In mid-April, I wrote a letter to the editor, which you published on April 19, 2020. The gist of my comments was that the United States needs a simple plan going forward to deal with the COVID-19 crisis, and we need a military leader put in charge of managing our efforts. I made a distinction between a needed simple plan and the situation, which is very complex. I mentioned a few historical military names, including Lt. Gen. Russel Honore’ whom President Bush assigned the task of dealing with the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.
My letter focused on the need to more quickly, efficiently, and successfully deal with ramping up the testing program and getting needed personal protective equipment to our front line health care providers. I acknowledged at the time of my letter that the president was saying that there was no problem with the testing and that the federal government had in hand the ability to get needed supplies to whomever, wherever they were needed. I stated I hoped that was the case, but I had my doubts.
Fast-forward to today. With a second wave or another spike or whatever we are in the midst of now, we see health care providers interviewed saying that there is still a problem in vast parts of the country with inadequate tests and PPE supplies are running dangerously low. What? We, the federal government, private industry, and state governments have had three more months to “get it right.” But, as of yet, not so much!
In charge of the Coronavirus Task Force, instead of a kick butt and take names General Honore’ or the like, we have a former governor of Indiana, the current vice president, with an assist from a former New York City real estate speculator, the president’s son-in-law.
Last Wednesday, at a Coronavirus Task Force briefing, the vice president stated that PPE supplies remain “very strong” and then asked health care workers to “use some of the best practices” to “preserve and reuse” face masks and other PPE. Really?
So, after months, we’re no better on PPE distribution and testing than we were in April (thank goodness, Cobb seems to have tests available). That doesn’t bode well for our being successful on other minor little issues ... like how to open the economy, or how to open schools, etc. etc.