U.S. health officials and scientists have been forced to rely on information from outside the U.S., mainly from Israel, the United Kingdom, and South Africa, in order to learn more about the delta and omicron variants of COVID-19.
“There’s a lot of data that’s coming in from a lot of different places. It’s coming in from the U.K., it’s coming in from Israel, it’s coming in a lot from South Africa, which is ahead of the rest of the world in the experience they’re having with omicron,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, in a statement to Politico. “We’ve gotten virus either in the live virus form or in the pseudo virus form. But we don’t have enough of this in the United States to be able to bank on our own clinical experience
Bioethicist Ezekiel Emanuel, a former member of President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 advisory board during the transition, told Politico that “We’re relying on everyone else’s data. We should be providing data to the world and we are not. We started [the pandemic] with a serious problem of not enough data and bad data infrastructure. We have not made the structural investments we need. The ideal is that we have real-time data. And we don’t have that. We’re not even close to that.”
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