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Monkeypox: Birx Says We Are Not Ready for a New Pandemic

Deborah L. Birx, MD
 

Ambassador Deborah Birx, MD, told Infection Control Today® exclusively, “Every mistake that we made with COVID-19 in January and February of 2020, repeated in real time with monkeypox.”

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How infectious disease is handled in the United States is different than it is in the United Kingdom. With this fact in mind, did the United States learn from the COVID-19 pandemic and is the US prepared for new diseases to arrive compared to how the UK handled it? What about a new disease on US shores, like monkeypox? Is the US ready? According to an infectious disease expert, Ambassador Deborah Birx, MD, a world-renowned medical expert and leader, sat down with Infection Control Today® (ICT®), and said that the US has the tools, but we are not prepared.

In this second of 4 installments of the ICT®’s exclusive interview, Birx discusses what she sees as the mistakes the United States made with the beginning of monkeypox. Other topics covered in the interview her upcoming presentation titled, “COVID-19 USA – Lessons and new tools to improve workplace safety “at the Frontline Worker Safety in the Age of COVID-19: A Global Perspective” a Health Watch USAs Webinar on September 14, 2022, medical infrastructure, and monkeypox, Langya virus, among other topics.

The first installment of the interview is here.

“I don’t know whether we [the United States] think we’re exceptional when it comes to infectious disease, [but] we are not,” Birx told ICT®. “We’ve had higher fatalities, about 60% more fatalities in this country than the United Kingdom over the last 18 months because we didn’t use the tools that we had for COVID-19. “The UK expanded testing and expanded knowledge and got tests, even into small communities, educating the public, and saying, ‘If you test before you see your elderly grandparents or if you are sick, you’ll prevent most of the spread of this virus.’ [But] we didn’t do that; the UK did. And their fatalities through Delta and Omicron [variants] are 60% less. So there are tools out there, and there is knowledge, and we know exactly what’s happening. But we’re not using any of those things to combat the diseases that we’re seeing.”

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