The Coronavirus Pandemic: A Call for Leadership

The future doesn’t belong to the faint-hearted; it belongs to the brave. – President Ronald Reagan

Confidence… thrives on honesty, on honor, on the sacredness of obligations, on faithful protection and on unselfish performance. Without them it cannot live. – President Franklin D. Roosevelt

There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long range risks of comfortable inaction.  — President John F. Kennedy

Our history is rich with important moments of leadership when we faced enemy attacks, economic crisis, social upheaval, and a civil war. 

We need leadership from our President and our federal government.  Instead of appearing for self-congratulatory press conferences, and pushing responsibilities to state and local governments, the White House needs to direct a federally-supported response effort. 

Our economy is grinding to a stop, the stock market is falling, employees are working from home and many others are not working at all.  Our healthcare system is preparing for the worst.  This is when leadership is desperately needed for a comprehensive response to this crisis.    

There is no excuse for our government’s failure to provide or ordering the manufacture and distribution of testing kits, medical equipment and ventilators.  The response so far is too little too late.  All advance warnings of the pandemic and the resulting crisis were known well in advance. 

Businesses have shut down.  Employees have lost jobs and income.  Other employees are continuing to work from home.  Schools have closed for nearly 30 million children.  We are heading to a recession and the stock market continues to fall.  But no one knows for how long or when we can expect some relief.

Even more importantly, there is no federal response to coordinate the delivery of healthcare to the projected large number of sick patients.  We are about to be hit by a healthcare tsunami – hospital bed space, ventilators and other items needed to ensure adequate healthcare are going to run out.

Leadership is desperately needed.  From our federal government, our state and local governments, our businesses and community organizations, we need honesty, scientific information, likely outcomes, and measures we can all take to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, and to provide medical care to those who become ill.    Many of the state governors are providing important leadership.  But state-by-state efforts are inevitably inefficient when it comes to a comprehensive, coordinated federal solution. 

Our Constitution is built on a fundamental premise – the federal government is responsible for protecting our country.  The current pandemic is a threat to our collective welfare.  We need a federal response, and we need it now. 

In the face of this crisis, we are witnessing a paralyzed federal government that is not taking responsibility for our country’s welfare.  We need leadership and we need it now. 

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  1. March 24, 2020

    […] and interesting blog posts about the coronavirus in our community over the past several weeks. Mike Volkov appealed for real leadership in this time of crisis, Matt Kelly has been pondering what we need to […]