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Re: 'The coronavirus: who's really at fault?' [Village News, S. Jones Letter, 5/7/20]


Last updated 5/14/2020 at 4:50pm

Sue Jones asks what I would do regarding the coronavirus if I were president. First, here are three things you should know.

In 2014, former President Barack Obama said, “There may and likely will come a time in which we have both an airborne disease that is deadly. And in order for us to deal with that effectively, we have to put in place an infrastructure – not just here at home, but globally – that allows us to see it quickly, isolate it quickly, respond to it quickly, so that if and when a new strain of flu, like the Spanish flu, crops up five years from now or a decade from now, we’ve made the investment and we’re further along to be able to catch it,” according to an article in The Courier, April 20, 2020.

In 2016, the Obama administration created a 69-page National Security Council playbook that included hundreds of tactics and policy decisions to “prevent, slow, or mitigate the spread of an emerging infectious disease threat,” according to Politico.

In early 2017, “The Obama administration walked incoming Trump administration officials through a hypothetical scenario in which a pandemic worse than the 1918 Spanish flu shut down cities like Seoul and London,” according to Politico.

So, what would I do? The short answer is I would follow my plan, based on Obama’s warning. The first thing I’d do upon taking office would be to ensure that the federal stockpile of medical equipment and supplies was fully stocked and up to date. I’d read and listen to the daily intelligence reports. Any hint of a pandemic or other calamity would get my full attention.

Also, from Day One in office I’d have the pandemic response team prepare and maintain a plan template, updating it as specific information comes in. The team would be responsible for informing and coordinating the major participants. My part would be to keep the public informed. Following this plan, I would not encounter the problems that Trump has brought on himself and us by not having a plan.

In the political arena, what I wouldn’t do is alienate our trading partners, including China, or needlessly antagonize our presumptive enemies.

John H. Terrell


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