As a professional naval officer, my training has been to figure out where we need to be and then sort out the details of how to get there. Being late was never an option.

While we consider and act on the immediate actions we, as a state and individuals, should be taking regarding COVID-19, the federal government needs to appreciate that this is not a time for business as usual. We must have a vaccine ready to apply to the entire country before next fall. If the current FDA timeline does not provide for that — approval in time for production and distribution — then waivers have to be implemented for testing and follow on activities leading to full use. It is not an option to say that the process does not allow for that. Congress should not be recessing before accomplishing this.

Next year’s outbreak — assuming that there is a seasonal pause for COVID-19 — may be worse than this year’s. We must be ready for that. The 1919 Spanish flu outbreak was the third year of that virus, with each year getting more severe. Let’s not relearn that lesson with the awful fatalities it included.

Joseph Glass, Sumner

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