The United States was ranked the best-prepared country in the world to face a global pandemic in a study released by the Nuclear Threat Initiative and Johns Hopkins Center for Health and Security in late 2019.
The findings, detailed in the 2019 Global Health Security Index, appear to challenge the claims made by Democrats in recent weeks that the Trump administration left the country ill-prepared and dangerously vulnerable to the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The president even touted the study during a White House press briefing last month.
"We've stopped non-U.S. citizens from coming into America from China," Trump said at today's Coronavirus outbreak briefing, adding that those infected or at risk have been quarantined.
He then referenced a study he said ranks the U.S. as the country best prepared for an epidemic pic.twitter.com/aona828kSL
— POLITICO (@politico) February 27, 2020
To produce the findings, researchers analyzed 195 countries around the world, working with “an international advisory panel of 21 experts from 13 countries to create a detailed and comprehensive framework of 140 questions, organized across 6 categories, 34 indicators, and 85 subindicators to assess a country’s capability to prevent and mitigate epidemics and pandemics.”
The six categories were prevent, detect, respond, health, norms, and risk.
The U.S. scored highly and ranked near the top in all six categories, and scored extraordinarily well in indicators such as risk communication, data integration, biosafety, biosecurity, and emergency preparedness and response planning.
Critics were quick to point out the single area in which the study found the U.S. lagging behind the rest of the world: “health care access.” According to the GHS Index, the U.S. ranks 175th out of the 195 countries surveyed in this area.
“And I think we all kind of know why,” Priya Bapat, an Economist Intelligence Unit consultant, told Business Insider last month in reference to the country’s rejection of socialized health care for all.
At the same time, the U.S. ranked at the top in the health category as a whole due to high scores in health capacity, medical countermeasures, communication, infection control, availability of equipment, and the capacity to test.
Trump has been taking significant heat over the country’s supposed lack of preparedness to combat the virus of late, as media outlets and Democratic lawmakers pile on, raising the alarm over equipment shortages and a lack of testing.
But in response, the president has argued that misinformation coming from critics is what’s leading to public distrust, not an actual lack in preparedness.
The Trump team published a document over the weekend rebutting several claims made by Democratic front-runner and former Vice President Joe Biden. The document included false claims that the president called the coronavirus a “hoax,” that he rejected World Health Organization testing kits, and that he cut Centers for Disease Control and Prevention funding.