Hoyer and Palombi Talk COVID-19
When asked how the U.S. could have better handled the COVID crisis, Congressman Steny Hoyer blasted the Trump Administration. “There was a rule book and they threw it away, the Trump administration. The Obama administration had a rule book. They gave it to the Trump administration. They had an office in the White House set up to deal with pandemics. They eliminated it.”
Hoyer compared COVID-19 to Ebola. “Ebola is a more deadly disease than Coronavirus and we’ve lost almost 200,000 people. By maybe a couple of weeks from now, or even sooner, we’ll hit 200,000. Tragic deaths in America. Fifty times what we lost. Sixty times what we lost on 9/11. So, there was a rulebook and they threw it away.”
“But what did he tell the American people? ‘This is a hoax.’ Everybody knows that. If I tell you, ’that’s a hoax, you don’t worry about it.’ You think it’s a hoax. It’s just somebody telling me something. It was not a hoax. And those 200,000 lost lives and those millions of people who got sick, they know it wasn’t a hoax. Ebola, one death, or less than five deaths. I think it was one or two deaths in the United States. Why? Because the Obama administration immediately deployed to Africa a containment team that helped contain it, so it did not come to the United States.”
According to the CDC, there is a difference in the method of transmission between Ebola and COVID-19. Ebola is transmitted through bodily fluids like blood and saliva and is only contagious once you develop symptoms. COVID-19 is contagious even if someone shows no symptoms and is transmitted through respiratory droplets.
Hoyer feels President Trump should have acted sooner. “President Trump, for whatever reasons, he said, ‘I didn’t want to scare people.’ I agree with that. You don’t want to create panic. But what he should have immediately done is put in place wash your hands, keep your distance, make sure that you wear your mask.”
Critical Goods In Short Supply
One thing Hoyer said must change as a result of the pandemic is the reliance on importing critical goods from overseas. “We’re putting some bills on the floor next week that deal with making strategic items here in America so we aren’t dependent on China or somebody in Europe or someplace else. Cause America, we can make anything we want to make. We have the skills and the talent and the workforce to make it in America. And that’s what we need to do.”
Palombi is also concerned about dependence on other countries for essential supplies. “We’ve seen this too when it comes to the majority of medication that is consumed in the United States comes from foreign countries.”
Move To Digital
Hoyer said the pandemic changed the way we communicate and that he expects those changes to last. “I don’t know about you, but I’d used Zoom maybe five or six times before March. I use Zoom every day now. I think people are going to do that more and more because it’s so efficient. I don’t have to buy an airplane ticket to go to Wisconsin. Just pick a state out of the blue. Or California or Florida. I just get on Zoom and I’m there. So, I think that’s going to change the way we do business.”
Palombi believes changes in the way we conduct business will lead to new security concerns.
“We’ve seen a lot with a lot of companies and businesses that have started transitioning and allowing for teleworking and Telehealth. I do see those maintaining and working through the future. And with that, too, you’re going to see possibly a little bit less with transportation. More people are going to be able to work from home.”
Palombi believes that will lead to less need for transportation and more flexibility in choosing affordable housing. There will also be additional challenges. “Again, with that, with more teleworking, there’s going to be the need to secure the infrastructure within our country, with Internet access for everyone. So we need to make sure that we are doing our best not to let anyone lag behind on that, allowing everyone to prosper based on that. “Again, with that, with more teleworking, there’s going to be the need to secure the infrastructure within our country, with Internet access for everyone. So we need to make sure that we are doing our best not to let anyone lag behind on that, allowing everyone to prosper based on that.”