A Guardian Editorial
Today we are continuing to reel from a collapsed economy and the severe life changes brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic. How can we get rid of it sooner?
How can we reduce further infections and deaths?
Most people don’t know but we have had a US Pandemic Plan and System ready to go for over 3 years. It spells out a number of steps—based on scientific input, review and experience—that would help corral Covid-19 and help dramatically reduce the number of cases and deaths.
Sadly, this nightmare of Covid-19 could have already been greatly reduced or even prevented if the Plan had been implemented when we first learned of the virus. But we still have over 6.5 million cases, and over 200,000 people have died in the US. We have 4% of the world population and 21% of the virus cases–so there’s still a need for smart, swift action.
President Obama successfully routed the Ebola pandemic and took the experience which his team used to develop a Pandemic Plan and System (69 pages). His plan included 6 groups of pandemic experts in 6 regional offices of the Centers for Disease Control in each section of the country—the eyes and ears looking out for disease. He installed a Pandemic Czar as part of the National Security Council who could bring together people, scientists and resources very quickly if needed. Unfortunately, during his first year in office, Donald Trump threw out all of the staff and the Pandemic Plan which had been carefully assembled to protect us from the next pandemic. Trump did not develop another plan—he still has none.
However, the elements of the Plan would still help! By instituting them now we would immediately start to reduce infections and prevent deaths.
Below is an interpretive list of pro-active Covid-19 activities from the Pandemic Plan which we could adopt now:
1. Bring together the US Pandemic Plan task force he created to implement the plan and to search for more possible infection sources.
2. Ban travel from China completely (it’s only partly banned now).
3. Ban travel from Europe completely (most of the US infections in the Eastern part of the country came from Europe, not China.)
4. Invoke the Defense Production Act and bring in suppliers for masks, gowns, all hospital equipment, and alert hospitals of the virus plan. There are still shortages of PPE supplies.
5. Bring testing companies together to check the current CDC tests and improve (current test wasn’t valid, needed new versions). Fund development of mass testing needs plus develop instant result tests for airports, hospitals, etc. Locate automatic temperature readers.
6. Set up a tracing system to follow every case as discovered.
7. Create a national mandatory mask and social distancing program, give states guidelines and rules for closing businesses if needed. Ban large group events nationally.
8. Provide regional pandemic experts to advise mayors around the country if they experience hot spots.
9. Promote the development of a vaccine (long term—underway).
10. Set up a testing program on-site for every airport with international or domestic travel with a tracing system, instant reading tests, and temperature checks.
11. Keep the American people informed, eliminate contradictory messages.
With the Pandemic Plan program operational, if it had been implemented in early January we should have been able to halt the growth of Covid-19 and eliminate the virus entirely by the end of March. Remember, on February 11th we only had 13 cases, but Trump grossly underestimated how they could grow and ignored the bigger picture. And consider this– although President Obama created the Pandemic System and the plans, Hillary Clinton would have followed it and so would have Joe Biden because they knew how good it was.
Since February 11th we have gone from 13 cases in the US to 6.5 million cases—we need a Plan now. You can view the Pandemic Plan outlined above on Politico. There is no evidence of any other current US Covid-19 plan at all or any signs of development of a new one. If we simply took the steps outlined in the plan above starting now—even though it is very late—it would still save lives and speed up the demise of the virus.
Why are we suffering unnecessarily from the terrible personal and economic effects of Covid-19? Because of the decisions of one man who refused using tools that would have saved us since he hated the person who created them. How many lives will it cost? How many families will it disrupt? How many businesses will it destroy? What will the ultimate cost be? All Trump had to do was to implement the Obama Pandemic Plan in January and leave the people in place who would have managed it. The hard work of determining what to do had been done.
We should act quickly to implement the US Pandemic Plan now and it will save lives, reduce infections, reduce deaths, and help speed Covid-19 on its way!
This editorial has been published as a public service by The Guardians of Democracy, a national political newsletter which has been published daily for 4 years. The Guardians parent company, Miami Media, LLC, based in Naples, Florida, paid for this editorial. The Guardian is completely independent, not affiliated with any political party or campaign.