The Trump administration ran a government exercise last year simulating a severe influenza pandemic for which there is no vaccine that showed the country was ill prepared, according to The New York Times.
The results laid out in a draft report showed that the US was underprepared and disorganized for a pandemic scenario similar to coronavirus, which has spread to all 50 states and has yet to peak in the US, the Times reported.
Last January to August, the Department of Health and Human Services ran a scenario named “Crimson Contagion” that included participation from 19 federal agencies, a dozen states, tribal nations, hospitals and nongovernmental organizations, according to the HHS draft report obtained by the Times.
The fictional outbreak involved a group of tourists visiting China who then become infected and fly home to various countries, including the US, the draft report said. In this scenario, the virus is first detected in Chicago, according to the report.
The HHS draft report concluded that the US doesn’t have the capacity to manufacture personal protective equipment, needles and syringes. The report noted that these supplies, along with antiviral medications, respirators and ventilators, would be “limited and difficult to restock,” due to them being largely manufactured overseas.
During the exercise, states experienced “multiple challenges” requesting resources from the federal government “due to a lack of standardized, well-understood, and properly executed resource request processes,” the report said.
States were also unsure which government agency to request resources and information from, the report stated.