WILL ON COVID-19 RESPONSE
Without a doubt, America has been caught flatfooted as one of the biggest global health crises of our lifetime plays out.
In a country as advanced as America, it is deeply troubling to see our government not prepared to handle the spread of COVID-19.
In 2014, in response to the Ebola outbreak, President Obama created a branch of the National Security Council (NSC) exclusively tasked with coordinating a strategic response to any potential pandemic.
Unfortunately, President Trump folded the Global Health Security and Biodefense Directorate with two other NSC directorates in 2018, all while proposing reducing the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) global health budget.
We must reverse these errors in governance to protect America against any future pandemics starting with requiring that all future administrations appoint a permanent pandemic prevention and response coordinator to the NSC. This will ensure America’s pandemic preparedness is never dangerously scaled down in a manner that puts the country at risk again.
Additionally, America’s response to the pandemic will greatly affect the way our country, our government, and the private sector operate far into the future.
Innovative, multi-faceted approaches with cross-cutting solutions such as the Green New Deal will be crucial to getting our country back on track while addressing looming crises that existed before COVID, and will persist thereafter.
America’s COVID response must also elevate the needs of “essential” workers.
The heroism of our healthcare workers has been on full display during this pandemic—as well as service industry employees at essential grocery chains, retail stores, and restaurants.
Americans need a living wage, and frontline healthcare workers need hazard pay for their fearless delivery of care in difficult environments without all the vital resources they need.
How we treat American workers in this moment will speak volumes about our country’s ideals and values.
Let us speak with one united voice that essential hourly wage workers matter; that short staffed heroic frontline healthcare workers matter; and that all Americans that contribute positively to our society, especially in moments of great need, matter.