The Real Threat to National Security: Deadly Disease – The New York Times

“While the Trump administration is proposing significantly increased military spending to enhance our national security, it seems to have lost sight of the greatest national security threat of all: our fight against infectious disease.

We already spend far more on our military than any other country in the world. To help pay for the increases, President Trump wants to cut back many federal programs, including those that prepare us to wage war against microbes, the greatest and most lethal enemy we are ever likely to face. This is where “defense spending” needs to increase, significantly.

President Trump’s budget would cut funding for the National Institutes of Health by 18 percent. It would cut the State Department and the United States Agency for International Development, a key vehicle for preventing and responding to outbreaks before they reach our shores, by 28 percent. And the repeal of the Affordable Care Act would kill the billion-dollar Prevention and Public Health Fund, which provides funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to fight outbreaks of infectious disease. (While the budget also calls for the creation of an emergency fund to respond to outbreaks, there is no indication that it would offset the other cuts, or where the money would come from.)”

 

Excellent op-ed.  Here is comment I recommendedd:

Alison

Colebrook, CT 8 hours ago

The author mentions Zika and Ebola as examples of diseases that are new to the U.S. Everything the authors have written is certainly true. What is not mentioned is that climate change is also a factor that needs to be recognized. In addition to influenza and bacterial diseases, a greater diversity of tick borne diseases have been found in the Northeast possibly due to shorter winters. We have recognized Lyme disease for decades, but more recently when symptoms warrant, doctors are also screening for a larger number of diseases associated with tick vectors. Some of these diseases are quite serious if not diagnosed and treated.

Flooding and drought can impact disease in areas where temperatures are rising. Air quality may be impacted as temperatures rise changing the incidence of respiratory illnesses. This information can be found on the CDC’s website at:

https://www.cdc.gov/climateandhealth/effects/default.htm

The Trump budget slashes the budget for the EPA and much government funded scientific research. Cutting funding for the NIH is indeed irresponsible, but without adequate funding for climate science, we will be unable to study how our climate is being impacted and to determine how to prepare and ideally moderate the consequences. The NIH, the EPA and the CDC are all a part of our country’s defense along with the military, CIA, and Homeland Security.