American leadership has failed Americans.
American leadership has failed the entire globe.
The strongest, best country in the world has, time and time again, failed to strategically overcome the coronavirus that has plagued the country.
Let’s look at the numbers:
Over $4 trillion dollars is now being allocated to coronavirus relief. Much of these dollars are going towards people and organizations that desperately need and want them, while at the same time, much is going to frivolous places that do not even help our country overcome such a tragic, terrible issue.
What if we could learn from other countries? What if we could utilize the best in public health knowledge and expertise to overcome the virus? What if we could come together as Americans — rather than fighting the Red team versus the Blue team with the same abysmal result? What if we took a step back and realized that our country needs to take a new, different, and better approach rather than the path that we are down. Because the path that we are down is still a long way off, costly, and will hamper our future generations with debt for years to come. Furthermore, the costs are much more than the economic costs of the situation: the psychological and mental health impact of this pandemic is longlasting causing countless people to be in a fatigued, half-clouded state with senses of desperation, hopelessness, and suicide all on the rise.
What is a solution? Let me suggest a better path forward. Before I do, I want to make sure that you know that this is not a Democratic solution. It’s not a Republican solution.
This is an American solution.
This is a solution that, based on my experience learning about public health through a Masters of Public Health from The Chicago School of Public Health, allows me to view things perhaps somewhat differently than our elected Senators and Congressman. Additionally, I have the unique ability and experience of seeing the virus breakout on the ground floor as I was leaving China right when this virus was breaking out. Thanks to schooling at The University of Georgia in International Affairs and Comparative Political Economy, I’m lucky enough and have enough humility to learn from other countries on how they’ve been able to accomplish and overcome the issue; namely, Australia, New Zealand, Korea, Vietnam and China.
Thanks to the leadership in these places, for instance New Zealand, they have gone days, weeks, and months without a new COVID case. They have invested far less, even at a per capita standpoint, than any American reaction to the virus. To be clear, again, in no way are their reactions to the virus able to completely eliminate it. The virus is extremely contagious, deadly, and is still spreading in many places; however, there are tried and tested public health prevention strategies that allow for America to be the greatest country in the world.
Now to the solution:
- We know that the incubation period of this deadly virus is between 10–14 days
- We know that if people are able to stay home, that the virus will diminish in numbers and severity
- We know that the minimum people need to get through the days is minimum wage (at least) and can estimate that figure at $12 even though some states do not have minimum wage at this level
Now to the numbers:
If we estimate that there are 300 million Americans who all need to earn $12 an hour for two weeks (80 hours of working) this equates to $288 billion dollars.
Wait a second — you might ask — — $288 billion dollars? Isn’t the current bill that Congress is discussing estimated to be $900 billion dollars? And, wait a second, hasn’t there been over $4 trillion allocated by the American government in coronavirus relief spending?
Will this sort of bill gain any traction? Will our leaders, who have sadly failed us this entire year, surprise us with a 2020 holiday miracle? Will they come together, as Republicans, Independents, and Democrats for the betterment of our country and future generations?
Thank you for your consideration. If you could help spread this to your elected leaders and join me in being hopeful that America will do this, please let me know.
Irving Steel, MPH, LEED AP
Dr. Bill Freeman
National Master of Public Health Program Director and Chair Emeritus,
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
Catherine D. Steel
Former candidate for State House in Connecticut
Member of Board of Education in East Lyme Public Schools