COVID-19 in America: An Avoidable Crisis and Loss of Untold Numbers of Lives

Major hoarders who have warehouses full of needed hospital PPE supplies knew what to do: why didn't our federal and state governments know?

President Trump claimed he used the word “hoax” about the news coverage, not the virus. But he continued to downplay and minimize it, such as saying on March 6, 2020: “I just think this is something that you can never really think is going to happen.”

I suppose he was unaware that The CDC issued a “Pandemic Influenza Plan Update” in 2017.

Twenty-seventeen. Two years before we saw the first cases of this particular novel COVID-19 in January 2020. And yet our federal and state governments did nothing. WHY? Why did we get caught with our pants down and wind up being extorted by major criminal hoarders with warehouses filled with life-saving supplies?

Page 8 of the 2017 CDC Report specifically mentions ventilators and page 24 states:

Developing technology and processes that allow for rapid production of N95 respirators, to significantly increase respirator supply during an influenza pandemic. At the same time, HHS supports development and use considerations for effective reusable respirators that will reduce the burden to produce and dispense large volumes of disposable respirators during an outbreak.

Approaching full FDA approval for a next-generation ventilator for all populations, which will mean a more affordable ventilator with increased neonatal capability. In addition, HHS is leading efforts to determine the feasibility of standardized and interchangeable ventilator components.

All of this in 2017 – but we did nothing! WHY?

In fact, a year after the release of this report, in May of 2018 the Trump administration dismantled a National Security Council directorate at the White House charged with preparing for when, not if, another pandemic would hit the nation. The NSC directorate for global health and security and bio-defense was praised by experts and survived the transition from President Barack Obama to Trump in 2017.

In fact, exactly what we are experiencing today was predicted by Dr. Michael Greger, M.D. FACLM in 2008.

Dr. Greger is a physician, New York Times bestselling author, and internationally recognized professional speaker on a number of important public health issues. Dr. Greger has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, and the International Bird Flu Summit, among countless other symposia and institutions and he has testified before Congress.

Dr. Greger, a man so dedicated to public health that the proceeds of  all of his books, CDCs are donated to charity and all of his work is available free online on his website, foresaw and lectured about the spread of deadly pandemics twelve years ago and predicted exactly what are the events of 2020. He very clearly explained what is happening and what must be done to prevent it. In this hour long videoed lecture, Dr. Greger explains man-created deadly influenza pandemics in depth, starting in 1918 and right through the Bird Flu.

Zoonatic diseases – infectious diseases that pass from animals to humans – come from eating infected animals. But this is not just a cultural norm of China that we find appalling and barbaric. No, it is the result of our factory farming here in America and our desire for more and less expenses sources of protein.

Dr .Greger is not the first physician to sound an alarm on America’s over-consumption of animal products.  T. Colin Campbell and his son, Thomas M. Campbell II authored The China Study in January 2005 and had sold over one million copies as of October 2013, making it one of America’s best-selling books about nutrition.

The China Study examines the link between the consumption of animal products (including dairy) and chronic illnesses such as coronary heart diseasediabetesbreast cancerprostate cancer, and bowel cancer. The authors conclude – as does Dr. Greger and USDA health guidelines – that people who eat a predominantly whole-food, plant-based diet, avoiding animal products (beef, pork, poultry, fish, eggs, cheese, and milk) and reducing their intake of processed foods and refined carbohydrates—will escape, reduce, or reverse the development of numerous diseases…including infectious disease.

With all of the forewarning we had, it is shameful and inexcusable that the United States of America has been put in the position to pay up to 17 times the cost for PPE such as masks and gloves etc. on the black market from criminals who had more sense than our government officials and policy-makers did.

It is shameful and inexcusable that our dedicated healthcare workers are being turned into “death panels,” having to decide who they are able to save and who they must let die because of lack of equipment such as ventilators we began producing as of late March, 2020.  Listen to one brave nurse speak out.

What she says is unfathomable in the world’s richest industrialized nation in the year 2020.

Confining us to our homes and closing businesses was not an easy decision to make. It is very unpopular, especially in a country that values freedom over all else.  Closing business has major economic consequences and thus has to be weighed carefully, balancing the financial crisis it would cause against human life lost. Government policies that would mean a drastic change in lifestyle and great personal financial cost, causing many to lose their incomes or businesses – requires public understanding – to gain support. Educating the public via a massive educational PSA initiative as to the necessity of social distancing to stop community spread of such pandemics could have and should have been started in late February, 2020 when community spread meant that having ceased flights from China in January and later in other counties, had not and would not stop COVID-19 in America. We should not have wound up closing barn doors – or beaches – after college kids, feeling invincible, totally ignored distancing precautions.

Equally important, the Federal and state governments could and should have begun preparations such as inventorying existing supplies and acquiring necessary PPE, at the very least in January. Yet, we sat on our hands and became the nation with the most COVID-19 cases.

Contrary to Trump’s Pollyanna, wishful thinking and cocky attitude, telling a reporter on January 22  “We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China, and we have it under control. It’s — going to be just fine” Governor Cuomo of New York and Mayor DeBlasio expressed compassion and calmness while not sugar-coating the realties we were facing and hardships we all had to endure. More of Trump’s responses can be seen here.

How many deaths from COVID-19 can we put squarely on the blatant ignoring of the CDC 2017 report and the dismantling of the NSC in 2018?

Mr. Trump may take no responsibility as he told reporters on March 13, 2020 saying “it” is “not the fault of anybody.” But history will tell a different story of this catastrophic failure to heed the warnings and act in a timely, appropriate and responsible manner.

Mirah Riben is author of two internationally acclaimed books and approximately 200 published articles exposing the underbelly of the adoption industry here and abroad. Read other articles by Mirah, or visit Mirah's website.