Mitch McConnell recently admitted that he was wrong and President Barack Obama’s administration really did leave a pandemic playbook for President Donald Trump and his administration. If you want to read the pandemic playbook, the details are below, along with screenshots and highlights from the 69-page PDF document.
McConnell had originally claimed on Monday, May 11 that Obama’s administration hadn’t briefed Trump’s administration on preparing for a pandemic, Politico reported, and he said Obama was wrong for criticizing Trump. But on Thursday, May 14, McConnell said he was mistaken during an interview on Fox News. He said: “I was wrong. They did leave behind a plan. So, I clearly made a mistake in that regard.”
In March, Politico reported that the document did indeed exist and was 69 pages long. The document had suggestions for dealing with a widespread pandemic and possible issues that might be faced, such as personal protective equipment and shortages. The document, Politico reported. was created by the National Security Council. The document details important questions to ask and decisions that should be made, including diagnostic capacity and emergency resource stockpiles.
Ronald Klain, General Counsel and former Ebola czar for the Obama and Clinton administrations took to Twitter to share Pandemic Playbook. He wrote: “I’ve had people tweet at me in the past 24 hours: Did the pandemic playbook really exist? Was it really a clearly marked ‘playbook’? Would it have helped? Here’s the cover, and the table of contents. You decide.”
I've had people tweet at me in the past 24 hours:
Did the pandemic playbook really exist?
Was it really a clearly marked "playbook"?
Would it have helped?
Here's the cover, and the table of contents. You decide. pic.twitter.com/PMWr8YjIMu
— Ronald Klain (@RonaldKlain) May 12, 2020
Here’s How to Read the Pandemic Playbook
You can read the full PDF of Obama’s White House pandemic playbook here.
The PDF for reading the full pandemic playbook was shared by Politico reporter Dan Diamond on March 25. He wrote on Twitter: “We’ve now uploaded the full White House pandemic playbook, color-coded rubrics and all.”
We’ve now uploaded the full White House pandemic playbook, color-coded rubrics and all. https://t.co/KCkpInN8BP
— Dan Diamond (@ddiamond) March 26, 2020
Since the document was tweeted, the PDF has been shared numerous times without referencing the original tweet, causing some to wonder if the document is authentic. But it is and it was uploaded by Politico back on March 25.
You can read the full PDF of the White House pandemic playbook, as shared by Politico, here.
The document starts out by noting that the purpose of the playbook is for emerging infectious disease threats and to assist government leaders in coordinating a response. Page 9 of the document specifically addresses respiratory pathogens, including novel influenza viruses. The document notes that a virus with a CFR of .04 to 60% could have between 700,000 to 1.4 billion fatalities. The document also addresses MERS-CoV, which was a coronavirus with an 18-62% CFR and SARS with an 11-17% CFR.
At the time, people reading the document post on Twitter about pages they found especially interesting.
It clearly spells everything out. Who, does what, when. Threat levels. Even describes who has the authority to eliminate the red tape that exists during normal times. Talks about different viruses, including corona viruses. Who could have seen this coming? Anyone who can read. pic.twitter.com/D5fvViiWIa
— Tony Frontier (@tonyfrontier) March 26, 2020
Diamond pointed out that the document also pointed out the importance of assuring that healthcare workers have sufficient PPE, and to be aware of the triggers that would signal an exhaustion of supplies.
Some people noted that the March 25 date on the document was the date that a printed copy was scanned into PDF.
Yes, that’s exactly right.
— We had the printed playbook for days
— POLITICO editors decided they wanted it uploaded
— But we were already in lockdown, so I ran around to find a scanner
— Then I sent PDF to our web team, who uploaded it to DocumentCloud https://t.co/HbpTMGbyiv
— Dan Diamond (@ddiamond) May 13, 2020
Klain had tweeted earlier that he was part of the group that left the 69-page playbook for Trump’s administration. He wrote: “We literally left them a 69-page Pandemic Playbook…. that they ignored. And an office called the Pandemic Preparedness Office… that they abolished. And a global monitoring system called PREDICT .. that they cut by 75%.”
We literally left them a 69-page Pandemic Playbook…. that they ignored
And an office called the Pandemic Preparedness Office… that they abolished.
And a global monitoring system called PREDICT .. that they cut by 75% https://t.co/OD94v0UI4n
— Ronald Klain (@RonaldKlain) May 12, 2020
Lisa Monaco, former homeland security advisor for Obama, told KHN that they did leave a playbook whose goal was to share lessons learned from the Zika and Ebla outbreaks.
On May 14, Kayleigh McEnany, White House Press Secretary, said the playbook did exist and she showed it to the press, KHN reported. But she also said: “The Obama-Biden plan that has been referenced was insufficient. It wasn’t going to work. What our administration did under the leadership of President Trump was do an entire 2018 pandemic preparedness report.”
If you’re interested in reading other government documents about preparing for pandemics, here is a PDF of one published by the National Science and Technology Council in December 2016 called “Towards Epidemic Prediction: Federal Efforts and Opportunities in Outbreak Modeling.”
You can also read the CDC’s “National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza Implementation Plan,” published in May 2006, here.
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