Opinion: Here's what we need in a plan forward
A successful plan forward requires completion of all of the following components:
►Mass testing. Medical experts suggest that the minimum number of tests required per day will be between 5 to 35 million. While this is a wide range, even the lower end of the estimate requires thousands of employees in various areas of the testing process.
Manufacturing, training and completion of the testing process could create an industry in itself providing economic benefit to communities throughout the country. The ability to resume some level of normalcy in a safe fashion is priceless, and the least we can expect and accept as a society.
►Contact tracing. The need to trace and quarantine those exposed to the virus is paramount to the resumption of a new safe normality. Effective contact tracing will require several digital initiatives. Development of new hard and software to track the virus as well as “viral trackers” to support the tracing will provide an additional benefit to our overall economy.
►Personal protective equipment. The need for mass quantities of PPE is undeniable. Shifting a significant segment of manufacturing capabilities to meet this challenge will create a huge manufacturing and distribution opportunity and is crucial for the resumption of some degree of normalcy. The use of PPE items should be mandatory not only for frontline providers and those in the healthcare community, but for educators, hospitality employees, assembly line workers, and the general public.
The requirement for everyone to wear masks in public should be mandatory until this global pandemic shows a meaningful retreat. It is also another area of great economic opportunity, if we, as a nation, look to supplant the Chinese and become the world’s supplier of PPE.
►Sterilization and disinfecting. The need for pervasive sterilization and disinfecting is both physically and emotionally important. The need to manufacture and deliver various S&D chemicals in mass volumes, and to implement them in public and private settings across commercial and medical settings is crucial to the resumption of some level of normalcy. This too will yield large economic benefits.
►Trifurcation of tested population. Once we have full scale non-invasive rapid testing for the disease, antibodies and titers, we must design and implement a process to protect those high-risk individuals including immunologically compromised, the elderly, and those who have tested positively. To control the spread and protect all, we need to humanely isolate the positive cases.
We must resume our capabilities to treat other required and elective medical procedures for our well-being.
►Vaccinations and treatment. Until such time as effective V&T are developed and implemented, there are certain activities within our society that cannot be resumed safely. Certain segments of our population will also need to observe strict separation until the V&T are in place. Vast resources and laser focused efforts on the development of V&T, are crucial.
►Research, development, study, analyze and implement. Huge resources should be allocated to this effort. The structure of the organization, its leadership and workforce must be thoughtfully created and strategically assembled. Its architecture must be built to last by designing a non-partisan plan that both recognizes change and allows for evolution in a changing ecosystem. This plan should be drafted by highly acclaimed and respected members of our educational, medical and commercial research communities and applied across all segments regarding pandemics and other medical threats to our planet.
In all wars, there are casualties. In order to achieve victory we must defeat the enemy as quickly as possible, minimize the casualty count, limit economic impact and provide for a rapid post war recovery. If we implement the actions as defined in a well thought out, properly communicated and executed plan, we can reduce casualties. Strong leadership, trust and respect will help assuage public fear and minimize panic.
David Levy is president of Utica Leasco, an equipment financing company based in Rochester Hills.