A Letter From California

6 mins read
Photo by Joey Csunyo on Unsplash

I just received an email from my smart and well-informed brother out in California and, with his permission, thought I’d make it into a little thread. His words:

If you get a chance, listen to Rachel Maddow’s broadcast with New York Times reporter that has some interesting ideas for problems with supply chain of ventilators, medical equipment in US. He, like so many others, thinks that the federal government needs to centralize a distribution system.

He has talked to hospitals in the US that have oversupplies of ventilators right now but don’t have a way to lend them to New York and other hot spots because of no distribution center and also because they would choose to hoard them before the crisis hits them.

His suggestion is that while New York and other hot spots are surging, why not require distribution of ventilators from areas not yet affected and then return them as soon as the peaks happen or other states need them.

Maybe even California should start this as LA and Santa Clara right now have a higher need than many other areas including ours [Northern California].

I also wonder about that for the EU. Germany does not currently have as much need for ventilators, hospital beds, etc. as say, Italy or Spain.

I’m interjecting here for a moment to express my disappointment with the EU for their lackadaisical response to this crisis. While I normally support the EU, I am appalled at how little has been done collectively. Will this be the straw that breaks the camel’s back?

Back to my brother’s email regarding #SupplyChain, both in the US and in the EU:

Why doesn’t EU leadership get it together and make sure European medical equipment be distributed to areas of need, like Italy and Spain, from areas that are not as far in the cycle, such as Germany? 

They can get their ventilators and equipment back when they need it. Sure there would be grumbling (even states will grumble), but this is a crisis, like a war.

In times of war, there were tons of lend-lease programs that made sure military equipment was distributed by need to various allies.

Reminder: We’re talking about the Pentagon coordinating such an effort.

This, of course, has to be done in conjunction with any production of supplies too, but that is too slow a process for many areas right now on the firing line, as you know.

Also, the reporter’s suggestion was the US receiving help from China. Trump has refused the help (distrust of Chinese and all) but they have lots of nurses and doctors, and are not only willing to lend their expertise, but many of these are now immune from the virus. They also have medical equipment Trump has apparently refused. (After, all how could you trust Made in China?)

Note: This is also due to tariffs and the continuing trade war.

As long as we get stuck with our nationalistic pride, states’ rights, state pride etc. — Florida will not work with New York, for example, and insists New York is responsible for Florida’s crisis — we will not be able to meet this or any other global crisis coming our way (like global warming).

Cooperation among states and nations takes a leap of faith and trust, but we are all doomed with the looming crisis of global warming if we insist on only trusting our state, our country and saying FU to all others while turning up our nose at all countries other than our own. That is the Trump way … the Steve Bannon way … Make America Great Again. Also the populist way: Brexit/Poland for Poles only/Only Hungarian babies for Hungary etc. and screw the rest of the world…

Wow. Thanks to my big brother for his sage and (as always) balanced words. Great idea and pretty simple: Use the Pentagon as a centralized distribution system to move the needed ventilators and hospital equipment from hotspot to hotspot across the US, and maybe set up a similar system here in the EU, to avert more deaths in the face of this horrendous #Coronavirus #COVID19 pandemic.

Just one thing to make it happen. We all need to quit bickering, blaming, pointing fingers (I know, I do it too) and learn how to work together and collaborate to overcome our common problems.


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