Why did the government shut down a program for tracking infectious diseases right before covid-19 emerged?

When the world was dealing with the H1N1 bird flu in 2005, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) developed a program to track and research infectious diseases, called Predict. As the program ran its course, it found over 1,000 novel viruses.

What’s really dumbfounding is that the US government shut this program down in October of 2019.

Predict’s main focus was to detect and discover diseases that originate from animals. The risk for animal to human transmission is always a threat since humans eat wild animals and potentially expose themselves to novel viruses.

The timing of the end of the Predict program is fuel for conspiracy theory. Covid-19 showed up very shortly after this disease detecting program was dismantled. History almost always repeats itself. We were due for another pandemic and the US government did not take this highly plausible possibility seriously.

Without Predict or similar teams working to make the world a safer place from infectious diseases, who do we have to rely on? The US government has shown Americans that they are not able to handle an outbreak and pandemic such as Covid-19. They were not prepared for the inevitable, nor are they equipped to handle infections and deaths of this magnitude.

Refrigerated trucks used to store the bodies of coronavirus victims.

The biggest question is why did the US government get rid of any programs and research teams that may have been able to contain the pandemic almost immediately before it struck us?

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