FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Friday March 13, 2020
For more info: Sam Pfeifle Phone: 207-749-0298 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @SamPfeifle
Today Lisa Savage, independent Green candidate in Maine's 2020 ranked choice voting US Senate race, issued the following statement regarding the coronavirus pandemic:
The spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus) is a challenge to us as a society. It is already exposing deep failures in our political and economic system, including the moral abomination of a pay-or-die healthcare system, the refusal by political leaders to heed scientists’ warnings with policies to protect the public, and a precarious economy that leaves too many working people vulnerable to illness and economic ruin. For our society to overcome a pandemic in this unprepared state, we must meet it with collective will. With accurate information, plus care and attention, we can control the spread of the disease and mitigate its effects. We cannot expect to continue our lives as normal in the coming days and weeks, but if we alter our behavior now for a short while, we may be able to avoid radically altering our behavior for a long period of time.
The most difficult aspect to controlling the disease is that those who carry it may not show any symptoms for as long as 14 days. That’s why it’s vital for us to pause, assess who has the disease as they begin to show symptoms, and then treat those people in isolated settings.
In order to accomplish this, we must take a series of actions at the local, state, and federal levels and we must take them quickly:
Testing: The federal government must partner with state governors to immediately commit resources to testing kits that can be deployed to every corner of the United States as quickly as possible. There is no higher priority. We must have roadside testing at travel chokepoints and sidewalk testing on city streets, in addition to tests at hospitals and health care facilities.
Health care: We must enroll everyone without health insurance immediately in some kind of Medicare plan, hiring displaced workers as fast as possible to process virtual paperwork. Coronavirus testing and treatment must be provided without individual cost.
Travel: We must suspend all non-essential travel and greatly restrict people’s non-essential movement. People should be encouraged to stay local and certain areas may have to be quarantined with enforcement.
Stimulus: We must pass emergency legislation that suspends rent and mortgage collection in quarantined and restricted areas and subsidizes those companies manufacturing items that are essential to daily social life so that they radically lower their prices. We need to institute a temporary universal basic income that would allow for purchase of food and necessities.
This may require something on the order of 1% of GDP, or $190 billion. The $1.5 trillion recently injected into the markets is a clear indication that there is no shortage of resources for this kind of stimulus package.
Military: As quickly as possible, military forces must be converted into humanitarian forces, distributing necessities, doing wellness checks, conducting testing, etc. Bring as many as possible home from overseas.
Social Services: We must immediately not only cancel SNAP restrictions, but we must extend SNAP liberally alongside and as part of the universal basic income. We will have to create food distribution systems to address food insecurity that will be worsened by disruption of supply lines. A moratorium on evictions will ensure housing security for low income people and families.
Utilities: People must receive subsidies to pay for their power, water, and heating oil/propane, etc., so that no one experiences loss of power, water, or heat.
Taxation: Corporate wealth must be taxed for the purpose of fighting the spread of Covid-19, which they can pay in in-kind donations. The Internal Revenue Service must be tasked with rapidly cataloging contributions and Tax Day for 2020 must be delayed at least six months.
Foreign Policy: The time for inter-country brinksmanship and adversarial saber-rattling is over. Sanctions must be lifted to ensure the free flow of humanitarian aid and supplies around the globe. Anywhere this virus continues to thrive represents a threat to global health, including to those of us here in the United States. We must partner with countries around the world to create the most efficient system possible for creating a vaccine and other treatments and administering them as quickly as possible.
Prisons: Incarcerated people are particularly at risk of contracting communicable diseases. Both the federal government and the states should immediately release nonviolent offenders and incarcerated people whose age or health puts them at high risk, including the many low-income people who are currently incarcerated because of their inability to pay a fine or post bail. Further, we must provide these people with the means to house and feed themselves, along with health care.