We are in the midst of a world disaster whose full scope we have not yet experienced and cannot predict. Whether or not we could have prevented it will be argued for years. We could have been better prepared. Now all citizens, especially the underprivileged, are paying a huge price.

Masks, ventilators, and testing equipment should be stockpiled. Much more importantly, this nation should establish universal health insurance. Millions of people nationwide are losing their jobs and their health insurance due to circumstances beyond their control. People who have no health insurance also frequently have trouble paying rent and buying food. They fear the cost of seeking medical help. They are at risk of becoming “medically bankrupt.” They are at risk of becoming COVID-19 “spreaders.” Universal health insurance is a strong pandemic prevention strategy, possibly the strongest.

The COVID-19 disaster will end (or be manageably suppressed) eventually. But let us not forget the pain it is causing us. Let us hope that this pain will teach us to trust the experts who warn us of impending disasters and to act on their recommendations.

Right now the experts are telling us about another, bigger, impending disaster. One that is more insidious. One that is truly an existential threat. It has begun already and might not reach a peak until we are all dead: climate change. Let us act soon while we still have time.

Ben Lounsbury, Auburn

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