‘They have been doing all they can.’ Really?

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editorial opinion3
Jack Bernard, guest columnist
Jack Bernard, guest columnist

“Feel the city breaking and everybody shaking

I’m a-staying alive, staying alive.” — the Bee Gees

Believe me, as the former head of Health Planning for Georgia, I’m also shaking in my boots about the Covid-19 virus pandemic. And, our city’s response to the pandemic was broken.

As a senior citizen in America where our government failed to move quickly to provide testing, identify those infected and trace their contacts (as Dr. Fauci advocated back in January), I’m very concerned about staying alive.

More so for my wife, who has severe pulmonary issues. Further, as someone who spent decades as a top-level executive in healthcare supply chain companies, I am just astounded at our complete lack of organization and our erratic action from the top in DC on down to the state and local levels.

On the other hand, a close friend who lives in Stockbridge recently told me that he completely supports Trump’s handling of the pandemic. A really great guy that I’ve known for decades, he explained, “They (Trump and friends) have been doing all they can.” Having a lot of conservative friends, I must admit that I was not surprised by his opinion. And, many Americans agree with him (47% per an ABC News poll, 4-3-20).

My buddy watched Fox exclusively. No CNN, PBS or MSNBC for him, no sir! Why listen to “fake news” when only Fox is believable, per my friend? Although that situation is changing. Fox has Chris Wallace and is not conservative enough. So, he has now started watching One America News Network.

And he’s not an NPR fan; he listens only to right wing radio talk shows. I know because I shut the radio off when we ride together. Life is easier that way, we can both just complain about Georgia drivers (there’s a lot to moan about on that topic).

But let’s get back to our President. Appointing totally unqualified son-in-law Jared Kushner to oversee our national healthcare supply chain efforts (in order to correct the obvious PPE and testing mess that we currently have) is not doing all we can. It’s doing as little as we can to solve the multiple healthcare supply chain problems with which we are faced.

America has great, well established private sector healthcare supply chain companies like Premier, Inc., a Charlotte based national corporation (NASDAC) I helped to start and build. Premier handles tens of billions of dollars in med/surg, pharmaceutical and capital equipment contracts every year. Why not contract with an experienced Group Purchasing Organization like them to help get masks, gowns, and other items produced and distributed?

And, if you want a supply chain czar (and I do think one is needed for this crisis), why not appoint an executive of a firm like Premier? Why show obvious nepotism and choose your son-in-law? Remember, this is the same guy who said he would bring about peace in the Middle East with his superb plan. Although well intentioned, we all can see how well that venture went.

Further, where were our virus emergency supply chain plans on the national level prior to COVID-19? In healthcare circles, we all knew that a pandemic would hit America one day. Local Boards of Health discuss it regularly. What’s wrong with America’s federal bureaucracy and the White House?

Well, that last statement was rhetorical, brothers and sisters. We all know what’s wrong, or more accurately, at least we all should know. True leadership starts at the very top.

[Jack Bernard of Peachtree City is the former Director of Health Planning for Georgia and has been a senior executive with several national healthcare corporations. He’s also the former Chair of the Jasper County Commission and has been on two Georgia county Boards of Health. Opinions expressed by our guest columnists are their opinions, and do not necessarily represent those of this news site.]

7 COMMENTS

  1. Just realized that your premise is that they aren’t doing enough but most of what you complain about is who is in charge, not anything they did or did not do. It is certainly true that we weren’t as well prepared as we could have been, but that started more than three years ago. The previous administration never replenished supplies after the H1N1 virus. No country is ever as prepared as they should have been with hindsight.

  2. It’s well documented that the CDC badly mishandled getting test kits approved. Not a surprise, it’s a bureaucracy & this is typical. We’re told that President Trump should listen to the experts, but apparently he should have known that the CDC was wrong and intervened?

    No doubt there are examples at all levels of government of things that could have or should have been done differently. President Trump MAY have bungled some things, but we KNOW he got some very important things right and more importantly, he means it when he says “America First”. When he stopped incoming travel from China and then Europe the Democrats howled “racist, xenophobe” – he saved lives. One wonders whether they opposed this life-saving action purely because he did it or because PC overrides everything for them or because they have financial deals with China like Ukraine?

  3. Well Jack, seems like you are part of the problem. A Director of Health Care Planning and a top exec and even a county commissioner all could have done a better job in planning for an epidemic. Did we stockpile or even replenish the ventilators during your term? Under Obama? Under Bush? No, I didn’t think so. And of course you (and Obama and Bush) and hundreds of government workers will say “Not my job”.

    But it is your job to try an end around and get on the Blame Trump Train? Pathetic. You got it right when you said leadership starts at the top and what Trump has already done with this virus far exceeds what we would have seen out of Obama or Bush. Want to envision a real disaster? Imagine Sanders, Biden, Clinton (either one) Harris, Jeb Bush, Gore, Mayor Pete as our President when a Corona virus comes along.

    That’s what a disaster would look like. Tell me any of them would do better than Trump has already done. Tell me they would have responded quick, better. Go ahead – tell me – then back it up with some facts.

    • R.M. – Please tell me where you obtain that weed you are smoking. I would gladly exchange ANY of the politicians you cited for our current president. The facts:

      First ignoring, and then minimizing, the pandemic lost precious time and allowed the infection to gain a foothold in our country.

      Appointing well meaning, but scientifically illiterate politicians instead of infectious disease professionals to combat the threat is inexcusable.

      Engaging in petty arguments with reporters who dared to ask difficult questions demonstrated a level of narcissism unbecoming to his high office.

      Projecting unrealistic endpoints to the threat (Easter) and promoting unproven medications as remedies has exacerbated confusion and further eroded confidence in the response to the pandemic.

      These are merely the low-lights. Robert, you are too bright to believe the propaganda of Fox News; please don’t become a sycophant.

      • 4 strikes and you’re out – out of the mainstream and way outside common sense. I will concede that naming endpoints after endless requests/demands to do so by the rabid press, is not a real good idea. Since you prefer any of the back benchers to Trump – here’s how they would do

        So then WWHD? Hillary would have cut travel off sooner? Like Christmas time? Are you serious?

        And WWOD? Obama could be relied upon to have Rahm Emanuel and his brother the doctor on his task force. Race would be as important as political stripes.

        And WWBS do? Bernie might be a bit tense with reporters if they asked him for an endpoint or even how much it would all cost.He might even lash out in anger which is good for his blood pressure.

        And WWMP do? Mayor Pete certainly would not knuckle under to press and public pressure for an endpoint or economic solution.

        I will now let you return to MSNBC and Minka’s assertion that Trump is pushing the untried drug for financial gain. Some people believe that and some of them actually vote. That’s the bad news.

        • Robert – I would gladly accept any of these four leaders to replace the orange one in this pandemic. But I am hardly partisan on this issue. I would also welcome any of the last four unsuccessful Republican presidential candidates (Romney, McCain, Dole, and Bush I), providing that we could get another resurrection on this Easter.

          Trump’s problem is credibility. Over his tenure in office, he has engaged in such wholesale prevarication concerning both weighty and trivial matters that no one outside the conservative bubble believes anything he says. His followers live in a post-truth universe, but the rest of us find comfort in facts when faced with threats to our lives. The vice president, putatively in charge of the government’s response to the pandemic, is a shameless sycophant more concerned about pleasing his master than disseminating truth. Dr. Fauci remains one of the few reliable voices we can believe. This is nothing that approaches presidential leadership in a time of crisis.

          As far as cable news goes, I would no more watch MSNBC than Fox News because I want to hear the facts, not how I’m supposed to interpret the facts. Also, I hold to no conspiracy theories about our president. I can’t imagine that a man who lives exclusively by impulse could devise some grand machinations to accomplish any intricate outcome.

          • Well ok, you have an opinion. Me too. Mine is 4 more years for Trump will shrink government – which really, really needs shrinking.