Second in a series of blog posts from the recent Cache Valley Chamber of Commerce luncheon...Today's topic - preparing for the next pandemic.
QUESTION #1: What do you think we as a county or state ought to do to prepare for the next pandemic?
Three points: The current pandemic is not over yet; We know how to prepare; We need to be able to act together
1) First, the current pandemic isn’t behind us yet. We need to stay prepared, and adapt as the pandemic plays out and may worsen this winter. We can’t stop working to limit the danger and damage. We should keep a strong public health capability. Our public health offices must be adequately funded and well-staffed. We probably need to have an epidemiologist in every public health region always, not just during a pandemic.
2) Second, there are well-established good guidelines that we can draw from and have in place to avoid or limit a future epidemic. We don’t need to reinvent those. We do need to be prepared to act quickly – the failure to act quickly was the major problem that allowed this pandemic to expand and be so damaging. Utah is famous for its preparedness – both by households and in management of the State budget. Preparedness should be an easy local strong point for us.
3) What seems not adequate yet, and may be the most important for a next pandemic, is fixing our sadly deficient ability to have serious community conversations and act together. This may be the major political failing of our time. I think we need much more regular honest open constructive dialog about what matters to people. Not just empty yelling, name-calling, blaming, or insistence on “my way or no way”. We need to become more willing and able to reach agreements and work together. Then, when there are problems we can’t meet alone, we’ll be prepared to work together. I think we should work hard now to rebuild a better public conversation, and more understanding of each other. Then we can be prepared to act, together, when we need to.