Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York was just quoted saying his state is “not yet ready” for the anticipated coronavirus peak over the next week.
Newsflash: politicians are never prepared. Maybe it says something about the nature of government, although one would think “use or lose” federal budgetary strategies make an increased medical stockpile quite sensible. Instead, they whiz the money away on nothing and then claim there is a massive equipment crisis when things go bad.
The bigger issue is this: no one gets rewarded politically for thinking ahead. Humans have been trained to expect a state-sanctioned RESPONSE, something to calm their nerves and fill the headlines. Thus being the dutiful worker ant doesn’t help where attentions are concerned.
Suppose Trump and Co. had 600 million reusable facemasks in storage, a containment plan ready to go, and “a hospital ship for every diversity region.” Would the media cheer? Might we count on Democrats to clap their hands? Probably not, because the issue itself would be less threatening. The politician is only paid election-wise for effectively putting on a show, not demonstrating foresight. If Trump’s reaction looks good, he will benefit, but otherwise his opponents win. Simple as that.
For all these reasons, individuals need to prepare. The government can do marvelous things, but it rarely thinks out of the box, or even about the future.