Ross Covid Q6

Published by Paola Avendano on

As President of California’s largest private health foundation, we are feverishly attempting to rally to the health and well-being needs of our state’s vulnerable populations and communities. Our grant resources in support of nonprofits and community organizations rallying to the COVID 19 fight pale in comparison to the enormous health and economic needs. Our Board of Directors has recently approved $17 million in emergency grant funding to support nonprofits across California who are “fighting the good fight.”

COVID 19 has proven to be a dastardly foe who doesn’t give a damn about who is in the White House, the next election cycle, what the polls show, whether you watch Fox News or MSNBC, or what your or my opinion is about “re-opening the economy”. It just does what it does, and marches on, unabated. Unabated, that is, unless we act thoughtfully and responsibly – and not make decisions based on some vague hope or wish about how COVID 19 might or might not act.

Full disclaimer: I am a physician by training with a past career in public health – so my bias on this front is clear – I’m a health guy. But I find efforts, sound bites, and protests to hurry up and re-open the economy somewhere between foolhardy and dangerous. The data and evidence clearly show that social distancing measures are working to reduce spread of the disease. So now, let’s rush into normalizing things to re-open the economy, and re-invite the virus to return with a vengeance? Huh?

I get the pain and suffering of those who have lost employment and lost paychecks – this is painful to watch. But it is the federal government’s job to protect and defend when the nation is under attack – including economically. In other words, it is under our nation’s political and civic control to provide an economic safety net for struggling businesses and families. It is under our nation’s political and civic control to promote needed prevention measures, testing, and needed supports for our health system. What COVID 19 does and how it acts is utterly out of our control.

We know the virus spreads, and we know the virus kills – so let’s assert control of the health battle first, with clear metrics that reflect a safe, durable return of the economy.