America is faced with an immediate public health challenge and focusing on defeating the coronavirus has put the nation on wartime footing with all the attendant sacrifices. As in any battle, those who place the welfare of their countrymen and women first will prevail. Those who don’t, who are unwilling to face the facts and do what is necessary, will suffer great loss.
We cannot let that happen to America.
Most authorities now say the novel outbreak started in a live animal market in Wuhan, China. It should accurately be labeled as such. It is not ‘xenophobic’ to state the obvious unless you are willing to put political correctness above the health of Americans. We know some politicians and journalists are, but that is no excuse for the more serious among us.
This is a Chinese virus.
According to Boston University, the first five cases in Washington, California, Arizona and Illinois came from infected individuals returning from China. As with SARS, it appears the virus jumped from animal to human. The elephant in the living room is this—practices that are uncommon, unsanitary and in some cases illegal in this country were nevertheless allowed to be imported here.
Obviously, a complete travel ban from China was not only warranted but must continue for the foreseeable future along with prohibited travel from other hot spots throughout the globe. But we must not just vanquish the pandemic at hand, we ultimately must never allow it to happen again.
Protecting our borders and reconsidering the cavalier way in which international travel takes place to and from the United States must be a top priority. We are set to endure a sizable inconvenience of perhaps a months-long self-quarantine to help contain just one zoonotic virus. Adopting a practice of enhanced medical screening of all international travelers on a permanent and routine basis, not after the virus has landed, amounts to far less of an inconvenience.
We did it for terrorism; it’s now time to do it for the third leading cause of death in the United States, infectious disease.
Is globalism so grand or the next quarter’s bottom line so dear that we expose ourselves to the very serious health and financial risks of DENV, MERS, SARS, Ebola, COVID-19, or any other infectious disease with uncontrolled cross-border migration?
A century ago, European immigrants at Ellis Island were medically examined and preemptively quarantined. It goes without saying that open borders and sanctuary cities screen no one for the myriad diseases showing up in caravans south of the border. What country does this to its citizens?
If America First means anything, it means an end to outsourcing medical supplies, including devices, to China, a Communist country so emboldened they’ve already threatened to cut off the US drug supply, plunging America “into the hell of a novel coronavirus epidemic.”
It means a new Buy American emphasis ending a dangerous supply chain dependence for our key industries, starting with a directive that all federal agencies buy American-made supplies in these vital areas affected by a public health or national security crisis.
It also means a temporary ‘stimulus’ and a permanent regulatory streamlining at the FDA.
But most of all, it means protecting the health and well-being of our citizens where it matters most. Now we all just need the courage to do it.
Jason Lewis, a former member of the House, is a Republican candidate to represent Minnesota in the Senate.