Societies throughout history have pursued distinct paths to safety. Throughout our history, America has pursued preparedness, innovation and progress as our principal forms of national security.
- Theodore Roosevelt urged naval preparedness as a harbinger of national security with the proverb, “walk softly, but carry a big stick; you will go far.”
- America pursued nuclear preparedness and military preparedness to deter the Soviet threat during the Cold War.
- Ronald Reagan pursued a policy of “peace through strength" and called for “a defense capability that provides a margin of safety for America”.
- Our nation has pursued innovation and economic growth to create a global economy that has, to date, turned rivals into interdependent economic partners.
- More recently, we have sought out advanced intelligence and pursued military preparedness to deter threats from rogue nations or terrorist organizations.
Innovation coupled with preparedness has ensured our safety without sacrificing our freedom or impairing our citizens’ pursuit of happiness.
Our response to the COVID-19 pandemic and future pandemics should not depart from our country’s proven path to safety and security. Through preparedness and innovation, we can overcome the threat posed by pandemics, natural disasters and man-made crises without sacrificing our freedom or our safety.
We have learned once again during the COVID-19 pandemic that our nation’s health care system, along with other first responders, forms the core foundation of our nation’s response capabilities.
The COVID-19 pandemic has shown America the extent to which our medical professionals will go to support our citizens’ health.
The country glimpsed the impressive capabilities of our nation’s health care response infrastructure when FEMA, the National Guard and the city of New York created 2,500 additional hospital beds at the Jacob K. Javits Center in just over 12 days with 1,000 beds erected in just four days. These same bed surge capabilities were evident elsewhere in New York and throughout the nation.
In Colorado, 3,000 beds were scheduled to be online in just weeks before efforts were paused when the number of COVID-19 cases stabilized. Our nation’s response capabilities are impressive, and an overwhelming response can ensure our safety.
However, this incredible surge of hospital beds would not be possible without federal government funding through FEMA upon Federal Disaster Declarations.
We need expanded funding for preparedness programs from the federal government as well as state governments to prepare for this type of response.
Too often we look to our hospitals and other health care facilities to absorb the costs of treating those impacted by natural or man-made disasters without the requisite funding support from federal, state and local governments.
Additional preparedness funding through the Department of Health and Human Services would help state and local governments, hospitals and health care facilities begin preparations before Federal Disasters or States of Emergency are declared.
While increased preparedness funding is important, the best return on preparedness funding will come from investment in technological innovation.
To be clear, innovation’s ability to improve health care preparedness will not prevent the next pandemic.
However, innovation can improve preparedness and a better-prepared health care industry could more rapidly scale to care for pandemic victims.
An investment in health care preparedness, particularly in funding preparedness innovation, will empower our country to avoid the economic destruction caused by disasters and pandemics.
For example, our company, CORVENA, is building artificial intelligence that, in the future, will be able to forecast the impact of potential natural disasters or pandemics.
We will be able to identify the populations most affected by these critical events and predict the impact these events will have on local, regional and national health care facilities.
We have automated the collection of bed availability data across states in real-time so that our public leaders know exactly when and where bed capacity can be increased and where emergency hospitals need to be erected.
Our COR platform can identify and anticipate the facilities that will need additional masks, ventilators and other resources well before these health care facilities experience shortages. State health departments, health care coalitions and major hospitals are using our platform in the fight against COVID-19 right now. (See how here.)
Soon, using artificial intelligence and machine learning, we will be able to forecast the additional resources needed by health care facilities before a crisis develops. With this advanced, proactive insight, we can recommend increased production and acquisition of resources before shortages or supply-chain constraints develop to ensure America has the resources it needs to respond to any crisis.
We have offered our artificial intelligence capabilities to inform advanced purchasing by state and federal stockpiles. Through innovation, we can dramatically empower our existing health care infrastructure to better prepare for and respond to the next pandemic.
The efforts of our company, along with others in the emergency response space, will not suffice alone. We and others in our space need support at all levels to improve our nation’s response capabilities.
Increased federal funding of preparedness, particularly preparedness innovation can best improve our nation’s ability to respond to catastrophic disasters and devastating pandemics.
With greater funding support for preparedness innovation, a properly prepared, well-funded and innovative health care response infrastructure can ensure our safety without resorting to massive closures that impinge on our citizens’ rights and wreak economic devastation.