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Opinion

Letters to the Editor: Where was Congress after SARS, H1N1 and other disease outbreaks?

Empty U.S. Capitol
A man walks through a U.S. Capitol Rotunda empty of crowds because of the coronavirus on March 24.
(Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images)

To the editor: I read Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s op-ed article on the government reforms needed to fight the next pandemic could not help but feel she was “Monday morning quarterbacking.”

Over the past few decade alone, we have been faced with SARS, MERS, the H1N1 flu, AIDS and Zika. With all of these diseases appearing, why did Congress ignore the need for a plan that would prepare us for the next epidemic?

It may be that most lawmakers were more concerned about passing bills that benefited their own constituents or that lobbyists were pushing their self-serving agendas. Perhaps our elected officials were more concerned about being reelected than focusing on what the future may bring.

Feinstein has outlined steps that may better prepare us for the next epidemic. My guess is that when the coronavirus is under control, it will be “business as usual” again in Washington.

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I truly hope history does not repeat itself.

Frank Deni, Lake Forest

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To the editor: While I agree with Feinstein that we can learn from the historical lessons found in our government’s response to 9/11, it is not clear from her op-ed article what exactly she thinks that lesson is.

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Her account of our reaction to 9/11 omits the Patriot Act, the invasion of Iraq and the mass surveillance of Americans. These were the most significant responses to 9/11, and they were ones that Feinstein and many of her current congressional colleagues supported.

Past crises have shown that Congress responds by passing legislation that expands executive power. It has sanctioned domestic spying and global brutality. I worry that the present pandemic will be used to justify similar “solutions” in the future.

Charles Seller, San Diego


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