Let Medical Experts And Military Take Charge

Dear Editor,

At this time of national crisis, with the coronavirus spreading, it’s important that we all find ways to support one another and we also need Congress to pass emergency legislation to:

  • to provide direct payments to all low-wage and part-time workers (a check to every family in the country is counterproductive and is a waste of taxpayer money as there are many who don’t need this help)
  • institute health care and paid sick leave for all workers
  • impose a moratorium on evictions, rent hikes and tax foreclosures during this difficult time
  • prohibit water and utility cut-offs for the duration of this health crisis
  • mobilize the Corps of Army Engineers to construct temporary hospitals and related facilities and to retrofit vacant buildings as needed
  • authorize private labs to work 24/7 to provide a vaccine and fully fund this effort
  • urge the president to utilize war-time powers (Defense Protection Act) to convert some factories to enable the production of medical equipment like ventilators and respirators and to redirect certain companies into making hospital and medical supplies like masks, gloves and protective suites.

We need a change in leadership to deal with this life-and-death crisis. Politicians need to step aside from decision-making and allow medical experts and the military to take charge.  There is no problem with a president not having all the expertise needed to function effectively in all situations, but there is a huge problem with someone who doesn’t surround himself with the best minds so the country operates at its best.  Cases in point are Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Harry Truman and John F. Kennedy.  None of those presidents ever claimed to have all the answers and were astute enough to surround themselves with the best minds available.  Donald Trump is all about Donald Trump, who thinks he has all the answers for all situations, which he doesn’t.  If you’re not scared as yet, you should be.

Bob Kollar



COVID-19 Provides Great Learning Opportunity

Dear Editor,

Around the world governments, private industry, and individuals are making difficult decisions to reduce spreading COVID-19. One of the biggest issues facing policy makers regards training healthcare workers. Several healthcare educational programs have stopped face-to-face training.

Healthcare requires direct sometimes intimate human interaction. These programs were designed to provide students with real-world experience. Life is a learning lab. Experience is the best teacher. We haven’t had a learning experience like this in many decades. This is a perfect learning opportunity.

The goal of our current response is to slow the transmission rate. Preventing students from interacting with COVID-19 patients reduces chances they will transmit to family, friends, other students, and shoppers in the store. Temporarily, at least, students are superfluous transmitters with no immediate direct benefit. Long term, they are required to fill gaps in healthcare and replace retiring workers. The largest unknown is how long this will last. The projections are wide ranging.

How long will can we stop healthcare education? We could potentially have entire cohorts of healthcare professionals without required experience. Is it better to train a student now when they are directly mentored or throw an untrained graduate into a similar situation in a year when nobody is around?

Luckily, disease epidemics have decreased over the century. Thanks to antibiotics, many childhood diseases have been eradicated. We have forgotten how to respond appropriately. We lost institutional knowledge and sense of proportion. We shouldn’t prevent the next generation healthcare workers from learning these lessons. Between unknown emerging diseases and drug resistant organisms, this is an important learning opportunity. It is better they learn now than later.

Alan Burke