CDC briefing to focus on preparing for nuclear war

Over the weekend, a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under two presidents said the U.S. is closer to nuclear war with North Korea “than we have ever been.” | AP Photo

The CDC wants the public to be prepared for nuclear war.

The agency has posted a notice touting a Jan. 16 briefing about the work that federal, state and local governments are doing in case of a possible nuclear strike.

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“While a nuclear detonation is unlikely, it would have devastating results and there would be limited time to take critical protection steps,” the notice states. “Despite the fear surrounding such an event, planning and preparation can lessen deaths and illness.”

Presenters include Dan Sosin, CDC’s deputy director and chief medical officer in the Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response, and experts on radiation safety and environmental hazards.

The briefing comes amid rising tensions between the United States and North Korea. President Donald Trump earlier this week fired off a taunting tweet in which he bragged that his nuclear arsenal is more powerful than North Korea’s. The CDC notice preceded that message.

“North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the ‘Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times,’” Trump tweeted. “Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!”

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Trump’s tweets have alarmed policy experts who say they could exacerbate tensions. Over the weekend, Mike Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under both former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, said the U.S. is closer to nuclear war with North Korea “than we have ever been.”

CDC didn’t immediately respond to a query about the timing and genesis of the event.

The briefing is part of the agency’s monthly “Grand Rounds” sessions at its Atlanta headquarters. Upcoming briefings are mostly devoted to more conventional public health concerns, such as childhood vaccinations and hepatitis C.

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