, saying that it was particularly concerning that COVID-19 transmission was allowed to go on for weeks in the U.S. without a major public health response.
"What hurt Wuhan was what hurt New York City, which is the virus transmission went on for six weeks before there was any public health intervention," said Hotez, who is dean of Baylor's National School of Tropical Medicine.
Hotez is also co-director of the Texas Children's Hospital Center for Vaccine Development. The Texas Children's Hospital Center began admitting adults to provide more hospital capacity Tuesday as COVID-19 cases soared.
Both scientists called for greater global coordination for the development and distribution of vaccines. Parker also said that in the past, government leadership failed to invest enough in biological security between infectious outbreaks.
"I am optimistic that we may break through this boom-and-bust cycle and finally take pandemic preparedness seriously," Parker said.
The discussion is available to watch on the Texas A&M System YouTube page.