No plan survives first contact with the enemy – ever. That is why it’s always better to go on offense even if you have a weak plan, than it is to wait and let the enemy have the initiative. Media professionals like Jack Posobiec, Mike Cernovich, Cassandra Fairbanks, Michelle Malkin, and myself all were calling for aggressive action on the Chinese Coronavirus outbreak in the weeks before President Trump finally stopped inbound travel from China but we were accused of fear mongering, overreacting, trying to hurt the President, or racism, as was the President once he finally acted. That is where we are today. Having been in the position of the many government officials being forced to make really hard decisions at the federal, state, and local level, my assessment is that with a few exceptions, the machinery of government is in action and working to protect the American people, as is their mission. Are they making perfect decisions? No, but we should expect that for two reasons: they are human and the size of America’s governments when considered together is enormously complex and vast. Government and business are trying to work together but there is still a lot of friction due to the speed of the fluidity of the situation. All of this has helped the lack of testing situation and is beginning to positively impact numbers of medical resources such as respirators and available hospital beds. Here’s my perspective of what I’m hearing about on the ground around the country.
TESTING: The USA is STILL in bad shape and behind the power curve but getting better. My experience at the local Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) clinic, when I queried them one week ago while getting blood drawn, they said they didn’t have the test and would refer to a local Emergency room. This week they take the swabs if you are screened as possible but still have to send them off site to a main VA hospital lab to run the test. They were screening outside before entry so that is good infection control. I’ve seen other medical facilities also doing outdoor pre-entry screening since then so that is also a really good sign.
This week, my son who is an enlisted Airman in California, was denied a test for his wife and himself. The base has one positive & all personnel have been put on call at home except daycare workers. Our daughter-in-law works at the base daycare and had a fever of 100+ and dry cough when they requested testing. No test was available, and they were instructed to self-quarantine by the base clinic. This is not a great outcome and by now there should be enough testing available to test all symptomatic individuals regardless of risk category.
A few days ago, a 67-year-old man with all three symptoms was denied testing in Southeast Louisiana. Folks, testing is not being used for even those with symptoms AND even in high risk groups. It is coming but, in the meantime, as I told my kids, self-quarantine & stay safe. We have much work to do to achieve mass testing and until we do, we won’t have any idea how large of a challenge we really have with this thing. This fact is the reason decision-makers are taking the current set of seemingly over-restrictive actions.
RESOURCE RESPONSE: I’ve heard from folks involved in the response by businesses that there are some significant challenges with regard to credentialing and being able to travel into and out of the various areas in lockdown by different levels of government. In previous responses, such as hurricanes, essential travel into and out of restricted zones is accomplished by a federal credentialing system. Unfortunately, the system appears designed around that type of response which has known and specific geographic areas that are relatively limited. We now have these different zones all over the country and it is impacting transportation of critical resources specifically. For example, over the road trucking vehicles have a 3 percent breakdown rate and parts must be delivered to the vehicle repair teams at the site of breakdown and stoppage of the repairs impacts the over all supply chain for critical resources such as food, personal protective equipment needed by health care workers and public servants that are mission essential, and loading/unloading operations. Additionally, we’ve seen reports that railroad personnel are being prevented from going to work due to the various zone restrictions. This issue at the ground level is hampering supply chain operations but I know working level leaders in the government are aware of and working the problem.
The Department of Defense (DOD) has deployed one hospital ship to each coast, bringing needed hospital capacity to existing resources but more is needed. To date, the VA doesn’t seem tasked to provide additional hospital capacity which is strange to me since when I proposed eliminating the VA, the big reason folks wanted to keep their hospitals and build more was to have a surge capacity in the event of a national emergency. I’m sure there will be more to follow on that issue but delaying the order is not a good idea at this point. Other good news is that DOD is also providing 2000 respirators and masks for hospitals and that the private sector is working to manufacture more. Additional Hospital capacity will also likely be accomplished through Army of Corps of Engineers and DOD resources, in addition to private sector assistance.
So, this news is both good and not so good, but we are moving forward now in our battle with this virus that originated in China and was allowed to spread needlessly by China. I’ll tackle over-politicization and the ridiculous media attempt to protect China from being held responsible for this mess in future articles. Stay calm, wash your hands, pay attention to detail when out and about, and take care of each other by following the guidelines and requests sent out by all levels of government.