U.S. should prepare for public health crises as it does for war | READER COMMENTARY
For The Baltimore Sun|
Apr 02, 2020 at 1:50 PM
White House prepares for US coronavirus death toll to exceed 100,000.
The coronavirus epidemic should cause a shift in what we should expect from our government. The prime responsibility of a government is protection to its citizens and traditionally this has meant the military. We expect them to recognize threats and have the equipment to protect. Planning groups look for worse case scenarios and estimate what and how much equipment and trained troops are necessary to neutralize the threat maintaining excess hardware for possible use.
Now, we are invaded by a threat that is causing more harm than a war but we are inadequately prepared to confront (“Maryland surpasses 2,000 coronavirus cases; 36 have died,” April 2). Defense groups like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Food & Drug Administration have had to work with staff and budget cuts in the name of fiscal responsibility planning only for the minimum of responses.
Threats to our nation are just as real if they come from belligerent countries, terrorists or are biological, either natural like the coronavirus or man made. With the best intelligence service in the world, experts should be listened to. The same ignoring as before 9-11 allowed the virus to destroy before our leaders took it seriously.
We have to be ready with a properly educated staff and backup stocks for a biological, cyber or military assault with equal levels of serious preparation.