The U.S. government is reported to be preparing for the coronavirus pandemic to continue for at least 18 months, leading to "significant government, private sector, and individual US consumer bottlenecks."
A 100-page US government plan was leaked to the New York Times, which today published an article summarizing the highlights.
"A federal government plan to combat the corona virus warned policymakers last week that a pandemic could" last 18 months or longer "and could span" multiple waves ", leading to widespread bottlenecks affecting the consumer and the health care system Would burden the country, "the Times wrote.
The 18-month number is the best estimate of how long it will take to develop a vaccine and make it widely available. In the United States and the UK alone, millions of people could die during this time, but social detachment and other mitigation measures could limit the death toll, according to Imperial College London research we wrote about yesterday.
The Times has not released the full U.S. government report. "Much of the plan is bureaucratic in nature and describes the coordination between agencies and measures that have already been taken in some cases, such as asking schools to close and canceling major events," the article said.
The plan's warnings include the following:
- There may be a product shortage that affects healthcare, emergency services, and other critical infrastructure elements. This includes potentially critical bottlenecks in diagnostics, medical care (including PPE (personal protective equipment) and pharmaceuticals) and personnel at some locations.
- State and local governments as well as critical infrastructure and communication channels will be stressed and may be less reliable. These pressures can also increase the challenge of getting updated news and directly coordinating guidelines for these jurisdictions.
The Times article said the plan listed measures that President Trump could take, such as "relying on the Defense Production Act of 1950, a Korean War era law that empowers a president to take extraordinary measures to force American industry to start producing critical devices and deliver supplies such as ventilators, respirators, and health care workers. "
Trump said on Tuesday that "we hope we don't need to" rely on the Defense Production Act, but "we will make this decision fairly quickly when we need it," the Times wrote.
Other options for the U.S. that are mentioned in the government plan include distributing medical care and equipment from the Strategic National Stockpile, providing funds to states to meet the needs of the coronavirus outbreak, and prioritizing distribution essential resources to focus on the areas where most areas need to live, "the Times wrote.
Update at 12:53 p.m. ET: Trump announced today that it will rely on the Defense Production Act "just in case we need it."