National pandemics: no federal plan?

We’ve known about the possibility of a serious viral pandemic for 100 years now. How is it that in all that time, the US government never drew up a plan for how the nation should control/react to such a scenario? Or is there one? In which case, why isn’t it in use?

Are you serious? Of course there is a pandemic plan, for the government, the military, for the states, etc.

There are plans to invade Canada for crying out loud.

It wasn’t in use because people would rather blame the media than the actual disease.

And while you can come with something in general terms, there are differences in how pandemics spread and how they affect people that need to be accounted for.

Are you serious? You’re saying the reason states and the federal government haven’t enacted the pandemic plan because they discovered people would rather blame the media? As in,

“We’d better roll out the pandemic plan.”
“No can do, Chuck. Some people are blaming the media.”

And even more far-fetched, that even though now few people are foolish enough to blame the media, the government won’t or can’t enact this plan because people were blaming the media? In fact, neither government officials nor infectious disease experts will even allude to such a plan? I get that you’re bitter–join the very large club–but this makes no sense.

This New York Times article (paywall warning) talks about the decentralized public health system.

I take it this isn’t any good?

I think it was more like “the person in charge decided to blame the media,” the guy who a couple weeks ago said this would all blow over, probably April, and then just magically disappear. That guy.

There’s that little thing called states rights. You gotta know Texas ain’t gonna want to do what New York or California are doing.
Plus inept leadership throws a wrench in the works.
A simple need like ‘face masks’ is proving too difficult. How can testing ever start in a huge way?
I have no hope the feds are gonna make this any easier.

I’m assuming you’re aware that the Trump administration (at the moment no individual wants to take responsibility) closed down the Office of Pandemic Preparation and the Directorate for Global Health Security and Biodefense in 2018, which were the organizations that had been set up to handle situations like this.

I’ve read that this is a problem with testing people. The United States has no centralized medical authority. The federal government can set up one set of procedures. Each state can then set up their own, which may or may not be compliant with the federal procedures. And county health departments, city agencies, and even individual hospitals can also develop their own testing procedures.

This means that we don’t have one single procedure for collecting specimens, handling specimens, testing specimens, reading the results, and reporting the results. Instead we have literally hundreds of different procedures, many of which are incompatible with each other. So a specimen collected in one town can’t be tested in another town ten miles away because these two towns may use different procedures.

Since it is probably not possible to discuss this without bringing up the political aspects of the question, let’s move this to Politics and Elections.

General Questions Moderator

Reagan: “The government is the problem.”
Norquist: “I want to be able to drown it in the bathtub.”
Bannon: “I want to destroy the administrative state.”

AIDS, Katrina, COVID.

So, yeah, we had plans, and the Obama and Trump teams held tabletop exercises for various national emergencies, including a pandemic, prior to Trump’s inauguration. But when the people in charge are actively, openly, and consistently advocating for a weak federal government and hollowing out key agencies, those plans don’t mean jack shit.

This is what the Republican party stands for. This is what they promise us. Every. Fucking. Time.

Yes, there was one and the Trump administration was briefed on it.

The main problem is that any time the Federal government decides to start making changes in areas like education or healthcare certain groups start screeching “Socialism! Socialism! Socialism!”. With the help of certain media outlets and politicians the idea that government involvement in social planning is inherently dangerous, unAmerican and, for some reason, a threat to Christianity. Central planning of anything is evil and can’t be allowed to become established.

So yeah, no Federal plan for a pandemic.

Here’s a short Twitter thread from one of the outgoing Obama officials who participated in the exercise:

An outgoing Democratic administration tries to prepare the incoming Republicans to deal with a predictable catastrophe, and the Republicans spectacularly drop the ball. That sounds familiar. Huh. Deja vu, I guess.

A December 2016 Atlantic article looks ahead: How a Pandemic Might Play Out Under Trump.

Expertise at the bottom, not the top. Ideology that dismisses expertise. What’s the plan?

That’s all very well, but every single state in the US also has a government. Do THEY not have any plans either?

States generally defer to the Federal govt. in situations like this and expect leadership from them. When that didn’t happen some states peddled the “nothing to see hear, just a Dem plot to tar the President” angle and others started taking action. The states that started taking serious action may have prodded this Administration to actually start taking the pandemic seriously. Or not. Maybe the market got their attention more.

Most US states declared their own states of emergency before the Federal Government did. It sure would be nice to have the Federal Government be less useless, but many (most?) of the states have the resources of a small-to-medium country elsewhere in the world so they can probably put effective pandemic plans into operation with or without Trump.

Not that this in any way excuses the Federal Government being useless. It’s just something that people who are actually competent have to plan around now…

Well, Trump makes no sense. But there is evidence to support what you are disagreeing with: