Any pandemic investigation would necessarily be large and complex, encompassing topics such as better detection of new pathogens, improving the public health system’s antiquated data collection apparatus, vulnerabilities in the supply, the detrimental effect of lockdowns on many school children, the spread of misinformation, and a lack of public trust in agencies like the CDC
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Members of Congress attempted to examine the crisis. On Friday, the House Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis released its final report, which was sharply critical of the Trump administration. On Thursday, Democrats on the Senate Homeland Security Committee released a study on the early months of the pandemic. In October, Republicans on the Senate Health Committee released a review of the origins of the pandemic that suggested it was the result of a lab leak — a view most scientists disagree with. OK.
But these surveys are partisan. The bill to create the independent commission would establish a 12-member panel of “highly qualified citizens” appointed by congressional leaders from both parties. Like the 9/11 panel, it would have subpoena power and hold public hearings. He would be responsible for examining the origins of the pandemic as well as the response of the Trump and Biden administrations.
“There’s no substitute for showing the vision we showed in the early 2000s by creating architecture that fixes the things we got wrong then, that fixes the things we didn’t have thought then we learned, after going through it,” said Sen. Richard M. Burr of North Carolina, the top Republican on the health committee, which is sponsoring the measure with Ms. Murray.
Some experts consider a broad review of the pandemic too daunting. And even if a commission were created, it might struggle to overcome the intense partisanship surrounding Covid-19. The nation was so deeply divided after 9/11 that “partisan pressures almost tore our commission apart,” said Philip D. Zelikow, a University of Virginia historian and former government official who was the executive director of the 9/11 panel. september. The problem is even worse today, he says.
Mr. Zelikow now heads the Covid Commission Planning Group, a privately funded effort involving about three dozen independent experts who have spent most of the past two years conducting research to lay the groundwork for a national inquiry. The group, which has conducted several hundred interviews, has grown tired of waiting for Congress and plans to publish its findings in a book this spring, Zelikow said. He declined to discuss details.
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