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Trust Index: Did Trump administration shut down early warning program for lethal viruses?

Tweet from Connecticut senator prompts look into the facts

microscope with lab glassware, science laboratory research and development concept
microscope with lab glassware, science laboratory research and development concept (iStock)

Did the Trump administration shut down a program that might have offered an early warning for the novel coronavirus that now has this nation in a death grip?

A tweet from Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Connecticut, prompted News4Jax to follow up on that question.

According to widely circulated reports from multiple national news outlets, two months before the novel coronavirus began its deadly advance in Wuhan, Chin,a the Trump administration ended the $200 million early warning program. Its goal was to train scientists to detect and respond to such a threat.

In researching this Trust Index story, News4Jax also uncovered another interesting fact.

In early 2017, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the U.S. government’s top infectious disease specialist, warned at a forum on pandemic preparedness at Georgetown University that a “surprise outbreak would occur during the Trump administration."

And he said more needed to be done to prepare.

“We will definitely get surprised in the next few years,” Fauci said.

He said the then-incoming Trump administration needed to make sure there is collaboration between the U.S. and other countries, as well as the public and private health sectors.

Members of the U.S. health sector, including Kathleen Sebelius, who served as the Health and Human Services Secretary during the Obama administration, said that collaboration never happened. Sebelius made her comments in an interview with the Associated Press.

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