As the government whistleblower warns, this winter is going to be tough or, as he called it, ‘the darkest winter’. Rick Bright testified before the House Energy and Commerce Committee that as the virus spreads in the US the ‘window is closing to address this pandemic’. Immunologist Dr. Rick Bright made his sobering prediction in testimony prepared for his appearance on Thursday.
The Bright’s case
The main idea behind Bright’s appeal was that Americans should brace themselves for the risk that they will suffer enormously if leadership’s decisions don’t change. The irreversible catastrophe is in arrival due to the ongoing federal government failures in addressing the coronavirus pandemic – a recently ousted public health official turned whistleblower warned the US Congress.
Bright alleges that he was ousted from his job after warning the Trump administration to prepare for the pandemic. A federal watchdog agency has found reasonable grounds that Bright was removed from his post as head of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority after sounding the alarm at the Department of Health and Human Services. Bright became a target of criticism when he urged early efforts to invest in vaccine development and stock up on supplies.
Are there any hopes for the turnaround?
Moreover, leaders need to act decisively to prevent a rebound of the coronavirus. ’If we fail to develop a nationally coordinated response, based in science, I fear the pandemic will get far worse and be prolonged, causing unprecedented illness and fatalities’ – says the whistleblower. `Without clear planning and implementation of the steps that I and other experts have outlined, 2020 will be the darkest winter in modern history’, Bright believes.
By now, more than 84,000 people have died in the U.S., representing more than one-fourth of global deaths and being the world’s highest toll, according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University. In total, throughout the world, more than 4.3 million have been infected and about 298,000 have died. The US president has not only pushed inefficient hydroxychloroquine into common use as a COVID-19 cure but also publicly pondered the benefits of injecting disinfectants into patients, making a statement that was later on widely condemned as dangerous, by public health officials and bleach manufacturers.
Earlier this week, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, expressed the issue similarly to Bright. A rushed lifting of store-closing and stay-at-home restrictions could ‘turn back the clock’, causing more suffering and death and complicating efforts to get the economy rolling again. Whereas Bright claims that ‘the undeniable fact is there will be a resurgence of COVID-19 this fall, greatly compounding the challenges of seasonal influenza and putting an unprecedented strain on our health care system’. Bright, who has a doctoral degree in immunology, outlined a path forward that would be based on science, while researchers work to develop better treatments and an effective vaccine.
What are the steps to take?
To efficiently overcome the hard times, it’s worth digging into the best and smartest solutions. Which? As Bright enumerates: First of all, establishing a national testing strategy. The White House has urged states to take the lead on testing, even as the federal government pushes to make more tests and better ones widely available. Next, doubling down on educating the public about basic safety measures (frequent hand-washing and wearing masks in public places).
Worth mentioning the ‘modeling behavior’, so leaders, do your thing (a subtle reference to a president who goes maskless each time)! The third task – ramping up production of essential equipment and supplies, from cotton swabs for testing to protective gear for health care workers and essential workers. And lastly, setting up a system to fairly distribute equipment and supplies that are scarce and highly sought. Eliminating state vs. state competition would increase efficiency and reduce costs. These are only simple Bright’s ideas, but to be sincere – do we have anyone smarter at the top of the ladder currently?
The President’s response
What the President has to say about it, as for 14th May? ‘I don’t know the so-called Whistleblower Rick Bright, never met him or even heard of him, but to me, he is a disgruntled employee, not liked or respected by people I spoke to and who, with his attitude, should no longer be working for our government!’. Fair enough.