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Peters-led investigation reveals issues in federal COVID-19 response

WASHINGTON D.C. (WLNS) — A two-year-long investigation’s findings declared big failures in the federal government’s response to COVID-19.

U.S. Senator Gary Peters was in charge of the investigation.

“The COVID-19 pandemic was an unprecedented public health crisis. However, the loss of life, suffering, and economic devastation were not inevitable. My investigation found that long term systemic failures left our nation unprepared to grapple with public health threats, and when the virus began to spread throughout the country – the federal government failed to act quickly and formulate a comprehensive response. These compounding failures unfortunately cost lives and livelihoods in Michigan and across the nation.”


According to the report, as of November 2022, more than 6.5 million people died as a result of COVID-19.

The report noted that many deaths and the economic fallout of the pandemic could have been prevented.

The report’s key findings include:

  • The U.S. failed to sufficiently invest in public health preparedness across multiple Administrations
  • Statutory authorities and policy directives that dictate federal leadership during public health emergencies overlap and lack clarity
  • The U.S. medical supply chain lacks sufficient domestic manufacturing capacity for critical medical products
  • U.S. public health surveillance systems for monitoring and detecting emerging infectious diseases are inadequate, antiquated, and fragmented
  • Communications about COVID-19 were inconsistent and sometimes contradictory and critical federal public health guidance was often delayed

The report made the following recommendations:

  • Invest in sustainable multi-year funding for public health emergency preparedness and response across all levels of government;
  • Clarify agency roles in pandemic preparedness and response;
  • Invest in sustainable domestic manufacturing capacity for critical medical products;
  • Standardize health data collection to improve future public health responses and minimize burdens on providers; and
  • Build infrastructure necessary for testing surge capacity and initiate advance contracts that can be rapidly executed during public health crises.