We Were, And Still Are, Poorly Prepared For A Global Pandemic

Some saw the current Coronavirus crisis coming as far out as November of 2019. Some blew the whistle as early as January of 2020. Some media outlets (World Affairs Center) and elected officials (Senator Tom Cotton) urged action in that same time period. But yet here we are in the first week of May still suffering the global repercussions of the Coronavirus outbreak. Why? Because we were ill prepared. Not just China and the United States, but the entire world.

For years we have been told that a global pandemic is the top issue that keeps world leaders and doctors up at night, whether accidental or man made, so why are we still on lockdown over the Coronavirus after knowing about it for 5 months? There are a plethora of reasons. Here are just some:

1. China

A number of intelligence agencies from around the world now agree that the Coronavirus originated from an infectious disease research lab in Wuhan, China, the center of the outbreak. What is also clear is that the Chinese government went out of its way to cover up the outbreak. Scientists and doctors who dared to speak out disappeared, full censorship was invoked and most pundits agree the government had lied about it’s infection and death rates, especially around Wuhan. Furthermore, the Chinese government has denied investigators and doctors from other parts of the world into Wuhan to gather their own data, making it much more difficult to understand infectivity, origins and a potential cure. China also refused to take action to slow the spread of the virus, allowing travel in and out of mainland China. This allowed the virus to quickly spread to the United States, Asia and Europe before there was enough detection.

2. International Organizations

Since the outbreak, the World Health Organization, or WHO, has consistently either lied about the outbreak or has covered up China’s significant missteps. Researchers have discovered that this is because of Chinese funding and ties to the WHO. The WHO has become wholly unreliable despite the fact that the international community has turned to them for guidance.

3. Lack of Domestic Supplies

Nearly every nation in the world struggled to provide it’s doctors, nurses and even it’s citizens with the proper supplies to protect themselves. Vital personal protection equipment such as masks and gloves ran out quickly at first, and had many doctors nervous. One of the biggest problems was that China was the world’s largest producer of these supplies, and often shipped them to other nations. In some cases, China even shipped supplies that were either no good or riddled with germs. The PPE shortage has caused a number of American officials to take a hard look at our own domestic supplies and push for more independence from Chinese goods.

4. Politics

This is perhaps one of the biggest contributors. When the warning signs first appeared about the Coronavirus, the United States was knee deep in the impeachment case against President Donald Trump. The case was led by the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, who spent nearly every hour in November, December and January pursuing impeachment. During that time period, his committee did not hold hearings with the American intelligence community or communicate with the White House on much of anything. In January the trial commenced and took the Senate out of regular business for several weeks. Meanwhile, President Trump began to notice the hotspot brewing in China and took steps to reduce travel and commerce from China. But when he did so, he was unfairly attacked. By the time restrictions were in place, more cases were coming from Europe instead of China, complicating the issue further. To this day our politicians continue to play the blame game instead of taking personal responsibility for reacting quickly enough to this crisis. Our nation’s Governors beg for more support while our Congress is too afraid to go back to Washington and do their jobs.

5. Media Hysteria

I had a conversation with a good friend who works in media recently about covering the Coronavirus crisis. She told me it was a difficult balance between making all news about the virus or not saying enough about it. I agree, it is a very difficult balance. But I fear our mainstream media, on both sides of the spectrum, have failed the people by focusing on Coronavirus 24/7. It’s difficult to turn on the TV or radio or even access social media without hearing more bad news about the virus. This only contributes to the mass hysteria many are feeling. It is important to get the word out, and I commend so many journalists for continuing to do their jobs and do them well, but we all need a break from the madness as well.

6. No Plans?

The slow reaction from local, state and federal governments across the world indicates that no real plan was ever ready to be implemented in the case of a mass pandemic. People quickly panicked, and the immediate move turned to shutting things down. However, cases continue to climb in certain areas like New York City, which should have been one of the most prepared cities in the world but instead has become by far the least prepared. There were no plans for keeping businesses afloat, or kids to keep doing their schoolwork, which leads to continued uncertainty.

7. Poor Leadership

This has been the most obvious error of them all, poor leadership in so many parts of the world. In New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio closed all gyms early, but then proceeded to be spotted at his own. His response? He’s the Mayor, he can do that. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s favorability ratings have gone up so much many believe he would be a better Democratic Nominee for President than Joe Biden. But the truth is 10 years of Cuomo’s leadership in New York State did not prove effective when our state was hit hardest from the crisis. Cuomo address the state and the nation each day with a calm demeanor but his biggest flubs are ignored, from demanding the National Guard seize ventilators from Upstate New York hospitals to placing Coronavirus patients into vulnerable nursing homes to the basic fact that New York City was woefully under stocked with PPE and ventilators. Contrast this to California and Los Angeles, who are ready to begin some phases of reopening. In Upstate New York the spread remains much slower than in the city, but government has treated it nearly the same. In Oneida County where I live, County Executive Anthony Picente has announced the government will charge any business with a misdemeanor and slap them with a $2,000 fine if someone is on their property without a mask. Meanwhile, the small businesses who either remain open or who have struggled because they were not considered “essential” are on the verge of collapse. Also in New York, our region’s Representative in Congress, Anthony Brindisi, blames everyone but Governor Cuomo and the House for New York’s failure to help these businesses. Brindisi claims Texas should not receive more funds than New York, but was allegedly working right alongside Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer to craft the funding bill. He also fails to address the question of how magically Governor Cuomo’s budget deficit disappeared after first set of funds were dispersed. In Kentucky the Governor announced anyone who attended an Easter worship service, even in a car, would be fined by the government, and in Michigan the Governor stated that house to house travel was prohibited. None of these orders are at all necessary and are born out of fear and a thirst for power not respect.

8. The Economy

Small businesses are struggling. Families are hurting, and a very small portion of lawmakers, led by Representative Thomas Massie are warning a food shortage is on the way as well. Before the crisis, plans were not in place to deal with any of this, and we are suffering for it. Millions are out of work because they are not considered “essential.” What many don’t realize is that when the disease is gone or mitigated we will have a second major aftershock, an economic crisis. Unfortunately this crisis can claim just as many lives by shutting down businesses, forcing jobs to be lost and at this point forcing our younger generation to lose an entire semester of schooling and work. Statistics from law enforcement show that since the shutdowns have begun suicides, drug overdoses and cases of domestic violence have shot up. An economic collapse will only make things worse. Many don’t realize that the economic impacts truly are just as important as the health impacts as they really are one in the same.

With all this being said, the unfortunate truth is that people won’t listen. We continue to live in our own bubbles in politics, life, society, etc and we are grotesquely unprepared for tomorrow. Even our leaders will eventually go back to the way things were and think this cannot happen again.

So even though we have fought a pandemic for five months and counting now, if we keep going down this path, we won’t be prepared for the next one which could be even more infectious and deadly. At that point I truly fear for our future.

For more on the politics of 2020, check out my book America 2020: The Grand American Political Landscape available today on Amazon! America 2020: The Grand American Political Landscape https://www.amazon.com/dp/1696126401/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_U9CREbKHGHW59

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