Appropriate Responses to Public Health Emergencies
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Happily, there are also many examples of sound responses to public health emergencies, pandemic or otherwise. A notable example was that of President Theodore Roosevelt’s immediate and effective response to the San Francisco earthquake of 1906. This involved close coordination of private resources along with massive aid from the Departments of War and Navy, using army and naval troops and resources.
President Lyndon Johnson’s response to Hurricane Betsy, also in New Orleans, is another stellar example, as was his response to the great Alaskan earthquake of 1964. These demonstrate that quick and effective government action is indeed possible. It requires leaders who determine to make government operate well, and who know how to do it.
Such leaders, of course, must believe that good government is possible. It is unreasonable to expect that elected officials who simply do not believe in government could ever make one work well.