Op/Ed

Letter to the editor: Can the nation learn from mistakes made in this crisis?

The virus sweeping the country is tragic, but I think it raises some important questions:
Do we need to heighten vigilance and planning for events such as these? Investing in coordinated planning at all levels of government might have prepared us for this crisis.
Do we need to invest in regional stockpiles of critical items such Personal Protective Equipment and other supplies typically needed in emergencies ranging from epidemics to severe weather events? There can be a schedule or rotation back into the marketplace so the stockpiles are kept up-to-date and costs at a minimum. We can’t expect manufacturing to ramp up on a dime.
Would the implementation of universal health insurance for all Americans lessen the stress on people and the system? If we were all enrolled, healthcare systems would not be choked with conflicting medical plans and their widely differing reimbursements and paperwork. And the costs of the plans would already be baked into federal and state budgets.
Do we need Guaranteed National Income? Part of this crisis is trying to figure out how to financially support people when their jobs are furloughed, so would universal income eliminate the need to fight through such support every time a crisis pops up? Too many people live one paycheck away from insolvency to be able to survive in an emergency.
Finally, Bill McKibben wrote in the New Yorker that our response to COVID-19 parallels that of our response to the climate crisis. I ask, do we have to deny, delay, panic? What if we had taken warnings seriously a long time ago and acted? Can we learn? 
Richard Butz
Bristol

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