VOICES-In the midst of this terrible pandemic, three absolutely essential items must be made immediately available to all Americans: masks, testing and ventilators.
Congress must drop all other business—including its in-fighting over a multi-trillion economic stimulus package—and do everything in its power to make these three things immediately available to all Americans.
The masks must first go to all first responders, along with gloves, protective clothing and whatever else is needed to guarantee the safety of our doctors, nurses and other health professionals. It’s wrong on all fronts to expect these brave citizens to put their lives at risk while treating others.
The testing must be made universally available with no charge. Only a tiny percentage of our population knows with any certainty if they have this disease. Early detection and treatment are exponentially more effective than waiting even a day or two.
The desperate shortage of respirators in our over-burdened hospitals is causing people to needlessly die, and to spread the virus. Home-appropriate respirators can help alleviate overcrowding and let many with preliminary symptoms survive in isolation at home.
But it’s unacceptable for a government this rich and powerful to fail to make these three essential items available to everyone.
During World War II Franklin Roosevelt ran our auto and other heavy industries as the “Arsenal of Democracy.” This was federal undertaking. Had it been left to the states, as Trump is now suggesting for the pandemic, we would have lost that war.
Congress must stop squabbling over economic stimulus proposals and immediately do what will save lives NOW.
As a long-time aide to U.S. Representative John Conyers, Joel Segal helped draft the Affordable Care Act. He’s a board member of Progressive Democrats of America.) Image: Lalo Alcatraz. Prepped for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.