Big Money and Best Brains Applied to COVID-19

From the Wall St. Journal: The Secret Group of Scientists and Billionaires Pushing a Manhattan Project for Covid-19. They are working to cull the world’s most promising research on the pandemic, passing on their findings to policy makers and the White House.

The WSJ has made the full text of this article available to non-subscribers. This must be a WSJ scoop since I have not seen any other mention of this group in the media.

Stumbling Through Relief and Recovery

From Politico, this article re the fumbling and stumbling in relief and recovery efforts:
Backlash grows as pandemic relief stumbles. And lawmakers are getting anxious as problems crop up in the recovery effort.

Update: Federal watchdogs name top staffer to oversee pandemic response. The committee tapped Robert Westbrooks, a veteran inspector general, as the committee’s executive director.

Let’s hope the new watchdog can succeed in improving response and recovery. 

Why Was the U.S. So Unprepared for COVID-19?

From the HuffPost: America Is Not Set Up For This. Experts have been predicting a global flu pandemic for years. So why was the U.S. so unprepared for coronavirus?

For more on the topic of the vulnerabilities of the national emergency management systems, see the recent book by Rubin and Cutter noted here a few months ago. It was reviewed here by Don Watson in January.

Planning for Disasters

From HSToday: COVID-19 Pandemic Plus the Big One: Preparing for a Disaster Double-Punch. An exceprt:

Let’s end on a positive note, which we adamantly believe. We’ll eventually get through whatever this pandemic, Mother Nature, or anything else throws at us next. Not because we have no choice. But because we can. And because we always have.

But let’s be primed to go big, go fast, and be nimble. Because we kept planning.

COVID is the First “National” Disaster


From Bloomberg: U.S. Disaster Response Isn’t Ready for Actual National Disaster. The country’s disaster preparedness plan did not anticipate a nationwide event, the chief of an aid group says. An excerpt:

We’re all learning what these managers say they’ve known for a long time: Even though the U.S. has a national emergency agency, it is not really designed to handle an emergency that is national in scope. FEMA is designed to handle, at most, a few state-by-state disasters at a time. In fact, the system explicitly counts on having the ability to move resources from one state to another as needed.

“None of us, and by ‘us’ I mean FEMA, the Red Cross, or anyone” anticipated an event overtaking the whole country at once, says Greg Forrester, president and chief executive officer of the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (Nvoad), one of the many non-governmental organizations that FEMA relies on for backup. “And none of us has the resources to sustain a response like this.”

Trump’s Leadership Failures So Far re COVID-19

He Could Have Seen What Was Coming: Behind Trump’s Failure on the Virus. An examination reveals the president was warned about the potential for a pandemic but that internal divisions, lack of planning and his faith in his own instincts led to a halting response.

From the NY Times, this indepth article detailing the actions and inactions of Pres. Trump so far this year. This should be helpful to anyone working on a case study of this crisis.  The article is especially notable in that the byline lists 6 authors!