How do you assess response to a health crisis that evolves even as the words come from your mouth? Much like the hours after September 11 when bodies were still being pulled from collapsed buildings, you can only respond as information comes to you. Even as much as Washington DC loves to assess what should have been done, now is not the time. There are too many things happening too quickly.
Assess and push forward
For some people, it’s their job to do that but they probably know in their hearts you can only prevent so many things. There are so many variables that you can’t account for, such as overseas attitudes and information. The best you can do is to try to respond in the most rapid, accurate way possible. Too much second guessing results in disaster.
Focus is necessary. Words and actions need to be done in the name of containing and finding a cure for COVID19 so the world can return to a new normal.
Who does what?
First there is a lot of people not understanding the role of any official from county or town government clear up to the President. The federal government doesn’t have the authority to tell people to shelter in place or stay away from public spaces nationwide. Really, the best it can do is maintain our borders and limit interstate travel. The ability to tell people to shelter in place is largely reserved for local and state government. The President does not have the authority to lift these orders by Easter or any other date.
The roles of the federal government are actually pretty limited. Securing our border and protecting our national economy, which is what the stimulus is designed to help with. In this case, medical supplies need to have precedence over many other items. The President is in command of Homeland Security, Defense, Health and Human Services and Commerce to name a few.
FEMA should be the hub for this crisis. Its ability to deploy forces necessary for something like this is superior to any other agency. The President needs to give them legal authority to do what needs to be done so we don’t have bidding wars between states and hospitals.
Second, eventually the spread of this virus will slow or stop through the use of the aggressive isolation that’s been done. What is the game plan for returning to the new normal? There isn’t a metric yet for that.
No magic “all clear” has yet been determined for when the coronavirus crisis has been stopped. President Trump is correct in that judgment has to be multi dimensional. We’re going to need to go back to work and school again. The country is built on daily work, it can’t be shut down completely for long or there will be collapse. It’s helpful to know the best minds in business and health care are working on this.
There’s no room for the political blame game or posturing here. We need to keep pushing forward, never mind who gets the credit.