michael barbaro: But I wonder, how much would things potentially have been different, Sheri, if, thinking back to the start of our conversation, those government programs — the National Security Council’s health program, for example — hadn’t been cut? I mean, how much does that reflect an overall approach to this epidemic from the people currently in charge from the Trump administration?
sheri fink: I think you can trace it back further than that. It is a pattern that these programs, when there’s a crisis, they get really well funded. And as soon as Ebola recedes into history, we start cutting those parts of government. You can look back after the anthrax attacks and 9/11. And there was all this money that went into bioterrorism preparedness and hospital preparedness. And then you look at the numbers, and they go down over time. This is a reaction of humanity and society and government, is to sort of like — when it’s in the news and it’s fresh in our minds, we invest in it, and then we turn away. So I feel like this is a pattern. And when this happens, and we have these gaps in our preparedness that the government always seems to have, what I have found over and over again as a reporter is regular people step in and fill some of those holes. And I’m thinking — right now I have this image of Hurricane Katrina and government officials not being able to rescue everybody who needed help all at once. People waving towels off of rooftops and people stuck in hospitals. And then it was these regular people who had airboats, who were fishermen from western Louisiana. And they show up, and they just take people to dry ground. I’ve seen examples like that over and over.
From today's NYT Daily