A source close to NBC News says the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is getting ready for President Donald Trump to declare an “infectious disease emergency declaration.”
Once this national emergency is declared by the President, FEMA would be able to activate the $34 billion in funds the agency currently maintains. "It's money that’s sitting there and ready," said a former FEMA official.
"To me this is another indication that the president and the White House are finally aware of the gravity of the situation," said Michael Coen, former FEMA chief of staff. "They need to consider all tools available to them and have contingencies for action."
These FEMA funds would assist the administration’s strong coronavirus response, enlisting the military to help out. The emergency declaration would allow FEMA officials to provide disaster relief funding to state and local governments. The CDC has already identified coronavirus cases in fourteen states. This emergency declaration would allow FEMA to target the areas already affected by the virus, allowing for medical assistance teams, mobile hospitals, and military transport to help out with potentially overcrowded hospitals and panicked people.
In order to mobilize the military and activate the FEMA’s disaster assistance funds, the Trump Administration would have to use the 1988 Stafford Act. The Stafford Act was used by President Bill Clinton in 2000 to combat West Nile virus in New York and New Jersey. Up to $5 million in federal aid was used to help these states control mosquitoes and help people recover from the mosquito-borne illness. This time, the declaration could impact multiple states and potentially activate the National Guard across the country.
Health and Human Services (HHS) has already declared this coronavirus strain to be a “public health emergency.” FEMA is currently working with HHS to assist the federal government.
President Trump has repeatedly praised the Chinese President for his strong response to control the coronavirus. With billions of dollars at his disposal, will Trump employ similar tactics that the Chinese government has used?
Will trucks sweep through the city streets, spraying chemicals?
Will feverish individuals be pulled from their homes and quarantined, no matter the cause?
Will schools be ordered to shut down for months?
Will city streets become fearful ghost-towns, local businesses shut down, supply chains disrupted?
How many public places will be put on lock down and for how long?
Will employees be forced to work from home?
If the bodies pile up, how will the deceased be treated?
Will roads be blocked, travel restricted within the border?
How long will air travel be halted from all the affected countries?
When will the fear of virus subside?
Will quarantines and drastic measures be used for all future infections, including but not limited to: influenza, acute flaccid myelitis, measles, mumps, respiratory syncytial virus, pneumonia, bronchitis, etc.?
No matter how much money is spent in reassurance, viruses will still exist and they will defy our economies. No matter how many chemicals are sprayed, microbes are waiting to re-colonize the space, evolving with stronger traits. No matter how tough the quarantines, viruses live in a plane of existence we still don’t understand, escaping the physical boundaries we try to reassure ourselves with. No matter how many emergencies are declared by experts, the conditions are already in place for viruses to take advantage of malnourished, immune-compromised populations.
No matter how much “safety” we are reassured by the government, we must learn to strengthen our own bodies and immune systems and take care of our families, preparing for potential societal upheaval and government overreach that could come to America. No matter how much fear and death we are fed by the media, we must continue to interact with one another, to treat one another with dignity and respect, to hug, kiss, give birth, and celebrate life.