President Trump, a get-well letter
Mr. President, may this time be a period of rest, reflection and renewal as you lead the nation during the COVID-19 national emergency
Dear President Trump and First Lady,
On behalf of Corrections1, EMS1, FireRescue1, Gov1 and Police1, please accept the well-wishes of our staff, expert contributors and readers. Public safety personnel – corrections officers, EMTs, firefighters, law enforcement officers and paramedics – are on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic protecting our communities and caring for those in need of care. Get well soon.
Thanks for sharing with the nation your positive test for COVID-19 and beginning the quarantine process. Hopefully, you are asymptomatic or only have mild symptoms during your illness. May this time be a period of rest, reflection and renewal as you lead the nation during this national emergency and enter the final weeks of the presidential campaign.
Thanks for alerting your close contacts. Vice President Pence, former Vice President Biden, many cabinet officials, and state and local government leaders have had close contact with you this week during the first presidential debate and campaigning. I am sure many Americans are joining me in reviewing the order of succession. Vice President Pence, Speaker Pelosi, Senator Grassley and others, with your encouragement and direction, should be monitoring their own health, limiting close contacts and being regularly tested for COVID-19. Our well-wishes also extend to them.
I would not wish COVID-19 infection on anyone, and shame on anyone, especially public safety personnel, taking delight in your positive COVID-19 test. I am a caregiver, after all, and we have taken an oath to conserve life and alleviate suffering. But that oath does not preclude me from asking the White House Coronavirus Task Force to consider the following during your quarantine:
- Use the Defense Production Act to order the immediate manufacture of N95 masks for EMS. More than six months after the declaration of a national emergency, EMTs and paramedics are still being asked to re-use this critical personal protective equipment. This is an unacceptable risk to these dedicated public servants and their loved ones.
- Direct the Federal Bureau of Prisons to reduce movement of offenders between facilities, minimize the intake of non-violent offenders, and ensure corrections officers have necessary PPE to prevent further spread of COVID-19 within our nation’s prisons. COs are at high-risk for on-duty exposure and can’t perform their important duties if they are in fear of bringing COVID-19 home to their spouses and children.
- Order CDC, DHS and HHS to collaborate with all state governors to stand up comprehensive national testing and contact tracing process. It is not too late for us to dramatically reduce the spread of COVID-19, allowing our economy to recover, our kids to return to school and protect frontline workers from COVID-19 infection.
- Negotiate a bipartisan stimulus bill with Congress to make sure state and local governments can maintain funding for critical police, fire and EMS in the midst of and the aftermath of the pandemic. Tax-based revenues, which fund public safety staff and equipment purchases, are cratering. Without federal intervention most communities will have no choice other than defunding public safety through layoffs, furloughs, hiring freezes, pay cuts, canceling training, and deferring capital equipment purchases.
- Use the bully pulpit of the presidency to continue advocating for mask-wearing, social distancing and rapid testing. The American government has the biggest stage in the world to proclaim and support lifesaving public health messages.
Mr. President, again, on behalf of the nation’s first responders, my best wishes for a speedy recovery and rapid return to regular duty for you, the First Lady, and the members of your cabinet.
Greg Friese, MS, NRP
Editorial Director, Lexipol