Coronavirus: US health expert insists on Plan B for all US election conventions, Olympics 2020

Large events such as the US Presidential nominating conventions and the Olympics should come up with Plan Bs, says expert

The US experts who participated at a panel discussion, perhaps the last one for quite some time amid coronavirus scare in the United states, at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government warned that the emergency situation in many parts of the country inevitably call for US Presidential elections to be either deferred for some time or the conventions be ready with their Plan B.

Speaking at the event, Juliette Khayyam, former internal security expert in Obama Administration, said that organizers of large events such as the presidential nominating conventions and the Olympics should come up with Plan Bs, as the decision to cancel them can't be made now.

Insisting on developing contingencies, she said,"I cannot tell you when we're going to activate and when it's going to impact, but if the parties are not thinking about how you pick your nominee in a different manner, shame on them."

US preparedness

On these conventions, she suggested, "We don't know where we will be at that moment. I think we need to be comfortable making decisions in week allotments." Kayyem agreed with other participants that the initial US response was lukewarm. "When the story is written about US preparedness for this, Chapter 1 will be called 'Squandered Time.' Not just on the medical side, but on the preparedness side," she said.

Coronavirus status as of 8 March, 2020
Coronavirus status as of 8 March, 2020 GISAID

"What were we doing? And now, how do we make up for lost time?" said Kayyem noting that more cases in diverse areas would mean the responsibility lies largely on local and state agencies. She described the action to be one "locally executed, state managed, and federally supported."

On judging the response and its viability, she said, "The bad thing has happened, it's coming, it's here. We're in the response phase. Our measure of success is not containment anymore. Our measure of success now is, will fewer people die or get severely sick because of our efforts?"