The United States is in a COVID-19 disaster. As of 10 days ago, we had more confirmed cases than any other country (148,089, next is Italy 101,739, Spain 85,195, China 82,198). This is no time for blame. We need action, now! We must learn from the wise actions of South Korea, China, Singapore, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, reinforced by the disastrous choices made by Italy and Iran. We responded too late to prevent large-scale infection of our population, but we must do what we can. 

(1) We need a strict nationwide shutdown of all non-essential activities. We must enforce social-distancing. People can leave their homes only for groceries, exercise, or health-related activities. Those doing essential jobs must continue working. Without a coordinated effort, compliant states will stave off the most severe spikes of sickness, but delinquent states will be hotbeds cultivating millions of infectious people. 

(2) We must have extensive testing to map where the virus is and quarantine those who test positive. Massive production of testing kits is essential. After the shutdown, people who test negative can go back to work. This systematic approach would require sacrifice but only for a limited time. A failure to enact coordinated nationwide measures would prolong the pandemic for many months, causing many unnecessary deaths.

Because the federal government lacks the willpower to undertake this essential nationwide effort, state governors must organize and intervene. We need a nationwide task force to monitor the spread of COVID-19 and coordinate the response. If some ill-informed governors refuse to cooperate, we must block travel from these states. The federal government should pay for testing and treatment. 

The media can help by refusing to air political speeches masquerading as COVID-19 updates, and substitute daily interviews with reports from the task force.

Tom DeCoursey

Oak Park

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