Washington-Vice President Kamala Harris told UN member states on Monday that it was time for global leaders to begin serious work on how to respond to the next pandemic.
Since taking office, Harris’s virtual address, second only to UN agencies, begins with the United States vaccination of its people and many of the world struggling to get vaccines.
“At the same time that the world works to overcome this pandemic, we also know that we have to prepare for the next,” Harris said. The speech was co-sponsored by the United Nations Permanent Representatives of Argentina, Japan, Norway and South Africa.
The Biden administration will celebrate its first 100 days after taking office this week. President Joe Biden will address Congress on Wednesday, highlighting the progress his administration has made in responding to the worst public health crisis in the United States for over a century.
Harris’s remarks outline what the government thinks the United States and other countries should consider focusing their attention on. These steps include improving access to healthcare systems, investing in science, healthcare professionals and women’s welfare, and exploding the capacity of personal protective equipment and vaccines and test manufacturing.
Harris said he learned a lot last year about preparing for and responding to a pandemic, but it’s unwise to rest in peace.
“We realized that the status quo is not enough and that innovation is certainly a way forward,” Harris said.
Biden’s UN Ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, will also speak at a virtual event on Monday, calling on countries to “build a future anti-pandemic architecture.”
“It’s clear that we’ve taken it home from the past year. The world has barely tolerated this pandemic,” said Thomas Greenfield in an excerpt of a prepared statement. “We must be ready for the next.”
The Associated Press writer Darlene Superville contributed to this report.
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Harris tells UN agencies that it’s time to prepare for the next pandemic | Nation & World
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