As the coronavirus pandemic reaches another grim total of 300,000 global deaths, health experts are warnings that the virus may remain a threat for longer than many hoped.
Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, the World Health Organization's chief scientist, told the Financial Times' Global Boardroom digital conference on Wednesday: "I would say in a four to five-year timeframe, we could be look at controlling [the coronavirus]," adding that that pandemic even has the potential to get worse.
Swminathan stated that while a vaccine is the best method of ending the pandemic, there is much time needed to test for safety, production and guarantee equitable distribution. She added that the development of an effective vaccine alongside successful containment measures will ultimately determine how long the world will face the threat of the coronavirus.
Total Global Cases: Over 4.5 Million
Total Deaths: Over 300,000
Total Recovered: Over 1.7 Million
President Donald Trump stated on Thursday that intended to prepare for future pandemics by replenishing the national stockpile and bring manufacturing of critical supplies and equipment back to the United States, according to the Associated Press.
"Wouldn't that be nice?" Trump stated during visit to an Owens & Minor distribution center in Pennsylvania on Thursday. "My goal is to produce everything America needs for ourselves and then export to the world, including medicines."
Trump had previously criticized global supply-chains in an interview with Fox Business Network Thursday morning: "These stupid supply chains that are all over the world--we have a supply chain where they're made in all different parts of the world...We should have them all in the United States."
To start, the United States is planning to keep 90 days worth of medical supplies, including testing equipment, in the Strategic National Stockpile. As part of the effort, Trump has signed an executive order that would encourage domestic medical supply production by providing loans through the International Development Finance Corp, according to Bloomberg News.
At the same time, Whistleblower Dr. Rick Bright warned Congress that the United States still lacks a comprehensive plan to address the current pandemic, warning that the "window of opportunity is closing."
"We need still a comprehensive plan, and everyone across the government and everyone in America needs to know what that plan is, and what role they play," Bright told the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on health on Thursday. "There are critical steps that need to do to prepare..we do not still have enough personal protective equipment...the supply chains ramped up for the drugs and vaccines...plans in place for how we distribute those drugs and vaccines. We still do not have a comprehensive testing strategy."
Bright was removed from his position as director of Health and Human Services Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority last month, which he alleges was retaliation by the Trump administration.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new guidance on Thursday, advising states on how to reopen bars, restaurants and workplaces during safely during the coronavirus pandemic. The agency had previously compiled a more comprehensive guide to reopening, but was shelved by the White House.
The guidance outlines steps that should be taken to keep employees and customers safe, including hand-washing, social distancing and how to check for potential COVID-19 cases.
Five Congressional members introduced a bill on Thursday that aims to protect consumers' health data when that opt-in to use contact tracing apps, including the one being built by Apple
According to CNBC, the Public Health Emergency Privacy Act require companies to collecting data to meet certain security standard. and delete data after the public health emergency is over. It would also prohibit data to be used by government agencies without a public health focus as well as ensure that users can choose to have their data collected.