We can learn a lesson from the “Greatest Generation” as we face the exponentially growing deadly impact of the Coronavirus.
During World War II, to meet the demands of war, factories across the United States were transformed from their regular industrial purpose into manufacturing powerhouses. For instance, Ford repurposed facilities to build bombers. One of their production lines could turn out one B-24 bomber per hour. Chrysler was turning out tanks and GM cranked out shell casings. These are but a few examples of many from around the country.
The key point is there was national leadership bringing together a nationwide initiative to create the materials, supplies and equipment necessary to fight the enemies.
Our enemy right now is not a huge mechanized military trying to wipe out populations and take over countries. However, the enemy is sweeping across the world and threatens to kill millions if it goes unchecked.
What makes this enemy worse is the fact that it is unseen by the human eye. It sneaks across borders, flies under the radar, into communities, into businesses and into homes and has launched a worldwide attack against all of humanity.
Unlike WWII where there was one part of the world against the other, this enemy is against EVERYONE.
Unfortunately for many, most of the world has been caught off guard. Unfortunately for Americans, we are not only off guard, but ill-equipped, and in some cases, in denial, about the power, danger and potential deadly impact of this enemy.
What we need to most right now, and what we needed the most during WWII, is leadership. In WWII we had FDR, Eisenhower, Churchill, and many others.
These leaders stood up to the challenge of the day by bringing together their nations, creating focus, developing plans, honestly discussing challenges and sacrifices needed, and knew that their leadership was about saving people’s lives, as many as possible and protecting the futures of ENTIRE NATIONS. They brought people together across their own countries and even developed collaboration between other countries to confront the enemy.
Right now, we have Donald Trump.
We are in a war against the Coronavirus and we need leadership commensurate with the battle. We need that same focus, planning, honesty and ability to generate a national and international collaborative effort that was present with our revered WWII leaders.
This is war.
Instead of making bombers, tanks and shell casings, we need masks, gowns and ventilators.
The doctors, nurses and first responders like EMTs, fire and police departments are the frontline soldiers in this war. The rest of us should be doing all we can to make sure they can win the battles and the war.
Just like we would not send our soldiers to the shores of Normandy without any bullets in their guns, we cannot ask the medical community to go into battle without the masks, gowns, and equipment needed to keep themselves safe and to complete their mission of caring for the infected and helping to eradicate the enemy. Without those supplies, it is certain death for doctors and nurses, and in turn, for those they are trying to treat.
Yesterday, Donald Trump, when asked about getting supplies to hospital across the country, said these exact words,
“The Federal government is not supposed to be out there buying vast amounts of items and then shipping. You know, we’re not a shipping clerk.” (Video below)Donald Trump, March 19, 2020
Contrast that to the approach taken during WWII where the federal government led the nation to provide the resources necessary to combat the enemy. Trump is saying that he does not have a role in helping states address the overwhelming medical needs being faced RIGHT NOW and that will only escalate very quickly and with large numbers in the coming days and weeks.
He appeared to be walking away from this leadership opportunity.
He is saying as Commander in Chief that he does not have a responsibility to make sure our frontline soldiers, who are taking an overwhelming amount of incoming fire, have bullets, guns, helmets, planes, and bombs to fight the war.
Due to the lack of leadership, the frontline soldiers are having to fend for themselves. For instance, hospital are now posting how-to videos and asking community members to dew homemade masks so that our medical can keep themselves safe as they treat the casualties of the Coronavirus.
Check out one of the stories and the video HERE.
The person demonstrating how to make the masks say it takes about 15 minutes to make one mask. The demand for masks right now, is estimated to be in the BILLIONS. It would take one person more than 10.4 million days to make enough masks. If one million people worked around the clock, it would take over 10 days to make one billion masks.
That simply is not going to work.
We need leadership at the national level to shepherd all of the resources we have available across the country, just like what was done during WWII, to expedite the making of the supplies and equipment that are needed.
The President can utilize the DEFENSE PRODUCTION ACT and ask manufacturers and businesses to start supporting the defense against the Coronavirus. They can transform their production lines to make the supplies and equipment that is already in high demand.
We are already late to the battle. The infections in the U.S. have more than double in the past two days. The infection rate is growing exponentially, which means more and more people are infected and consequently, more and more are showing up in need of medical care.
Our healthcare system is at a break point and we need to act now. Ideally, we should acted in January when this first presented itself. If we had, we would be in a much better place than we are now. But that is not reality.
We need to deal with the reality we face with sobriety.
For instance, California has just placed over 40 million people on a stay at home order. Other states will be doing the same. Why did he do that? Because some of the projections in the state show that over 20 million Californians could end up being infected.
There are pockets of communities around the country doing the same. Those pockets are going to grow into more and more states. And it is possible that we may have a national stay at home order.
I heard an official say this morning, “The worst is yet to come.”
I know there are people who feel this is being overblown. That there is a lot of hype. Perhaps that is true in some cases. What is worse, over preparing or under preparing?
Right now, we are woefully under prepared and it is not working.
I want to encourage you to take whatever steps you can to either help the situation or to not hurt the situation. You can help by finding opportunities in your home and neighborhood to serve others in a responsible way. For instance, one idea is to do grocery shopping for an elderly or ill person in your neighborhood.
We can avoid making the situation worse by taking every measure to not get infected ourselves. Because if we do, we are going to further burden the healthcare system and be consuming much needed supplies and equipment.
I want to encourage our local, state and most importantly, national leaders to confront this war against the Coronavirus head on. I want them to be honest, selfless, thoughtful, compassionate and determined. I want them to coordinate and support plans to bring to the fore all of the many talented people and resources to join our healthcare and first responders in the battle. I want them to create a national focus, unity and purpose. Finally, I want them to do all that RIGHT NOW. Today.
We do not have time to waste. The bomb is ticking. We can either defuse it or delay and allow it to explode and destroy the lives of many.
I know what my choice is.
Interested in reading more? Here are a few of my other Coronavirus-related posts
WE HAVE GONE CORONAL
MY ENCOUNTER WITH THE CORONAVIRUS
A BEAUTIFUL EVENING AT UTAH LAKE
YOU ARE POSITIVE FOR CORONAVIRUS
A SUNDAY MORNING ESCAPE
FLYING VIDEO TAKE OFF
YOU CAN’T TOUCH THIS – IT’S QUARAN-TIME
WHEN THE STREETS HAVE NO FAME