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Old 03-16-2020, 05:53 PM
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National pandemics: no federal plan?


We've known about the possibility of a serious viral pandemic for 100 years now. How is it that in all that time, the US government never drew up a plan for how the nation should control/react to such a scenario? Or is there one? In which case, why isn't it in use?
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Old 03-16-2020, 06:01 PM
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Are you serious? Of course there is a pandemic plan, for the government, the military, for the states, etc.

There are plans to invade Canada for crying out loud.

It wasn't in use because people would rather blame the media than the actual disease.
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Old 03-16-2020, 06:21 PM
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And while you can come with something in general terms, there are differences in how pandemics spread and how they affect people that need to be accounted for.
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Old 03-16-2020, 07:01 PM
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Are you serious? Of course there is a pandemic plan, for the government, the military, for the states, etc.

There are plans to invade Canada for crying out loud.

It wasn't in use because people would rather blame the media than the actual disease.
Are you serious? You're saying the reason states and the federal government haven't enacted the pandemic plan because they discovered people would rather blame the media? As in,

"We'd better roll out the pandemic plan."
"No can do, Chuck. Some people are blaming the media."

And even more far-fetched, that even though now few people are foolish enough to blame the media, the government won't or can't enact this plan because people were blaming the media? In fact, neither government officials nor infectious disease experts will even allude to such a plan? I get that you're bitter--join the very large club--but this makes no sense.
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Old 03-16-2020, 07:16 PM
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This New York Times article (paywall warning) talks about the decentralized public health system.
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Old 03-16-2020, 07:28 PM
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I take it this isn't any good? https://www.cdc.gov/flu/pandemic-res...egy/index.html
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Old 03-16-2020, 07:30 PM
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Are you serious? You're saying the reason states and the federal government haven't enacted the pandemic plan because they discovered people would rather blame the media?
I think it was more like "the person in charge decided to blame the media," the guy who a couple weeks ago said this would all blow over, probably April, and then just magically disappear. That guy.
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Old 03-16-2020, 07:36 PM
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There's that little thing called states rights. You gotta know Texas ain't gonna want to do what New York or California are doing.
Plus inept leadership throws a wrench in the works.
A simple need like 'face masks' is proving too difficult. How can testing ever start in a huge way?
I have no hope the feds are gonna make this any easier.
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Old 03-16-2020, 09:00 PM
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Originally Posted by nelliebly View Post
We've known about the possibility of a serious viral pandemic for 100 years now. How is it that in all that time, the US government never drew up a plan for how the nation should control/react to such a scenario? Or is there one? In which case, why isn't it in use?
I'm assuming you're aware that the Trump administration (at the moment no individual wants to take responsibility) closed down the Office of Pandemic Preparation and the Directorate for Global Health Security and Biodefense in 2018, which were the organizations that had been set up to handle situations like this.
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Old 03-16-2020, 09:08 PM
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There's that little thing called states rights. You gotta know Texas ain't gonna want to do what New York or California are doing.
I've read that this is a problem with testing people. The United States has no centralized medical authority. The federal government can set up one set of procedures. Each state can then set up their own, which may or may not be compliant with the federal procedures. And county health departments, city agencies, and even individual hospitals can also develop their own testing procedures.

This means that we don't have one single procedure for collecting specimens, handling specimens, testing specimens, reading the results, and reporting the results. Instead we have literally hundreds of different procedures, many of which are incompatible with each other. So a specimen collected in one town can't be tested in another town ten miles away because these two towns may use different procedures.
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Old 03-16-2020, 10:30 PM
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Since it is probably not possible to discuss this without bringing up the political aspects of the question, let's move this to Politics and Elections.

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Old 03-16-2020, 10:50 PM
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Reagan: "The government is the problem."
Norquist: "I want to be able to drown it in the bathtub."
Bannon: "I want to destroy the administrative state."

AIDS, Katrina, COVID.

So, yeah, we had plans, and the Obama and Trump teams held tabletop exercises for various national emergencies, including a pandemic, prior to Trump's inauguration. But when the people in charge are actively, openly, and consistently advocating for a weak federal government and hollowing out key agencies, those plans don't mean jack shit.

This is what the Republican party stands for. This is what they promise us. Every. Fucking. Time.
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Old 03-16-2020, 10:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nelliebly View Post
We've known about the possibility of a serious viral pandemic for 100 years now. How is it that in all that time, the US government never drew up a plan for how the nation should control/react to such a scenario? Or is there one? In which case, why isn't it in use?
Yes, there was one and the Trump administration was briefed on it.
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Old 03-16-2020, 11:01 PM
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The main problem is that any time the Federal government decides to start making changes in areas like education or healthcare certain groups start screeching "Socialism! Socialism! Socialism!". With the help of certain media outlets and politicians the idea that government involvement in social planning is inherently dangerous, unAmerican and, for some reason, a threat to Christianity. Central planning of anything is evil and can't be allowed to become established.

So yeah, no Federal plan for a pandemic.

Last edited by Kolak of Twilo; 03-16-2020 at 11:05 PM.
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Old 03-16-2020, 11:30 PM
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So, yeah, we had plans, and the Obama and Trump teams held tabletop exercises for various national emergencies, including a pandemic, prior to Trump's inauguration.
Here's a short Twitter thread from one of the outgoing Obama officials who participated in the exercise: https://twitter.com/ChrisLu44/status...90156791169029

An outgoing Democratic administration tries to prepare the incoming Republicans to deal with a predictable catastrophe, and the Republicans spectacularly drop the ball. That sounds familiar. Huh. Deja vu, I guess.
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Old 03-16-2020, 11:50 PM
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A December 2016 Atlantic article looks ahead: How a Pandemic Might Play Out Under Trump.
Quote:
Infectious diseases are emerging faster than ever before...Outbreaks of disease are among the ultimate tests for any leader who wants to play on the global stage. They demand diplomacy, decisiveness, leadership, humility, and expertise—and they quickly unearth any lack of the same...

...even though federal agencies “are very important in providing centralized guidance, the real boots-on-the-ground work often happens at the level of state, county, and city health departments,”... To an extent, the experience that pools at the base of the medical hierarchy can compensate for any instability at the top.
Expertise at the bottom, not the top. Ideology that dismisses expertise. What's the plan?
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Old 03-17-2020, 12:23 AM
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That's all very well, but every single state in the US also has a government. Do THEY not have any plans either?
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Old 03-17-2020, 12:31 AM
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That's all very well, but every single state in the US also has a government. Do THEY not have any plans either?
States generally defer to the Federal govt. in situations like this and expect leadership from them. When that didn't happen some states peddled the "nothing to see hear, just a Dem plot to tar the President" angle and others started taking action. The states that started taking serious action may have prodded this Administration to actually start taking the pandemic seriously. Or not. Maybe the market got their attention more.
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Old 03-17-2020, 01:00 AM
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Most US states declared their own states of emergency before the Federal Government did. It sure would be nice to have the Federal Government be less useless, but many (most?) of the states have the resources of a small-to-medium country elsewhere in the world so they can probably put effective pandemic plans into operation with or without Trump.

Not that this in any way excuses the Federal Government being useless. It's just something that people who are actually competent have to plan around now...
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Old 03-17-2020, 07:13 AM
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Originally Posted by nelliebly View Post
Are you serious? You're saying the reason states and the federal government haven't enacted the pandemic plan because they discovered people would rather blame the media? As in,

"We'd better roll out the pandemic plan."
"No can do, Chuck. Some people are blaming the media."

And even more far-fetched, that even though now few people are foolish enough to blame the media, the government won't or can't enact this plan because people were blaming the media? In fact, neither government officials nor infectious disease experts will even allude to such a plan? I get that you're bitter--join the very large club--but this makes no sense.
Well, Trump makes no sense. But there is evidence to support what you are disagreeing with:

Quote:
Sources told me Trump is regretting that Kushner swooped into the coronavirus response last week. Kushner, according to sources, encouraged Trump to treat the emergency as a P.R. problem when Fauci and others were calling for aggressive action. “This was Jared saying the world needs me to solve another problem,” a former White House official said. One source briefed on the internal conversations told me that Kushner advised Trump not to call a national emergency during his Oval Office address on March 11 because “it would tank the markets.” The markets cratered anyway, and Trump announced the national emergency on Friday.
https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.van...-19-danger/amp
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Old 03-17-2020, 08:47 AM
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That's all very well, but every single state in the US also has a government. Do THEY not have any plans either?
This is true. However, a couple big things here are federal responsibilities. One is immigration. Trump announcing a travel ban without planning for the crush of people at international airports is on the feds. Also the CDC plays a big role in pandemic prep and response coordination, and without them the states are in the dark. And for better or worse, states have always looked to the feds for a lot of help responding to big crises. For example, a state can handle a natural disaster up to a certain level, but anything very large and they really need a federal disaster declaration.

I agree that states have dropped the ball too, but I still think the lion's share of the blame goes to the weak and incoherent response from the feds.
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Old 03-17-2020, 08:56 AM
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When that didn't happen some states peddled the "nothing to see hear, just a Dem plot to tar the President" angle and others started taking action.
I don't know about specific states, but I know I heard one of the Trump kids and IIRC Fox and Friends saying literally that. The Trump kid (don't recall which one) said that dems were hoping millions would die from this so they could blame it on him. F&F, or maybe it was Trump, said dems were using coronavirus fears as a political weapon.
That was a lot of time wasted trying to spin this into a political issue. Imagine if he had used that time to get money to whoever it needs to get to so instead of having a few thousand test kits, we'd have a few million distributed nation wide.
Think about how different things would be if, instead of a nationwide self-quarantine, people could find out if they were sick.

Last edited by Joey P; 03-17-2020 at 08:57 AM.
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Old 03-17-2020, 09:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Kolak of Twilo View Post
The main problem is that any time the Federal government decides to start making changes in areas like education or healthcare certain groups start screeching "Socialism! Socialism! Socialism!". With the help of certain media outlets and politicians the idea that government involvement in social planning is inherently dangerous, unAmerican and, for some reason, a threat to Christianity. Central planning of anything is evil and can't be allowed to become established.

So yeah, no Federal plan for a pandemic.
Those on the right (aside from far-right Freemen-style loons) advocate a non-intrusive government that keeps its nose out of most people’s affairs but still believes that the government should and must intervene in times of emergency. Even conservatives support strong responses to protect the populace. Hence their vocal and repeated praise for the military, first responders, and so on.

Yes there are those with a 100% distrust of the government who feel every emergency is manufactured and staged with crisis actors and so on, but those are Infowars-loving nut jobs. Most on the right are okay with emergency planning and response. Not just okay, they love it; look how the Patriot Act and Department of Homeland Defense were done so quickly after 9/11, and still looked at favorably by the right afterward.

You can argue that their overall dislike of strong government is at odds with their belief in the government’s role to defend and help in times of crisis and I’m sure there’s a lot of truth to that.

Last edited by Atamasama; 03-17-2020 at 09:44 AM.
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Old 03-17-2020, 09:59 AM
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Those on the right (aside from far-right Freemen-style loons) advocate a non-intrusive government that keeps its nose out of most people’s affairs but still believes that the government should and must intervene in times of emergency. Even conservatives support strong responses to protect the populace. Hence their vocal and repeated praise for the military, first responders, and so on.
I've heard some of my right-wing friends complain about even smaller things, such as health inspections for restaurants. Not understanding that suggesting that un-sanitary businesses will end up closed doesn't mean they're physically dirty, it means that people get sick and/or die.

Quote:
Yes there are those with a 100% distrust of the government who feel every emergency is manufactured and staged with crisis actors and so on, but those are Infowars-loving nut jobs. Most on the right are okay with emergency planning and response. Not just okay, they love it; look how the Patriot Act and Department of Homeland Defense were done so quickly after 9/11, and still looked at favorably by the right afterward.

You can argue that their overall dislike of strong government is at odds with their belief in the government’s role to defend and help in times of crisis and I’m sure there’s a lot of truth to that.
Just yesterday I was wondering whatever happened to our old Sheriff Davide Clarke. Not even 5 minutes ago I ran across an article that mentioned him, along with a few other people, that are 'corona-truthers', suggesting that this is all nothing more than media hype to strip away civilian rights and/or enact marshall law.
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Old 03-17-2020, 10:28 PM
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Martial law [/nitpickoff]
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Old 03-17-2020, 10:45 PM
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Those on the right (aside from far-right Freemen-style loons) advocate a non-intrusive government that keeps its nose out of most people’s affairs but still believes that the government should and must intervene in times of emergency. Even conservatives support strong responses to protect the populace. Hence their vocal and repeated praise for the military, first responders, and so on.
Mnuchin told Congressional Republicans today unemployment could hit 20%. Any number that approaches that will require massive government assistance (socialism) to a large part of the poor, middle class, blue collar workers and probably a good chunk of the upper middle class. Conservatives find any type of income relief to individuals anathema. People without work are simply lazy louts who don't want to work. So what will happen to all these people without work? Theaters are closed, restaurants and bars are closed, concerts, any event or gathering with an audience or large crowd are not allowed. This will put a huge number of people out of work. The GOP controls the Senate and the WH. They will do as little as the can to help these people.

In a month most restaurants and bars in this country will be teetering on the brink of bankruptcy. Just as a huge number of people in these and other industries live paycheck to paycheck, so too do restaurants, bars, hair salons, barber shops and other independent businesses. At 6 weeks out small chains will begin to reach a critical point of collapse.

For a lot of people this won't blow over, it won't be okay and it isn't possible to ride it out. And conservatives and the GOP will just blow them off and bail out huge corporations rather take decisive action that will help people.
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Old 03-17-2020, 11:24 PM
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The Great Depression-era history of Hoovervilles and the Bonus Army suggests we'll see numerous TrampTown homeless encampments, and protests dispersed by troops. I fear widespread unrest, riots, shootings, the whole kazoo. Hope I'm wrong.
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