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Thursday, September 23rd, 2021

Commission on biodefense urges Americans to be vigilant in COVID-19 fight

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The Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense is calling for a renewed commitment to fighting COVID-19, urging Americans to protect each other.

“We formed the Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense six years ago because we suspected and subsequently confirmed that our Nation was vulnerable to biological threats,” Commission Co-Chair Joe Lieberman said. “Despite continuous experiences with SARS, MERS, Ebola, Zika, and H1N1 influenza, our Nation still found itself unprepared with the arrival of COVID-19. We jumped into the fight with what we had at hand – masks, soap, the ability to spread out and stay at home. Not the most efficient of weapons, but we are fighting with what we have until the world invents bigger guns – like vaccines, antivirals, and therapeutics. Until then, we are stuck in the trenches and relying on each other.”

Lieberman, a former U.S. Senator, said the Nation needs to resist pandemic fatigue.

“People are tired and worried about their lives and their livelihoods. But now is not the time to relax. The virus continues to spread – significantly so in places like Alabama, Oregon, and South Carolina – and we expect additional waves of COVID-19. Until preventive measures or medical treatments arrive, we must continue to do what we can to protect one another. We need to wear masks, maintain social distancing, and support science, public health, and medicine,” Lieberman said.

Former Homeland Security Secretary and Commission Co-Chair Tom Ridge said it could be years before things return to normal, and some believe it could become endemic – a permanent presence.

“There are no scenarios in which COVID-19 disappears quickly. It certainly hasn’t disappeared yet from the United States,” Ridge said. “In fact, daily cases are growing again. This is why our leaders at every level of government and in every private sector institution need to dig deep, persevere, and keep up the fight against COVID-19 until the war against it is won. Our government leaders must continue to communicate with Americans so that we all can make informed decisions about our health and the safety of our families. Yes, we all want to be back to work. We want things back to normal. This can only happen by remaining vigilant and not succumbing to pandemic fatigue.”