Their Views for March 25

The forgotten first responder in this crisis is the delivery driver

After 9/11, Americans in every state rallied around our first responders. Today, with the coronavirus pandemic threatening the health and well-being of Americans in every state, our brave first responders and the nearly 5.3 million hospital workers across the country are again on the front lines, risking infection to themselves and their families.

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But given the nature of this crisis, and the lockdown much of the country finds itself under — with many schools, retail stores, restaurants and bars dramatically scaling back their services or closing altogether — it occurs to us that there is a different kind of “first responder” coming to the aid of millions of Americans.

We’re talking about the Amazon, Grubhub, U.S. Postal Service, UPS, FedEx and other delivery drivers who come to our aid while we’re hunkered down in our homes.

We’re talking about the public transportation employees who everyday go to their jobs knowing that even though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises against taking buses and trains if at all possible, many people have no other option.

We’re talking about all the workers who show up for work each morning, clean and disinfect city buses and trains, and take people where they need to go. We’re talking about all who work for DART Paratransit Service in Dallas, and other services like it across the country, who help people with disabilities get where they have to go, whether it be a doctor’s appointment or the home of a relative in need.

Yes, social distancing is something we should all practice to stop the spread of coronavirus. But we should also acknowledge and thank the first responders and health care professionals who don’t have that luxury. Likewise, those who make social distancing possible, by bringing us what we need to survive and getting us where we absolutely have to go, deserve our gratitude.

— The Dallas Morning News

Step up, feds: Nationalize glove and mask production and distribution

How bad does a national emergency have to get for President Donald Trump to use the extraordinary power he already possesses to increase production of protective equipment and ventilators in dangerously short supply, and prioritize their distribution to areas most in need?

We were shocked Sunday to hear President Trump and his economic policy adviser Peter Navarro say their reluctance to utilize the Defense Production Act comes from a purely ideological opposition to “big government.” They’re satisfied that haphazard corporate donations and businesses’ voluntary efforts are good enough to meet the national need for millions more face masks, gloves and respirators. “We’re a country not based on nationalizing our business,” Trump said.

“We’re getting what we need without putting the heavy hand of government down,” Navarro insists.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and other state officials, along with health care experts, beg to differ.

Trump’s laissez-faire approach has left states vying against one another in a needlessly expensive bidding war for supplies they need to keep doctors and nurses safe, and sick patients alive.

Until Trump uses the DPA, ventilator, mask and glove manufacturers face no obligation to prioritize fulfilling orders to meet hospitals’ desperate needs immediately. Under the DPA, Trump could require companies to give priority to government contracts over others. He could demand companies that don’t currently make those goods to retool and quickly start producing them.

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Put the feds in charge of production and distribution of lifesaving medical supplies now. Then the heavy burden will be on Washington to swiftly disseminate supplies and prioritize the states in most desperate need.

— New York Daily News

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