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.