At the same time, state and local leaders are working to combat the social consequences of the pandemic. Governor Newsom recently issued an executive order to ensure that people are affected by the corona virus can apply for disability benefits. California Congresswoman Katie Porter was named head of the disease control centers Commit to use CDC’s existing authority to provide free tests for everyone who needs it. And the state of California ensures that all children who depend on free, nutritious meals receive them while school is closed. Of course there is more to do. Some countries are Suspend mortgage payments during the crisis and cities are around the bay Ban on evictions related to corona viruses. At the federal level, talks continue to create a social security network for millions of Americans who are neither on sick leave nor have access to health care. Some national leaders, including the president, consider making cash payments to all U.S. residents, a policy that would have been politically unthinkable just a few weeks ago.
3. We still live our values in the Bay Area.
In a crisis situation where there are many fears, being called to ourselves is a challenge. However, those in charge of the Bay Area and others continue to work to overcome fear while increasing Bay Area values even in difficult situations. When a 3,000-passenger cruise ship, some of which were infected with coronavirus, needed a berth, the state of California had to determine a place where passengers could disembark and either be quarantined or given medical care. The city of Oakland worked with state and local officials to develop a plan to ensure that these passengers can get off the ship safely while taking care to protect residents and workers. In addition to ensuring safety, one of Mayor Libby Schaaf’s top priorities was “doing the right thing to help these people stranded on the ship and fear not to let mankind dictate”. World Central Kitchen provided the people on the ship and a local resident with food left “welcome home” sign for the passengers.
A mostly deserted Powell Street in San Francisco. (Photo by Sergio Ruiz)
Bay Area officials are challenging anti-Asian discrimination. Xenophobic reactions to Asians and Americans from Asia are on the rise. Some national figures add fuel to the fire by calling the virus the China virus or the “Wuhan Coronavirus” Trying to call it something “foreign” that can be blocked by more travel bans or immigration policies. But here in California, leaders are doing everything they can to fight anti-Asian racism and xenophobia. State Senator Scott Wiener and Assembly Member David Chiu recently attended a rally in San Francisco’s Chinatown and tweeted solidarity messages. And Governor Newsom delivered a simple message on social media: “Listen to public health officials. Do NOT be racist. “ These clear anti-racism messages from heads of state are important.
Finally, we support our collective wellbeing by simply believing in science and following the rules of the health authorities. If possible, avoid crowds of people, wash your hands, and stay at home with illness to slow the spread of the virus and protect the health of others. Even if you are young and healthy, you can protect vulnerable members of our community, including the elderly and people with weakened immune systems, if you stay informed and meet the requirements of health authorities.
4. We need to find ways to support public systems that are under pressure today but will be essential tomorrow.
As more and more people stay at home, institutions that rely on customers will suffer a massive blow. However, these are the same institutions we need to be strong and healthy when the pandemic is over.
Public transport companies rely on passenger tariffs in order to be able to continue offering high-frequency services. During a pandemic in which so many people work from home so as not to be with many people, the number of drivers drops. BART has experienced a 70 percent fewer drivers At the time of this writing, this number is likely to continue to decrease and cost the agency hundreds of millions of dollars. BART asks for emergency help to support the agency in this challenging time.
The current crisis shows how fragile our transport system is. Bad storms and Fire can also bring our transit system to a standstill. We are lucky that this is not the norm, but we have to be prepared because they could very well be in the future. Even a major shift to teleworking under normal circumstances has a significant impact on transit drivers. Preparation not only means that emergency resources are available, it is also important. Funding sources are being considered more strategically so that transit is not too dependent on one funding source (tariffs). It strengthens and repairs transit systems now before future disasters occur. It ensures better coordination between the systems so that resources can be effectively redistributed.
5. We can find other ways to connect and take care of each other, even if we cannot meet in person.
In times of crisis, our natural tendency is to reach each other. However, this is impossible during a pandemic if even small gatherings offer the possibility of spreading disease and if the civil society institutions we rely on – schools, religious institutions, libraries – are closed. It is a clear reminder that our biggest public health crises today are not urban density but social isolation. Desperate deaths from suicide, alcohol, and drugs far outnumber infectious diseases, and most often occur when people feel isolated.
California Street in San Francisco. (Photo by Sergio Ruiz)
As the pandemic continues, there are still things we can do to connect and help each other. It can be helpful to use the phone the old-fashioned way, that is, to call someone. When used well, social media can help create a sense of community and even suppress fear. Lots Artists, Musician and ordinary people use this time to create community and help people through online concerts, lectures, and courses. Developing a sense of community can help manage the pandemic better.
Finally, this pandemic can show us how we as a society can take drastic steps to protect ourselves and our community in the face of a common threat such as a virus or an earthquake. We can and can take individual measures that serve the collective good (social distancing, washing hands, staying at home, filling pantries to feed ourselves and our neighbors). We should try to understand how we can use all this energy to tackle other social crises such as rising homelessness, lack of access to health care and global climate change.
6. We can learn things from the pandemic that make us more resilient to future disasters.
One thing we learned from this pandemic is that we have to be prepared for the next disaster. Among the lessons learned from the corona virus:
In the event of a disaster, providing clear and accurate information is the key to ensuring the best possible results. If everyone in the government provides the same clear and accurate information, the public can rely on it. When different executives deliver different messages or when information is slow or inaccurate, it can lead to more panic. SPUR wrote about this problem in the 2013 report On firm groundHere we have described the information needed to make clear decisions after an earthquake. This pandemic provides further insight into who needs what information during a health crisis. Countries like South Korea, which have been able to quickly test a large number of people and then use this information to slow down the transmission rate, have used clear information as a political tool to protect the public. While in the US, faulty test kits, lack of clarity about who can be tested when, and requests from doctors to test kits to help their patients increase the feeling of panic.
In the first few weeks of the pandemic, there was perhaps nothing more terrible than the inability to be tested for people suspected of being infected with the coronavirus. Part of the problem was that the United States did not adequately plan mass tests, including the decision to develop its own test when tests from other countries were widely available and did not allow companies other than the CDC to develop tests without Taking bottlenecks into account and rationing the materials needed for testing and not working with universities and the private sector to develop tests when it became clear that the CDC was not performing enough tests.
In a disaster situation, all of the above efforts must be made to meet challenges, as well as backup plans for backup plans so that another can take their place if an action fails. SPUR wrote about this in relation to transit planning in our 2010 report Reconstruction of our transport infrastructure, but the lessons also apply to pandemics.
One of the main tragedies of this situation is that the The Trump administration has dismantled the national security team that was responsible for understanding and responding to global pandemics. In stable times, disaster preparedness seems easy. But when the disaster strikes, it is really important to have experts who can lead a quick and effective response.
The failures of our current social security network become most evident in times of stress. To combat the spread of the virus, sick people must stay at home, but many Americans cannot afford to miss work because they do not have paid free time. People need to be tested to see if they have the virus. However, if they cannot afford the testing costs, they are not looking for the medical help they need. People who cannot afford childcare cannot work when schools are closed. Children who rely on free meals at school do not eat if they cannot get these meals at school. And families who need food aid will need these resources even more in times of crisis. It turns out that our entire society is interdependent. We have to start doing this and develop systems that take care of all of us.
C. S. Lewis wrote: “War does not create an entirely new situation, it simply exacerbates the permanent human situation so that we can no longer ignore it. Human life has always been lived on the edge of an abyss. We are wrong when we compare war with “normal life”. Life has never been normal. “Such a crisis shows the need to plan for future crises. The worst thing we can do is get desperate. The best thing we can do is make sure that we are all taken care of and that we not only take the lessons from that time to heart, but also act.
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