President-elect Biden has selected his COVID-19 Task Force. It is peopled by medical, scientific and health practitioners and administrators. Unencumbered by disbelief and gross incompetence, they can provide the best approach at this stage of the pandemic.
In the parlance of sports, this task force will devise a game plan. But, as they and we know, a game plan requires execution and adaptability to both anticipated as well as unanticipated conditions.
From my standpoint, a second task force is needed. It is not sufficient to know what needs to be done. How do we get compliance with what needs to be done?
We have been told to wear face masks that cover our mouths and noses. This is a primary means of protecting ourselves and others from the virus. Many businesses post signs saying, “Masks are required to enter here.” To what extent is that requirement enforced? We have all sorts of useful data on the pandemic, but I’ve not seen compliance data.
Do members of this first task force have the background in human psychology to make recommendations to ensure protective compliance which can be measured objectively?
Where are the experts in psychology with the experience of influencing millions of minds in short periods of time? How do we get my relatives and neighbors, as well as yours, to wear masks and get vaccinated? Biden and America need the most effective people in campaign design, experts in advertising, and masters in persuasive preaching from the pulpit.
Equally important is expertise in manufacturing and logistics. We await the results of innovation and rigorous research for vaccines. Next comes the great task of producing and distributing those vaccines for all nations.
COVID-19 vaccines are not an American issue; they are a humanitarian concern. We can not be safe if other nations are at risk. We can not visit foreign places or have others visit us in a world overwhelmed by the virus. Neither romance nor commerce can be conducted effectively by Zoom alone.
The military has an extraordinary record of moving materials. So too do commercial carriers like FedEx and UPS. Will there be stringent requirements to move the enormous number of doses needed to protect many millions of people?
And who will administer the vaccines? Certainly, we want the-best-trained people, but do we really need professional, government certified personnel? How many hours of training are necessary to develop the large cadre of those who deliver the ultimate vaccine shots?
Equally, we must alter the Trump administration plan of vaccine distribution via our local pharmacies if politically motivated questions are required. Immigration status is not a relevant qualification for vaccination.
The battle to end this COVID pandemic is likely to be the greatest single mass event since the launching of Noah’s Ark. Humanity cannot afford poor construction of our vessel nor inept management of its voyage.
Morton Marcus is an economist. Reach him at email@example.com. Follow his views and those of John Guy on “Who gets what?” wherever podcasts are available or at mortonjohn.libsyn.com. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.