The President’s plan to combat COVID19 has failed. Congress must step in — now.
The US had two choices on how to combat COVID19 — a national shut down or an universal testing/isolation regime like South Korea’s. 9 weeks into the crisis, the US has done neither, and so we now have some of the fastest growing infection rates that any country has experienced since the pandemic began.
Time is running out to prevent the virus from becoming something which fundamentally alters the American way of life. The President has made it clear he cannot lead us through the crisis, and thus is it time for Congress to take responsibility for developing and implementing a true national plan. We only have a few days to get this done.
In recent days expert opinion has converged about what we must do:
- Surge supplies/beds/staff to the medical front lines
- Implement a national 3 week stay at home program
- Crash/stand up a national testing/isolation regime like South Korea’s
- Fund a “Manhattan Project” for a vaccine/therapeutics/testing/equipment both for COVID and to prepare for future pandemics
The economy and our society cannot stand back up until the virus is tamed. Washington’s focus on stimulus and worker supports while important should have come after a national plan to combat the virus was in place. We have no choice now than to work on both in the days ahead.
It is critical that Congress also find time to pass the Klobuchar/Wyden bill which would help institute a national vote by mail program for the 2020 election. While so much else is up in the air, Americans should have the certainty of knowing that our democracy marches on, undaunted.
Finally, we need to focus far more attention on our young people. Both to help them better protect themselves from getting the virus and to help them and their families cope with what could be difficult months at home, away from school.
The President’s plan has failed, and Congress must step in now to develop a clear national strategy to tame the virus. There is no higher priority in the days ahead.