Monday, April 19, 2021

Preparing For Next Pandemic

Shanin Specter, son of the former US Senator and himself a trial lawyer, has published an essay at Smerconish on beating the next (inevitable) pandemic. Here are his suggestions, with one or two of my own:

1) Pandemic preparedness should be our top national security priority. (Viruses kill more people than war and violence combined). 

2) FDA must be more flexible. (I personally think the FDA showed flexibility).

3) Political decisions must be made by elected officials. I believe that decisions made by Rachel Levine, who was elected by no one and is no epidemiologist, had a very negative impact on our economy, educational system and, in the end, our overall health. Her Orders should have first been approved by a bipartisan group of elected officials. 

4) Governors must share their power with legislatures. We are a nation that was formed precisely because we oppose one-man rule. While extreme emergency makes this necessary, this concentration of power in the hands of one man should be diluted as quickly as possible. Failure to do this resulted in abuse and favoritism in Pa. 

5) Politics must stop at the pandemic's edge. Trump, worried about his re-election, constantly downplayed the virus. Democrats overreacted, no doubt in a desire to see Trump defeated. Both sides lost and people still died. Now commonsense precautions like masks are derided as affronts to freedom.

6) Honest Communication is vitally important. This was completely botched by CDC and public health experts. Trump actually admits he downplayed what he knew was a serious crisis. This discovery undermined public confidence in his response. 

7) Complete transparency is vitally important. Both Wolf and Cuomo played games with the data concerning infections and deaths, especially at nursing homes. Wolf arbitrarily granted exemptions to businesses in which he or other highly placed officials once had an interest. He made decisions behind closed doors with a group that failed to include a single public health expert.  

We can do better next time, and make no mistake, there will be a next time. 

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Considering no reporter asked a single challenging question of Wolf, least of all why he wouldn't take live questions, none of this will happen. Those who used emergency authority to be authoritarian may comfortably assume they won't be challenged.

Anonymous said...

A standing bipartisan committee is a great idea, but with a few caveats - the members/appointees to the committee need to have some measure of familiarity and expertise in medicine - not saying they need to be doctors, but demonstrably hold a general understanding of basic principals of science, sociology, etc. Meaning that the majority and minority leaders in Harrisburg can't just put some hack in there that will obey party marching orders and just impede and obstruct. If the newest/wet behind the ears state rep or state senator happens to be a doctor or has a medical background in anyway - they're on the committee before some 15-20 year party loyalist...

Anonymous said...


Bernie, let’s never forget that this is the Trump pandemic. His lies killed hundred of thousand of American lives. The director of the CDC last July warned of a difficult fall and winter ahead. Trump dismissed the experts and science for months. This is not an example that both sides lost. The Republicans lost when they elected the carnival barker, narcissistic, who was unquestionably unqualified to be president of this great country. Unfortunately, it was America that lost and we should never forget what Trump did for this country, he did nothing but
Lied and helped his cronies.

Thank God we have President Biden and Governor Wolf looking out for the little people, the 99%.

Anonymous said...

After the mezzacappa sentencing will you and humpty dumpling be heading to Green Door as per usual?

Anonymous said...

Whiners and more whiners is what we got no matter which way we go. People blame Faucey, Trump, Wolfe and whoever else they choose to vilify. Instead of having the own personal self respect to their heads out of their posterior, they mire themselves in self pity, and selfishness only crying the blues that their own self absorbed pathetic lives are in their own perception altered. And on top of that they have no other thing then the ability to cry and complain.

Had a neighbor go through that, He never wore a mask went out where ever and did what ever. His company let him work from home but he was out more then working. He got covid brought it home and gave it to his mom who died, Gave it to his wife who almost died and still can't walk more then to the bathroom without having breathing issues. Before she got it bad she went to a family dinner with all her brother and sisters and cousins and her mom got it and died. Several other relatives got it too. Then his son got it too!. Well then he started complaining that not enough was being done. But now that he thinks he is immune because he had it he went right back to complaining about his life being restricted. But the joke is on him. They think he has it again! I wonder who he will kill this time.


How about if we tried it differently and left things open completely open with the caveat that if you passed the virus on to anyone including those in your household you could be charged with reckless endangered or homicide if they died. And to make it fair the same accountability would be held at the business level. And on top of that if you catch it and pass it along you are denied any treatment and if you gave it to your own family they too are denied any treatment.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Mezzacappa at 1:01, I am in receipt of evidence that you have defamed me again, repeating the very lies that resulted in a judgment against you. You apparently wish to lose more money.

Helene said...

Bernie, plenty of blame to go around that's for sure. Next time though, I hope many more people "over react" rather than downplay. 567K deaths is totally unnecessary. I hope I'm not around for the next one.

Anonymous said...

Some choice for Northampton County. Right wing Lynch or Emperor McClure. God save us ALL!

Anonymous said...

Look around the US (and the world) and you'll find that just about everyone handled the pandemic in different ways. Some states/countries have been very aggressive about lockdowns and restrictions while others have been very resistant to taking action. With very few exceptions everyone wound up with roughly the same results - just on different timescales.

Go back to the start of the pandemic when the conversation was about "flattening the curve" - the US didn't do that as well as others and wound up as the early leader for deaths. Now, the combination of vaccines and a large population that already has had COVID is leading our situation to improve or plateau in most areas while the situation of many other regions (especially India, Latin America, the Middle East, and Europe) is getting much worse. It pretty much comes down to a choice - live life close to normal and get sick now, or take drastic actions and get sick a bit later.

I'm not really sure if there was any "right" answer for COVID, especially once it takes hold in the community - states/countries that have done well have generally either been easily isolated (something like Hawaii, New Zealand), willing to take action that we never would accept here (China especially), or have other issues such as climate or population density that give them an advantage in fighting off a pandemic. While I hope someone comes up with a better answer for future pandemics, this one has mainly served to prove that whatever we do against a Coronavirus once it is in our communities really doesn't matter.