Do we have to choose between bankruptcy and getting sick? What happened to the plan?

Nov 18, 2020

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) staff supporting the 2019 nCoV response in the CDC’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC)
Credit CDC/Unsplash

Back when a pandemic like COVID-19 was more of a theoretical construct, the federal government was running scenarios; "war-gaming," if you will, to work out the best way to respond.

It wasn't just trying to figure out how many ventilators and hospital rooms and PPE would be required, either.

Now as we're looking at an explosion of COVID-19 cases in the region (including almost 5,ooo new cases in Minnesota and 147 in St. Louis county), public officials and everyone else are caught between the twin considerations of public health - and personal and community-wide economic disaster.

But it didn't have to be this way.

Dr Jeremy Youde is an internationally recognized expert on global health politics and the author of five books including Global Health Governance, as well as the dean of UMD's College of Liberal Arts.

He says right at the forefront of the pandemic simulations was an economic analysis and proposed responses to a public health crisis like this one.

So what happened?