Expert at Texas A&M said he warned government of pandemic years ago

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Even as there were isolated Ebola outbreaks in the U-S several years ago, there were scientists versed in public health and national security creating a strategy for the federal government to confront a global pandemic.

Dr. Gerald Parker calls himself a pandemic scholar. He's a part of the Texas A&M Pandemic and National Security Policy Program, and he was among those delivering a warning to policy makers in Washington, D.C.

"We told them there had to be a framework within the bureaucracy," Parker said. "Coordination, collaboration, communication and innovation. Those were the five buckets we pointed out."

All of the goals were implemented, except one.

"We recommended to the Vice President that there should to be a permanent vesting authority for preparedness at the federal level. That's finally happening now," Parker said.

He believes the economy has to get back on track, and businesses have to reopen.

"There may be more cases that pop up when that begins, but there are some promising treatments on the horizon. A vaccine will take longer," Parker said.

Another recommendation he made earlier that's getting increased attention now, is the outsourcing of drug manufacturing and medical supplies.

"We better learn our lesson about medical supplies and critical manufacturing. We can't be dependent on one source in particular, that source being China. We're going to have to reclaim critical medical manufacturing here in the United States," Parker said.

Parker is one of the experts in a series of televised programs produced by the university called, COVID 19- The Texas A&M System Responds. The program will be previewed on PBS stations Thursday evening.

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