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Twenty Years After the Anthrax Terrorist Attacks of 2001, Lessons Learned and Unlearned for the COVID-19 Response

Lawrence O. Gostin; Jennifer B. Nuzzo
Date posted:
October 27, 2021
Publication type:
JAMA 2021
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The 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, resulted in deep national reflection. Less remembered are the events that began to unfold 7 days later as anonymous letters laced with deadly anthrax (Bacillus anthracis) spores began arriving at postal facilities, media companies, and congressional offices. The first death from inhaled anthrax exposure occurred on October 5, with an additional 4 deaths and 17 infections over the ensuing months.1 The anthrax attacks exposed a health system ill-equipped to respond to acute emergencies.



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