Donna Shalala: Drop the Politics and Start Fighting the Coronavirus


The widespread of the Coronavirus or COVID-19 has now put the whole world in a tough situation. With over one million people infected and over fifty-three thousand people deceased, this pandemic is causing great disorders in most countries.

As the virus is quite new, and the cases are increasing at an alarming rate, the hospitals are struggling to provide proper health care. Running out of equipment and supplies and not having proper guidance are only a few of the problems hospitals are facing.

A time like this requires more help and discussions from public health experts than politicians. Although politicians are the ones who lead, inspire, and give the pubic assurance in most scenarios, a pandemic like this requires more affirmation and statics from doctors around the world.

That being said, professional competence, emergency funding, and fulfilling the financial needs of public health is also needed. Trump administration had a surprising outtake on this situation. Just a few weeks ago, the President submitted a budget proposal that would worsen the situation significantly.

In this budget proposal, President Trump suggested plans that result in $30 Million from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Funds for Public Health Preparedness being cut. With that, an additional $3 billion would be cut from the National Institutes of Health.

Bringing forth such an inadequate budget was not a pensive decision from the White House. If this budget is passed, fighting against the Coronavirus will become almost unfeasible.

False information and panic spread quite easily at times like this. Recently the President confused the public by stating some information that leads to the public underestimating the effects of this virus. On top of that, these budget cuts create more panic amongst the people.

The President’s take on the subject has lead to a lot of confusion. He was criticized immensely for not giving the situation the gravity that it deserves.

Now, when people need all the support and comfort they can get, it is not the proper time for political frolic. Politicians could stop arguing and come together to help the people of America at a dreadful time like this.

Although, understandably, people might have different schools of thought on the subject, which is not what matters at this moment. Public health experts are the ones who should be given more heed and voice.

Moreover, the public deserves to know the prominence of the pandemic and needs clear communication from the ones in charge of what to do. Politicians need to maintain verbal discipline and transparency.

Communication strategies that work best and are comprehensible by individuals should be adopted; if not, the public will suffer in trepidation and uncertainty.

People trust and want to hear from the Health and human-service physicians. Public Health Leaders need to come forward to lead and guide the country. We must also understand that facing unknown viruses and public health challenges is a predictable occurrence, and therefore, we should be prepared at all times.

Permanent preparedness, along with supplemental funding, is required at such times.