Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) released a sweeping proposal to deal with the economic turmoil caused by the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and ensuing panic.
The plan, in basic form, would “would immediately provide a U.S. Debit Card pre-loaded with $2000 to every person in America. Each card would be recharged with $1,000 monthly until one year after the end of the Coronavirus crisis,” according to a copy of the legislation.
The funds would be distributed in the following way:
a. The pre-paid cards would be distributed as U.S. Debit Cards and would be administered by the U.S. Treasury’s Bureau of the Fiscal Service.
b. These pre-paid digital cash cards could be used to withdraw physical currency at regular ATMs or FDIC-insured banks or credit unions or make payments at Point-of-Sale terminals, as well as online. In addition, these cards could be topped-up with additional funds as needed, during and after the crisis.
c. All cardholder and interchange fees associated with use of distributed cards would be waived for the duration of the Coronavirus crisis.
d. The program would establish a common database of recipients identified by name and/or, where available, Employer Identification Numbers (EINs). Identifying information would not be shared with any other federal, state, or local agency…
One of the more interesting aspects of the proposed quick-fix law is the price-tag for the massive expenditure: it’s actually deficit-neutral.
We also need to get smarter people in charge of health care. Yesterday. For profit hospital execs don’t know how to manage emergency response to a pandemic. In fact very few people really understand the scope and scale of what we’re up against. No hospital should be admitting Coronavirus patients or people who have tested positive. These facilities need to stand and be clean for the everyday heart attacks, kidney stones, construction actions, cuts, burns and cancer care.
We need to build emergency Covid19 “Dirty” hospitals- in close proximity to every health care facility. These would be split into wards of people based on levels of care needed, and the minimum number of people should be tending to them, wearing haz mat suits- with constant decontamination. For most patients, they need O2 and we should be gearing up how to supply O2 in these buildings en masse. Ventilators need to be rigged to service as many people as possible (people are coming up with ways to do this). The “single room isolation” approach isn’t even remotely practical so we should stop trying. The key here is preserving life- and for that- we still need to be able to birth babies, take out an appendix or treat cancer. The two can’t mix easily.
Don’t take my word for it. This was in the NY Times today:
Instead of a policy that advises the infected to remain at home, as the Centers for Disease and Prevention now does, experts said cities should establish facilities where the mildly and moderately ill can recuperate under the care and observation of nurses.
Wuhan created many such centers, called “temporary hospitals,” each a cross between a dormitory and a first-aid clinic. They had cots and oxygen tanks, but not the advanced machines used in intensive care units.
Stopping the spread is critical, and for this to work, we’re going to have to work hard to adapt quickly. Picklist grocery shopping should become the norm. If you’re not online- call in the order, have it picked and ready when you come to pick it up. This means Costco down to the small independent grocery. Allowing people to line up, to walk through the same checkout- all day long- is too big of a risk. Workers who have to come into contact with lots of people need to be tested regularly as well.
When it comes to testing, we’re doing it wrong there too. Besides not having enough tests done, we need to concentrate on keeping medical professionals from spreading it. They get first dibs. Always. Everyone else exhibiting any symptoms, needs to go to isolation hospitals. Not stay at home- unless they live alone and can isolate until the symptoms get worse.
Airlines should have stopped flying weeks ago except for cargo, medical supplies and critical care related professionals. The rest of the world just needs to take a siesta.
The ability to trace contacts, which is the normal way to try to stop the spread of infectious disease is overwhelming in this country, where we can barely do it for STDs. The only solution is to just shut everything down as we’re doing now. And, while no one is saying it now- it’s not 2 weeks, or 2 months- we’re looking at a minimum of 90 days and possibly as long as 120 days until science comes up with some better solutions for treatment or immunization.
In the mean time, it may be time to start looking at how do we create better, more efficient government and a more informed electorate. It’s something I’ll be working on with www.reconstructingdayton.org and hope that we have a strong case built for consideration on the other side of this crisis.
There is a reason you should think about electing smart people, not popular people, not hucksters, liars and thieves.
Maybe we all should have listened to Bill Gates back in 2015, when he spelled this whole thing out in a TED talk. There is a reason he’s the world’s richest man (or was)- and maybe someone should have listened.
My last words on the subject: Love yourself, love your neighbor, and spread love as much as possible. Because we’re all in this together.