We have a small window of opportunity to prepare for the next wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. We'll need that time to replenish stocks of emergency equipment, testing sets and protective supplies such as gowns, gloves and masks. There'll be no excuses for being caught unprepared again.
Nine top scientists who advised Barack Obama in the White House are warning that the US has just three months to rebuild its national stockpile of emergency medical supplies or risk further drastic shortages of testing kits and protective gear should coronavirus strike again in the fall.
The dramatic warning from Obama’s former science advisers contains an implicit criticism of Donald Trump’s handling of the pandemic. In a seven-page missive, the group says that federal government preparations for a possible resurgence of the disease must be triggered immediately if a repeat of the “extraordinary shortage of supplies” that was seen in March and April is to be avoided.
“The United States was unprepared for the supply needs of the spring 2020 Covid-19 pandemic,” the group says.
The scientists add: “There has been a persistent shortage of ventilators, testing kits, masks and other PPE [personal protective equipment] … In recent years the nation has let down its guard.”There might be a snag. If Trump launches a crash programme to get the US prepared for a potentially even more lethal second wave it could call into question his rush to re-open the American economy. Even worse it would be a tacit admission of how badly he screwed up when he allowed John Bolton, his then national security advisor, to dismantle the pandemic emergency response team bequeathed to Trump by the Obama administration. Trump, after all, is the guy who refuses to accept any responsibility for his government's lack of preparedness for this virus, his own inexcusable delays in responding to it, and the 95,000 dead, many of them directly attributable to his own neglect.
Trump may not heed this advice but let's hope our federal and provincial governments won't make the same blunders.