This piece was published on Think Global Health on May 5, 2020.
In brief, the COVID-19 pandemic has shattered social precedents and many social media posts have called for social distancing while also ask that we all “not make this political.” Well, public health is political. An understaffed CDC and hamstrung global health security efforts leave the country exposed to a menace that does not recognize international borders or discriminate between those with insurance and those without. Americans have one of the most protected freedoms to vote, yet turnout is well under 60%, while low and lower-middle income countries fight for their voice to be heard. This COVID response – and others – requires political prioritization, to fight this outbreak and prevent the next one.