Gov’t watchdog slams federal COVID response, places HHS on “excessive threat” record

(L-R) Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and chief medical adviser to the President, Dr. Janet Woodcock, acting commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, and Dawn O'Connell, assistant HHS secretary for preparedness and response, testify during a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on January 11, 2022, in Washington, DC.

Enlarge / (L-R) Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the Nationwide Institute of Allergy and Infectious Illnesses and chief medical adviser to the President, Dr. Janet Woodcock, appearing commissioner of the Meals and Drug Administration, and Daybreak O’Connell, assistant HHS secretary for preparedness and response, testify throughout a Senate Well being, Schooling, Labor, and Pensions Committee listening to on Capitol Hill on January 11, 2022, in Washington, DC. (credit score: Getty | Pool)

The US Well being and Human Service Division has botched a number of elements of its COVID-19 pandemic response, and people failures may be linked again to longstanding management and preparedness deficiencies the division has failed to handle for greater than a decade, in line with a brand new report by the Authorities Accountability Workplace.

“These deficiencies have hindered the nation’s response to the present COVID-19 pandemic and a wide range of previous threats, together with different infectious illnesses—such because the H1N1 influenza pandemic, Zika, and Ebola—and excessive climate occasions, equivalent to hurricanes,” the GAO concluded.

The brand new report, launched Thursday, is the GAO’s ninth evaluation of the federal response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and it lays out a collection of deficiencies it discovered on the HHS. However the GAO additionally emphasizes that it has been right here earlier than with the HHS, which encompasses the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention, the Meals and Drug Administration, the Nationwide Institutes of Well being, and the Workplace of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR), amongst different elements. Since 2007, GAO has given the HHS 115 suggestions for the way it can enhance its management and coordination of public well being emergency responses—and the HHS has but to handle 72 of them.

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