'If we ignore the
science, we stand a
risk of worsening the
spread of the virus in
the coming months,'
states Dr. Rick Bright.
The American Spark
Health Expert Explains Coordinated Response Necessary To
By Cliff Montgomery - June 1st, 2020
Yesterday, the American Spark quoted the first half of Dr. Rick Bright’s eye-opening testimony on the Trump
Administration’s handling of the coronavirus. Dr. Bright delivered his statement on May 14th to the U.S.
House Energy Subcommittee on Health.
“If we fail to develop a national coordinated response, based in science, I fear the pandemic will get far worse
and be prolonged, causing unprecedented illness and fatalities,” Dr. Bright stated in his House testimony.
Until recently, Dr. Bright served as director of Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority
(BARDA) and Health and Human Services (HHS) Deputy Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and
Dr. Bright told House members he believes he was removed from his positions by Trump Administration
lackeys who wanted to silence his calls for a science-based, coordinated response to the pandemic.
Regardless, Americans should heed Dr. Bright’s call for a proper, coherent approach to eliminating
COVID-19 from our population.
“Without [a] clear planning and implementation of the steps that I and other experts have outlined, 2020 will
be darkest winter in modern history,” Dr. Bright added.
Below, the Spark quotes part II of Dr. Bright’s testimony, in which he lays out just what he believes U.S.
officials need to do in the coming months to combat a resurgence of the COVID19 pandemic.
The question is whether Americans are smart enough to consider the doctor’s expert advice.
“While it is terrifying to acknowledge the extent of the challenge that we currently confront, the undeniable
fact is there will be a resurgence of the COVID19 this fall, greatly compounding the challenges of seasonal
influenza and putting an unprecedented strain on our health care system. Without clear planning and
implementation of the steps that I and other experts have outlined, 2020 will be darkest winter in modern
“First and foremost, we need to be truthful with the American people. They want the truth. They can handle
the truth. Truth, no matter how unpleasant, decreases the fear generated by uncertainty. The truth must be
based on scientific evidence – and not filtered for political reasons. We must know and appreciate what we
are up against. We have the world’s greatest scientists – they must be permitted to lead. Let them speak
truthfully without fear of retribution.
“We must listen so that the government can then take the most powerful steps to save lives.
“Most Americans want the same thing – a return to normal. The normal of 2019 is not going to return, but we
all have an opportunity to shape the new normal of 2020 and beyond. With the participation and cooperation
of every American, this can be achieved. We have a long history of uniting in response to adversity. Each of
us can and must do our part now.
“However, it is critical to get this right. As my colleague Dr. Anthony Fauci testified on May 12, 2020, we
must not rush blindly, or act too quickly, in returning to our daily lives. If we ignore the science, we stand a
dramatically increased risk of worsening the spread of the virus in the coming months. This could lead to
more widespread outbreaks and to many more lives lost throughout the remainder of this year.
“To do our part, we need to hear one message in a voice that is clear, consistent, trustworthy, and backed by
the best science available. In previous outbreaks, Americans listened to our public health experts at the CDC
[Centers for Disease Control and Prevention]. They were the daily face and the voice guiding Americans
during prior outbreaks including Ebola, Zika, and the H1N1 influenza pandemic.
As an example, in 2009, the CDC, along with Elmo, taught Americans how to sneeze in a way that minimizes
risk of contagion. Today, we need clear and simple messages to teach us how [to] wear a face cover, when
and how to safely go outside or back to work or back to school. It’s that simple.
“While waiting for a cure (which, I believe, will come), there is much we MUST do. With clear leadership,
honest communication, and data-driven solutions. We must:
- Increase public education regarding the basics -- hand-washing, social distancing, appropriate face
covering, self- and dependent monitoring, and frankly, our leaders must lead by modeling the behavior.
These simple measures reduce the number of people exposed and can buy us valuable time.
- Ramp up production of essential equipment and supplies, including raw materials and critical
Shortages of critical supplies and protective gear increase the risk to our frontline healthcare workers;
they deserve the necessary equipment to protect themselves while treating their patients. First
responders must also be given protective equipment. And we now see a courageous segment of our
workforce – essential workers who keep food on our tables and keep our society running. They too
deserve our appreciation and support.
- Facilitate equitable distribution of essential equipment and supplies – eliminate the state vs. state
competition. Establishing a national standard of procurement and distribution increases efficiency and
- Finally, we need a national testing strategy. The virus is out there, it’s everywhere. We need to be able
to find it, to isolate it and to stop it from infecting more people. We need tests that are accurate, rapid,
easy to use, low cost, and available to everyone who needs them. We need be able to trust the results
so that we can trace contacts, isolate and quarantine appropriately while striving to develop a cure.
“As I reflect on the past few months of this outbreak, it is painfully clear that we were not as prepared as we
should have been. We missed early warning signals and we forgot important pages from our pandemic
playbook. There will be plenty of time to identify gaps for improvement.
“For now, we need to focus on getting things right going forward. We need to ensure that we have a plan to
recovery and that everyone knows the plan and everyone participates in the plan. Congress has taken
important steps to support the response; and we have more to do. We need your help to get us through the
“We Americans, working cooperatively with our global friends, can and will succeed in finding a cure for
COVID19, but that success depends on what we do today. We must unite and use all available tools and
measures we have to stem the damage this virus has wrought.
“We will either be remembered for what we did or for what we failed to do to address this crisis. I call on all of
us to act – to ensure the health, safety, and prosperity of all Americans. You can count on me to continue to
do my part.”
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