It’s been 100 years since the world suffered one of the most devastating pandemics in history.   

In 1918, the Spanish Flu killed between 50 to 100 million people around the globe. 

Many fear it could happen again, but this time only worse. That’s why there’s an effort underway as we speak, to address that threat. 

The Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Bio-defense was put together to study the nation’s bio-defense capabilities to prevent and deter another pandemic, like the Spanish Flu. One of the members on that panel is a familiar face who had his own scare with bio-terrorism. 

It was considered the mother of all pandemics. In 1918, the Spanish flu pandemic affected one out of every three people in the world; killing millions, including 1,800 victims in South Dakota.

“That very possibility exists today and we are not ready for it we don’t have a plan, we don ‘t have the kind of leadership and resources necessary to address it,” former U.S. Senator Tom Daschle said.  

Former U.S. Senator Tom Daschle is one of the members of the Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Bio-defense.  

The panel’s job is to come up with recommendations for how the U.S. can better defend the nation against biological threats. 

In 2001, then Majority Leader Tom Daschle was one of several people and organizations who received an anthrax laced letter in the mail. 

He says the bio-terrorism attacks killed five people, injured 17 others and disrupted operations all over Capitol Hill and alarmed an entire nation. He fears in today’s world it could happen again, but only worse. 

“It doesn’t take much imagination to combine a drone with anthrax over a stadium to see what kind of dangers actually exist today it could be South Dakota, it could be Minneapolis, it could be anywhere in the country or the world for that matter,” Daschle said. 

That’s why the panel is calling on Congress, the current administration, and even local government to make this a top priority. 

“I think South Dakotans need to understand this could happen to us, this could happen in Sioux Falls, this could happen in Aberdeen, my hometown, it could happen anywhere and what we have to do is be sure we’re ready for it, and we are not today,” Daschle said. 

If you’d like to read more about the Blue Ribbon Panel and its work, click on this link.