Patrick Farrell: A Greatest challenge with COVID | TheUnion.com
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Patrick Farrell: A Greatest challenge with COVID

Ryan Gruver (“Honoring the legacy of our grandparents,” Feb. 6) makes a sound point in describing the disproportionate impact the current pandemic is having on members of our Greatest Generation.

During the dark days of World War II, I believe that generation’s most significant contribution was how they mobilized to meet the threat to their way of life. It took decisive federal leadership, the enactment of the War Powers Act, and the marshaling of all our economic resources in a nationwide war effort to ultimately turn the tide against that threat.

I believe we are facing a similar threat today. Undeniably, COVID-19 has detrimentally affected all facets of our society. The list includes severe economic impacts at every county, state and national level, the dysfunctionality of our judicial and educational systems, how we socially interact with one another, even how we worship.



A not overly alarmist analogy for COVID-19’s impact to our way of life would be to imagine a terrorist group infiltrating our borders throughout the 50 states, and randomly killing thousands of our citizens each day. Under the current situation I think past generations would say: “Enough!”

I propose it’s past time we take a lesson from our ancestors and go to war against this virus. It’s very apparent our greatest barrier to turning the corner on this pandemic is the inadequate vaccine production rate.




Immediately after vaccine approval, it was obvious that demand would overwhelm supply, yet we did not initiate a federal response to that impending dilemma. At the current production rate, a fourth-grader could calculate that it will take years to achieve worldwide inoculation against the current strains of COVID-19.

I suggest we can do better and save a lot of lives if we immediately initiate the following actions:

— The president, vice-president, and the directors of Homeland Security, the Food and Drug Administration and FEMA Zoom with the presidents/CEOs of Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson and Johnson and make it clear we are prepared to make available to them all our national resources in order to dramatically increase vaccine production. We just need to know what they need to make this happen.

— Concurrently, we must focus on developing and implementing an efficient, nationwide vaccine distribution plan. I envision a modern-day, federally mandated Marshall Plan to distribute vaccine to pre-identified primary distribution hubs to all 50 states. All vaccine distribution within our borders would be under the management of incident management teams delegated authority by the federal government.

— Once the vaccine is delivered to a state’s primary vaccination distribution center, product distribution responsibility would be then be handed off to the appropriate state and/or county emergency operations centers. From there, vaccine would be distributed to local, on-site vaccination locations within each county/parish/etc.

The overall objective of this effort would be to eventually establish a surplus of vaccine within all 50 states. With the probable exception of the very young, a surplus of vaccine in place would mean all who wanted to be inoculated could receive the vaccine regardless of profession, social status or economic situation.

Naturally, the cost of this nationally orchestrated effort would be substantial. However, it would be less than the far-reaching economic and social impacts we are and will be experiencing under our country’s current haphazard approach to vaccine production and distribution.

In the words of our ancestors: “Enough already!”

Patrick Farrell lives in Grass Valley.


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